Had an excellent dinner at Cafe Gibraltar last night. It was one of those rare clear nights on the San Mateo coast that certainly added to the enjoyment of the evening. The restaurant is pan-Mediterranean in influence with a few of the chef's own creations mixed in. Here's what we had:
+ Turkish octopus and calamari salad - perfectly prepared squid with an amazingly tender texture. Overall flavors were outstanding.
+ Oysters three ways - roasted with pimenton aioli, raw with avocado and fried with watermelon relish. Of the three preparations, the roasted stood out.
+ Watermelon and feta salad with roasted walnuts and harissa/citrus dressing - delicious and refreshing.
+ Crudo of white fish (not sure of the species) with coconut cream, avocado and jalapeno. Great combination.
+ Sardinian "Cassola" - a fresh "stew" with scallops, crab and white fish in a light tomato/vegetable broth.
+ Provencal style rabbit - served over house-made pappardelle with mushrooms, onion and herbs. Really satisfying dish.
We shared several different wines by the glass to compliment the dishes. Our server recommended the perfect matches to the cuisine. We also shared a couple of outstanding desserts.
This was our first visit here, but it will certainly be part of our rotation. The food, much of it from organic farms surrounding the restaurant, is prepared with skill -- the chef knows to let the quality of the ingredients come through (and how to source high quality veggies, meat and seafood). The service was great - you could tell the staff enjoys working there. The wine list is well-chosen and reasonably priced.
I highly recommend Cafe Gibraltar as a great spot to dine on the San Mateo coast.
425 Ave. Alhambra, El Granada, CA 94018