Viva España

Bellmónt Continues to Deliver Superb Spanish Cuisine

Photos by Rodolfo Benitez

Of the national flavors of the Mediterranean, Spain typically takes third place to the haute cuisine of France and the ubiquitous cooking of Italy. Yet its national fare has given us many popular dishes, from paella and patatas bravas to gazpacho and Tortilla Española. 

To define Spain in terms of food items starts simply enough: Take some olives, extra virgin olive oil, fresh vegetables, garlic, chicken, fish, seafood, Iberian cured meats and great wine and you are on your way to creating the essence of the country’s gastronomy. 

Proprietor Sergio Bellmónt and his wife, Claudia, with the cured ham on display.

From there, however, comes the art of the preparation, and with that, the sourcing of ingredients. In both categories, Bellmónt Spanish Restaurant soars. 

To begin with, proprietor Sergio Bellmónt — who launched the restaurant on Miracle Mile seven years ago with wife Claudia — imports as many of his ingredients as possible directly from Spain. These include his marvelous red piquillo peppers, prepared as an appetizer with goat cheese from Spain (they also appear, sliced, on his sautéed spinach side dish). Likewise, his savory white anchovies come from the cold Atlantic waters off northern Spain, as does most of the seafood served at Bellmónt. 

Seafood paella

“All of our dishes are Spanish, mainly Castilian, from the center of the country,” says Sergio. “The seafood is flown in fresh three times a week, most of it from Northern Spain. It’s the vegetables – tomatoes, onions, potatoes – that we buy locally. We buy everything fresh.” 

What stands out among his imports is the cured ham, Jamón de Jabugo. It comes from the town of Jabugo in the province of Huelva in southwest Spain. Connoisseurs will tell you it may indeed be the best in the world, dark and deeply flavorful, and aged five years from acorn-raised pigs. It is an expensive delicacy, which Sergio carves from the bone with the finesse of a surgeon. You can sample it in the Tabla Mixta with Manchego cheese and Ibérico sausage ($45). 

Roasted suckling pig

Another standout specialty at Bellmónt is the paella, which is prepared in seven different ways, including with seafood (de mariscos) and with pork (Campesina). A good value at $22-$24, but be patient for this dish, which takes at least 25 minutes to prepare (it’s worth the wait). 

The most exotic dish prepared at Bellmónt is the whole suckling pig, which must be ordered ahead of time, since it takes four to five hours to cook. This is prepared using red oak in a 14,700-pound cast iron oven that Sergio imported from Pereruela, Spain. You can order it for a party of four ($230) or six ($260). You can also order it as separate dish when Bellmónt offers a prix-fixe menu for their monthly (soon to be weekly) Saturday night flamenco shows, or a la carte ($49, and only an hour’s wait). The taste is simply extraordinary. 

White anchovies

It is hard to find a dish at Bellmónt that is not rich in flavor, from the grilled whole langostinas a la plancha from Heulva to the chorizo from Galicia. Even the food that comes from this side of the Atlantic is prepared in unique ways, such as their “hot rock” beef. The meat comes from either Florida or Iowa, grass-fed and aged for 29 days, and is seared by each diner tableside on, literally, a hot stone. Even the croquetas are special, filled with either creamy cod or a mix of spinach and Manchego cheese. So much for anyone who thinks all croquetas are similar to the Cuban varieties. 

Cod croquetas

Since we last reviewed Bellmónt, there is also the welcome addition of outdoor seating on Miracle Mile. While the temperate weather lasts, this is a great option, and one of the reasons the sidewalks along the Mile were dramatically widened two years ago. Inside remains the same, with its feeling of being in a lovely, upscale café on a side street in Sergio’s hometown of Madrid. 

“We’re a local business, run by a husband and wife,” he says. “It’s very familiar, with more of a neighborhood feeling than a formal setting. Our customers come to know who we are.” 

Grilled langostinos

Bellmónt Spanish Restaurant
339 Miracle Mile

One thought on “Viva España

  • May 21, 2021 at 9:37 am

    I wish to have the received of paella and some evening distes of Spain.

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