Welcome everyone Sandra in Spain - FlamencoI’m Sandra Piddock, and I’m a freelance writer, dividing my time between Spain and the UK. I’ll write about anything that interests and/or challenges me, and I like to focus on the lighter side of life whenever possible.. Read more
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Restaurant review: Stan & Ollie’s, El Raso, Guardamar

I belong to a local Facegroup group, Costa Blanca South Chat – or CBSC as we call it – and between Christmas and New Year, the group organised its first ‘real time’ meet up. Around 50 strangers descended on Stan & Ollie’s in El Raso, had a lovely evening and a fabulous meal, and departed as friends, determined to meet up again as soon as possible.

I’d heard lots of good reports of the restaurant, but never managed to rock up there until recently. Everyone I’ve spoken to who’s used the place is full of praise for the service, the staff and the food. In fact one friend said if he could only ever go to one restaurant, it would be Stan & Ollie’s. That’s my choice of words when telling people about my own favourite – Restaurante Alquibla in Algorfa – so I had pretty high expectations – and I wasn’t disappointed.

Stan & Ollie’s describes itself as a ‘fine dining’ restaurant, and that’s a justified description, because the food is certainly a step above the ordinary. However, with evening menus at €17.50 and €25.00 for three courses including half a bottle of wine, this is fine dining at pretty much cafeteria prices. The menu is mostly Mediterranean, with starters including pear and black pudding bonbons, scallops in pancetta, smoked chicken salad and baked Camembert. Mains cover all tastes, including vegetarian. Some of the menu highlights are the 500 gram T-bone steak, French trimmed rack of lamb, Osso Buco and baked sea Bream. If you still have room after these huge servings, there are around 8 – 10 home made desserts to choose from.

I chose roasted butternut squash soup for starters, garnished with seeds and finished with a swirl of cream. What can I say, other than Soup Heaven? I don’t often have soup as a starter, because it fills me up too much, but hey, there are loads of butternut squash on the markets at silly prices, so this was a road test to see if it’s a soup I’d make myself. The answer is a resounding ‘yes,’ although I doubt I’ll be able to match this one.

For my main course, I chose Beef Bourgignonne, served with mashed potatoes. Again, it was first class. There was plenty of it, along with generous dishes of vegetables for the table to share. And we were asked if we wanted more, which was great, because generally Spanish restaurants don’t go in for a lot of vegetables with their main courses. All the food was nice and hot, beautifully presented and served on warm plates. This was fine dining at its best, and nothing was too much trouble for the friendly, attentive staff.

I didn’t think I could possibly manage a sweet, but when I saw Banoffie pie on the menu – well, it would have been rude not to! All in all, you couldn’t fault the food, the service or the ambience. There was a birthday party of 10 on the table next to us, and they said it was the best birthday meal they’d had in a long time, thanks to the excellent food and the attentiveness and good humour of the staff. And if you’re a Laurel & Hardy fan, there are loads of figurines you can photograph while you’re there!

I’d recommend Stan & Ollie’s without reservation. It ticks all the boxes, and while it may be a little more expensive than some restaurants, it’s well worth the extra – particularly if you’re celebrating. Reservation is recommended, particularly at weekends. Book your table on 637 583 373 or 637 583 372, or fill in the online booking form. During the winter months, Stan & Ollie’s is open for evening service Monday – Saturday and 1.00 pm – 8.00 pm on Sundays.