Sunday, 15 April 2007

Restaurants in VNG: La Cucanya

Any premium restaurant must serve good food in a nice environment. La Cucanya (address: Racó de Santa Llucia s/n; phone: 93 815 19 34) does more than that. It is a family friendly establishment located on the rocks and directly over the sea. If you add a walk along the beach you have a half-day experience which I am happy to recommend to visitors of this town.

Sundays are family days for the local people of Catalonia and the natural time and place to meet is over a long lunch. Very often it is the grandparents who invite the family to come and eat at their house, but at least for special occasions, a good restaurant is the choice of preference. Among all places I have visited in Vilanova so far, none beats La Cucanya for this purpose.

I took my parents and family here on Easter Monday and, for the first time, we received a table directly at the windows and thus had the company of rolling waves throughout our visit. We all did our best to enjoy it while at the same time keeping an eye on our two active boys. The baby spent most of the time banging on chinaware plates with cutlery or happily looking for food left-overs on the floor, while the older one was kept busy with La Cucanya’s colouring sheets and crayons. In so far the lunch was a true success that we managed to leave the impeccably white linen table almost without any colour stains and with all glasses intact. When we left, our oldest son asked the staff if he could keep the crayons. What really warmed his parents’ hearts was not that he was allowed to do so, but that he asked the question in perfect Catalan.

La Cucanya presents you with high quality Mediterranean cuisine of seafood as well as meat. This time, we also had the opportunity to select from a special seasonal menu, but decided to go for some old favourites; Xató, the local salad of Garraf, for starters and skewers of monkfish and prawns for mains. I must admit that so far I have not managed to make my wife as excited about this restaurant as I am, but there is one thing that she can not resist – the tempting offers on the dessert trolley. The piece of cake that she ordered was so big that she had to leave a bit of it on the plate, but partly we can blame that on our sons doing a surprisingly weak job in helping here to finish it.

Like last time we were here, my parents were a bit concerned about the prices, around € 13 for starters and € 20 for main courses. That perspective is quite common for people from Germanic countries. I am sure that Spanish people are much less sensitive to restaurant prices than we are, and this although disposable incomes here are lower than in Northern Europe. There were quite many grandparents at the tables in La Cucanya on Easter Monday. To be critical about my native culture, I doubt that we are as generous in inviting our parents to nice restaurants as the Spanish are. And to be honest about my own strong feelings for this place, I can not deny that it gives me a feeling of belonging, by doing as the locals.

To find La Cucanya is not so easy. You can of course go there by car, but I recommend you to walk. Follow the platja de Ribes Roges to its end, then take either the stairs up on the hill or the walk path along the ruins of Adarrò. After having admired the view, cross over the small platja de Sant Gervasi and then pass through the railway tunnel. Following to the small paved road up to the right, you will soon see signs guiding you the last meters. A bit of an effort, but that only makes the place more exotic.

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