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Menu del dia - yes please

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Offline Rosie

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« on: December 09, 2010, 19:06 PM »
Hi everyone

Is there anyone else out there who is a big fan of the menu del dia?

I have tried it in lots of different places and have very rarley been disapointed. The trick is to find somewhere full of locals. It is also a great way to try new dishes - just order something that you have never heard of and wait for the surprise. 

Some surprisingly good ones can be found in cafes attached to supermarkets and in shopping malls.

I'm particularly fond of albondigas, which often appear on the menu of a menu del dia, and can vary quite a lot. (The more garlic the better.)

There is a local restaurant near us that started doing a menu del dia when some building was going on in the vicinity. It was great! As soon as the building finished and the workers moved on they stopped doing it.

Rosie

Offline Dave

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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2010, 13:41 PM »
Hi Rosie
Totally agree, value for money they are great. We have a restaurant in León, called Casa de los Botones, their Saturday menu, often includes, Gambas as a starter and Lamb chops for seconds, and for 12,90 is very good value, and the quality is excellent, of course includes wine, Bread and Coffee. before the meal have a drink and the FREE tapa, is either Jamon serrano or Morcilla. 13 stone and rising  :)
Regards
Dave

Offline Petrea

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« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2010, 07:49 AM »
Agree!

And in addition, such menus are usually served fairly rapidly. No  :roxysnail:

Cómpeta Naturaleza,  http://picasaweb.google.com/104328707567851681445

Minds are like parachutes - they only function when open.   (Thomas R. Dewar)

Offline Manzanilla

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« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2010, 19:31 PM »
Definitely, they are the main meal of the day for many Spanish workers (which is why they are served promptly) and are very good value.  Where I live they range between 6 and 9 euros for three courses and a drink.  In restaurants in tourist areas they often don't publicise the menu del dia (you spend more if you go a la carte obviously!) so always ask.

The starter is usually pretty filling, pasta with tomato sauce maybe, or berza, a thick soup made from chickpeas/garbanzos and seasonal vegetables;  Swiss chard (acelgas), wild artichokes (tagarninas) and wild asparagus (esparagos silvestre) often feature.  Lentejas - lentils cooked with morcilla (black pudding) is another winter favourite. 

I usually pass on the dessert, unless they have arroz con leche (creamy rice pudding),  and have coffee instead.


Offline Rosie

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« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2010, 16:26 PM »
We did have one not so good menu del dia once (should have been warned as the place was nearly empty) in Los Montesinos, inland slightly on the Costa Orihuela.

I had the meat option for the main course and hubby had the fish. My piece of grilled pork came with roast potatoes, peas and a sort of meaty gravy all over it. His grilled fish fillet also came with roast potatoes, peas and a sort of meaty gravy all over it.

What worries me is that he ate it all up anyway. I thought my culinary skills would have honed his palate by now.

Rosie

Simon

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« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2010, 12:50 PM »
Hello gastronauts,

I couldn't agree more with all of the above comments, menús really are a great way of getting to know Spanish cookery. One of the most useful things about them is the chance to try a restaurant's ambience before you spend big money on the carta - as well as the cooking of course - and in fact I prefer the somewhat smaller portions of most menús.

I travel around Spain a lot, both for business and pleasure, and Rosie's hints about spotting a good place are spot on - always look for the ubiquitous little white vans rather than big trucks or company cars as this generally means it's the restaurant where the locals eat - always the best recommendation - even though these aren' necessarily the cheapest deals. In fact I have an issue about the price as 'value' is the keyword here. In my experience if you're getting down to the 6 Euro level it's going tbe OK but nothing to write home about - there are exeptions to this of course! On that note it appears that most restaurants along national highways charge around 16 Euros, which I guess is the limit of truck drivers' expenses claims, whereas just go off the road a little and your into another market.

