Wandering around Les Cases d'Alcanar by the port and nearby, it can be a bit of a challenge to choose the right restaurant. Lots of restaurants and their menus look inviting, and this fishing town has a particularly good reputation for its seafood. Before leaving home I had been tempted to look at TripAdvisor, but I kind of thought that it would take the fun out of using our own instinct, and making our own mistakes....
Restaurant Les Palmeres Les Cases d'Alcanar
We decided to go to Restaurant Les Palmeres, which is at Pou 5 – yes I know that sounds a bit odd, but actually Pou means a well, and the outdoor seating area is just beside a beautiful, ancient well. Being a little earlier than the other guests, we sat down in a then empty seating area, that looks back down at the port. It's a lovely setting.
Between the a la carte and the various set menus, there's a good choice of options, so this took us a bit of time, but we eventually ordered. A few moments later a couple of glasses of bubbly were brought to the table, on the house, as Josep said. Of course we didn't know at the beginning, but we found out that it was Josep's parents who opened Restaurant Les Palmeres in 1978, and he clearly takes pride in it also.
What A Starter
I think if you look at the picture on the left, maybe I don't need to write very much, as I think the photo says it all. What it can't communicate is the aroma, the taste, the quality and freshness of our starter dish. It was superb and the portion was easily enough for three good servings. The ingredients were really fresh and succulent, and the broth was so well balanced, so as not to fight with the individual tastes of the various shellfish.
Sunday Is Paella Day....
We have eaten our fair share of paellas – it's not quite obligatory when you go out for lunch on a Sunday, but it's the equivalent of a Sunday Roast, back in Ireland and the UK. The paella at Restaurant Les Palmeres was not a disappointment after the outstanding starter, it was delicious and plentiful.
Can We Manage A Dessert
Dessert – yes we were both struggling at this stage, so we had asked Josep to pack the remaining paella so we could take it away – and this meant there was room for the white chocolate mousse topped with fresh strawberries. I am not in denial about being a chocaholic, but white chocolate mousse actually works better when you're already quite full than regular chocolate, once it's been made, as this one was, with skill and love ...I forgot to ask Josep who's cooking, but it wouldn't surprise me if it was his Mama or sister, but definitely someone who combines technique with cooking with love!
And now the meal is over, until Josep pops up again with orange liqueurs on the house ...ah well it's a hard life, isn't it?? Afterwards he showed us a great picture of the area that he thinks was taken from a military aircraft. I almost forgot to mention what in Spain is called - La Doloroso - the painful ..bill. The total was €52.50 which included 10% IVA (VAT) and all drinks and all food.
Will we go back again? Try to stop us!
If you liked the sound and look of this place, why not check out the Alcanar Travel Guide - to know more about the area.
Another restaurant in this area, that we've been to a couple of times now and loved each time is Taller de Cuina Carmen Guillemot - which as of February 2015 has moved to the very pretty seaside town of Peñiscola, 37 km away - around a half an hour's drive. (Please note these days this restaurant operates privately - please contact us for further details)