Saturday, July 02, 2011

COMING UP JULY 2011: Hotel Port Sitges Resort

Photo: The hotel swimming pool - hotel website
Summer is finally here, and one week in July will be pent in sunny Espana!!  Our choice of hotel in Sitges in 2011 is Hotel Port Sitges Resort. This is a hotel literally on the coast, by a marina north of the city centre.  Enjoy Food & Travel will report back to our readers whether the choice was wise or unwise.

The hotel is, according to tripadvisor, given an average ranking (number 20 of 38 hotels) in Sitges. 39 out of 47 has described Hotel Port Sitges Resort as either average, good or excellent. Only 8 found it to be poor.

The Hotel Port Sitges Resort website is certainly confident as it presents the hotel:  
"The facilities are ideal for combining business and pleasure. The Port Sitges hotel offers 48 spacious and comfortable rooms, ALL WITH TERRACE AND SEA VIEW TO THE BEACH, with lounge and separate bedroom, full bathroom, heating and air conditioning, kitchenette, satellite TV, telephone and safe. Wi-Fi throughout the building. 25m swimming pool, Jacuzzi, Sauna and Solarium. Cafeteria and Restaurant. Large terrace overlooking the harbor."
I love the passage with capital letters, as a terrace facing the sea is a great asset during a stay in the sun. The area around Hotel Port Sitges Resort is more residential compared to where we have stayed earlier. As Sitges is a small resort, the location is an advantage rather than a drawback. Our experience with the Santa Maria Hotel is that rooms facing the street and beach are very noise due to drunk people, late diners and cars.

Will we be among the dissatisfied or among those who love the Hotel Port Sitges Resort? Enjoy Food & Travel will stay there one week and give our verdict. So stay tuned for another hotel review on Enjoy Food & Travel.    

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Winter season 2011/2012: Norwegian Air Shuttle launch direct-flights to three new destinations

Norwegian Air Shuttle will fly from Oslo to Poznan, Grenoble, and Madeira coming winter.

Norwegian Air Shuttle launched its winter program June 22nd 2011. There are three new destinations in Poland, France and Portugal on their flight plan.

Poznań - Poland
Photo: Poznán old town by Monika Mężyńska
Poznań is Polands fifth largest city with a population of around      556 000 (metropolitan area 943 000)

Poznań is one of the oldest cities in Poland dating back over 1000 years. It is a major commercial centre in the Polish economy, being the second wealthiest city in Poland. It has a beautiful old town with many important historic sights.
Grenoble - France
Photo: Grenoble and the Alps by Simdaperce
Grenoble is located in Eastern France by the Alps.

It has a population of around 156 000 (427 000 in metropolitan area).

Grenoble's history goes back more than 2,000 years, and the city has been the capital of the Dauphiné since the 11th century

The city is, due to its proximity to the alps an important winter sport resort.
Madeira - Portugal
Madeira is an archipelago located in the Atlantic Sea, off the Portuguese coast.

It consists of the  Madeira, Porto Santo, the Desertas and the Savage Islands.  Madeira was settled by the Portuguese in 1420.

Madeira has a population of 247 000 covering 308 square kilometres of land. The islands are a popular winter destination due to its pleasant climate all year around.

Latest news on Norwegian Air Shuttle:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bland food at Rei O Tartes, Sitges

Cannelloni as served at O Rei des Tartes
Italian at O Rei des Tartes in Sitges was hardly what you could call haute cuisine. Our encounter with a Canneloni may be described as bland if not plain boring, but the staff provided good service.

Rating O Rei des Tartes, Sitges: BBBB (3,9 points):

  • Location: BBBB+
  • Service: BBBBB-
  • Style BBB+
  • Food: BBB
O Rei des Tartes is located in Carrer de Jesus, one of the main streets in downtown Sitges. If you stay in Barcelona, Sitges is just a short ride away on a suburban train from the city.

I remember the staff at O Rei des Tartes as very charming, providing us the best service with a smile. We were located in the small open back yard of the cafe/restaurant, where we were seated on plastic furniture. Plates, glasses, cutlery were brought out as you were served.

I picked Canneloni from the small menu, pasta tubes with tomato sauce immersed in bechamel. A personal favourite. I was puzzled as it arrived. The topping had clearly not been closed to a “forno” or oven, as the bechamel and cheese topping was white as snow. It had most probably been heated in a microwave oven. The pasta was over cooked, and both of the sauces lacked balancing flavours - tomato sauce was predominantly salt, low in sweetness or acidity, and the bechamel sauce was also low in sodium.

We did not pay much for the dish, so we had no reason to be cross, but if you would like to eat better Italian food, you should visit Cap de la Vila, further up the street. I would, however, recommend pintxos at either Eguzki-Lizzaran or Izarra as lunch. There you get great food at low prices.

Read full scoreboard on O Rei des Tartes here

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

More on Sitges dining and wining

Casablanca Bear Bar
Soon I am traveling to Sitges, Spain. My good friend John has just returned home, and provides me with the latest updates on entertainment on this resort. Here is his latest news from the Playa.
Casablanca Bear Bar has changed names - only (and clintele, maybe)
It may seem as if I might have communicated some misinformation by stating that "the bears club unfortunately had to close". I went by there to just check to be sure and was astounded to see "another" pub (which is apparently the same club with the 'bear' profile toned down significantly). I had recalled the place as having a "bear" symbol which it no longer has - so I made the hasty assumption that it not longer existed and around siesta time everything looks closed down anyway. Well I went by there after 10 in the evening and was astounded to find what I attach here.

More on Casablanca Bear bar - read story here
Al Fresco - fancier and darker, with less charm
The upper level 'Al Fresco' (now "eF&Gi") is no longer under the management of the original owners and has taken on a noticably more "posh" profile. It is definitely no longer what it once was. We were disappointed, overall, with our evening dining experience there - mostly due to fact that we were systematically left in the dark about what we would end up paying.
F & Gi Restaurant - former Al Fresco  
We weren't given any menu or wine list (with prices) but had to sit through a lengthy and hasty (with bad English) exposition of the alternatives we had to chose from (with no mention of prices). We were definitely confused and exhausted the actual alternatives and didn't dare ask him to go through the whole thing one more time! lol As we had eaten well earlier in the day, we decided a main course should suffice.
We thought we would ask for a bottle of the "house's red wine" to go with our lam main course. Well a "house wine" they definitely did NOT have so we took one of three wines he mentioned to use - with no mention of prices. We opted for a Torres wine which the waiter mentioned had received some sort of prize.
Dinky sized main course 
The waiter suggested that we share a kind of appetizer while the main dish was being prepared - a seasoned chickpea puree served alongside grilled onion, paprika, and zucchini and homemade pita bread. This appetizer was actually the best part of whole meal. The main course, which I attach a photo of, although artistically presented was simply NOT a decent size portion. We also chose one of the desert alternatives which we didn't think were all that spectacular. I was surprised when presented with our bill that it was well over 90 euros!!! I don't believe locals frequent this restaurant anymore.
The original owners of Al Fresco still own the downstairs restaurant which still called "Al Fresco". I hope to check it out in September.

Lunch in Sitges - Al Fresco! - read full story here

Al Fresco revisited - read full story here 
Budget food at Boccalino 
We discovered one restaurant well frequented by the locals of Sitges which I'd heartily recommend: "Boccalino" They serve excellent lunch menus for under 10 euros (wine included). And their "Duck Magret" (under 15 euros) was MUCH better than I was actually expecting - highly recommended! Do give it a try!