Candela Restaurant

2909 NE Sixth Ave.
Wilton Manors, FL 33335
Critics' Pick
Best Of


  • Mon-Thu 5 pm - 10 pm Fri-Sat 5 pm - 11 pm
  • $
  • Wheelchair accessible, Delivery, Takeout
  • Lunch, Dinner
  • BYOB
  • Free Parking
  • Reservations Accepted
In South Florida, where the recent small-plate obsession has tainted our palates (and pockets) with pricey, upmarket concept foods, we have no understanding of the Spanish art of celebrating food and drink. But at Candela Restaurant in Wilton Manors, you can get an idea of what itâ??s all about. Just one block south of Oakland Park Boulevard and over a canal that hems the northern edge of the Island City, youâ??ll find one of the areaâ??s best-kept secrets. You may be familiar with a restaurant where the chef knows your name and delivers your dish as if you were family. This is the type of experience youâ??ll get from chef-owner Armando Vega and his wife, Yudaris, a Cuban-born couple who dish out authentic Latin and Mediterranean cuisine. What makes Candela so endearing is Vegaâ??s knowledge of his painstakingly sourced ingredients. A medium-grain rice from Murcia, Spain; Mahón, a soft cowâ??s-milk cheese from the island of Minorca; smoky pimentón, a type of Spanish paprika; and olive oil from Jaén, a city in the south of Spain. The rustic, red-walled hideaway is accented with handmade wooden wine racks; Vegaâ??s family china and art made with the corks of emptied wine bottles are evidence of the gastronomic merriment thatâ??s taken place over the years. Vega is most proud of his paella, prepared in the style of Valencia. The recipe calls for Spanish Calasparra rice, a pearl-shaped variety that wonâ??t stick and allows for the complete absorption of the savory calamari, clam, mussel, and shrimp-based broth. The dish is served from a piping-hot paella pan, blackened rice scraped from the steel and onto your plate. Another house specialty is the fideua negré, a noodle dish with an unctuous sauce of squid ink thatâ??s filled with fat chunks of tender squid and octopus. Or try the credo asado, confit pork finished in a hot paella pan with olive oil and sofrito. The technique renders the meat into crispy, fried tendrils of pulled pork that are served over a bed of rice and black beans seasoned with a pepper-based vinegar sauce Vega gets from his family in Cuba.

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