Walking in the door of Las Perlas you would never suspect the gourmet delights that await you. Unless you had read the breathless reviews on Tripadvisor that is. That’s how we came to be there. We decided to try out somewhere new for dinner as a Father’s Day treat for Ivan, had a peek on Tripadvisor and Las Perlas – which we had never even heard of before – came up as the No. 1 restaurant in Torre del Mar. Quite a feat for an establishment only 16 months open!
Now I have to say I don’t always trust Tripadvisor. All too often restaurants climb to the top of the pile thanks to over zealous reviewers 5 starring a place based on the enormous portions or the fact that the wait staff speak English, rather than on the quality of the food. So we cautiously went for a look.
It’s easy enough to find, although there’s a kiosco right in front so you can’t see it at all from across the street (the beach side). It’s on the main Paseo Maritimo just a few doors east of the lighthouse, but you would be forgiven for having walked past here a million times. It really doesn’t look like anything special.
Still unsure, we popped in and made an 8pm reservation. Just as well, as when we came back later the terraza was full and they were regularly turning people away.
Very soon after we sat down we realised that the “gastrobar” over the door was a complete misnomer. In fact it’s a real puzzle why they have that there as there’s nothing “bar”ish about Las Perlas at all. This is very much fine dining, from the pressed table cloths, polished silverware and white cloth napkins to the incredibly attentive service. The Tripadvisor reviews had raved about the head waitress Katerina and she was pretty much the perfect waitress – friendly and accommodating, tolerant of our rowdy crew, very knowledgable about all the dishes and took the time to explain and describe the wine selection.
Everything on the shortish menu sounded tempting and being a duck lover, I almost went for the set dinner menu (below), but couldn’t manage that many courses.
So we went a la carte and started off with freshly baked bread rolls served with olive oil and herby butter which was quickly followed by an amuse bouche of delicious delicate cold cucumber soup topped with chopped chives and poppy seeds. Dribble… (salivating just remembering that)
We shared a starter, the foie gras bonbon with cashews, tangerine gelee and lime caramel which was the only bum note of the whole meal as the foie itself was so cold – almost frozen really – so impossible to spread on the nutty melba toast crisps. It melted in the mouth though and was creamy and full of flavour and I used the crisps to mop up all the yummy fruity sauces on the plate.
And then the childrens’ plates arrived – gourmet chicken nuggets and sliced baked potatoes by 3.
I made the mistake of tasting the nuggets… Holy maloley!! and then couldn’t stop picking at them so that by the time my line-caught Galician hake with prawn, pureed salsa of bell peppers, shallots and vermouth arrived I had very little space left. An absolute crime as it was scrumptious.
Scallops-mad Ivan was one happy father that day with his quartet of scallops with raisin and truffle dressing and piquillo pepper marmalade.
Special mention has to go to the side dish of chunky baked potato, mushrooms and courgette that came with both main courses.
You don’t expect much of your spuds and 2 veg side dish, in Spain or anywhere, but this one was as lovingly prepared and tasty as the main dish itself.
Can you believe then that for all that:
2 bread covers
2 amuse bouches
a foie gras starter
2 main courses
3 childrens’ mains
2 fruit juices
a homemade hot chocolate (made with real chocolate)
and an excellent bottle of Ribera del Duero.
the bill came to only (drum roll please…) €61!
For this standard of food you really would expect to pay a lot, lot more.
We didn’t partake, but want to also mention the cocktails, a few of which we spotted coming out to other tables – muy grande and all looking like the real thing AND only €3.90. Did I dream this place up?
Definitely going back
We will be back for sure to try out those cocktails. Also I plan to starve myself for a day and return for that duck dinner menu. Or they have a fabulous gourmet lunch menu for €12.
OK it’s a few days later now and I’ve calmed down, somewhat… That was really a fabulous meal though, up there with some of the best I’ve ever had, I really wasn’t expecting that at all. Granted there are loads of good places in Torre – chiringuitos on the beach serving fish right off the boat, some good Italians if you fancy a pizza, but if it’s your taste buds you want tickling then I can’t think of anywhere that comes close to this. Looks like the ante is definitely being upped in Torre del Mar!
Las Perlas Gastrobar
Paseo Maritimo de Poniente, 44
Torre del Mar
(+34) 648 492 620