Fine fresh ingredients, classical and imaginative cooking, and unbeatable value are the signature themes of this huge barn that despite its vast interior exudes warmth and good companionship, emphasised by an enormous flat round iron fire fuelled by wood logs placed, not as usual to one extreme, but right in the very centre. The dominance of huge tables over those for a mere couple suggests that most diners come in large parties to celebrate as well as to eat and drink, but as a sign of our economic climate, the restaurant held barely one-third of its potential clientele on the Saturday night of our visit. Consequently, we do not know whether the splendid service we received was the norm or just good fortune.
We were greeted by a large plate of potato salad to share while we scanned the menu and wine list. It was simply wonderful, turning the modest tuber into a cornucopia of flavour by the addition of magical herbs, oils, and goodness knows what other ingredients. And this was precisely how our Prix Fixe 4-Course Menu with each course accompanied by a copa of different sherries continued ---- the whole lot for a mere 32 euros per head.
It began with a choice of 4 starters ------- a warm dish of shrimp and artichoke for my wife (Palo Cortado Sherry), and salmon tartare for myself (Fino Sherry). Thereafter, democracy gave way to dictatorship without choice: Corvina (Maigre in French) superbly grilled and lovingly tucked in on top of a bed of beautifully flavoured green linguine ( Amontillado); grilled T-bone steak sliced into one-bite pieces and accompanied by the finest French fries we have ever tasted (Oloroso); and a local cinnamon cake with coffee ice-cream (Pedro Ximenez) to round out a banquet of memories as well as mere food. The sherry degustation worked well for me, but was on the heavier side for my wife. My guess is that the management is smart and flexible enough to permit other possibilities for those anxious to savour this delicious food combination. In any case, the choices on the regular menu and wine-list are very wide and remarkably inexpensive. It is an indictment of Spain’s Michelin inspectors that they give this restaurant offering 1-star cuisine at Bibendum prices a grudging recommendation, while awarding 3 stars to several that serve minuscule portions of over-decorated morsels of this and that on huge empty platters for the price of a room at the Ritz. A post-prandial visit to the WC suggested that they may have a point: only one toilet for each sex, and the Gents lacked soap, paper towels, and the hand-dryer was out of order. This situation persisted two days later when we returned for lunch, although it must be added that the food was every bit as fine as on the first occasion. Still, this led me to withhold a 5th star. Finally, this is one of the few establishments in the city where free WiFi is available.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.