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Table Talk :: El Marinero

Wednesday March 7, 2012

Table Talk :: El Marinero

Set amidst a shoal of samey seafood restaurants in Arrieta’s small ‘high street’ El Marinero really is a unique catch. Thanks to an imaginative menu that offers much more than just the usual Canarian classics – and dishes that are put together with some real creativity and passion by the young head chef Nauzet Santana. Who is from Gran Canaria and has earned his chops in kitchens across Spain as well as here on Lanzarote.

Swimming Against The Tide

As long term residents and regular visitors will readily attest menus rarely differ from restaurant to restaurant on the island. You know what you’re going to find before you even sit down at most establishments and the same old staples just keep on cropping up. Which can make eating out a little predictable, if not downright boring.

So if nothing else the team at El Marinero should be applauded for daring to deviate from the norm – especially as they are surrounded by restaurants that all seem to do a decent trade by simply churning out the usual suspects, such as gambas al ajillo, fresh fish and papas arrugadas.

The menu at El Marinero though is markedly different – featuring inventive and unusual dishes and strong Catalan influences that you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else on Lanzarote. For example amongst the starters the surprises included a delicate prawn and vegetable tempura, an oak leaf salad with goats cheese and sesame seeds, tuna and tomato tatin and asparagus in herb dressing.

Whilst amongst the mains we struggled to settle on a choice from a wide selection that included confit of bacalao, fideua - a Catalonian version of paella which substitutes pasta for rice, suckling pig, stuffed lamb with cous cous and fish carpaccio with squid, flax oil and moraine chips.

Daily specials further augment the main menu – which clearly take advantage of whatever local ingredients are currently in season. And all of this is served up in a room with great sea views and glass floor panels that give you glimpses of the waves rolling in below.

Colour, Creativity & Care

The way in which the food is put together on the plate is different at El Marinero too – with plenty of care given to presentation, colour and texture. Suggesting that someone in the kitchen is actually striving to create something special here rather than just going through the motions.

Big eaters beware though - portions can be a little nouvelle and on the small side – for example the lonely looking sole prawn tempura would have benefitted from the addition of at least one further companion.

But on the upside this is a menu that has been carefully designed to steer you comfortably through three courses and this does mean that you get to leave room for some seriously tempting afters. Which are again augmented by daily specials – such as a memorable chocolate soufflé with vanilla ice cream.

Given the standard of cooking you’d be forgiven for expecting to pay more for your meal here than in a typical Canarian restaurant. But this isn’t the case at all – as most starters came in at around €6 and mains between €12 and €15 – no different in fact to the more traditional establishment located right next door. Diners are also treated to a complimentary glass of cava on arrival – and a delicious muscatel digestif to sweeten the pill of the bill.

Fact File

El Marinero is open daily, except Tuesday, from 13.00 to 16.00 and again from 18.00 to 21.00 (like most restaurants outside the main resorts the bulk of their trade is done at lunchtime). You can call them on 0034 928 848382, email them at elmarinerorestaurante@gmail.com or find them on Facebook. They´ve also enjoyed some glowing reviews on Trip Advisor.

The restaurant is easy to find, just drive into the village of Arrieta, turn left at the mini roundabout outside the small supermarket and you´re on Calle La Garita, where El Marinero is located behind large wooden doors at number 60.

 

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