La Fantasia, Mojácar Playa

Many, many, many years ago, Finca La Parata was the benchmark for expat food in the area.

John in the kitchen serving up exquisite delights, Anne out front with the family making you feel at home.

This all changed when they left for pastures new. Then they came back, and I wrote about their triumphal return here.

And then they left again. To open up the old Agora, next to Lua on the beachfront, as a swish modern restaurant called Restaurante La Fantasia. Together, once again, with Edd and Claire.

To those of you who reminded me I have not written about it before, despite having been spotted there on half a dozen occasions, I must apologise (especially to Hudson, who asked me months ago for a critique). Pressures of work, etc etc etc.

La Fantasia is a rather strange building. When you first arrive, you walk through the main door, only to be presented, not with a lovely dining area, but with some rather steep stairs.

Negotiating these stairs with care (every time I go, it seems to be raining) you come to the main restaurant downstairs.

The main room downstairs has a large seating area, with a big bar. Then there is a long conservatory outside, which leads onto the paseo maritimo, large outdoor terraces on either side and another dining room (not normally used except for functions) to the side. Should be great in summer when those terraces are in use.

The ambiance is… fresh. Nice and airy. Views into a gleaming kitchen, large spacious bar and tables with a bit of elbow room.

The menu is much the same as before, including John’s famous chicken kievs, of which I have fond memories from my youth (before Kings Food swamped the area with frozen imported ones).

The cuisine is very English. Imagine decent, slightly upmarket pub grub from the 90’s. Huge prawn cocktails,  Duck á la orange, chicken kiev, usually a curry dish, beef stroganoff, etc. I keep thinking I’ll glance out the window and spot an angler by the Severn.

Spanish – I have taken some there – are usually intrigued, despite the fact that the menu is translated into Spanish. The translations aren’t always 100%, in my opinion – they translate the food but the concept is lost. For example, a pie is translated as beef stew with pastry. Technically accurate…. just not quite what it is. I nitpick. I’ll be quiet now.

It is not, if I am honest, an exciting menu. It is a reliable menu. A menu that, even when it changes, remains much the same.

This is not a bad thing, as evidenced by the fact its currently one of the busiest places around. The clientele are happy, and the management has cleverly catered for their every whim.

Good solid British pub grub on hot plates.

Prices are decent. During the day we have the “menu del dia”, which is a seperate menu for 10€, and in the evenings we have the “menu luz de luna”, for 12€. Both have excellent choices. Or order off the á la carte.

They have something for everyone. Fish, meat, vegetarian and pasta / pizza. Not a huge menu that they can’t cope with, but a good solid range of food meaning there is always something for each member of the party.

Unless you’re those fruterians I once met in Malaga, who only ate windfall and lived in a Buddist temple. But I doubt they eat out much in Mojácar.

The single biggest quibble I have with the place is that they insist upon drawing their logo (a heart with stars in it) on all the puddings, usually in strawberry syrup. Frankly, it annoys me. Why, I do not know, as I do not usually eat puddings, but if someone else at the table has one I find myself using my finger to wipe up the syrup and write something with it. This, as you can imagine, makes me even more unpopular than I am now.

So yes. Go there. Reserve first, it’s often packed and I’ve had to wait for a table there. Staff are attentive and kind.

Restaurante La Fantasia
Paseo del Mediterraneo 6, next to Lua, in front of La Gaviota complex.
Mojácar Playa.
Tlf 950 475 127
Website (with menus): http://www.restaurantefantasia.com/

(Photos pinched off their website)

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5 Replies to “La Fantasia, Mojácar Playa”

  1. Pingback: Restaurant La Parata, Mojacar Playa | DavidJackson.info

  2. Went there for the first time today with Jessica & Chris Marshall. I agree wholeheartedly with all of your comments. My menu del dia was very good (garlic mushrooms, pork madras & banoffee pie) and I would definitely go again but probably only on a lunchtime when we could sit outside with that great view. My only other two points are a little petty but worth mentioning. We could not negotiate the steep stairs as the incessant rain had swelled the doors so as not possible to open them (in fact was it not for the noise I would have thought the restaurant closed) so that we had to enter via the paseo and through the bar. Also they were very busy (a great sign, they only just managed to fit us in) but they only have a single toilet for the gentlemen and because we couldn’t see it from the chimney room it took four attempts to find it vacant. As you, I think I am nitpicking a little. I bet every other restaurant in Mojacar is jealous as hell as they drive past looking at the cars outside.

  3. Spot on review – David. Not a place I’m likely to re-visit – so many better alternatives – despite the view. But yes it caters well for most of its clientele.

  4. We were always fond of the old Parata, and took avidly to the new location, where we found, initially, the same quality of Food, Service, Presentation, & Ambience that we have come to expect. Having lately been enjoying the delights of some of the rival establishments catering for the Brits in Mojacar, over the last 2 weeks we have been back twice with different friends and have been disappointed!
    The quality & consistency of the food seems to have slipped.
    “Tired” Salads that must have been plated up overnight.
    Mussels that were dried up and fortunately did not make us ill – probably so well cooked that any “bugs” were killed off – and the flavour & texture too!
    Lomo in a Thai dressing that was like cardboard!
    Fried Brie that was flavourless – I know that when you buy Brie at the Supermarket, it can often need leaving out of the fridge for days to ripen, but a reasonable supplier of cheeses ought to be able to guarantee the ripeness of the stuff he delivers. Super Turre usually have runny, ripe Camembert & Brie on display, so it can be done.

    Come on John – tighten up on your Quality Control or you will lose out!

  5. My wife and I arrived at this restaurant earlier this evening just as they were opening. A surly English waiter who resented the fact that we’d disturbed his dinner showed us to a table in the outside bar area and brought the menus. So far so good although the a la carte menus looked like they’d been written in the 80s – who eats meat in a rich brandy & cream sauce these days ?

    We were reseated at our dining table for the evening in a courtyard with a crane overhead. My first impression was that the “fashionable” black tablecloths were the same membrane that you use in the garden to keep the weeds down … but my wife thought maybe pond-liner.

    Starters arrived. Nothing wrong with my wife’s prawn cocktail. I chose carpaccio beef which you would normally expect to be drizzled in olive oil & lemon juice but this came with a little pot of something brown, strange & Marmite like which was awful.

    The fun really started when the main courses arrived. My shoulder of lamb was OK but the red wine sauce was watery & bland, like the chef had been taught that to make a red wine sauce you simply pour red wine on the meat. My wife had ordered sole and was expecting a light, flat white fish and instead got a tough old bruiser looking more like a carp on steroids. As discerning diners we questioned the origins of this fish and were told that it was a Spanish sole, not be confused with your English sole and because of strict regulations it simply had to be a sole because the chef couldn’t serve it otherwise. This was basically the cheapest fish they could source locally and were trying to pass off as sole in the hope that their target market wouldn’t notice.

    Both dishes came with saute potatoes (actually very nice) and soft vegetables like you would be served in a Berni Inn 20 years ago.

    We English are funny creatures when on holiday in that we’ll put up with anything as long at it is served up by our fellow English and as long as you are on first name terms with the staff after 1 visit.

    If you’re in Mojacar and want a meal that leaves you feeling like the guy in the shower scene from the Shawshank Redemption (shafted & dirty) then this is the place to go.

    Never again !!

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