Our friends Charles and Valda made their annual November trip to the island and as usual, we looked for somewhere ‘a bit special’ to take them for a meal. This year we chose the Rosso Sul Mare. It probably has one of the best settings next to the sea in the old fishing village of La Caleta. On a summer evening, the sunsets can be exceptional however, we are now in winter and when I phoned to reserve a table I asked to sit inside.
We first went to this Italian restaurant when it opened a few years back and couldn’t fault anything so we hoped that this visit would be the same. It is a fashionable, elegantly decorated and smart place – but so are prices. On entering, we could see nothing had changed.
On giving our name a waiter told us to wait by the bar and someone would collect us. This seemed reasonable, as the restaurant was busy with several large and rowdy groups of diners. However, we waited over 10 minutes before a waiter came and pointed to a table that we were standing next to. After taking our seats and being handed the menus all the waiters seemed to disappear, eventually one approached to take our drinks order but only because I signalled him. These came in dribs and drabs, our water arrived first, a few minutes later the beer came and it was only after asking a second time did we receive the Canarian wine. The waiters were all busying themselves about, but appeared more interested in singing happy birthday to one young woman, and were rather indifferent to the rest of the diners.
We placed our orders, two gamari in salsa rosa (prawn cocktails for want of a better description with fruit salad), a fish soup and the Carpaccio. Starters are priced between €7- €15 except for the lobster which is €30. We then went on to order fillet steak, sea bass, barbequed lamb chops and veal scaloppini. These were priced at €15/16 and all had some rather nice sounding sauce to accompany them. It was purely by chance when I asked what vegetables came with my steak that we learnt vegetables are not provided with ANY meals. Now whilst it is no big deal to order these separately, there is no mention of this that we could see on the menu and until I asked, the waiter was not forthcoming with the information. We proceeded to order the mixed vegetables, spinach and the roast potatoes (the only potato they serve). It was at this point, I was starting to think pretty poor show.
We went back to munching the bread, which lacked flavour (disappointing because good Italian bread takes some beating). We then resorted to the bread sticks and continued the waiting game. We got excited when a waiter came to set the cutlery but when I was given a soupspoon to eat my prawns; it was obvious that the staff were not the least bit interested in service. After nearly an hour our starters eventually arrived, the waiter wasn´t sure who ordered what (and by this time, we had almost forgotten too). He then more or less threw the food onto the table as you can see from how the soup has sloshed around the bowl.
To be honest I thought the whole meal was going to be a disaster, but I was wrong, and whoosh fireworks started to go off having tasted our first mouthful. From then on, each dish that arrived was excellent; of course, it needed to be because they really aren’t that cheap.
When predicting the enjoyment of the evening I knew the company would be excellent, the setting superb however, what I didn´t allow for was that the good food would be spoilt by the poor level of service. So the score rating while high was IMO not good enough to warrant another visit, especially as the bill for 4 people including a bottle of Canarian wine at €26 was €176 add to that IGIC at 5%, which is not included, and a tip. 😦