It’s the start of April and many of the seafront restaurants are starting to throw off their winter shackles and bounce back to life once again.
A good few of them divide their dining spaces into three areas. Interior, outdoors and a kind of semi-interior, a terraced space protected against the elements with clear plastic curtain sides. That’s because it can, and does get windy here. At its worst this windy escapade even has its own name-tramuntana- descending down off the mountains and not the sea.
I’m looking to book a late lunch for ten of us with a sea view so venture down to the port area of L’Estartit.
Curiously, when you drive into town along its wide Av. Grecia, hit the beach and turn left, there’s not much on offer until you reach the port areas. I should mention the few chiringuitos (beach bars) scattered along the wide expanse of sandy beach, but they disappear out of season (btw most are open by early May).
There must be at least a dozen places along the stretch of road parallel to the port but we’re not looking for fine dining. At weekends many steer people towards their set menus, but we’re happy to just share tapas.
The local grapevine suggests two places, Rosamar and its next door neighbour, Garbi. Both seem to offer a set menu of several tapas for 20€, except Garbi’s doesn’t include a drink. I walked into Rosamar the day before to make a booking for our group of 10 and check that we got a suitably long table in a good spot.
The forecast is for cool 14 C so I go for the semi-interior. It was all disarmingly easy to arrange, no deposit necessary and we can order freely from their standard menu. On arriving the next day we proceeded to share a long list of tapas dishes. These included such stalwarts as ‘patatas bravas’ -deep-fried cubed potatoes in a gently spiced ‘salsa’ or sauce, and ‘calamares a la romana’- battered rings of squid. This last one is often a disappointment as the holy grail is to get them crunchy on the outside and not too rubbery on the inside.
Gambas al ajillo-prawns in garlic, salty anchovies on toast, sauteed flat-capped mushrooms, grilled sardines, meat croquettes, it was all turning into a real tapas-fest.
As there were lots of us they were served as slightly larger portions or ‘raciones’.There was only one fail in an otherwise noble attempt. It was that good we even ordered extra.
Service was quick and affable, the place was quiet, not sure what he made of our large group of expats that included fluent Catalan speakers. We were rewarded with a unanimously welcome offer of free shots (chupitos).
If a view of the marina full of languishing boats, rather than an uninterrupted view of the beach is your thing then restaurant Rosamar is a deserving candidate. Nearby competing eateries do also offer an almost carbon copy menu, so it’s hard to pick a clear winner.
Final bill. Beers, bottles of red and white wine, a few desserts and several coffees, the cost worked out to 30€ per person.