Restaurant review: Samsara (Maspalomas, Gran Canaria, Spain)

3 03 2018

Usually write about restaurants in Helsinki, Finland, but if find noteworthy spot somewhere else, review ends up here. Gran Canaria is one of the most holiday destinations, especially the south part. Most of the restaurants do not differ so much from each other and you can similar food from each restaurant. Some try to be a little fancier, maybe the the fanciest are at the hotels.

Restaurant Samsara in Costa Meloneras is hidden gem or not because it is so popular. It’s location is interesting, one could not guess from outside that in that worn building there is a fusion cuisine spacious restaurant with it’s own style. Decoration comes from Asia, buddha style dominating.

The idea is to share portions, dishes are not classified to starters and main courses. If you decide to eat one dish by yourself, there is not room for so called starter.

To start the dinner with, Samsara served Samosas for apetizers both times. Delicious snack is a nice bridge for courses you are waiting for. There will also be a small white roll, which is not needed and actually it does not fit in to the ensamble.

First visit dishes were “fish lasagne” POUPIETE DE LENGUADO Y SALMON AHUMADO CON CREMA DE LANGOSTA ORIENTAL and FILETES DE TOFU ENROLLADOS CON HOJA DE ESPINACA EN SALSA DE SETA SHITAKE.

“Lasagne” was tasty but as waiter said it was not so exotic and spicy as many other dishes. Wanted to try how two fishes, salmon and cod, paired with cheese. Interesting experience!

Tofu replaced turkey in vegan version of this dish. Dish was tasty and tofu cooked crispy.

For wine ordered Mas de Quince from bodegas Piedemonte. Winery is located in the town of Olite in Navarra, Spain of course. It was founded in 1992. The red varieties grown are: garnacha, tempranillo, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. Wine was created from grapes sourced from more than 15 year old vineyards, with an average yield of 4000 kg/ha. Color was dark ruby and taste balanced with smooth tannins.

When visiting second time ordered SOLOMILLO CON CURRY PANANG and VERDURAS SALTEADAS CON CURRY DE MATSUMAN Y LECHE DE COCO ACOMPAÑADO DE ARROZ JAZMIN.

Tenderloin in curry sauce with vegetables and cashew nuts was bulls eye. Spicy and sweet sauce as well as soft, crispy pieces of meat made this dish excellent.

Vegan version of curry was not so spicy as expected but propably for many it was enough strong. Delicious dish and of course big portion.

Principe de Viana Edition Limitade was the wine we enjoyed during second visit. Grapes come from different wineyards and they are Tempranillo 25% Plot “El Carrascal”, Merlot 50% Plot “El Crucero” and Cabernet Sauvignon 25% Plot “La Muga”. It has been aged in 225-litre oak barrels for 14 months. Wine has deep ruby red colour. Taste is round and well-structured, dark berries and fruits with hints of vanilla.

When you enter to restaurant by climbing the stairs, you first see giant statue. Outside there is chilling area for enjoying drinks. There is also few tables for dining but winter time sometimes might be to cold to eat outside.

Indoor you can find different spaces. Dining rooms are decorated with sculptures, pictures, small items and all are more or less looking like there were brought from Asia or India.

 

Samsara serves some spicy dishes, but all of them are kind of pieces of art. Serving plates, bowls or trays are huge due to size of portions. One speciality is desserts, one can beforehand order cake for birthday party or for other celebration.

Service is propably the best in Costa Meloneras, many waiters and waitresses are ready to to serve.

Restaurant is open only in evenings and it is fully booked almost all the time. Therefore if you want to visit it, make your reservation enough early. They might ask to re-confirm it, but it is worth of it.

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

http://www.samsara-gc.com/indexe.html





Hotel review: Barcelona Princess

6 02 2015

Hotel Barcelona Princess

The hotel Barcelona Princess boasts 363 fully-equipped rooms, a sun terrace with pool on the 23rd floor with a nice view of the city and small pool with gym on the 3rd floor.

