Originally posted in July 2006. (Note: This review is now depreciated, and is only available as a historical note. Comments below were from the old version of my blog which I copied over. This review was originally posted in July 2006. I am assured that this restaurant has been revamped since then. This review is maintained here for historical purposes only. For full information on this restaurant please visit: www.elmarlamar.com.
I recently had a hankering for fish. So, collecting a friend from Garrucha, we proceeded along the beachfront looking for a decent fish restaurant. Eating in a Garrucha fish restaurant can be a nasty trap for the unwary – bill enlargements, substituting ones choosen lobster for a frozen one in the kitchen, the list goes on. But still, this was all academic, as apparantly some noisy people were having a boat race this weekend, and had occupied every car park and restaurant in town. So we fled, towards Villaricos, for no good reason.
Once into Villaricos, we discovered that our first choice was closed, and our second full up. So, once we´d done the obligatory three turns of the village through the demonic one way system, we were spat out again onto the main road. Where we spotted “El mar, La Mar”. On your left, in front of the watchtower, entering on the main road from Garrucha. We parked, and popped in.
A pleasent decor, lots of darkened wood and plenty of atmosphere, only slightly spoilted by a noisy one armed bandit and cigarette machine at the door.
We were ushered through into the outside covered terrace (see left), with nice views out towards the new apartment block that covers Villaricos, and the sea. A large menu on our table informed us that for a mere €10.00 we could select from a large menu del dia. A pencil was provided, and we marked off our choices.
Now, the menu appeared promising – drinks, salad, starter (4 choices), main course (3 choices), pudding (4 choices), coffee and aperitif for only ¬10.00. I selected the potaje de fabias, lomo de cerdo asado and flan de la casa – my companion Ensaladilla rusa, also lomo de cerdo, and Mousse de chocolate. We returned the pencil, and the menu duly completed, and ordered a beer each.
Now, we were first presented with a somewhat indifferent salad. The salad was somewhat wilted, but it was 3 of the clock, and I was prepared to be generous. The bread was nice and crisp, and the vinagrete was of good quality – decent olive oil, and a Spanish vinagre de jerez reserva. The salt ´n´ pepper was of that annoying type when the two are mixed together. I´m sorry, but if I want salt I may not want pepper, and vice versa. So why force me to take both at the same time?
Then the starters arrived. Now, I will admit that potaje (especially de fabias) can be a very difficult dish to master. I´ve had bad potaje. I´ve had indifferent potaje. And I´ve had fantastic potaje. And this was, frankly, bloody awful. Bitter, reheated and half cold, I had one and a half spoonfuls and left it. Obviously made in bulk at the beginning of the week, and reheated on demand. I say no more. The ensaladilla rusa? It was alright (fresh), but was massive. A huge great big wodge of the stuff on a plate, no presentation at all. Struck me that they were using up the last of it, and just plopped it all out of the container. We couldn´t finish it between two of us.
So, I continued to nibble at the last of the salad, and awaited the main course (see below).
Now, upon first impressions it seemed quite decent. The lomo seemed to be nicely cooked, and the chips were the decent home made type that are pan fried in the typical andalucian style (can´t stand fried chips!). Bit of garnish and a nice lemon, and off we went.
Again, it was bloody awful. The chips were lukewarm, and the lomo seemed to have been baked to death. The meat seems to have been of low quality anyway, and was so soft and tasteless it just wasn´t worth eating it. Again, I left most of it.
By the time the pudding arrived, I didn´t have very high hopes. Alright, it said “flan de casa casera”, but homemade usually means they just opened the package and mixed it up before serving it. More or less the case.
Now, nothing wrong with the flan. It should be served with cream, but I am nothing if not pragmatic. A bit of caramel around the edges is, in extreme cases, acceptable. But some horrible, sugary and sweet, cheap raspberry sauce dotted all over it, killing the taste? The decoration reminded me of nothing more than my goddaughters recent bout of chicken pox.
