Tuesday 26 August 2014

Restaurant Ibèric, Valls, Ullastret, Catalonia

Although it has some comfortable seats on a pleasant terrace facing Ullastret's medieval stone walls, Restaurant Ibèric can be devoid of diners in the evening when the day trippers have gone home. The food is quite good, but doesn't make up for the lack of atmosphere. On the a la carte menu, most of the fish dishes are expensive by local standards - costing around 20 euros each, but the meat dishes are more reasonable at about 14 euros apiece.  There may also be a long list of specials, substituting for dishes that are off.  After you've ordered, a waitress might bring you some moist and delicious pieces of tortilla as a (free) appetiser. Among the starters, the tuna salad (8.85 euros) is generous and well seasoned. The chunks of fish, which are fresh and meaty, are accompanied by tomatoes and onions, as well as greenery. The steamed mussels (8.80 euros) are also plentiful, but are soaked in vinegar, which won't be to everyone's tastes. For a main course, the boar stew is a rich, meaty dish, served with a thick sauce, complete with mushrooms and onions. It is satisfying without being scintillating. The Catalan broad beans, however, are laced with too much fennel, giving the dish a strong aniseed flavour. You may not need desert, as you get a pile of tiny chocolates with your coffee, providing the needed sugar kick. Unfortunately, Ullastret seems quiet in the evening and the looming stone walls opposite Restaurant Ibèric can get a bit oppressive after dark. 6/10