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Located on the ’Avenida Diagonal’ just in front of the shopping center Fórum, this 4-star hotel is located less than 20 minutes from the centre of Barcelona with decent public transport alternatives available.

Interesting detail is Desigual Loft on the 23rd floor with decor, which takes care of every detail, patchwork rugs, lamps, wicker armchairs and low tables puff type created by artisans of different peoples of the Mediterranean.

Desigual loft - reijosfood.com

ROOM

Spent few nights in the double room on the 19th floor with sea view. Room was well equipped, bath robe and slippers waiting to be used. Free mini bar with soft drinks and bottle of beer per day and free WI-FI.

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Bath room was behind the glass wall, but it can be hided with automated screen, if you are shy. However, toilet and shower are behind doors, some relief?

Hotel Barcelona Princess room - reijosfood

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PUBLIC SPACES

Breakfast was generous compared to many other hotels in Barcelona. Something for everyone. Tried also room service once. Service was quick and actually room service price list is affordable.

On the first floor there is small bar and lobby but hotel is not actually place for dinners. Prepare to reserve table from “real” restaurants in the city or by the sea.

Two pools and new and well designed rooms are best part of the hotel.

Location from Plaza Catalunya is quite far, but walking by the sea to Port Olympico does not take too much time. Then it is up to you, if you want to continue to Maremagnum and then to Ramblas by foot. I actually walked that route, but with one pit stop in Tapa Tapa tapas bar or restaurant.

Hotel Barcelona Princess is for business travellers and for those, who do not want to pay higher prices in the city for lower standard.

REVIEW: ROOM 4/5 – PUBLIC SPACES 4/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4-/5

Hotel Barcelona Princess – Official Website | Barcelona Hotel.





Restaurant review: Grill Faro – Costa Meloneras, Spain

25 01 2015

Grill Faro in Costa Meloneras

Grill Faro is the first restaurant in the “restaurant alley” in Costa Meloneras, if you come from north/west. Part of the restaurant is at upper level and the crowdiest area at the same level as all other “alley” restaurants.

Restaurants praises to serve over 200 dishes, is it really good? Anyhow, Grill Faro serves many different meat and fish dishes, which are actually quite delicious.

Dined at Grill Faro twice and this review concerns 2nd visit.

Dinner started with salad and delicous Pulpo, octopus. Actually I ordered Chipirones, tiny fried squid. Maybe restaurant did not had those and thought that any octopus is good enough? All the same, Pulpo is really delicous and not so greasy as chipirones. With some olive oil had to eat all 5 pieces.

Grill Faro Pulpo

For main courses we had Fresh fish prepared with Canarian style and Braised Lamb.

Fish was prepared on a pan with vegetables. It was delicious but quite small after skin and fish bones were removed. Lamb was over cooked as braised lamb should be. Some salt, please, and perfect meat dish.

Grill Faro Canarian Fish

Grill Faro Lamb

With dessert cheeses had glass of Malaga Virgen sweet wine which is produced from 100% Pedro Ximenez grapes. Excellent wine at least with cheeses because it was not too sweet.

Grill Faro Malaga Sweet wine

Grill Faro is one of the two most popular restaurants in the “alley”. You have to wait for the table, if you arrive late. Also you might need to wait for the food because of popularity. Restaurant is a safe choice for first restaurant to visit in Costa Meloneras.

REVIEW: FOOD 4-/5 – SERVICE 4-/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4-/5

http://www.restaurantegrillfaro.com/index.php/en/





Restaurant review: The House Meloneras at Costa Meloneras

23 01 2015

Restaurant The House Meloneras is one of the 6 restaurants at “restaurant alley”. All restaurants are close to each other and actually do not differ so much from each other (except Chinese and Sushi/Mexican restaurants).

https://www.youtube.com/enhance?v=t4NJa6RHjrA&video_referrer=watch

Visited The House Meloneras twice, but review concerns latter visit. Restaurant is the newest one and replaced Casa something which tried to be local, typical Spanish restaurant.

Started the dinner with Pan y Jamon Serrano, really delicious starter. Warm cheese between bread and ham made the combinations excellent though quite heavy.