Dave has a good point, as always; when travelling around it's often much better to right into a city centres, especially regional 'capitals', even at the cost of time an effort. Restaurants there have a regular 'captive' clientelle to impress and this tends to drive qualiy up. I had a fantastic meal in Huesca* recently in just these circumstances - we even had to queue for nearly an hour despite arrivng in good time for the first sitting!

I think it's a myth that eating out here in Catalonia is more expensive**. Rather, the cuisine here is more, well, developed, than in the  south. That's not to say there's anything wrong wth southern cookery - far from it - but you do get what you pay for. As an example we tried a new place near Tremp the other day. It's called Gab's and is located in an amamazng building which houses the CITA along with one of the Generalitat's lesser known Quangoes (it's so new it dosn't even appear on the website!). Be that as it may we had a really good fideuà followed by pollastre de mar i muntanya and a superb, and rather OTT pastel de la casa. All with a properly bottled and labelled wine plus coffee for just €13 each. That's pretty good by any standards and with near silver service to boot!

Good health

Simon

* and when I remember what it was a calledf I'll tell you :banghead:

** but we don't usually get free tapas here - as Dave is always pointing out - I'll have to call in on him on my tour next year to see if it's true!  >:D

Simon

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« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2011, 11:46 AM »
Hi Rosie,

I'm afraid I have to take you to task on your point about hubby eating fish with gravy - as a change from curry sauce they do fish-and-chips with gravy in Lancashire to my certain knowledge - and I found it really great*! That's quite a complement from a boy from the faggots-and-mushy-peas zone!

Regs

Simon
* I was there to 'assist' at a wedding - the happy couple sent me their 30th anniversary you-tube only last November - oh my how time flies!

Offline Dave

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« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2011, 13:17 PM »
Hi All
I see the subject has strayed on to Tapas, we have a bar in León, near to the Corte Ingles, which serves excellent tapas, went the other night just for a beer, there were four of us, as well as the drink they seved a Pulga (mini bread roll) with a choice of fillings, and they came to the table a little later with a fried egg and bread. Total cost for two wines and 2 cañas 5.30 Euros, we did not need supper that night.
Regards
Dave

Offline John C

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« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2011, 18:46 PM »
I don't get to eat menu del dia as often as I'd like since my 'other half' has problems with gluten, shellfish and an excess of olive oil - which pretty much rules out all the such menus I've seen.  However, when out with birding friends I can often indulge.  Sometimes the first course is so generous and fillilng that I struggle to finish the 'mains' which given my usual appetite is remarkable,

John

Simon

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« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2011, 13:33 PM »
There you go again Dave - I'm definitely coming to Leon on my gira this summer!

John, sorry to hear about Mrs J's problems - you should take a trip to Catalonia, where the region's Celiac's desease society has compiled a list of restaurants that offer gluten free dishes amongst their menu choices - NB there was problem when this was launched, but I guess this is solved now!

One in the eye for Dave methinks!  :technodevil:

Regs

Simon

PS John, in the meantime you can always chop and change between the first and second courses of a typical menu, having another 'primero como segundo' - many vegetarians I know do this, if only to find thier 'veggie' dish had a good dollop of bacon and black pudding on top!

PPS congratulations upon attaining your jubilación!

Offline Bob M

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« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2011, 14:30 PM »
Just a word from the Basque country where menus are often of outstanding quality and value.

Of course if you speak to the locals here they will tell you that the only place in Spain which serves food worth eating is the Basque country and everything else is just a pale immitation.

Simon

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« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2011, 13:09 PM »
Hi Bob, as you know we didn't make it to the Basque Country last summer in 2009  :speechless:, but if Navarre is anything to go by you're dead right - see you this summer!

Regs

Simon

Offline Ian

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« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2011, 17:27 PM »
In Asturias there are good and not so good Menu del dia. The tourist areas are usually overpriced and not so good whereas the smaller villages and towns, especially where the workers and contractors eat, are good value and quality. We've noticed prices falling here. With so many in Asturias unemployed, there is much less money in the pot.