When I walked past Restaurant Casa Rita in Baiona in Galicia, Spain, on my Camino walk at lunchtime last week, and I saw a chef placing fresh fish and shellfish on ice into the display window, I had to photograph it. When I saw that the restaurant has a Michelin knife and fork accreditation, I went inside to book for that evening. Chef Sefi Brea promised me that a waiter would be able to serve me in English.
Michelin awards restaurants a knife and fork accreditation when it feels that the restaurant could be ready for a Michelin Star accreditation in future. Earlier this year Restaurant Casa Rita received its Michelin knife and fork ,
I arrived ten minutes before my reservation at 20h30, the restaurant being in darkness. I thought I must have misheard the chef. Then a number of staff entered the restaurant, and I was asked to wait outside for ten more minutes, which was no problem. The Chef arrived on the dot of opening time….
It was to be a treat, to celebrate the Camino halfway mark, and so I dressed in ‘civvies’ for the first time in a week, and even managed to get my damaged feet into my ballet shoes and walked reasonably comfortably in them to the restaurant.
I sat down, and Antonio the husband and restaurant front of house, explained that his mother and Chef Sefi’s grandmother both are called Rita, and so they named the restaurant after the two Ritas.
Before I was allowed to see the menu, Antonio ran it through with me, and I was told that all the fish and shellfish is cooked on the grill. They offer lobster, razor clams, clams, ‘carbonera’ (he didn’t know the English name of the langoustine-like shellfish, bringing one to the table, and Google was not helpful either, my spelling being phonetic), barnacles, scallops small ‘alive’ and large ‘dead’, baby squid, octopus, hake cheeks, a red fish, which he wrote the name of in my book in a doctor’s handwriting but unreadable to me, sea bass, grunter, and monk fish. Then I was allowed to see the menu, all in Spanish, and it not being clear how the Spanish names on the menu link to the English names he had given me of all the fish and shellfish types. I was told that most of the dishes could be served with or without a sauce….
At the prices quoted on the menu, in the region of €22 – €44, I decided that it was best that I leave, a drinks order not even having been taken in the first hour of being at the restaurant, my anxiety level rising. Only one couple and I were in the restaurant. I realized that struggling in Spanglish was going to be a nightmare for the rest of the dinner….. I expressed my apology and left the restaurant.
Restaurant Casa Rita, 17 Carabela La Pinta. Baiona, Galicia, Spain, Tel +39 677 068 365. www.casarita.eu
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Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein