Thursday, July 05, 2007

Dining at the Santa Maria Hotel

Paella and Arroz Negre!!

As the evening approached in Sitges, we had to find a place to eat dinner. John, Øystein and I had tasted the famous arroz negre, and we decided to initiate Terje to this fascinating dish. And as guests at the hotel itself, they asked whether we would be interested in trying its restaurant. We were game!!

Location: BBBBB

You could not find a better location for a restaurant. Situated on the main promenade facing the beach it is easy to find and has a real wow-factor. Full score here.

Atmosphere: BBBBB-

The hotel has a traditional Spanish interior, light walls, and wooden details. No minimalism here. Some would call it a little kitch, I would rather call it rustic. There were plenty of charm inside, but we were led to a table outside on a terrace, overlooking the restaurant and with a view to the sea.

We were well seated by an elegant round table with a white tablecloth. I absolutely loved the atmosphere.

Price: BBBB

We paid around €100 for a dinner for four, two sharing one entree and one arroz negre and a paella, and including a good bottle of white wine. Very reasonable from our perspective. The food, however, was good but not great. This means that it is no full score, but it gives reasonably good value for money eating here.

Service: BBBB+

As John speaks Spanish very well, he took care of the situation and ordered our food and wine. We did not find out whether the staff could guide us through an order in English, but the staff did their work well. We did not have to wait long, neither on the food nor wine.

Food: BBBB-

We ordered gambas al ajillo, small shrimps in garlic, tomatoes and a lot of olive oil. So delicious in fat, that we used the bread served, to soak up the liquid on the trays. Yum!!

Then they brought the large tray of Paella. It looked absolutely great, rice, onion boiled rabbit and squid in a rich tomato sauce, garnished with lemon, large prawns, mussels and langoustines (or Norway Lobsters)

It had a good rich taste, the mussels were great, but the squid was a little overcooked being a little tough to chew. I tucked into the prawns and langoustines and they did not seem very fresh.

But all in all it was a fairly good experience.

I had tasted the arroz negre before, at La Fonda in Barcelona, and I loved it. This dish is so dramatic - the black squid ink colouring the rice and seafood adding flavour to it, as well.

My arroz negre experience at Santa Maria was clearly beating by the one I had eaten before. Once again, the squid was tough to chew, and I did not fancy the consistency of the whole dish. It looked like something digged out of a puddle.

Still it tasted reasonably good, but my favourite for the evening was the paella.

We enjoyed a dry, but very fruity white wine that matched the food very well.

Overall rating: BBBB+ (4,39 points)

Recommendable close to la Playa. Fab location, but no ultimate food experience.


Pg. De la Ribera 52
08870 Sitges

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