Restaurant Review - La Cantina de Manuel, Padul
by The Tapas Lunch Company
From the TLC Blog
When the vastly experienced Diego Morales left his secure post as head chef at a top Granada restaurant, many people in the trade thought he was crazy.
He opted to set up his own restaurant closer to his home in Padul, ten minutes outside the city that is home to the Alhambra Palace.
But La Cantina quickly established a regular clientele and the bold move by Morales has paid off. Where former colleagues predicted his downfall, unlike some others, his restaurant has survived an economic recession.
Much time and care was taken to decorate the restaurant in a sophisticated style that would match the menu.
An outside terrace was constructed which, despite the passing traffic, is a pleasant area for summer dining. The exterior seating has served to draw the attention of passers by, who were previously unaware that the premises did indeed house a restaurant.
Inside the building is divided into two by a folding screen. On one side is a long bar and on the other is the smart restaurant. Whilst the screen prevents those on one side from staring at those on the other side; it fails to prevent the noise from the bar reaching those eating in the restaurant. On nights when important football matches are being screened in the bar, any hope of a quiet dinner for two in the restaurant may be dashed.
However, there was much to cheer about when it came to the food on offer.
To start with the four of us shared two well presented salads each of which were fresh and tasty, and that wasn't the only pleasant surprise on offer.
It is a mystery to all why so few local restaurants serve fresh vegetables. At La Cantina they are plentiful thanks to the fact that Morales grows his own at a nearby allotment.
My friend Patricia, a lady who really knows her onions when it comes to catering, was ecstatic at savouring fresh, green vegetables.
Friend Dave chose the same dish as on his first visit – an Ox steak – about which he was very complimentary.
Nola enjoyed the chargrilled fig that accompanied her main course of Pork. My steak was excellent and was cooked just as I like it.
It is not cheap to eat at La Cantina. You will be paying the same prices as at some of the better restaurants in Granada, but look on the bright side - you will be paying less than at some of the worst!
Parking outside the restaurant is easy and the service is efficient, although it is a pity that not all the main courses arrived at the same time. But that is not a rare event in Spanish restaurants.
The area between Granada and the coastal city of Motril is crying out for a proper restaurant serving quality food. It is ironic then that, in a region where far too much of the food on offer is akin to canteen food, it has been left to a restaurant called La Cantina to show the way forward.