El Restaurante La Herradura in Los Montesinos gets our seal of approval following a visit there last night.
The nineteenth century rustic farmhouse is a perfect setting for a meal. Apart from the courtyard where we dined last night, there are several rooms to choose from including a romantic setting for two and a room large enough for a small wedding.
During the daytime there is an outside terrace where they also host a jazz band on Wednesday nights and flamenco dancing on Fridays. We understand there are also plans to open a coffee bar with snacks in one of the other interior rooms.
But what of the food.
A glance at the a la carte menu will tell you that seafood and fish are the specialities at La Herradura. Most of the dishes are Galician or Basque country inspired. For those with deep pockets the restaurant offers a kilo of cigalas (crayfish) for 75€. More modestly priced were; cod, hake and monkfish.
The waitress explained that, although there was a lot of good fish in the Torrevieja region, they did source many of their ingredients from the north of the country. She cited the prawns for example which are smaller but a lot more flavourful than the local langostines. That is the sort of attention to detail that marks out a good restaurant from one that is so so.
What did we have.
Hugh, Angela, Pam and I chose from the menu de la noche. It was clear that the dishes on it had been carefully selected from the more expensive a la carte menu which meant they offered good value for money. Andrew chose from the a la carte menu which gave him a wider choice.
On our arrival, there were tasty snacks on the table to whet out appetite whilst we made our selections. Then we were brought large rounds of bread which had been toasted and soaked with olive oil.
When the starters arrived, we were immediately struck by the presentation. Instead of a plateful of food destined to overface you - the first courses were tasty looking arrangements of well balanced ingredients set to compliment each other. There was enough to enjoy but not so much that you were overfull for the next course.
The main courses and desserts that followed were equally good. In our view, the chef had got the combination of flavours, the textures and the balance of ingredients in each dish just right.
Finally we were presented with the bill along with glasses of cava - that was a very nice touch.
El Restaurante La Herradura is one of those places where you can eat well on a sensible budget or you can go mad and empty your pockets. Either way, I don't think you would be dissapointed.