Pan y Jamon - reijosfood.com

For main course ordered Sea bass baked under salt cover, which is also spectacle to watch as waiter prepares fish to be eaten near yout table. Of course most splashy is the burning of salt cover, some fun anyway. It is also important that waiter can really open up the fish and serve it. Otherwise part of the fish will stay on the tray and you get too many fish bones on your plate.

At The House Meloneras all parts of serving the fish were in order.

Side dishes, Canarian potoes and Salad were suitable for fish. Also the potato sauces matched well with white meated sea bass.

Seabass - reijosfood.com

Seabass at The House Meloneras - reijosfood.com

Side dishes at House Meloneras - reijosfood.com

For wine we had Gran Vina Sol from Torres. Big brother of Vina Sol, made from Chardonnay and Parrelada grapes. Paired quite well with sea bass we had for main course.

Gran Vina Sol - reijosfood.com

Propably The House Meloneras is the best of all 6 restaurants. It is not as popular as Grill Faro and Grand Italia, which are over-crowded and sometimes service is a little bit arrogant due to success.

The House Meloneras has wide menu, something for everyone and polite service. If you are in Costa Meloneras, worth to visit.

REVIEW: FOOD 4/5 – SERVICE 4-/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4/5





Restaurant review: Ovo – Gourmet restaurant at hotel Lopesan Villa del Conde

16 01 2015
Restaurant Ovo

Restaurant Ovo

The distinguished Club Restaurant Ovo is situated in the central building of hotel Lopesan Villa del Conde next to the central square. In its envolving interior of simple elegance, the Ovo permits to taste pleasantly a virtuos creative cuisine.

Visited Ovo twice, New Year’s Eve Gala dinner and few days later. Review is combination of these two visits, which differed quite a lot from each other.

NEW YEAR’S EVE (SYLVESTER) DINNER

New Years Eve Menu at Ovo - reijosfood.com

New Year’s Celebration is spectacular not only because of better climate compared to Finland but also way of celebrating and enjoying party. Dinner was also perfect as well as service. What was extremely unique, hotel gave a food allergy card in check-in, which was useful whole stay. And it proved to be working already during New Years’ Eve dinner although menu was fixed.

Dinner started with Appetizer consisting of three delicacies. Names of goodies can be seen on Menu above.

Then came the soup where you could see how well restaurant took into account the food allergy card. Tomato soup instead of cream.

Lobster with side dishes was great! Cooking was perfect because lobster meat was soft, not chewy.

Meat, beef tenderloin, was prepared with talent and it was one of the best red meats eaten ever.

For dessert combination of sweet goodies but not too sweet. Perfect ending for the dinner. Ups, forgot glass of Lanson, which actuallu ended the dinner.

Starters at Ovo - reijosfood.comTomato soup at Ovo - reijosfood.com

Cream soup at Ovo - reijosfood.com

Lobster with flower garden at Ovo - reijosfood.com

Beef at Ovo - reijosfood.com

Dessert at Ovo - reijosfood.com

RE-VISIT and STANDARD A LA CARTE LIST

Second visit was few days after New Year’s Eve. Expectations were high as we were amazed by the service and food served last time. We did not need food allergy card because main waiter remembered changes what needed to be made, excellent!

Dinner started with greetings from the kitchen, soup and vitello tonnato Ovo way. Best part of the dinner, unfortunately.

Starters, giant shrimps and Ceasar salad, were ok but not that impressive as we expected. Ceasar salad missed taste of anchovy and garlic.

Main course, sea bass, was prepared too early. It was not anymore enough warm and crisp.

But service, it was again professional and polite.

Appetizers at Ovo - reijosfood.com

Shrimps at Ovo - reijosfood.com

Ceasar salad at Ovo - reijosfood.com

Fish at Ovo - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Ovo can be gourmet restaurant if it wants. Service is outstanding and it really takes into account customer. But gourmet restaurant needs to serve stable quality when it comes to food. This was not the fact at second visit. However, Ovo maybe is the best restaurant in Costa Meloneras.

