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Aug 21, 2010 10:47 AM

Amada roast suckling pig, August 31 (Tuesday)

Hey fellow Hounds! I've booked a table at Amada and would like to find 1-2 folks to share the roast suckling pig. Too bad we couldn't make it into town to join Uhockey on Aug. 28.

We're 2 Chowhounds from Toronto. This will be our 1st visit to Philly and we just came back from 2 glorious weeks in Spain. We had the pleasure of dining at the El Bulli Hotel (Seville), Sant Pau (San Pol de Mar), El Celler de Can Roca (Girona), Inopia (Barcelona) and a whole bunch of great places in Barcelona. Obviously we haven't gotten enough Spanish food! Hope we won't be disappointed at Amada.

If we can't find people to join us for the roast pig (dinner's early - 6:30 pm or so), we might ask Amada to wrap it up and freeze it. Any thoughts on that?

Our pictures of Spanish food and travel on flickr:

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  1. We're actually doing it as a group of 8 on 08/25 and I will certainly report back.

    FYI - I looked through your pics..........where are the El Bulli Pictures?

    42 Replies
    1. re: uhockey

      The restaurant at the El Bulli Hotel (Seville) is called La Alqueria. The pictures didn't come out that great. Maybe we were too busy eating. It was easily our favourite meal. La Alqueria serves a tasting menu, often dubbed "The Best of El Bulli".

      Any thoughts on freezing the roast pig at Amada for another day? That's the only way I know for us to justify the order of the pig.

      1. re: Aleta

        I've not had much pleasure in frozen already cooked pork - I don't imagine it'd do well. My advice would be to keep this thread bumped and someone will likely get ahold of ya. We managed to get 8 for ours.

        Bad false advertising regarding El Bulli. The pictures from El Celler de Can Roca look incredible, btw.

        1. re: uhockey

          <<Bad false advertising regarding El Bulli. The pictures from El Celler de Can Roca look incredible, btw.>>

          What do you mean by that? I said in my original post that we had a meal at the El Bulli Hotel (Seville). If I meant El Bulli, the restaurant, I would not have added "Seville". Although they are both operated by Ferran Adria, the restaurant named El Bulli is located on the Costa Brava in Roses. The only 2 places in Spain, apart from El Bulli in Roses, where you can get Ferran Adria's creations are La Alqueria at the El Bulli Hotel (Seville) and La Terrazza del Casino (Madrid).

          1. re: Aleta

            lol - I meant False advertising by them, not you. :-) No offense.

            It'd be like Keller calling his Bouchon spots "French Laundry at Vegas" and the like.


            1. re: uhockey

              Oh, I see. Thanks very much for the clarification.

          2. re: uhockey

            When we had leftovers from the Amada pig, I took them home and froze them. To reheat, I wrapped the the pork in a foil pouch and heated it in the oven at low heat. Came out fine to me.

            1. re: Philly Ray

              Thanks for your input, Philly Ray. Did you eat all the crispy skin at the restaurant? I'd expect the crispy parts to lose their texture upon re-heating.

              1. re: Aleta

                I don't remember heating up the skin, so I guess we did eat it all at the restaurant.

          3. re: Aleta

            You might consider the tasting menu at Amada instead of the roast ping. It's a great way to experience everything they have to offer, and they will happily take requests for specific dishes.

            1. re: barryg

              Thanks Barryg. We may have to do the tasting menu and additionally order the Pernil Asado, just to have a little idea of the chef's way with the pig.

              1. re: Aleta

                Just nudging this query back up to the top, in the hope of interesting someone. I will be calling tomorrow to reserve the pig.

                1. re: Aleta

                  So, I am one of the attendees fro Wednesday, it is ashame you're not here a week earlier. I have at least one friend who would love to partake, and i guess we could see if there are other recruits after Wed....although not sure myself about a huge pig + dinner 2 weeks in a row. I would ask when you need to cancel by as I think there may be no set rule and order and try to get a group............Perhaps when i make all of my friends jealous of my experience they will all want to sign up.

                  1. re: bonappetite

                    I wish I could be there earlier too! There's only one thing sadder than 2 people sharing a pig. It's 2 people NOT sharing a pig ;-) I'll ask about cancellations when I call tomorrow.

                    Have a great meal!

                    1. re: Aleta

                      The pig is in the oven... ie I've called to order it for the minimum of 4 people. If anyone wants to share, just reserve a table for approximately the same time (6:30 pm) and look around for 2 people eating way too much!

                      1. re: Aleta

                        Just got back - will eventually get a review up from our visit.

                        Great visit, great food, average service, a helluva deal with 8 Tapas, a Pitcher of Sangria, The Pig, Coffees, and a Dessert for ~$70pp. People took home a LOT of pork.


