Old Ambient bar and restaurant, L’Estartit

Migratory birds fly south for winter, however we’ve relocated eastwards, a mere 40 km drive away from Girona.

We’re wintering in L’Estartit, and the remaining number of watering and eating holes is slowly dwindling. If solitude and peace is your thing, this might be the place. Seagulls circle our apartment, their whining is the only thing we hear sometimes. 

It’s a Saturday, early evening, so we head towards the only Irish bar in town O’Malleys. We’ve got the dogs so choose a table on their front terrace with a fine sea view-well the ‘club nautic’ which we’d call a marina.

The view is mostly small boats and yachts but there’s little activity. It’s not exactly Monaco but it suffices.

We ordered drinks, I asked for a Guinness, ‘we don’t have any’ was the reply. It’s a bit like an English tea-room running out of tea. I hadn’t allowed for an alternative so I’m stumped. 

Bottled Guinness? Same reply. The reason we’re given is that the bar is closing soon, until the following March or April.  A bit of a moving target it seems. I look around and there’s only one other client watching the rugby on their tv, they might have trouble covering the electric bill for today.

Drinks consumed we moved on closer to home, to the bar/restaurant Old Ambient. Its long street terrace has been enveloped with a clear protective side covering. It’s surprisingly cosy looking and the patio heaters make a difference. Dogs and smoking are permitted within this section, so we’re happy to stay.

The owners appear to be Dutch by my reckoning, and for late November it’s bordering on mildly buzzing with locals and visiting weekenders. The beer list is mighty long with some nice Belgian craft beers. Still, they have draught Guinness, so I finally got what I wanted albeit in a non-Irish bar. 

The good wife had the same, strangely hers was warmer than mine, I’m less bothered so accept a swap. Time to peruse the food menu, a mix of tapas dishes and mains. 

Their burger list stands out for me, so I chose one with goat cheese. She orders the locally sourced steak, which the small print advises there’ll be a 30 minute wait.

No problem as we’re busy chatting, but the wait time can reach a point that for me becomes an irritation. It’s one of those alcohol induced tipping points which is hard to judge.

I’m mindful that we all want to eat together but the 30 minutes is starting to irk me a bit and feels longer.

It allows me to peek inside the slightly overdone dark wood and soft red interior, with large oval tables for groups, and wooden booths lining the walls. It even has a back room with a rickety looking pool table. The decorative and eclectic wall adornments add a homely touch too

Our two attentive young servers eventually bring us our food order. My meager portion of fries are cold and the other groan is sachets of ketchup. The steak however proves to be a big hit.

Verdict. This could be the only place in town with a pulse on a dark winter’s night, we’re pleasantly impressed to promise ourselves a return visit.

Final bill for three, 88€ (3 pints, 2 burgers, a steak, 2 desserts, 2 bottles of Mon Perdut red wine at 11.95€ ea.).