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.
(Photos pinched off their website)