San Garcia is the southernmost barrio before Getares which I mention in my ‘Algecirsas – going to the beach post’. The posh private school I was working at was in this residential area so you can guess the kind of demographic that lives here.
The neighbourhood played host to two good restaurants in 2012 but when I returned, post crisis, in 2016, one had shut and the other seemed on its last legs.
Las Barcas (Advanced B-), Urbanizacion Villa Rosa Carretera a Getares
I quite liked ‘The Boats’ when I first came in 2012 but I have downgraded it after my 2016 visit.
I don’t honestly know how it has stayed open through the recession when so many more popular places have closed, including La Sal its neighbour over the road which was generally considered to be ‘the best place in town’ when I was last here.
I counted five staff members and two customers including myself on a Friday night. Either they make all their money on Saturday and Sunday or it’s a money laundering operation.
The food is still very good, especially the seafood (they are going for the Galician angle), so I’d still recommend it for that but the décor is horrible, naff aquamarine blue and bright white, and as it was only April I couldn’t escape it by sitting outside as I did last time.
The service is much less fun than it was. I think the guys who served me last time have left and been replaced by a small chubby old boy and a tall, thin, slightly younger chap who seems to call the shots. It was rather like being waited on by Mr. Magoo and a very severe SS officer. The Oberführer barks at you in a mixture of Spanish, French and English and is probably the reason why not many people come here.
Anyway, the food is still very good, I had half portions of the Almejas de Carril which got a B as opposed to B+ last time…
…and Tataki Atun in a coat of sesame seeds (A) served with a pot of soya sauce mixed with Dijon mustard that worked quite well (B+). This came with a rocket salad with grated Parmesan which was very good (A) but I’m not a fan of mixing rocket with tuna.
After this a dozen Gambas de Huelva (A) which was an expensive treat at €20. I didn’t mind though as this was my last night before going home.
With these an excellent Albarino (A) that was ‘sin marca’ (unlabelled) from Martin Codax, a famous bodega in Galica which the waiters were at pains to tell me was exclusive to the restaurant and was a snip at only €9. I know Codax make a top quality Orujo des Hierbas as well so it was a pleasant surprise that their wine is good too.
Clear Orujo is set aflame in a pot and doused with coffee at the end of a meal in Galacia which is called a ‘Quemada’ (burning). I love the look of the Quemada cauldron and set of cups they have here.
To finish a homemade flan (caramel pudding), and a glass of good PX (B+)…
…and also a glass of Duque de Alba brandy which was a snip at €6.50, although it’s shelf mate Cardenal Menoza, also now €6.50, had been free on my last visit.
In total the bill came to €68 which is fair enough given the quality of the seafood.
Reviews of two meals at the same place from 2012:
I love a good waiter and the old boys here are funny, friendly and very attentive. I went with all their suggestions without looking at the menu. I also learned a bit of Andalusian when I explained the fish knife was pointless as I eat right handedly. Apparently I’m ‘segato’ which I think means I’m a leftie.
To drink, the local (Cadiz) dry white Barradillo again (B) to go with my pescados. The complimentary starter was a delicious (B+) Ensalada de Bacalau, with chunks of potatoes and codfish, prawns, sliced onion and squid, as well as codfish, all dressed with some great olive oil and a bit of parsley.
For my primero, the Almejas al Ajillo were great (A); about twenty clams steamed in their own juices with what must have been a whole head of thinly sliced garlic, perhaps with a little bit of wine or stock. The broth was so good I was spooning it out of the dish with the huge serving spoon when the waiters weren’t looking.
The fish for my segundo was Lubina (sea bass), which had been perfectly grilled with olive oil, and came with a tiny portion of nicely sautéed veg on the side again (A) although I wasn’t sure about the combination of fish with diced jamon (C+). It could have done with a couple of the lovely spuds they have over the road at La Sal too.
I couldn’t make out the name of the dessert but I’d describe it as a semifreddo with squirty cream and a sprig of mint, made great by the waiter pouring several globs of Pedro Ximenez raisin wine over everything (A).
I asked for a local liqueur but apparently Andalusia doesn’t have one, so I went for the usual Orujo des Hierbas (B). For all this, the bill came to €50.
I liked the service and relaxed atmosphere so much here that I came back the next night (my plan A was closed), even though I could probably have eaten better over the road at La Sal.
This time I was here to try the meat, so I had a solid 2008 Rioja Crianza called Azpilicueta to go with my Entrecote, which was served sizzling on an earthenware platter with some seared slices of courgette, potato and cherry tomatoes on the side. It was fine (B) but I’d been fairly recently spoiled in Argentina, so it was hard to give the local sirloin a top rating.
Also from 2012, closed now but I wanted to preserve the memory of a good meal:
La Sal (Advanced A), C/Rosa de Los Vientos, Tel. 956 572 818 NOW CLOSED!
This name came up at two of the schools I worked at so I decided to give it a try and I’m glad I did because I had my best meal here after spending a week in the city.
At La Sal you can sit out on the terrace and if you screen out the oil storage tanks in the middle of the picture, you have a nice view of the boat marina and the mountains beyond, albeit with the odd sniff of sulphurous compounds wafting past from the chemical factories.
After a complimentary canape of cured duck meat on a tiny piece of toasted bread (tostado)…
…I went for the Salmarejo Cordobes, a cold soup similar to gazpacho but with bread and garlic added to the mix and, perhaps in the style of Cordoba, diced Jamon and egg and a splash of olive oil, which was fantastic (A+).
Next I went with my waiter’s suggestion of Lenguado (Sole) for the main and was rewarded with a perfectly grilled fish (A), some of the nicest waxy and best cooked spuds I’ve ever had in Spain (A+) as well as a small portion of sautéed peppers and courgette (B+).
Finally a chocolate truffle with chocolate ice (A) and a large chupito of Orujo des Hierbas, chilled to perfection (A).
Total cost €41.70, very good value given that it included a half bottle of Cune Crianza Rioja for €9 and two chupitos which weren’t charged. Contentment was mine…
Photos uploaded June 2012 and February 2017.