Lifestyle March, 6th 2012 by

There’s French, and there’s French.....

There’s French, and there’s French…..
AJ Linn
A visit to French restaurant is often a first experience when it comes to haute cuisine – love it or hate it – but you have to admit the French are masters of gourmet sophistication and quality.
The odd thing is that a country that was once considered No. 1 in wine and food has now been relegated by international consent to a lower rating than Spain. Perhaps it has something to do with a certain superiority, such as their refusal until recently to identify grape varieties on wine labels. Why not? Because if you were drinking the stuff you should know what grapes were used.
Locally, French restaurants come and go, and recently I experienced the best and the worst. On the Golden Mile a classically-named restaurant only serves French wines and the maitre doesn’t speak Spanish. The boss sits at a table in the corner chatting to his friends, oblivious of the fact that a metre away there are (sometimes) customers. Not even a glance in their direction, much less a stroll around asking people if are enjoying the food, but perhaps he doesn’t need to enquire……..
There is also a French restaurant that is a monument to the best classical food, Albert y Simón. Old man Benisty opened La Parada in Marbella in 1968, then moved to Casa David and from there to El Soufflé in El Pilar urbanisation in 1987. A Michelin star followed, the second in Andalucia after Paul Schiff’s La Hacienda.
The recession of the 90s put an end to that, and after a stopover in Nueva Atalaya, the brothers seem to have found their final home in Nueva Alcántara, 44 years after it all started. Classic dishes such as Truffled Potato Foam, Bresse Pigeon, Scallops with vinaigrette of black truffle, ‘Esmeralda’ of lobster, Medallions of turbot, etc, with sauces and confitures of great quality.

The desserts are excellent and the wine list one of the best you will see in Marbella. This is how a real French restaurant should be. 

AJ Linn

Andrew Linn left England 40 years ago to relocate to Spain, having been involved in businesses such as wine shipping and publishing. He currently writes regularly and professionally on wine, food, flamenco, and the Spanish way of life for various publications, and has a regular column in a Spanish newspaper. Andrew is involved in charity work relating to abandoned and mistreated animals.

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