Before our holiday I was given a heads-up by Rita a facebook friend to La Despensa Gastroteca so on our return we gave it a try.
It is located below the San Marino Apartments in Los Cristianos which means on an evening, and especially at this time of year, parking is easy. There have been several restaurants located here, one of my favourites was Frydays Fish and Chips, sadly long gone. La Despensa Gastroteca is where Los Fuegos used to be (also gone and not much more than two years old 😦 ). Next door is L’Italiano Trattoria which turns out to be owned by the same people who have this new restaurant, so presumably, they know what to expect from this location.
The images we had seen of the food looked spectacular and the comments on the service were all good, so we were looking forward to adding somewhere new to our list of good eateries.
As it turned out we were welcomed offered a table in the covered area at the front which was fine as you can smoke there as opposed to sitting outside by the car park. We had not booked but apart from the four of us, there was only one other couple although it did fill up throughout the night although still no need for a reservation (unless lunchtimes are different).
After a slow start, we were given the menu and ordered our drinks which we thought would arrive quickly. After what seemed an age, we presumed we had been forgotten, a young man came to the table and told us which beers they had and asked for Andrew’s preference. He wandered off and our drinks eventually arrived. This was not the best start to the evening as there were more staff than customers and drinks only needed pouring from beer or cola bottles and 1 measure of vodka, so to wait almost 20 minutes for our first drink did not impress us.
We placed our orders with a waitress who at first seemed rather formal but as the evening wore on warmed to us and she gave good service. The menu is interesting and as well as plenty of meat and fish dishes there is a good selection of tapas as well as dishes that sound oriental.
Image from Restaurant’s Facebook page
We were given (yes free) tasters of Gazpacho that was flavoured with mango and pineapple. I was the only one who had it – the others took a sip and put it back on the plate. However, I enjoyed it if a little on the bland side.
Our starter of caramelised morcilla con foie pato (black pudding with duck paté) came as 4 pieces and was delicious, as were the 6 croquetas de Jamón Ibérico whose flavour bounced off the tongue. We also had a bowl of chips which I didn’t try but the others said they were really good.
For our mains, we shared two Woks of fillet steak and vegetables, another dish that hit the mark and was more than enough for four people. We also ordered the ribs although I didn’t try these I guess they were good as there was only one left to take home as a doggy treat.
Between all this enjoyable food we ordered more drinks and sadly witnessed something I’ve never seen before – Christine’s Vodka and Cola came already mixed. It could have been anything and when she placed her next drink order asking for it to be separate, it was clear to see she had far more than in the pre-mixed version.
On to puddings, I had a barraquito, the guys had Irish coffee, Jim had the apple tart which was flambéd at the table and it came with apple ice cream, I had a taste and it was one of the best ice creams I have ever tasted. Andrew had the red fruit cheesecake. Having seen photos of the elaborate and showy plates of food, I expected a little more finesse as his dessert was lost in a sea of plate apart from 5 dots of jus so slightly lacking in elegance although he said it tasted great.
So how would we as a group rate La Despensa?
On the downside, the ladies loo smelt of wee and the guys had toilet paper scattered across the floor. Some, not all, of the waiting staff appeared to be more interested in their phones than interacting with the customers so we felt more attention to detail was needed.
On the upside though, the location is good, the décor modern and contemporary which includes a couple of impressive display cabinets for wine and food. You can partially see the kitchen if you bend down and look between a gap in the back wall and the food we had was stunning and of a good price.
Overall, we may not RUSH back but we would certainly visit again, especially as they do a menu del dia which is under €12.00.