Restaurant review: Casa Largo

16 02 2013

Restaurant Casa Largo on the ground floor of Sokos department store is a modern “Spanish” restaurant with a bar, tapas bar and restaurant as well as wine bar. Main dining room is on 1st floor opposite of Railway Station and tapas bar is on 2nd floor. You can see hotel Vaakuna reception from so called 2nd floor wine bar which is behind tapas bar. Functionalist style, which was popular during Helsinki Olympic games 1952 including Glass Palace (Lasipalatsi) being opposite the hotel Vaakuna, has been maintained. Picture below is from the hotel lobby taken from the Casa Largo wine bar.

Hotel Vaakuna lobby

All HOK-Elanto restaurants have Champagne offer for the whole year 2013. You can get bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte Brut for 39€, which costs the same as wines at the restaurant. Had to taste it instead of Cava although we were in the “Spanish” restaurant. BUT, it was served too warm which made the tasting useless. Pity for champagne,,,,Hopefully champagne is not wasted in other HOK-Elanto restaurants.

Champagne

Started dinner with Tapas frias & calientes: TOSTADAS manchego, piquillo peppers and aioli on toast and several times POLLO AL AJILLO garlic seasoned chicken, Really delicious and well prepared dishes. Also had Tapas frias: QUESO MANCHEGO Manchego cheese and rosemary honey and CHORIZO Chorizo sausage. To be honest tapas were best part of dinner. Recommend to order 4 tapas dishes for main course and you are there. Chicken has been always delicious and seldom Manchego lets you down. TORTILLA ESPAÑOLA potato omelette was OK but original ones in Spain beat this one.

PolloManchego

For main courses had 2 times DORADA A LA PARRILLA whole gilthead bream, grilled and stuffed with garlic butter and herbs, served with escalivada vegetables and herbs. Because Solomillo is usually good test for quality of kitchen compared to original Spanish kitchen, also ordered SOLOMILLO A LA PIMIENTA grilled fillet of beef (200g) with creamy peppersauce. Guilthead was basically ok but it was over cooked. Meat was best part of main course, really tender and soft, to be honest better than same dishes in Spain. Also ordered POLLO ASADO CON CREMA ESPINACAS corn fed chicken breast with creamy spinach and sherry sauce. Unfortunately chicken was too dry.

Gilt head???????????????????????????????SolomilloChicken

You have to order side dish from separate list (no additional cost); alternatives were TORTILLA ESPAÑOLA potato omelette, ARROZ rice with saffron, PATATAS BRAVAS fried potatoes with salsa brava and aioli and ENSALADA salad. You could order Patatas Bravas as one of the tapas starters but it suited well with Solomillo, this was bull’s eye pairing!

For desserts ordered famous Spanish “Churros”. Unfortunately you should stick to original churros because this version was not enough baked. Churros are perfect if prepared well and sorbet is always eatable, if prepared at the restaurant. Do not know if it was, because of the chewyness.

Sorbet

Unfortunately service had not improved. We had to ask several times for service but requestd were forgotten. Also paying was problem, had to go to cashier as mobile system did not work.
Casa Largo is really popular restaurant because of location. Remember to book table beforehand but be careful your wishes are conveyd to restaurant, ours were not.

REVIEW: FOOD 3+/5 – SERVICE 2/5 – OVERALL GRADE 3/5

http://www.casalargo.fi/





Restaurant review: El Churrasco (Spain)

5 01 2013

Restaurante El Churrasco operates already in Las Palmas and was established at Gran Hotel Lopesan Costa Meloneras premises in August 2012. Succesfull move because original hotel restaurant was always empty and it seems to be that El Churrasco  is always busy.

El ChurrascoEl Churrasco

Dined twice at this restaurant, dinner and lunch. Review is combination of these experiences.

Starters at dinner were Gambas al ajillo and Croquetas. Both were delicious and fresh. Shrimps were perfeclty done, not too dry and croquettes right sized, in some places they are too big and therefore too soft.