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





Happy New Year 2015 from reijosfood.com!

4 01 2015

reijosfood.com

WISH YOU A HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015!

 

Instead of Finland, again with same setup, from Spain.

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Hotel review: AC Hotel Malaga Palacio

24 09 2014

Rooftop pool - reijosfood.com

Hotel AC Palacio in Malaga is part of Marriot hotel chain. The location between the Málaga Cathedral and the Paseo del Parque, and its spectacular views of the port, make this hotel one of the must stay hotels. Hotel has 214 rooms and was renovated 2007.

Hotel AC Malaga Palacio - reijosfood.com

ROOM

We chose to stay at AC Superior Room with sea view and balcony. No doubt the view is spectacular.

Room was basically fine and decorated with wooden interior.

Had some trouble with bathroom, as we had to wait for light bulb change quite a long time, although lady in the reception promised, it would be done during the same afternoon. We even removed “Do not disturb” sign, as she said that no one would come, if it would hang on the door. So we called next day again as no one has visited our room. Then the pipe under the sink began to leak and it had to be replaced. Quite a lot disturbance for 4 nights stay….

imageView from AC Malaga Palacio room - reijosfood.comView from Ac Malaga Palacio - reijosfood.comRoom at AC Malaga Palacio - reijosfood.comHotel room at AC Palacio in Malaga - reijosfood.comBathroom at AC Palacio - reijosfood.com

PUBLIC SPACES

The fifteenth-floor Ático Bar & Restaurant on the terrace of the Hotel AC Málaga Palacio, is for use in both summer and winter times thanks to its panoramic glass space. A entity where you can enjoy a dinner or have a drink. From its terrace you can enjoy stunning views of the city, especially the port and the Paseo del Parque. Reservation is required and it can also be rented for private events. In this case, the catering service and bar located on the first floor will be available for our customers.
 Atico restaurant - reijosfood.com
Consequently, the restaurant and its terrace may be closed certain days. During our stay there were bachelor party and wedding party. Pool area is anyway available all the time and in the summer evenings it is quite noisy.
Atico terrace - reijosfood.comLunch at Atico Bar - reijosfood.com

Atico Bar - reijosfood.com

Outdoor pool at 15th floor is perfect place to relax after walking around the city. Atico restaurant & bar services can be utilized at the pool area, no need to starve.

Below you can also see La Piscina Lounge at 8th floor, which is part of Hotel Molina Lario. Last time we stayed in that hotel, see review by using search.

Rooftop pool - reijosfood.com

Rooftop pool at AC Malaga Palacio - reijosfood.comPool at AC Malaga Palacio . reijosfood.com

La Piscina Lounge - reijosfood.com
Breakfast is at the 2nd floor. It is not so versatile as in many similar hotels, actually only tomatoes for vegetables.
Lobby area is to the right from reception. Same furnitures as in all AC hotels, for instance Barcelona chairs.
One hint concerning elevators; there are three main elevators which are often reserved during rush hours. There is one elevator, which is partly hidden. That is usually free, but it does not go to the 15th floor, where Atico Bar & Restaurant as well as pool are located. Take that anyway and use stairs from 13th to 15th floor. We used that elavator also during breakfast times.
AC Palacio - lobby reijosfood.com
AC Malaga Palacio lobby - reijosfood.com
If you like to keep-fit, you can of course jog along the beach promenade.
However, hotel has small gym, which is equipped with cardiovascular equipment and weights.
Gym at AC Malaga Palacio - reijosfood.com

Mobile check-in and check-out is extremely customer friendly service. With Marriot apps you can check-in 24 hours earlier, choose check-in time and you get notification, when you can pick up the room key. As we arrived early at 11.00, we were able to get room with the help of this brilliant system.

Without two maintenance operations in our room, grade for room would have been 4. 15th floor Atico Bar & restaurant and pool area are definately worth to see and visit although you would not stay at the hotel.

View from Atico bar - reijosfood.com

REVIEW: ROOM 4-/5 – PUBLIC SPACES 4+/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4+/5
 







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