El Mar, La Mar

Posted: 09:18@10.07.06

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 (drwho@hotmail.com)said (10:18:28 @ ’30-Oct-07):

nice restaurant


Stephen Hitchins (srh@almanzora.com)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.

4 Replies to “El Mar, La Mar”

  1. Why would anyone go to an English Bar for fish? Tadeos would have been better, if they haven’t got the fish you ask for fresh, they tell you what they’ve got that is. You need more than 10 euros though, thing is, if you want quality you have to pay for it.

  2. We dined at El Mar La Mar on Wednesday, 18th June, 2008. I can only say that we had a very pleasant dining experience. We sat on the outside terace with a view to the sea. We declined a starter havng had a late lunch that day. I chose the sirloin steak which was cooked to my liking and was delicious. It came with caramelized red cabbage and a small salad on the plate. Then out came a dish with freshly cooked vegetables, carrots, brocolli, leeks and a layered potato bake that was to die for. Pete had the clams in cream, garlic and white wine salsa (smaller appetite than me!) which he thoroughly enjoyed.

    We decided to have a postre and Pete chose the Flan and I had the Apple Tarte. The food, the presentation and service were superb!

    We are not wine drinkers and had ordered gin and tonics which lasted through the meal. The ‘damage’ came to 44 euros.

    A restaurant we can recommend to all.

  3. My girlfriend and I got taken in by the fact that its really the only restaurant that sticks out in a 2 mile radious!! There are only 4 or 5 places to eat around Palomares & Villaricos so when you see a modern, clean & well presented place such as El Mar la Mar its hard to resist.

    Anyone thinking of eaton here however should think twice. The food is over priced and you are paying for the decor rather than the food!

    One question I would like to ask Mr Shepherd (who puts their name on the sign for god sake!?) is “How can a fish platter for two be charged at 42 euros when your place of work is right on top of a harbour!?”

    People beware – it is a nice place & the staff are very friendly but take my word for it you will get much better value for money if you look around.

    Should be called El con la con!!

    Pssstt……on the way back from Vera Playa take a left at the roundabout by the garage & 300 yards on your left is a great little place – huge portions, quality food & cheap wine (tasty though!)

  4. It was my friends birthday so we decided to eat at El Mar La Mar. We arrived at 8.30 and were told the table had only been booked for 3, when it had actually been booked for 5. We were made to feel awkward as they had to push tables together for us. We were seated and then waited almost 30 minutes for the waitress to come back for our drink order and to give us a menu.
    We ordered our starter which arrived straight away (soup of the day – very nice). then we waited and waited and waited. We waited a further 2 hours for our main courses. I went to enquire as to their whereabouts, to be told that the food was on the hot plate, Why ? It should have been on our table. The birthday girl ordered steak well done and when she cut into it, it was running blood. It put her off and she couldn’t eat it. We did complain quite strongly and were given apologies and a couple of items were deleted from the bill. All the food apart from the steak, was delicious. So we would recommend that if you wish to eat there, book first and mention about not wanting to wait till the next millenium to be fed.

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