Spain 2010: Restaurant 4: Els Tinars (*)

Els Tinars was a bit of a strange experience. This 1 Michelin star restaurant in Spain is different. Different being good but definitely also being bad….. Average

Els Tinars is a road side restaurant that for sure is delivering a good meal at a reasonable price for travellers that want to stop for lunch or dinner.

I find it a bit hard to give my judgement as if I compare it to other roadside restaurants this is quite a good one and i would drop by for dinner every time. If on the other hand I compare it to some of the other restaurants we ate in during our trip, this was probably the least enjoyable experience.

First of all, we hadn’t booked this restaurant from back home but after our experience (and the prices) at Castell d’Emporda we thought we just as well could add another Michelin star to the trip as the pricing of dinner would be similar.

So we arrived at Els Tinars, this is a very large restaurant with at least 50 tables and probably more. This was also the only restaurant that had a smoking section inside the restaurant as well as a large terrace dining area.

In terms of the food on offer there were some budget options with menus starting from 27.50 euro up to the tasting menu we chose.

The service wasn’t great, it did remind us of those other roadside restaurants mentioned earlier with very strict servers hierarchies and the running around of staff, this was not an oasis to enjoy your dinner in peace.

We were seated very close to the entrance to the kitchen which was unfortunate as the entrance was 2 heavy doors that were constantly kicked by staff to open them up, so yes the thumping in the background i could have done without. It was funny to look into the kitchen though as because of the size of the restaurant and therefor the size of the kitchen (an impressive XXX) the brigade used microphones and earpieces to communicate, in the kitchen to call out orders and the station managers in the restaurant as well (you know the security, look at me being interesting poses?)

Our waiter didn’t speak a word of English, so for us to understand what we were eating we had to call for support from other staff that would explain very high level what we were eating.

So the food….

Snacks

When we sat down we were served straight away a little anti pasta platter consisting of chopped tomatoes, bread, a local sliced sausage and some tapenade

Gazpacho amuse bouche

After that we got the Gazpacho which was quite nice.

Tuna tartare with guacamole, horseradish and been sprouts

The tuna dish was nice but nothing special

Breaded Norway lobster with coral sauce and white garlic

This dish was actually very good, it was a bit unfortunate that in one of the two dishes we found a hair when it was served. The Maitre d came over and took it back to the kitchen while my dish was still on the table getting cold. The Maitre came back and explained that they were having issues with the staff and them wearing their chefs hats….!! that really was a good one …. 😦

Tender potato gnocchi with parmesan and summer truffles

The gnocchi served was probably the best dish we had all evening with the gnocchi being very light and fluffy and a generous helping of truffle.

Fish of the day

To be honest I am not quite sure what fish this was exactly as none of the waiting staff could tell us in English or any other language we would understand.

Braised lamb loin with buffet and violet potato, young garlic, tomato and ewe's mild cheese

Again, a nice restaurant dish but not necessarily what i would expect at Michelin level

Strawberries cold soup with double cream ice cream, pepper and Modena balsamic vinegar 1

Strawberries cold soup with double cream ice cream, pepper and Modena balsamic vinegar 2

Bitter chocolate cream, vanilla, passion fruit crushed ice and Coca-Cola

A nice dish although the coca cola didn’t add anything and seemed a bit gimmicky to me.

Petit fours

All in all this is a great restaurant for a brief stop while you are on the road. In my view this is not a Michelin star restaurant. The cooking seems to be good, not exceptional, but it just doesn’t deliver the general experience you would expect in such a restaurant.

I like having been there as i have never seen a restaurant similar that tries to combine volume with quality in such a way. Compare this to any of the other same level restaurants in the region and it falls short straight away….. recommended when you drive by, but not worth a detour

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About foodietrials

I love my food. I love cooking it, I love eating it.
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