                        1. re: uhockey

                          I'm curious...Was there only one pig for 8 people? When we went with four people, we had one pig and lots of leftovers. If you had 8 people and lots of leftovers, I was wondering if there was more pig per person (or, perhaps a larger pig?).

                          Plus, it seems like they can make more $$$ per person if one pig will serve your 8 people vs our 4 people.

                          1. re: Philly Ray

                            We had 1 pig for our party of 12 with enough leftovers to easily feed another 3 or 4 so I'm pretty sure the size of the pig varies.

                            1. re: Philly Ray

                              Ray, I was there Wednesday night w/uhockey and the gang. Yes, it was one pig for 8 of us and it was plenty! 4 people took home the left overs. There was plenty of pig to go around. I was very pleasantly surprised by the price per person, much less than I thought it would be. BTW, for those who were there Wednesday night, great meeting you all. My son and I had a great time!

                              1. re: Rondo

                                Likewise, it was great meeting everyone.
                                If I don't see anymore beans or pork for a month I'll be happy.

                                1. re: lost squirrel

                                  What did people think of the pig? When I had it at Amada my favorite part was actually the beans and the onions. Odd I know...

                                  1. re: bluehensfan

                                    eh is all I can say, but that refers to both the pig and sides.
                                    the garbanzo beans were poorly seasoned and slightly undercooked, especially in light of the fried versions on top of the dish.
                                    The pork itself (after a 1.5hr wait) was good, but not mind blowing at all. It's cooked and then seasoned table side right before serving. Maybe it was our server, but every so often I got a bite completely full of salt and then other bites that desperately need salt.

                                    1. re: lost squirrel

                                      thanks rondo and lost squirrel, it was fun to meet everyone. But I have to say, having been there twice before and thinking it one of my favorite restaurants, I would stick to the tapas, was not at all impressed with the pig and had i not had better experiences there, would not even think about returning. Perhaps it was a bad night and less than great server since others have such great things to say.

                                      1. re: bonappetite

                                        Thanks for writing that. And I thought I was the only one who was less than enamored with the pig. When we had it a while back it was on the salty side (which we could deal with) but had a distinct gamey flavor to it that was a bit hard to stomach. Like I said, we enjoyed the sides but after a few subsequent visits where we just had tapas, we left much, much happier.

                                    2. re: bluehensfan

                                      I think the pig was excellent, but vastly too much food. I called the restaurant afterwards and it turns out that the pig we got weighed in at over 12bs pre-cook weight, which they stated was large for them.

                                      The onions were sublime - I ate a plate myself. The white beans were good and the chickpeas were, I agree, somewhat overcooked but I actually liked the way the crispy ones balanced with the less cooked counterparts. The potatoes were.......potatoes.

                                      I will note that I sat next to Rondo and his son, as well as Julie and was extremely glad to have done so - they were all very cool people with interesting stories/lives. The other half of the table seemed to want to nitpick (its not like we were starving during the 1.5 hour wait - we had 8 plates of tapas (2 each of the Blood Sausage, Octopus, Chicken w/ Mojama, and Clams w/ Chorizo.) As someone who (check the blog) is a HUGE stickler about service I felt the service was as good as it should have been - everything was served with accurate description, warm, and well timed. Sure, they weren't all pleases and thankyous and white tablecloths like The French Laundry, but they aren't supposed to be - it is a pig roast. My ONLY complaint, actually, would be the picnic style benches at the table, but it wasn't a huge issue.

                                      The Butter cake dessert (ordered by Rondo's son and I) was a highlight, as well. I'll eventually get a full review up in the blog.....I have a lot to talk about from this awesome trip and your city's fantastic people, but for now I'll just say I was impressed by the food, the price, and (most of) the people.


                                      1. re: uhockey

                                        uhockey, that comment about the other half of the table is a bit uncalled for, as well as being inexplicable, unless one of us complaining to the manager about a quite long wait without sufficient warning is in someway rude. I was siting on the other side of Julie from you and I couldn't hear a word you were saying (it is a loud restaurant), so I doubt you have much idea what we were talking about at our half of the table. Sufficed to say, I greatly enjoyed "our" dinner conversation and hope to meet up with everyone again.

                                        As far as Amada, I think it helps to realize that they do a rustic style of tapas, which I suspect (never having been there) is probably not atypical in Spain. It's not high-falutin' tapas like you see at some restaurants that have jumped on the tapas bandwagon. Just like Julia Child, we should appreciate both ends of the spectrum.

                                        As far as the tapas, I enjoyed them, although individually none exactly blew me away (the blood sausage was overly salty, and the size of the miniature clams seem to have been chosen more for visual than gustatory effect). I will definitely go back to try the tapas tasting menu, which from other comments sounds like the best deal if you can get 15 dishes for $45.