Now, it´s a shame. I don´t know if the menu is normally more sophisticated, and today we got the under chef trying his best. Maybe they were trying to unload the bad stuff at the end of the week. But in general? It´s a menu del dia that overreaches itself, with too many options, and too big an opinion of itself. The only good thing about it was we got all our drinks included into the price. But, if the food is crap (and it was), who cares about a free beer?
Where is it?
|El Mar, La Mar
On your left as you reach Villaricos from Garrucha, just in front of the watchtower.
ORIGINAL COMMENTS (Posted on their respective post dates).
El Mar Lar Mar.com (Info@elmarlamar.com)said (13:59:47 @ ’25-Jan-08):
Visit WWW-elmarlamar.com Tel 0034 950 467 030 Mobile 0034 666 542 714
Eric ()said (12:17:07 @ ’13-Dec-07):
Delicious food with a very good “vino de la casa”! Nice location with good parking facility and a very neat bathroom! And last but not least good staff and a friendly host; Ricardo Pastor.
Imc ()said (12:16:13 @ ’13-Dec-07):
Imc Great staff! Great food! Best place to eat in Villaricos.
Juan Carlos ()said (16:06:02 @ ’01-Dec-07):
Stephen Hitchins Muy Tonto
Louisa Duggie ()said (15:59:57 @ ’28-Nov-07):
As always not only does your restaurant meet all our needs with great service and food and a team that can not be more abliging. Your continued investment has surely made El Mar La Mar the nicest restaurant to eat in and a must visit location always on top of our list. Fondest regards to you and the whole team
jose levantes ()said (15:51:26 @ ’28-Nov-07):
Chef Richard Shepherd We were just considering going to your place, to dine. I guess if we leave now, could make it in about 38 hours. Miss your good company, sharp satirical wit and great food and drink. Thanks for taking the time to converse with us and prepare meals, that are still remembered,because we truly enjoyed them and the chef. I have some great recipes I would like to send to you. If this email works I will follow up with the recipes. Is this EL MAR LA MAR/CUATRO BOMBAS? Richard, will be back soon, 2008 after las fallas in valencia, and will make if a point to live to dine at your place. Have any snails that glow, in garlic?? Jose and Mike Cervantes honolulu hawaii
Bridget ()said (14:42:57 @ ’28-Nov-07):
Hi Richard Regarding the write up of your restaurant,its in the advertiser early november .Not under restaurant review but on page 24. Thanks for a great meal tonight we had a nice time. See you when we are back in spain. byeeee Bridget
Lady Sara Jane (LadyJaneevents.co.uk)said (14:40:46 @ ’28-Nov-07):
Hi Richard, Just a quick note to say thanks again for Mum’s party. The food was fantastic !! See you soon. Regards Sara-Jane
Dr Who (email@example.com)said (10:18:28 @ ’30-Oct-07):
Stephen Hitchins (firstname.lastname@example.org)said (07:42:32 @ ’25-Nov-06):
Hi! Well, Richard Shepherd (Simmons???)will be upset, but I would not comment on that! Just to say what a shame it was for your party and I suppose Villaricos’s reputation , that you did not happen instead upon La Esperanza, Don Tadeo’s or Mar Azul or even Las Brisas Beach Bar,all of which would undoubtedly have given a good account of themselves. Another day perhaps! By the way, do you know of The Crocodile Club or El Torrente at Desert Springs? Have a look at almanzora.com, if you do not and if you have a moment. I must admit to an interest, but I do like them! Regards, Stephen Hitchins
Denise Green said (12:36:18 @ ’14-Nov-06):
My experience of this restaurant is the complete opposite. We were there only 2 weeks ago and had a fabulous meal. We spoke to the owner who told us that he is trying to refurbish the place as Spanish as possible and it looks very nice. If anyone reading this has had the lamb at the Miramar in B
Jerry Woods said (15:00:02 @ ’27-Oct-06):
I have also dined at this resturant and had the evening menu i found the food as described above and complained only to be met by a shrug from the waiter. Upon receiving the bill I once again complained and told them that I would only pay half the cost as most of the food had been returned after much debate it was agreed that half the amount was accepable so I paid and left. Never to return again.