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Monday, 21 July 2014

Restaurant La Plaza, Canillas de Albaida, Malaga (Review)

Review - Restaurant La Plaza, Canillas de Albaida, Malaga

Over a long period of time (more years than I care to remember in fact) I have eaten in every restaurant in the mountain villages of Competa, Canillas de Albaida, Arches and Sayalonga.

Many no longer exist, many have changed management, new ones open up regularly and of course there are also those that simply should not be there at all!!!

Then of course there are those where the management remains but a new chef is bought in.  This could be due to various reasons, perhaps the chef moves on, perhaps the chef is replaced.  Whatever the reason, a new chef can often revive a restaurant that may have become tired.  Equally, a new chef can also kill a previously popular restaurant too.

Restaurant La Plaza has seen several new chefs over the years.  It’s always been popular and sits in a beautiful position too.  It is part of Posada La Plaza Hotel, which is located directly opposite the restaurant within the square (La Plaza).

I have eaten there on many occasions myself.  Not for a long period though for which there have been some valid reasons.  One being that we were unsure whether or not it was still trading!

However, recent advertising announcing a new chef and a new menu too inspired us to go back.

With my brother and sister-in-law visiting for a few days, it seemed the perfect opportunity for a re-visit, especially as this is one restaurant they had actually never been to on previous visits.

Unfortunately, there was a cold breeze that evening (despite now being summer).  However we had no choice but to sit outside due to me   currently being unable to the tackle stairs up to the dining area inside.

For my starter course, I chose the Indonesian spare ribs with bean sprout salad.

Indonesian Rack of Ribs with Bean Sprout Salad

A reasonable size rack of ribs, marinated and cooked until almost falling off the bone.  Succulent, tender and flavoursome.  Albeit, a little dry at either end, due to re-heating I suspect!  The bean sprout salad was a perfect accompaniment.  Mixed with onion and peppers and served with a tasty dressing.  Personally, I would have preferred a thicker, sweeter sauce, which would also have been perfect for mopping up with the ribs too.

Despite this, it was a good choice and I would order it again.

For the main meal, I opted for Duck Confit.  A dish rarely found in restaurants in Spain, so I was looking forward to this.

Duck Confit

I was not disappointed either, a perfect choice.  Perfectly cooked confit duck leg, positioned on top of a carrot and potato mash, well seasoned and quite smooth.  All accompanied with fresh and crunchy broccoli and cauliflower florets, carrot slices and roast potatoes.  The thick gravy completed the dish, which had a slight sweetness to it and a perfect flavour balance, but not quite enough of it!  I did request extra a short while later and was expecting it to be bought to the table separately.  However, I was a little taken aback when the Waitress whisked away my plate and returned it now swimming in far too much gravy.  This time however, it had not been reduced to provide the same previous consistency, nor was there the sweetness either.  Very runny and a little too salty too which rather spoiled what was originally a perfect dish.

That said, I’ll know another time to request the gravy be served separately upon placing the order and plenty of it too!  My only other request would be not to have the sliced carrots.  The other vegetables were plenty, rendering the additional carrots unnecessary.

Fast forward…………………………….

That delicious meal was almost 3 weeks ago.  I was unable to publish this earlier due to receiving many guests/visitors from family and friends and therefore had little time to prepare it for posting.

In the meantime, I, together with my husband, in-laws and several friends have visited La Plaza again.

This time, it was a beautiful summer evening, without the cold wind as before.  The owner, Gustavo was also waiting every table the whole evening.  He was on holiday during our last visit, so it was nice to see him this time as it’s been a few years.

Wanting to try a different dish, this visit I chose the Beef Fillet with Mushroom Sauce for the main my course.

Beef Fillet

Beef Fillet

I order steak with caution most of the time.  It’s rarely perfectly cooked to my liking, resulting in disappointment and sending it back!  There is normally only one particular restaurant where I always order steak and nothing else (review of that to follow another time).  So to order steak here was a risk for me.  But don’t tell Gustavo please!!!!!

When my dish arrived I was so pleased to see the fresh Cauliflower and Broccoli Florets again, alongside the Carrot and Potato mash.  The beautiful looking Beef fillet was placed on top of the mushroom sauce.  However, I was also hoping for those delicious roast potatoes again, but no.  In there place I received Patatas a lo Pobre (poor mans potatoes).  A simple side of sliced potatoes, cooked in olive oil with seasoning, sliced onions and peppers.  A nice dish but not, in my opinion, restaurant quality fare.  Tapas yes or served in the home, but not in many restaurants and definitely not alongside fillet steak!

Before tucking in, my first task was to check out the cooking of the beef.  I cut straight through the middle as this is the only way to check if it is cooked to my liking (medium).  Perfectly cooked beef fillet, one happy diner as I hate having to return food with complaints!!

The mushroom sauce was delicious too and certainly helped me to quickly forget I was still missing those beautiful roast potatoes!

My Husband ordered the Salmon, as recommended by Gustavo.  He was pleased with his choice too and was relieved it was served with new potatoes (with butter for dipping in) and a salad.  He will not touch “trees” as he calls them.  In other words, real vegetables!

I was too full to enjoy a dessert on our previous visit so was keen not to miss out again!!!!

No dessert menu as such was offered to peruse.  Instead, Gustavo explained what was available.  The choices were, Crema Catalana, Crème Brulee, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Tiramasu or Chocolate Mousse.

The first two instantly struck me as strange choice to offer both as an option.  One is Spanish, One French but basically the same dessert!  The only difference being the cooking method of each.  That aside, some delicious choices were offered.

Like many, I do enjoy a good Sticky Toffee Pudding.  However despite not being adverse to dates, I do prefer a pudding without them.  Purists will naturally be frowning at that comment!  But, I find they spoil it by making the pudding too heavy and bring nothing to the texture or flavour.  I love a moist, light sponge with a lot of toffee sauce!

Before ordering, I questioned the ingredients in the sponge and was delighted when Gustavo assured me there were no dates.  Despite being a little sceptical, as I have been told this in other restaurants, only to find it is in fact packed with dates, I went ahead and ordered it.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Excellent, the best Sticky Toffee Pudding I have ever been served in a restaurant!  Upon its arrival, I was disappointed to see such a small portion.  Despite this, I was however unable to finish it!!!!!!  A little fresh cream was swirled into the toffee sauce which made for a nice presentation.  So too was the addition of Walnuts.


I most definitely recommend this Restaurant.

The Hotel Posada La Plaza, opposite the restaurant in La Plaza (the square) also has much to offer (click link at start of post to view website).  The square is for pedestrian access only.  However motorbikes occasionally ride through.  Cars are unable to enter the Plaza.  But, for those with walking difficulties you can enter by car upon prior arrangement with the management when booking (applies to both Hotel and Restaurant only bookings).  This is necessary for the security post to be released upon your arrival.  No facilities for disabled are available within the restaurant nor Hotel.

Inside (upstairs) and roof terrace dining available.  Outside dining, within the Plaza.

Friendly service and nothing is too much trouble.

Food -            9/10   Very good
Service -        8/10   Good
Location        5/10   Pretty setting, but not suitable for disabled or infirm
Pricing           9/10   Fair
Food choice 8/10   Good – Vegetarian Main Meals offered, but no
Starters available!


  1. That sticky toffee pudding looks unbelievably good! One of my favorite desserts.

    1. It certainly was Heather, thanks for stopping by and commenting.


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