                                        The pig was everything that was advertised. Unfortunately, there was an excessively long wait between the tapas and the pig arriving. Perhaps we should have asked the waiter how long it would be (or he should have told us). But ordering more tapas to fill the wait would have spoiled our appetites (and frankly, the wait was long enough that already happened to me).

                                        I found the pig delicious, wonderfully tender and very piggy in flavor (I've been enjoying pulled pork sandwiches from the leftovers all week!). The skin was astounding, amazingly crispy. The portion I ate was not over-salted. Unfortunately, I have a rather low tollerance for very rich meat, so I didn't actually eat that much of it, but I knew that would be the case going in. I actually started to feel queazy eating the second piece of crispy skin from fat overload. Sangria helped (I had both the red and white and they were good but not memorable), as well as the sides.

                                        The best sides were the grilled scallions and the white beans with rosemary. Grilling scallions is a good idea, although I don't think it is a drive out of your way dish like some previous threads have said, since it would be easy to make at home. The garbanzo dish was rather too al dente for my taste, although it is conceivable that it was intentional. The deep fried chickpeas on top were a clever idea that I'm going to steal. Fingerling potatoes were OK.

                                        At ~$70/person counting the included 20% tip, I thought it was a pretty good deal given the location, notoriety, interesting cuisine and good company. It was rather amusing to be up on the "celebrity" table (BTW, wish they would put cushions on the bench seating) and having everyone watch our pig being carved. I'll definitely be back for the tapas tasting menu, although I think the pig is a once every few years sort of thing for me.

                                        Although we stuck with the sangrias, I will also note that the wine list is somewhat overpriced IMO. This would be a cool BYOB if they'd allow that.

                                        It was also an honor having dinner with Anthony Bourdain. Who knew he was also a dentist? (jk)

                                        1. re: uhockey

                                          Thanks everybody for using this post to share your experiences of Amada's pig. We've just arrived in Philly and are on track - foodwise. First stop was the Reading Terminal Market...
                                          Your discussion of the meal(s) underlines some of the pros and cons associated with sharing a special food item. Main pro being that you can budget $40/pp for the pig (vs our minimum charge of $160 or $80/pp). Main con being the allocation of porcine body parts and the actual size of the pig. In my home culture, we love suckling pig as well as good ol roast pig. I wonder at what size a suckling pig is no longer considered suckling? If it is no longer suckling, it may not taste as gamey/piggy as it is expected to. Oh well, I hope we get a quiet table away from too many curious diners who will be undoubtedly grossed out by my attention towards the pig snout, cheeks and ears. Don't forget the tail either.
                                          Thanks again to all. Your comments have helped me immensely in the planning of our pig-out. I'll call the restaurant today to make sure the pig goes into the oven early enough to avoid more than a 30 minute wait. I don't want to get too full on tapas while we wait for the main event.

                                          1. re: Aleta

                                            I was curious as to the "typical" size of a suckling pig and I found this website:


                                            Based on the info here, their suckling pig can range anywhere from 10 to 24 pounds. Over 24 pounds is then considered a whole roasting pig. Not sure what under 10 pounds is considered, if such a thing even exists.

                                            1. re: Philly Ray

                                              Thanks for sharing your research, Philly Ray. I think anything smaller than 10 lbs would be considered as "eating Babe", and although tasty, might be considered cruel and inhuman :-). But then again, we eat veal ...

                                            2. re: Aleta

                                              If I were you I'd specifically ask the carver to set the more "exotic" cuts on a seperate plate.


                                              1. re: uhockey

                                                Good idea, Uhockey! Thanks again.

                                                1. re: Aleta

                                                  No problem - if you're looking for more gluttony on your visit I'd recommend the whole lamb shoulder at Zahav - it trumped the pig for me.


                                          2. re: uhockey

                                            It sounds to me, from this thread and your review, as if there wasn't a lot of consideration given to all of the diners about how the meal progressed, going home, etc.

                                            I've traveled into the city often for meals with friends, and regardless of what I ordered, but especially if the restaurant is aware of my special order and are preparing it ahead of time, and there's been a reservation made as far as arrival time...I'd be pretty pinched about an 1.5 hour wait.

                                            And than I'd be doubly pinched if one or two people weren't understanding of a desire to go home at the end of the night.

                        2. re: Aleta

                          Julie here. Honestly, I had a very enjoyable time. It was a bit loud so a bit harder to hear and socialize. I didn't see any rudeness, but maybe I've lived on the East coast too long. The food was very good, although a bit salty. My almost-2 year old LOVED the pig leftovers. We still have a little bit left that I plan to give her for lunch today. She also really liked the potatoes. I'm not a big scallion fan so to me there were good but not amazing amazing. I did like the crispy lightness of the almond cookie they gave at the end. Although it wasn't anything special, it contrasted nicely with the heavy meal. I will definitely be back with my husband for a night out with tapas, but I don't know if I will order the pig for a while. It seems like a once in a few years thing. I apologize if I wasn't as engaging by the end of the night. It was somewhat past my bedtime.

