Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Restaurants in Vilanova: Pika Tapa – the Mediterranean as we want it

Tourist traps are an interesting phenomenon. Very often they are easy to identify – establishments with a lot of natural traffic, usually charging premium prices since they offer a nice view or are located close to interesting sites. The beach promenade at Vilanova is an area where any seasoned traveller will start to look for advice on which restaurants are good and which you had better avoid.

I always feel a bit stupid when I take my family to a restaurant where we could have foreseen that either the food or the service or both would not live up to our expectations, but every once in a while end up in that situation. What do you do when you come to a town which you do not know and it is already well past the children’s lunch time? What do you do when all places where they seem to know how to cook look boring and deserted? At least my wife and I tend to take a chance and head for a place which is busy and easy to find. This probably reveals that our buying behaviour is first and foremost social and not very rational.

The beach promenade in Vilanova i la Geltrú is truly precious and, as all tourists desire, there are plenty of outdoor restaurants to choose between. From personal experience, however, I want to draw visitors’ attention to the fact that only some of these have a regular clientele among the local residents. When I take my family for lunch, most tables at Pika Tapa (Passeig de Carme, 21; phone: 93 815 12 84) are occupied by foreigners, usually a clear indication that you are about to enter into a tourist trap. However, remember that the Catalan and Spanish culture is deceitful in this regard. For inhabitants of Spain it is perfectly normal to have their meals about two hours later than we do in the Northern Europe.

Pika Tapa is located right in the middle of the action and offers light tapes as well as full meals. We have been here for lunches and for dinners, with as well as without our children, and always been satisfied. The paellas (€ 13 per person) will not win culinary prices but are served in a traditional way from the pan and always are very tasty. Competition close by advertises paellas for lower prices, however, those places do not cook by themselves but merely reheat precooked dishes. Caveat emptor!

Pika Tapa has indoor facilities as well, which means that it is open for business all the year around. Having said that, just like the town Vilanova, in summer it is at it's best. Here you find the Mediterranean feeling as you want it – offered at a very reasonable price. The restaurants close to the beach still have their terraces open. Take note of this recommendation in case you want to have another lunch at the seaside. The season is not over yet.

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