Saturday 23 August 2014

Cal Galan, Corriol de l'Usach, L'Escala, Catalonia

Tucked away in the back streets between L'Escala's small bays, Cal Galan is an enticing restaurant serving hearty food at heart-warming prices. The walls are covered with black and white prints celebrating the town's longstanding fishing industry. Still, the appealing menu is meat-heavy. To start, the cured ham served on bread is delicious and generous, as are the local anchovies on bread, particularly if you like a salt kick. Both dishes are just five euros.

Among the main courses, the beefsteak in a Roquefort sauce with chips is very satisfying, even though the cheese may not be that strong and the meat a little stringy. Despite these quibbles, it is great value for 7.5 euros. The house salad (tuna, anchovies, tomatoes, sausage, chicken and ham) is large and fresh, as is the goats cheese salad. The squid in a tomato sauce is full of flavour, but may be served a little tepid. The carafe of house red wine comes chilled, which makes it quite drinkable, but rather bland. Save room for the nougat ice cream with chocolate sauce and walnut. This desert is out of the top drawer - rich, large and very filling.

In any case, Cal Galan is worth seeking out for its buzz, its inviting service and its homage to history - even the table mats and the menus are adorned with prints of L'Escala's fabled fishing industry. Just make sure you get there by 8pm - this restaurant fills up fast in August. 8/10