                          1. re: alielle

                            Yes, I forgot about that giant, thin almond cookie, which was a nice finish for someone who like me who was completely stuffed (and OD'ed on pig skin). Would have gone well with coffee if I had ordered some.

                            BTW, I think some people had long drives ahead, which probably contributed to the impatience with the long wait for the pig.

                            1. re: Tir_na_nOg

                              I think the pre-pig wait is designed to have you order some additional tapas before it arrives at the table. Amada knows when you will be arriving and how long it takes for the pig to cook, so if they wanted to bring it out soon after you are seated, I don't see why they could not time it that way.

                              1. re: Philly Ray

                                Understood, but that would only make sense if we are talking 30 or 40 minutes. 1 1/2 hours? (Actually, I didn't time it, so I'm just quoting others above.) It takes a lot of tapas to fill 1 1/2 hours, and then who has room for a pig feast? When we sat down, the waiter recommended we order a few tapas because the pig was already partially-cooked, but needed to be put back in the oven to finish. As far as I know, he didn't say how long that wait would actually be, and obviously we reasonably assumed 30-40 minutes. If it is regularly as long as we experienced, they should put that on the website or change what they are doing. If we had known it was going to be that long, we might have even ordered a second round of tapas.

                                1. re: Tir_na_nOg

                                  I don't remember ours taking 1.5 hours, but then again ours was only feeding 4 as opposed to 8 or 12 so a larger pig might take more time to finish up. We ordered a pitcher of sangria and about 4 or 5 tapas to start and the pig came out soon after we finished our tapas, so no complaints here.

                                  1. re: Philly Ray

                                    I don't think it typically would take that long, thinking something happened with the timing or they would've spaced bringing the tapas out differently. I would definitely be willing to give it another chance but have definitely have enjoyed the small plates better.

                                    1. re: bonappetite

                                      Back from our mini-pig feast and walking around our hotel room to aid digestion. We were very pleased with the meal and found the roast excellently prepared. Taking all of your comments above into consideration, I called in advance to make sure that we'd have the pig within 30 minutes of our arrival. We also requested a quiet table where we could feast without attracting too much attention. We were given a table in the back dining room (near the curtained big party room), where we shared a small recessed area with another couple ( very nice couple celebrating their 30th anniversary ). The pig was presented and it was a beauty! Or at least a full head and HALF of a beauty. Although we had to pay for 4 people, we got half a pig. Anyway it was more than enough for us and we were glad to offer some to the anniversary couple. The skin was delicious ( we left only 1 strip uneaten!) and the meat was tender and well-seasoned. We asked the carver to set the head portions on a plate (he did a beautiful job dissecting and then re-assembling) and we also asked to eat the tenderloin first. I wasn't expecting to enjoy the side dishes much but I was surprised how tasty they were. The "calcots" were a very delicious treat. Although they weren't authentic calcot ( not in season and probably not even grown outside of Catalonia), they gave us an idea of the real thing. I will never look down again on the lowly green onion (we use them all the time at home) and next summer, I'll make sure to plant some and cook them up in this fashion. I loved the white beans and ham dish too. We had only a few spoonfuls as we were concentrating on the pig ( beans will freeze well ). I loved the smokey paprika flavour of the garbanzos and also enjoyed the 2 different textures. We didn't get to try any garbanzo dishes in Spain this summer but from what we could see at the food markets, Amada's dish looked pretty authentic.

                                      We didn't try any of the tapas. After all the wonderful tapas, pintxos and montaditos we had in Spain this summer, we thought it would be wise not to compare. Thanks again for guiding us towards such a memorable feast. We enjoyed the sangria and sorbets too.

                                      1. re: Aleta

                                        Glad you enjoyed it - the long winded link to my review is here:


                                        Your experience goes to show that planning in advance and making your wishes known to the restaurant can go a long way.


                                        1. re: uhockey

                                          Uhockey, planning and making wishes known to a restaurant.. This has got to be the most clairvoyant statement made on this post! After all my requests to Amada to freeze the leftovers, I returned a day later to pick it up and the stuff had only been refrigerated. It didn't even feel very cold which is really scary since it is mostly meat. I will be emailing a long complaint to Amada. Fortunately where their service fell short, that of our hotel went long. I asked the restaurant hotel to freeze the leftovers for us and they graciously consented.

                                          The next time I go to a noisy restaurant, I am going to express my wishes and WRITE them down!

                                2. re: Philly Ray

                                  I had the same thought when we had the pig. Almost like it is a loss-leader to sell a large table into tapas and sangria.