Monday 30 July 2007

La Palmera, Passeig Lluis Albert, L'Escala, Catalonia

This recently-refurbished restaurant appears to have big aspirations, but it doesn't quite deliver. It is across the road from the sea front promenade, but most diners don't quite get a sea view. Instead, you can watch crayfish and lobsters living out the last hours of their lives in fish tanks next to the windows. The inner walls are lined with surrealist prints of variable taste, while the loos are fitted in an odd mishmash of contemporary styles. If you order the three-course, 20 Euro, menu, the head waiter will probably give you an exasperated look over the top of his heavy-rimmed glasses. Still, you get a bottle of ordinary wine, bread and water thrown in. To start, you can do battle with a large, intimidating plate of crustaceans or opt for something a little less demanding such as the goat's cheese salad. The main courses include a run-of-the mill paella, while the ice cream desert appears to be straight out of a supermarket tub. Although the 8.50 Euro children's menu is good value - respectable cannelloni or macaroni followed by well-cooked fish in batter and ice cream to finish, adults should probably go a la carte and choose carefully. 5/10