Sunday, June 29, 2008

Salad and seafood - a culinary rendez-vous

A year ago, we enjoyed paella and arroz negre at the restaurant at Santa Maria Hotel in Sitges, and it passed our tests rated as recommendable (4,39 points). This year we both stayed at the Santa Maria Hotel and had two meals there, lunch June 16th and dinner June 20th. The rating ended a little lower than last year. The restaurant at Santa Maria Hotel is good but hardly the best place to eat in Sitges. We found restaurants that were so much better!!

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: BBBB

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.

For our first lunch we sat down outside, by the street, not completely comfortable. When dining June 20th we were well seated outside by the same elegant round table where we sat last year, by a large banana plant. I absolutely loved the atmosphere.

Price: BBBB

We paid around €20 for the lunch June 17th consisting of soup for one, salad for 2 and two pints of beer

We paid around €90 for dinner for four June 20th consisting of one one entree and one main course each and including a good bottle of white wine to share. 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 could however sit and choose what we wanted to eat from a good English menu. The staff did their work well, and we did not have to wait long, neither on the food nor wine.

Food: BBB+

Creamed lobster soup (BB+)

Creamed lobster soup is one of my favourite and I have a wide range of editions to compare them from. From the delicious soups at Gramadoelas in Johannesburg or at Cafe Zeleste in Copenhagen to the other range of the scale served at L’Huîtrière at Place Saint Catherine in Brussels.

The creamed lobster soup at Santa Maria was slightly bitter and salty and reminded me more of a tomato soup than seafood based soup. The success
is in my mind a good stock, sugar and double cream, and this lacked sugar and cream.

Salad with mixed meats (BBB)

The salad with meat was an interesting experience. Crunchy raw vegetables and lettuce, tomatoes, one asparagus and one slice of a variety of different meats. Decent, but as salads goes this was a hardly a culinary experience worth remembering.

Vichyssoise (BBBBB-)

The best dish served at Santa Maria. Deliciously creamy, ice cold soup made from potatoes, leeks, stock, and cream. The Vichyssoise served at Santa Maria was seriously good, thick, creamy consistency, slightly bitter but well balanced taste from the leeks.

Stewed scallops (BBBB+)

I prefer my scallops slightly fried, and slightly under cooked. The stewed scallops served at Santa Maria had been sliced and simmered in a white stew with the delicious roe (ouch!), mushrooms and served in scallop shells. I am happy to say that they were not over cooked (I do not understand why), and the stew tasted well. Still this is not the way to serve them.

Overall rating: BBBB+ (4,33 points)

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

Pg. De la Ribera 52
08870 Sitges

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