Finding Puerto Lagasca was a pleasant accident. We initially wanted to try the original StreetXO in El Corte Ingles in Salamanca, but when we got there for 3pm, 1) the queue was absolutely phenomenal and 2) they weren’t letting any more punters in. Slightly deflated and hungry for good Spanish food, we searched for decent Plan Bs nearby, hoping the beautiful and exclusive Salamanca district won’t let us down.
And so we found Puerto Lagasca.
As you walk in, the first thing that hits you is a great waft of garlic. It’s strong enough to whet your appetite, but still subtle to not stain your clothes. This area is decked with high tables and a bar; the decor and the light wooden panels give it an airy, rustic country feel.
Plates of tostada and chopped tomatoes are pre-prepped on each table. I was slightly hesitant to dig into this for fear of having to eat stale anything. However, once I tried it I could not stop. Fresh sweet tomato with olive oil and a bit of garlic on top of bread? Simple joy in life.
The menu changes weekly, so it’s short and steady. Bar from the usual Spanish bar snacks and desserts, each category has 5-6 options. Most dishes can be served in half portions or in full plates, which I find really helpful as you get to try so much more. And the half portions are quite substantial already. They also have daily specials whenever the chef chances on awesome dishes of the day.
First up was a trio of confit artichoke on a bed of Iberico ham. Arriving in its picture-perfect glory, this dish called out to me big time.
The artichoke was definitely the hero of this dish. And rightly so. It was super fresh, with its earthy warming flavour shining through the saltiness of the ham. Delicious, and quite a great start to the meal.
Next up were some langoustines served on a bed of avocado and mango salsa. On paper, it’s the perfect combination – we already know how shellfish of this type go well with the humble avo. But surely, adding mango might make it too sweet? Puerto Lagasca’s offering is perfectly balanced, though. With the naturally sweet langoustines cooked to perfection, and the bed of guac and mango making a delicious bed of garnish.
I was mostly excited by the octopus and it came exactly how I wanted it. Smoky from the grill and soft as can be. It worked so well with the aioli mash, with its garlicky notes and hints of cheese.
Next came a plate of finely sliced veal embraced by rocket and parmesan. Again, this seemed like a simple dish of three ingredients but the flavour was simply delicious. The meat was seared, seemingly a flash fry, but it was tender and punchy.
The final savoury dish was a take on the classic Spanish bull tail stew aka ‘estofado de rabo de toro’ which I normally wouldn’t order. However, Puerto Lagasca’s offering was insanely delicious. Canellonni filled with soft, pulled oxtail swam in a thick, rich, bold sauce that is the perfect homage to its Cordoban origin. I can’t tell you how delicious this was – the oxtail tender with hints of fat and cartilage peppered in. There’s a soft hint of black truffle and it balances out all the sweet and earthy flavours from the plate. A winner.
Not shying away from les dulces, we had our first Spanish apple tart. Apples perfectly stewed, pastry soaked in the caramel drip off the apples… gosh this was heavenly. And the homemade cinnamon ice cream? My goodness. I want to live in Spain to eat this everyday.
Dessert special of the day was a millefeuille and it didn’t come in half portions. It arrived with a bang and we were rather impressed by how ginormous it was as it towered on the plate. I have a love-hate relationship with millefeuille, but this one was crazy good. I can’t believe how light and flaky the pastry was, and the vanilla cream filling came in the perfect portion. This was so enjoyable that I think they should consider naming it to “Gone in 60 seconds”. Because I literally inhaled the darn thing.
We realised we were the last table around. Whilst we know Spanish people ate much later than the rest of the world, we came in very late (3.30pm) for lunch service. The back end of the restaurant, which was filled with punters and laughter earlier, was completely deserted two hours later.
As we waited por la cuenta, one of our servers came up to us and offered some pacharan – on the house. It was a nice gesture, and reminded me of other European taverns I’ve visited and their hosts who have similarly offered their local liqueur.
Verdict of Puerto Lagasca
Puerto Lagasca was quite a good find. Located in the heart of the Salamanca area, it’s definitely a place I’d recommend you visit in between your hunt for new Gucci mules or that perfect Chanel tweed. Lol.
No, seriously. I was actually more than pleased to have chanced on this place, because the food highlighted traditional Spanish flavours in modern-day settings. Everything tasted fresh and the chefs really knew how to make star ingredients shine – as they should.
Service was great, waiters were really patient with our mediocre Spanish (they tried to speak English, too). And they were very helpful to customers and food bloggers who ask way too many questions.
Prices are reasonable and you really get good quality produce.
Go here and get stuffed, then burn the calories as you shop.