I do like a Catalan country restaurant and Girona is blessed to have many dotted around the surrounding countryside. Luckily many aren’t too far away, so locals take advantage of these larger dining spaces and easier parking.
No more so than at the weekends where booking is highly recommended. Those of us with a looser work timetable can take advantage of a week day visit which is a much simpler exercise. And less expensive.
A good few have a daily set lunch menu priced so as to be affordable and don’t get too overcrowded.
The only slight downside is if you’re driving you ought to watch the amount you drink, fair point.
So when it came around to paying back a favour for a friend recently, we thought of one near to where he lives, in Quart. A few minutes drive once you leave Girona’s outer limits and you reach Arrels (roots in Catalan), a large, handsome, imposing stone building set back from the busy main road.
I should add that I’d been here before, about 6 years ago when by chance we stopped here because of car trouble. Back then it was called by a name I no longer remember.
This time it’s sweeping entrance driveway welcomes you into a spacious car park. The restaurant sits in a generous plot with the addition of outdoor tables that I don’t recall before.
The interior dining space has had a facelift and our Tuesday visit still boasted a decent lunch turnout. Even with the usual chatter and clanking plates from other diners, it was unobtrusive.
Our table for 3 was ample, crisp white tablecloths and cloth napkins are always a nice touch. Service was swift, polite and jovial. The set weekday menu is 17.50€ for 3 courses, wine and bread.
We’re sufficiently good at understanding menus in Catalan but asking for one in Spanish shouldn’t be a problem. Getting one in English is often hit and miss. Culinary vocabulary is sometimes a minefield getting the correct equivalent translation. Still, we’re in Catalonia and must show willingness.
Starters (primers) and mains are the first decisions to be made.
Todays’ included Nicoise salad (my choice) with green beans (mongetes verdes), anchovies and candied potatoes.
A lot of mutual nodding and slight clarification followed. We were unsure what Papardelle was-it’s a type of pasta, which came with a mushroom sauce and parmesan (crema de ceps i parmesa).
Our drink of choice was red wine and a bottle duly appeared- and remained.
The choice of seconds (segons) was slightly bigger and included:
Bacallà amb salsa verda (cod with green sauce).
Arròs sec de pollastre i bolets (dried rice with chicken and mushrooms).
Bracets d’anec a la taronja-my choice (duck with an orange sauce)-bracets translates as ‘arms’ ?
Two further steak dishes had an additional small supplement.
Whilst portion sizes aren’t in the XL stakes it is tasty, fresh, home-made quality food. When it’s this good you don’t always need much. My mind always thinks back to what this all might cost if I was in the UK-at least 2 or 3 times more.
For dessert I’m glad I chose the ‘Textures de xocolata’ a deliciously tasteful mix of 3 different chocolates, topped with a scoop of chocolate ice cream. Top notch. I’m usually unimpressed by the dessert choices in most places, many appear to be shop bought.
No better way to while away a couple of hours, with good food and friends.
Restaurant Arrels, Carretera C-250, KM7, 17242, Quart, Girona