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docsconz

Rafa's 2005

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docsconz   

There were three restaurants that I specifically wanted to try to get to during our three nights stay in Roses. El Bulli was the reason for this leg of our trip and we had our reservation in hand for Sunday night the 28th of August. That left us two other evenings and/or afternoons to work with. Last year I missed our group’s dinner at El Celler de Can Roca, so this was on my list. Unfortunately we were arriving too late on Saturday and they would be closed on the Monday so once again I would miss out on this restaurant. My other “must” restaurant was Rafa’s in Roses.

Fortunately, they would be open Monday night. We made a reservation and went with our Catalan friends. The restaurant appears to be the polar opposite of El Bulli. Where that is located in a beautiful location out of the way on the beach at Cala Montjoi, Rafa’s is located on a little street in the heart of Roses. While El Bulli is the ultimate in manipulation, Rafa’s is the ultimate in simple but good preparation. Similarities abound too, however. Both restaurants are relaxed and unpretentious and both use the local cuisine as the basis for their gastronomic endeavors.

Upon stepping into the small restaurant, we were greeted with views of pristine seafood in a refrigerated glass display case.

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This is situated directly in front of the small kitchen area

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Since it was a beautiful evening, we selected a table outside in front of the restaurant.

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I asked Sr. Rafa to prepare for us whatever he thought was best. To my surprise given that this restaurant is all about seafood, he started us out with jamon de la pata negra and pam amb tomaquet (bread with tomato). Of course, I shouldn’t have been surprised since this is Spain and I should have known better.

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The ham was of excellent quality and this bread dish is always good.

Next up we started with the best-cured anchovies I have ever had. Normally I prefer my anchovies as flavor enhancers rather than as the primary ingredient, but these were exceptional served with more bread and tomato as well as the olive oil from the anchovy dish.

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The most perfectly grilled squid that I could imagine followed. I love squid and this was so tender and flavorful I could have just eaten these all night.

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Grilled sepia followed. These were also excellent, but I learned the hard way to remove the hard shell. Interestingly, my first impression was that these were charred too much. They weren’t. It just happened to be the texture and flavor of the shell.

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Simply prepare langoustines were brought out next. I had never eaten them in this fashion before. They were succulent.

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Rafa had a beautiful piece of fresh tuna in his case. He used it to prepare two different dishes for us. He sliced thin pieces that resembled veal cutlets and grilled them with olive oil. These were good, but not the highlight of the evening. The other preparation had thicker pieces cooked on the stove in butter. They were seared on the outside and raw inside. These were quite tasty indeed.

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Aside from the squid, my other standout came next. He grilled a perfectly seasoned San Pedro fish so that the meat was exquisitely moist and flavorful. I was fortunate to be bequeathed the ventresca and cheeks. The latter were particularly incredible.

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We finished the evening with whelks with vinaigrette. These were a bit of an afterthought, but I had never had them before. These too were quite good, but by this time we were getting quite full.

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The wines we had were all delicious Spanish whites including an albarino and a local perellada. They worked beautifully with the cuisine.

We didn’t have dessert, but I had to pay my respects and thanks once again to Sr. Rafa.

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1. I'll curse you now. I'm no longer in the mood for what I had planned for dinner.

2. Isn' this the same restaurant that's frequented by Adria?

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docsconz   

2. Isn' this the same restaurant that's frequented by Adria?

It is. There are other topics on this. I started a new one because as far as I could tell this is the first with photos.

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docsconz   
oh fantastic pictures!!

The whelks?? I've never seen these, how do you eat them, like digging out escargot?

Precisely. One has a little fork and simply picks them out of the shell, discarding the hard covering piece.

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Oh my God! docsconz, those are the most beautiful pictures of seafood I've ever seen. I could practically taste everything! I have always wanted to go to Rafa's (even more than El Bulli, but that's just my personal madness) and now I feel like I have visited it virtually. Whenever people ask me what is great about Spanish cuisine, I'll show them these pictures (oh, OK, I'll show them pictures of the food at El Bulli, too).

May I ask what kind of camera you use?

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It is. There are other topics on this. I started a new one because as far as I could tell this is the first with photos.

Well, I'm going to echo the others: those are some of the best seafood photos I've seen.

I went out and had seafood tonight rather than the original duck confit. Somewhat pathetic as I sort-of sat there and pushed the grilled fish and cephalopods around on my plate because they didn't look like your photos. :sad:

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Lovely!

This reminds me of a fishmonger/distributor in Gracia in BCN that once a week will open up the back of his shop, be it a wednesday or thursday night for a select few of his clients. There he'll serve food prepared very much in a similar manner, totally fresh, totally plain but stil bursting with flavour!

Tried to upload pictures, but no luck...

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Wonderful Doc. I love the photos. You've succinctly captured the essence of Rafa's... no messing around, just wonderfully fresh fish cooked perfectly a la plancha in very simple surroundings. We travelled 80 miles to go there for lunch earlier in the year, and driving the 80 miles back, we both agreed that we'd be happy to do it the next day (...except we were going to Can Roca!). But what a feast!

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Thanks for sharing the pictures - the food looks delicious, and as you pointed out, so simply prepared, highlighting the flavor of the particular ingredient. Thanks, have a great journey thru Europe, and safe return back to NY.

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Saborosa   

This reminds me of a fishmonger/distributor in Gracia in BCN that once a week will open up the back of his shop, be it a wednesday or thursday night for a select few of his clients.

Hey Viking, I've just moved to Gracia, so this is intriguing me. I think I've heard of this place but haven't sought it out yet. Is it (whisper) La Mar de Gracia? I need to befriend a fishmonger!

Cheers

K

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This reminds me of a fishmonger/distributor in Gracia in BCN that once a week will open up the back of his shop, be it a wednesday or thursday night for a select few of his clients.

Hey Viking, I've just moved to Gracia, so this is intriguing me. I think I've heard of this place but haven't sought it out yet. Is it (whisper) La Mar de Gracia? I need to befriend a fishmonger!

Cheers

K

I second the request on this vital piece of information!!!!

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John, you could pass as the better-looking younger brother. Here's a case where putting yourself in the hands of the chef is a good idea; so good that I'll have to try it next time I'm there. Thanks for the great report and pictures. Aren't those percebes?

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pedro   
Aren't those percebes?

Nope. These are percebes:

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Thanks, Pedro. You'd think I could remember after my meal at Combarro. What Doc had looks like a relatibve to cagouilles.

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docsconz   

Ah percebes :wub: I had the good fortune of having them last year in Bilbao and then earlier this year at The Inn at Erlowest in Lake George. They are tasty morsels.

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