(Note: This review is now depreciated, and is only available as a historical note.)
Meson Verfran, Los Gallardos
I grew up in Los Gallardos, in a small old house round the back of the bakery, among other places. So, as we gutter snipes played in the potholes and abandoned cortijos, our elders sat out in the dingy bars, sipping coffee and brandy and bemoaning the lack of a decent restaurant in Los Gallardos.
It always was strange that Los Gallardos never had a decent, home grown restaurant. Sure, it has a few bars that serve tapas, but for the locals they soon became almost partisan – members of one group wouldn´t drink in that bar, and vice versa. So pub crawling was out!
People were generally content to potter down to Turre for their evening meals out, back in the days when Turre was considered to be the gastronomic centre of the Levante. But that was back in ´90s, and the current crop of 21st century sophisticates know better than to run the gauntlet of the Guardia Civil breathalyser tests.
So the opening of ´Meson Verfran´, in between the Hostal Rueda and EcoMuebles entrance and the main square (Plaza de Andalucia), full of wood panelling and a somewhat garish religious overtone, caused much interest among the locals.
It´s owned by a local, who is trying to operate a ´Meson´ rather than a restaurant per se. It´s very well done out inside, with lots of dark oak, lovely Christmas nativity village (see the post date!) and the obligatory large screen tv on the wall blaring out.
While I haven´t eaten there, I have popped in a couple of times after work to have a few tapas with friends. They run quite a large tapa selection, written up on a blackboard depending on what they have in, and usually have a cold selection in the vitrina.
They actually have several different red wines available by the glass, rather than the usual ´whatever bottles open´ philosophy. Personally, I like the house Rioja (Preferido 2004).
They run a pleasant, simple menu, more or less what you would expect. They also do paella ´por encargo´, which someone assured me was quite passable.
They run a different ´menu del dia´ from Tuesday through Friday. No meat on Friday, I noticed. Could be the religious overtones again? The place seems to be a shrine to the Virgen del Carmen, heavens knows why.
It´s not a fancy restaurant, but then again, it´s not designed to be. It´s a friendly little meson, where you can go for either a drink or a family meal. It may not be worth driving up from miles away to go to, but if you´re in the area it´s worth a visit.
Where is it?
Enter Los Gallardos from the main road by the EcoMueble entrance, going down to the main square.
No phone number because I´ve lost the napkin I pinched with it on.
Apologies for the photos, only my phone ran out of battery before I could take any good ones! Better luck next time, eh?
Original Comments copied from original website>
Tracy Cory (email@example.com)said (06:51:44 @ ’03-May-07):
We are slowly working our way through your list and on this visit to the area (we are having a house built in Los Giles) decided to give it a go. The day before we did a quick reccie to see how it looked and had some lovely tapas and very nice glass of vino blanco. The next day we returned with my husband, Mother and her partner. It was full of spanish people (which we like and always think is a good sign). the menu is a little confusing as it seems to start with main and then mentions salds/starters but once I had deciphered various dishes we ordered. My Mum and I didnt have starters but her partner and my husband had soup. My husband had the vegetable soup cannot remember the spanish name and he declared that it was the best soup he had ever eaten and my mums partner had the courgette which I think was equally as nice. So with high expectations on to main course. My husband had steak – v good, my mums partner had chulletas equally good. We had plumped for the shoulder of lamb. Now the one thing I would say is only order this on your own if you have been stranded somewhere for 3 days without any food as the portions were absolutely ENORMOUS!! Having said that it equals if not slightly beats the lamb at the Miramar in Bedar which is one of my favourite places to eat lamb anyway. The lamb was I believe 16E and wouldhave fed 2 if not 3 people so be Warned! The wine selection is very good and I can recommend the Este (vino blanco)which is from a vinyard in Almanzora and only 7E (they charge 10E for the same wine in Juan Moreno) My husband had the Faustino V which was also excellent. A lovely meal and the waiter was superb (only a young chap) but attentive, funny and very good at his job. Thanks for the recommendation. When I go back this weekend for a few days it will be of the places that I try and fit a visit in to so I can take my daughter.