A couple of weeks ago we ate in Los Cristianos at what used to be one of our favourite places, however, the food was not up to its usual standard, the waiter tried to tell us that normal Coke was the same as Coke Zero (does he think we are stupid?) and it was full of extremely noisy customers so we had to talk to the friend next to us as couldn’t hear the conversation across the table. We said we would not be returning to the resorts for a while as it was everything we don’t like.
However, we had a change of heart this week and thought we would give a try to a place that is almost hidden from view and not known by the world and his brother.
Bodega El Parral has been in Los Cristianos for many years but this was our first visit. Ordinarily, if we choose to have tapas we go to Taberna Vasca Txupinazo, but as Jim isn’t overly keen on tapas this new place does main meals as well so we hoped it had a lot going for it.
I tried to reserve a table through Facebook over the weekend but didn’t get a response so phoned on Tuesday as I knew the restaurant was tiny and it wouldn’t take many people to fill it up.
When we arrived we were expected and asked which table we would like, the one next to the street, the one in the open air but in a corner or one inside. We chose outside and in the corner as it was a nice evening and if a wind came up we would be sheltered.
The waiter, who we later learnt was also the owner and the chef, Isidoro, spoke quite good English, he was extremely pleasant and liked to laugh a lot and dance around a little. There was background music and it was nice, stuff we all know but not at all intrusive. He took our order for drinks and was quite shocked when two of us said no alcohol. He told us his name was “Jack from Manchester” and giggled, we said we were “The Quayles and Kews from Chayofa” and he laughed, even more, so he is obviously used to having a joke with us Brits.
But onto the food which is why we were here. We were served delicious hot bread with three sauces, alioli, a red mojo and a cheese sauce while we chose our meals.
There is a main menu with plenty of choice and from this Jim chose the pigs’ cheeks at €12.50 which came with red pepper and saute potatoes, he also chose from the ‘smalls’ menu the garlic prawns as a starter. Christine chose a main meal of Garlic Prawns at €8.50 and a starter of Croquettes (not sure what was in these she thought maybe gofio), whatever it was the 4 disappeared. There are 27 tapas to choose from all at €2.80 I hope you can read the images I had taken on a previous visit to Los Cristianos and found them on my laptop as a reminder of places we might visit.
Andrew and I stuck to tapas I had the Empanadillas with chorizo, the pastry was very light and crispy I wish I had asked for the recipe. I also chose the mussels stuffed with onions, chopped mussels and paprika then coated with a thick bechamel sauce, rolled in breadcrumbs and fried until golden brown and Morcilla Canaria, Andrew chose the Pimientos de Padrón, Russian Salad and like me the black pudding. The food was phenomenal and beautifully presented.
We ended our meal with two strawberry cheesecakes. The boys said they had an unusual flavour, more condensed milk than cheesecake but they still scoffed the lot. Christine had her usual Irish Coffee and while it is hard for me to say because over the years I have tasted hundreds, I think my barraquito was the best I have ever had.
The place was busy and everyone who ate there was a Brit, but nice Brits who did not have to scream to have a conversation and spoil the evening for others. We are certainly looking to go back and try a few more things from the menu.
On our way back to the car we saw Trevor and Jim, two friends who like us have lived here for many years and were not aware of Bodega El Parral and they said they would be giving it a try.
We also experienced what many tourists complain about but has never happened to us in the past. We ladies spotted 3 young people sitting on a bench in the park and although they were only talking they looked as though they were up to no good. As we walked past they jumped up and got behind the men trying to feel in their trouser pockets for wallets. I told them in a very unladylike way to ‘go forth and multiply’. As it happened, the men’s wallets were in our handbags, so they didn’t get anything but it just shows you need to be aware at all times.