ShrimpsCroquettes

Starters at lunch were Tomates rellenos and Jamón de Jabugo 5 Jotas. Filling in tomatoes were excellent and tomatoes itself were scalted; easy to eat. Jamon was tender, thought first it would be chewy when saw portion.

Stuffed tomatoesIberian ham

Main courses at dinner were pescados Lubina and Sole. Fish is only available at this restaurant, not in main restaurant in Las Palmas. El Churrasco is Steakhouse and focuses only on meat dishes. However tried fishes which were quite OK, but you might get more luxorius experience at real fish restaurant.

Sea bassSole

Main courses at lunch were Solomillo de Novillo Argentino and Pollo al limón. Fillet steak was ordered as medium but the thickness of steak made it too raw in overall. Chicken breast was a little bit dry. Otherwise well prepared dishes.

Fillet steakChicken

Desserts were at dinner Sorbete de Limón, could have been more soft like at Ambassador. At lunch Chocklate cake and Fresh Fruits  which were actually strawberries. Cake was scumptious and had to eat all of it. Strawberries were also enjoyable. These desserts can not be found at restaurant web site.

SorbetChocklate cakeStrawberries

Interesting detail was that restaurant had Riesling on wine list. Quite rare to get Spanish riesling but had to try. OK, but quite modest wine.

Riesling

El Churrasco is in perfect location, remember to book window table. This also raises overall grade. The food also is good compared to many other restaurants nearby.

REVIEW: FOOD 4-/5 – SERVICE 3,5/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4+/5

http://www.elchurrascorestaurante.com/

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Restaurant review: Il Siciliano

13 10 2012

Ristorante Il Sicialiano is located at Aleksanteri street near Kluuvi and Kämp shopping centers. Sister restaurant is located in Flamingo shopping center, Vantaa. Restaurant takes only table reservations for larger groups, at least that was told on the phone.

At 3PM restaurant was full but after 5 minutes waiting we got table. A la carte list in the restauranat differs a little bit from web site, but that is not a problem. Music of course is Italian but also international soft music was played. Guests were local Helsinki shoppers with children, but most of lunch guests came from Russia, Spain and Italy. A little bit annoying were small flies around the table.

For aperitives and starters ordered FOCACCIA DELLA CASA (For 2 people) Garlic-pesto-tomato-rucola bread. Quite misleading as we got slices of pizza or pizzetta which were actually really delicious. But as I ordered pizza for main course thought that would get real foccacia. Also ordered PASTA ALL’ARRABBIATA (PICCOLA) tomato sauce, garlic, chili, parmesan, fresh basil and PROSCIUTTO E MELONE 2 pieces of melon, parmaham and honey. Pasta was cooked with professional way, however would have prefered more strong chili taste than which was served. Traditional prosciutto crudo with melon is always tasty, but we are used to Cantaloupe melon, not Honey melon which was on the plate.

For main courses ordered POLLO ALLA SICILIANA Sicilian Style Chickenbreast Filet, eggplant, Pecorino cheese Rucola, oil and PIZZA IL PADRINO Italian salame, chilli, radicchio, Rocket and sundried tomatoes. Ordered rice as side dish for Pollo but got potatoes; restaurant fixed mistake quickly after we pointed it out.  Chicken was not dry which was good. Pizza was also tasty because Italian salami piccante is always juicy and spicy. But as said earlier would have prefered something else for main course if would have known foccacia is pizza in this place.

Il Siciliano is genuine Italian pizzeria (maybe not ristorante) because you can order Averna and Grappa which are proofs of real Italian flavours. Seems to be busy all time which is proof of good food and casual athmosphere. Nice figure next to the door.

REVIEW: FOOD 3,5 – SERVICE 3 – OVERALL GRADE 3+

http://www.ilsiciliano.fi/1/








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