Milwaukee’s Appetite for Iberian Cuisine
Story and Photography by Molly Rippinger
Tapas and sangria aren’t the only things worth mentioning when it comes to Spanish cuisine. Thanks to Aaron Gersonde, Andrei Mikhail and Hemad Fadaifar of Movida, and Gregory and Orry Leon of Amilinda, Milwaukeeans are quickly becoming well-versed on all things Iberian.
“In our own little way, we are educating and showing people the real food and drink of Spain,” says Mikhail. The country has a rich culinary history stretching back centuries, with an array of influences from France, Italy, Greece and ancient Muslim regions.
Movida serves small plates that span the spectrum of Spain’s specialties—from traditional paella and sliced-to-order jamon, to tender bites of Galician-style octopus or Basque sausage.
The team behind Movida has plans for another Spanish concept in Walker’s Point, called Hotel Madrid, slated to debut in late 2015. The space will include a bar, boutique hotel and restaurant emphasizing rustic, Spanish entrees.
A short distance away on Wisconsin Avenue, the Leons give Milwaukeeans a glimpse into Spanish and Portuguese cuisine at the newly-opened Amilinda. Before becoming a brick and mortar, the restaurant found its legs as a pop-up concept at The National on Saturday nights.
“[Spanish cuisine] is not about putting bells and whistles on the plate,” says Gregory. “It’s about starting with really good ingredients.” Dishes on Amilinda’s menu are inspired by traditional Iberian recipes and techniques, but incorporate local, seasonal products.
315 E. Wisconsin Ave. • www.amilinda.com
600 S. 6th St.
524 S. 2nd St. • www.movidamke.com
Molly Rippinger is a writer with a passion for the food and restaurant industry. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, she is well versed in all things food-related and is currently working towards a master’s degree in Mass Communication from Marquette University. A Midwesterner at heart, Molly is eager to see Milwaukee’s food scene continue to develop in the years to come.