Sunday, 20 January 2013

Casa Marieta - Girona, Spain

Casa Marieta
Founded in 1892, Casa Marieta is Girona's oldest restaurant. It's situated in the pretty Plaça Independència; a now modern looking square with views of the cathedral which is just a short walk away.

After a flight from Manchester, we were starved by about 11am. We had a pepperoni pizza slice on the plane (don't even ask...) but needless to say there was very little actual food in that, so we were on the hunt for something filling. After persuading the boys that Burger King was not an option, we set off to explore Girona. Vicki and I had both found Casa Marieta when Googling decent places to eat, but decided to see where we found whilst wandering.

After managing to bypass the entire city by taking a wrong turn, we finally found the centre of Girona, and landed at Plaça Independència. It was like a ghost town! Whilst sulking like a pack of teenagers, Vicki noticed Casa Marieta was right in front of us. Nothing opens until about 1pm, with the exception of a few coffee bars and patisseries, so we had to wait... We decided to kill an hour by sampling the local cake shop - just to keep energy levels up.
Casa Marieta - Inside
Inside looked quite dated and very orange indeed. It also had the most sinister looking cuckoo clock I have ever seen. However, we were determined to try some Catalan cuisine rather than a beige looking burger which we would regret later. Despite its odd interior, the staff seemed friendly and made every effort to speak English. We were horribly ashamed of our total inability to speak even a word of Catalan.

We genuinely had no idea what to order, or what size the dishes were. There didn't seem to be a standard starter, main, dessert format, but it didn't seem to be tapas as we knew it either. Our lovely waitress did a stirling job of describing dishes (despite the fact she spoke little English) and won us over with her enthusiasm.

The dishes we started with (although not starters as such...) were quite large really. Working clockwise from the picture below: Paddy opted for sausages with cheese and bread (all bread is smeared with tomato juice and olive oil) which was actually lots of slices of continental meats, Wayne had chicken croquettes the 'ancient way', Vicki had a platter of Iberian ham with bread, and I had one of the daily specials, which was described as a vegetable omelette without eggs, served with bacon. Quite accurate really! We were also given bread sticks with an orange dip which tasted a little like cream cheese. We have no idea what it was. None whatsoever.

We all agreed that everything was fantastic, but even better when we shared a little of each others, as large portions of the same thing got a little too much!
Casa Marieta - To start...
For 'mains' (again, clockwise) Wayne had Botifarra (Catalan pork sausage) with potato and plum tomato, Paddy and I both had the lamb chops with garlic potatoes and Vicki had the squid. Once again, everything we ordered was great, but we preferred to share so we got a bit more variety.
Casa Marieta - Mains
We enjoyed all the dishes we had, but found that sometimes there was too much of just one thing on the plate. However, ingenious as we are, we started to nick each others. Crisis averted, toot sweet.

Just as we finished our meal our waitress came and asked what else we had planned for the afternoon. Despite the fact she was clearly struggling with her English, she went into lots of detail about the cathedral area across the bridge, and how beautiful it was.

The strangest thing about this restaurant is the waterfall at the bottom of the stairs. You will only see this if you nip to the bathroom at some point. Basically, I'm insisting that you go for a wee if you visit Casa Marieta. It was really difficult to get decent pictures of how it works, so I will have to try and describe it...

In a corner of the landing there is a beautifully lit waterfall incased in glass. It then travels under the floor, where the viewing window then opens up to a deep drop which goes under the building. It must be some sort of ancient well, as the building has been there since 1892! So strange, but eerily pretty.
Casa Marieta - The Waterfall
This was the ideal meal to have before the mammoth tasting menu we had planned for the evening. Nothing too stodgy, yet filling enough to keep us going until the evening.

We did walk up to the cathedral area, and she was quite right. It was indeed beautiful!

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