Calle Seneca 12
Tel.: +34 963 817 516
Overall rating: 6.5/10
Date of visit: March 2012
La Salita was a bit like I had expected: Very modern and inventive food, but not much depth of flavour.
My grade for the cooking goes mainly for the inventiveness and the beautiful presentation. For instance I was giving a glass of something that looked like champagne or cava, but it was actually gazpacho where they had taken out the colour and then added bubbles.
The first course was called coffee and cakes. It was actually a cup of tomato soup, goat cheese resembling cream, and several small savoury dishes that looked like cakes.
Next was octopus, lettuce and smalle spheres with orange:
A fish wrapped in seaweed (which overpowered the fish itself):
Then the tomato “cava” with bubbles:
Cod with tomatoes on top, and rye bread amongst other things:
Gin and Tonic as granité:
I didn’t see much flavour in these first five courses.
Then came the best course (and the first with flavour): Thyme risotto. The mild duck liver and duck ham in the risotto couldn’t quite cut through the intense thyme flavour, so those ingredients unfortunately became a bit superfluous in the dish as a whole. Nevertheless, very good.
Pork with melon and beetroot and potato crisps. The pork dish was also good, but still just a bit too mild. Later, I went to El Celler de Can Roca and found out that the dish in La Salita was simply a copy of the one in El Celler de Can Roca (I assume it’s not the other way around).
The dessert was, once again, coffee and cakes. The coffee was a chocolate fondant in a cup with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. The ice cream was a little bit too frozen, but the chocolate fondant was EXACTLY the way a chocolate fondant should be: Crispy on the outside and warm and runny on the inside, but most importantly: The chocolate flavour was very intense. Great!
The rest of the dessert was also nice and pleasant, but it didn’t really make me feel anything. That said, this dessert was in part somewhat similar to the dessert I had at Pierre Gagnaire‘s very expensive three star restaurant in Paris, and the tray of small desserts he presented wasn’t much different (or any better) than the ones at La Salita (however, Pierre Gagnaire’s dessert came in several servings, and for instance his liquorice ice cream is the best liquorice ice cream I’ve ever had).
Service was also good, but not as pampering as in Michelin star restaurants. If they improved tiny details, the service would go from being good to being Michelin star level: Topping up water the minute my glass is empty, putting all the plates for all the guests on the table at exactly the same moment (as for instance was done at Kokkeriet in Copenhagen and Daniel in New York), asking me if I want another bottle of water and so on. It’s simply tiny suggestions – there was nothing wrong with the service, very friendly and talkative. Both the service and the interior reminded me more of a café than a top restaurant. I take it they have started out recently, and are still trying to find their path. Granted, the price was low for this type of food, so if they want to have this type of service, they would have to hire more waiters, hence making the price higher.
It wasn’t clear to me if the restaurant had already paired the menu with wine, but I asked for just a glass of white and a glass of red, and unlike at La Sucursal and Sangonereta they didn’t ask me to try several wines or asked for my preferences so I could see which one I liked best, they just served me something. That said, the white wine was probably the best Spanish white wine I had tried at that point (which doesn’t say much), so that was definitely a good choice.
Then there’s value for money: 8 courses and a loaf of bread for €40,5, but no appetizers, which there usually is in this type of restaurant. That said, the price in similar restaurants is usually around €50-€60 for a menu + wine, bread and water, so you get what you pay for in both places. I do feel that the price was very reasonable. The wine I had was €3,24 per glass, and half a litre of water was €2,16. Total bill: €40,5 for the food, 2 x €2,16 for water, 2 x €3,24 for wine = €51,30.
I don’t like spicy food at all, but I like depth of flavour. Seeing how Spanish people cook, and seeing what food the restaurants serve, it seems to me that Spanish people prefer mild food. Therefore, I would say that La Salita would be very good for Valencians who want to try “fancy” cooking without paying as much as in for instance Riff, La Sucursal or Ca’sento. It probably would not be so good for people who are used to going to Michelin star restaurants. For them I would still recommend Samsha, Riff, and, if it hadn’t closed, Sangonereta.
La Salita clearly have ambitions, and if they stay as ambitious and inventive, and maybe put a little more flavour and identity into the food, I’m sure they will eventually gain a Michelin star.