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Paco Lorente
El Gamonal: true to culinary tradition
Food critic

El Gamonal: true to culinary tradition

Sophisticated grills that avoid mixing the flavours of meat and fish

Enrique Bellver

San Pedro Alcántara

Tuesday, 23 April 2024, 10:12

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Alfonso Romero and María Luque first met while working in a local restaurant and 34 years ago they decided to open their own restaurant in San Pedro Alcántara. For several years now it has been their sons, Francis in the kitchen and Antonio in the dining room, who have taken over the baton, although their parents are still present at El Gamonal. The restaurant has grown from an establishment with ten tables to become one of the largest and most frequented gastronomic spaces in the area today, not only for celebrations, but also for the à la carte menu.

Much of its success lies in its location, a large enclosed space, with parking, exclusive areas for children to play in peace and quiet and well-defined areas for celebrations without these events affecting the à la carte dining room. Nevertheless, and it is fair to say, its traditional cuisine, most of which is sourced locally, is very popular.

If we go back in history, we have to go back to 1992, when it opened its doors in what used to be a cattle farm where there was an abundance of 'gamones', a herbaceous plant that was good for the treatment of skin conditions, hence the name of the restaurant, El Gamonal. It must be said that back then, when nobody was talking about so-called zero-kilometre produce, the recently opened restaurant was already serving traditional dishes made mostly with what the farm where it was located grew, from vegetables to meat. This loyalty to the products of the area and to tradition in the kitchen is what currently prevails in this house.

The arrival of Francisco and Antonio brought about a change, especially in the kitchen with the incorporation of new techniques and the use of more sophisticated grilling that allow fish and meat to be prepared separately and without mixing flavours and aromas, as well as the installation of an oven suitable for suckling pig and lamb. But as they are faithful to tradition, it is still possible to find dishes that have marked the whole era and which are still on the menu.

The wine cellar is in the same line, traditional wines from Ribera and Rioja and an attentive and professional service justify a visit.

Artichokes with ham

Paco Lorente

This seasonal dish is one of the dishes that have been a must on the menu for years. The artichokes are baked in the oven and then lightly grilled with sautéed strips of Iberian pork to add flavour and saltiness.

Fried octopus

Paco Lorente

A star dish of the house and one that Francis jealously guards the secret of its preparation. The crunchy texture of the octopus and its tender meat are surprising. The stewed potatoes and the accompanying sauce add to the dish's strength.

El Gamonal

  • Address Avda. Lorenzo Morito Romero, s/n. (San Pedro Alcántara) Call: 952 789 921. Web: El Gamonal

  • Prices Grilled artichokes: 14€. Grilled octopus: 20€. Entrecote: 25€

  • Evaluation Cuisine: 8 Restaurant: 7 Wine list: 7.5 Rating: 8/10

Sautéed leeks with garlic

Paco Lorente

A real zero-kilometre dish, both for the freshness and quality of the leeks and garlic, as well as for the pistachios that form an essential part of the sauce. A sweet touch helps to soften the flavour of the leek itself.

Grilled entrecote

Great care is taken with the grilling. Separate grills for meat and others for fish, which gives an authentic flavour to each of the dishes. The Galician blonde breed of beef cattle is perfectly matured and also perfectly cooked.

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