The usual great sea food with some extras
Passeig marítim Joan Reventós, 50
Platja de Sant Salvador
El Vendrell CP 43880
Catalunya is paradise for people who love good grilled food, since all the eateries offer plates “a la plancha”, which means that the stake, the octopus or the squid is simply grilled and served simply with a few spots of garnish and some sauce. There are some tourists traps, mainly in the city of Barcelona where seafood comes from the freezer and cooked in the microwave oven, but thanks God they are the exceptions. In most places good quality food from fresh seafood is the minimum.
The blue-white decoration of La Cuina de la Marga sounds simple and obvious on the sea side, but if you take a clooser look at the tables, the furniture, the cutlery and the serviettes, you can immediately realize that this place wants to position itself above the neighbouring places. Can they achieve a higher rank?
Good job – the strengths
We had a reservation, I wrote an email in advance. A lady answered half a day later and she kindly warned me that calling is better, in the high season they do not check the mailbox often. Well, then it might be smart to make it clear on the website. Anyway, our table was ready on the terrace, overlooking the sea, it was a great start. Our waitress came immediately and during the whole meal rapid service was consistent. Almost all the tables saw two set of guests within that one lunch time period, so the owner cleverly realized that the large staff is investment, which will be rewarding quickly.
The wine list consists of Spanish wines only and they have a good selection of local, DO Penedés wines, especially of white wines. The organic and biodynamic corpinnat house, Gramona is represented with several products, and a love project owned by Miguel Torres, Jean Leon estate also has several labels. The house wine is a fruity, juicy Xarel·lo, it is available by the glass (not many wines are available by the glass, because the locals usually have a bottle at least with the meal).
Since we were after a hearty breakfast, we decided to order only one plate each and maybe some dessert. Well, my daughter, who was my company at this lunch ordered the kids’ menu, which was the usual “bolognese something”, here in the form of cannelonis. It was decent, taken out from the oven, delicious as expected. However my meal was indeed a great suprise. I ordered “calamares al vi blanc amb ceba i trompetes de la mort” – it was squid in white wine, arrived in an iron casserole, rich in caramelized onion and a certain type of mushrooms. The name of the mushroom is “trompetes de la mort”, which is something like trumpets of death, and our waitress was quick to assure me that there is nothing dangerous about the mushroom, it is just “as delicious as hell”. Well, indeed it was delicious, full in flavours, harmonious, tender, perfect.
The plates were hearty enough, yet it is obligatory to taste a dessert, so we did. Our waitress suggested mille-feuille and we agreed. Crispy, light slices with layers of rich cream and fresh, juicy, sun ripened straberries. The perfect ending of a perfect lunch.
Things to improve
Language is definitely a problem in Catalunya, even though children start learning English at the age of 5 or earlier, only a few of them are able to utter a correct sentence, let alone understanding. If you visit the website of La Cuine de La Marga, you might say “wow, 5 language options”. In fact it does not count whichever flag you click on, it will take you to the same menu in five language (so there is no English menu, but there is a menu with some English words). But be careful with the English translation, for example my plate is mentioned as “white wine squid with caramelized onion” – not a single word about mushrooms, and it might be a nuisance for mushroom haters.
And certainly we ordered some “pa de vidre”, the so called “glass bread”, which is a plate of toasts made of a special bread, spread with fresh tomato flesh, splashed with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. My complicated company asked for half of the plate without olive oil and without tomato. Yes, she wanted plain bread. Our waitress nodded – then the plate arrived with only slices of bread well spread with tomato and oil. Did she forget? Or didn’t she understand the request? In my opinion it was the latter, she should have double checked what the guest wants.
And one last thing: the enormous size of the dessert. Even though it was marvellous, we could not eat the abundant plate of sweets, thus we left almost half of it. I hate wasting food and I really try to avoid it. I am sure a smaller portion would do for most people.
Conclusion La Cuina de la Marga is a lovely place with light hearted enterior. The staff is very kind and quick, the food is home like with some great ideas, some extras. It is worth checking the names of the plates and we will have a splendid experience!