El Far is a name that’s synonymous with the historic Sant Sebastiá lighthouse that for centuries guided ships along the Costa Brava. The adjacent inn was a favourite among the locals who came here to enjoy the sea breeze, the majestic views and a glass or two of vino. Spectacularly situated high above the seaside town of Llafranc, on a bluff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the newly refurbished inn now houses the El Far Hotel-Restaurant and is a gorgeous spot for fine Catalan cuisine and unforgettable views.
Dining at El Far Restaurant
On my recent visit to El Far Restaurant, I was, well, quite literally spoiled silly by the sumptuous food and wines and the incredible views.
The view of the iconic Sant Sebastiá lighthouse and the bright blue Mediterranean Sea is the first thing that grabs (and holds) your attention. It was hard to tear my eyes away from the view but I had to when the charismatic chef, Tony Saez, showed up at my table. With a cheeky grin, he asked me what I wanted to eat (a ‘test’ of my knowledge of Costa Brava cuisine perhaps? 😉 ). “Some calamari would be nice.” And after a quick glance at the surrounding tables, I added, “Oh, and those mussels look beautiful”. I picked my brain for more Costa Brava specialties and I remembered the divine suquet de peix (fish stew) I had a few months back and the black squid ink rice I’d read about. I mentioned these too and Chef Tony beamed with delight – guess I passed the ‘test’ :-).
Chef Tony returned moments later with a curious mix of potato chips, marinated mussels and a jelly-like concoction with olives. This, he explained, was a traditional appetiser from the Empordá – the jelly was in fact gelatinised martini complete with an olive in its middle. Pretty ingenious! The mussels were incredibly fresh and the martini jelly/olive concoction was a special treat!
Not long after, the waiter brought a battery of dishes to the table. Calamari, mussels, prawns and anchovies to start.
The combination of the fresh seafood and the wonderful sea view was absolutely magical. I didn’t have much time to catch my breath as the black squid ink rice, packed with mussels and crawfish, was soon served. There’s just something intriguing about this thick black liquid that adds not only colour but a distinct iodised flavour to the dish. The taste and aromas of the ocean were unmistakable.
Chef Tony dropped by to check my progress and I thanked him profusely for the amazing meal. He looked at me with child-like glee and announced that there was more to come! Oh dear… The feast continued with the suquet de peix Tony Saez-style. The suquet was filled with potatoes and huge chunks of fish. Cooked to perfection, the suquet was robust with flavour and the chunks of fish were beautifully tender. I’m not sure how I did it but I cleaned my plate!
The feast ended with a chocolate melange and a gorgeous, creamy custard served in eggshells (another Tony Saez signature dish).
Needless to say, I ate very well. Before I left the table, I took one last look at the magnificent view. It was a sublime experience, one that I can recommend to anyone who’s looking for an excellent place to wine and dine in the Llafranc-Palafrugell area. Seriously, if the views don’t blow you away, the food certainly will!
About El Far Hotel-Restaurant
El Far Hotel-Restaurant is the sister-hotel of the luxurious Mas de Torrent Hotel-Spa and boasts commanding views of the stunning Costa Brava coastline and the hilly Empordá region. Housed in an 18th century inn adjacent to the famous Sant Sebastiá lighthouse, the hotel-restaurant belongs to the Mas de Torrent Group and has been completely refurbished. In addition to superb cuisine, El Far also has nine exclusive rooms. The hotel-restaurant also has its own chapel and banquet facilities, making it ideal for weddings and receptions with a spectacular view!
Note: El Far hosted me at their hotel-restaurant but all views are mine.