The linguine was nicely spiced. | Andrew Valente


When confinement was ended last year and the restaurants opened in May, some of them offered reduced prices on their menú del día. In Casa Gallega in Avda Compte de Sallent, the main courses even included fillets of John Dory and fillet mignon steaks…on a menu del día at €15.50.

These customer-friendly deals were also at other places and since Tuesday they can now be enjoyed again at those restaurants with terraces, pavement areas or parking spots in front of their premises.

There’s a good menu-for-two deal at Sandro in Calle Ramon i Cajal where you can eat on a large wooden platform in a parking area, as well as at a pavement
space beside the restaurant door.

Sandro’s special offer for two consists of any shared starter from the menu and a pasta or pizza per person, also from the menu. Any of the desserts are included in the price, but drinks are separate.

Our shared starter was Sandro’s take on parmigiana, the Napolitan speciality made with fried slices of aubergine combined with tomato sauce, mozzarella made with buffalo milk, and basil.

Sandro, like most Italian cooks, knows how to handle aubergines and this dish was sheer succulence from the first mouthful to the last.

The sliced aubergine was fried in plenty of olive oil, the tomato sauce was thick, smooth and scrummy and the genuine mozzarella cheese melted beautifully. The dish’s good points added up to a 10-rating.

People who try to reproduce an Italian aubergine dish at home often make a mess of it because they didn’t use enough olive oil when frying the aubergine slices.
When we aubergines are fried in a scanty amount of olive oil, the pulp has the woolly texture of felt and the taste isn’t right. Italian and Spanish cooks know that, so they never skimp on the olive oil. Neither should we.

Although I’m always on the lookout for a good pizza, the possibility of sharing two pasta dishes was a temptation I couldn’t resist so we had stuffed panzerotti and linguine alla puttanesca.

The panzerotti were homemade and one of Sandro’s inventions. They had a goat’s cheese stuffing, so the dish started off with a lovely texture and taste. Sandro did a sauce that included mushrooms, chopped dried figs and a demiglace. As demiglace sometimes includes red wine, which also pairs nicely with goat’s cheese, Sandro added a bit.

The parmigiana was worth a 10-rating

The sauce ended up with a superb taste but the wine gave it a colour that wasn’t very attractive for a pasta dish so it didn’t have much eye-appeal. But the flavour was superb and the addition of chopped dried figs was a masterstroke.

The linguine alla puttanesca came with the thick and very smooth tomato sauce Sandro does so well, and also anchovies, capers and garlic. It was adorned with an alcaparrón, the fruit of the caper bush. All dishes alla puttanesca are spicy hot but Sandro kept the chilli’s presence in the background, which is where I prefer it to be.

The veredict

Eating at Sandro is always a pleasure because he believes in getting things right which means, among other things, that he uses authentic high quality products and cooks them properly. And his prices are right — and that always makes difference.

The €16.95 per person for the menu for two is great value for money, partly because all of the dishes are à la carte.

The coulant de chocolate

The parmigiana dish was succulently scrummy and the linguine alla puttanesca came with Sandro’s very special tomato sauce that is so beautifully thick and smooth — and for this dish with just the right touch of spicy heat.

For dessert we had coulant de chocolate that was served with an especially well made version of stracciatella ice cream.

The place

Ristorante Sandro and CienDuros, Calle Ramón i Cajal 9 (Tel:971-962311). Opening and closing times for restaurants keep changing in these days of the coronavirus, so it’s best to phone and check — and also make a reservation because Sandro has only a few tables on his part of the parking area.

The bill

The two menus plus a €2 supplement for the panzerotti, an extra €1.5 for the dessert, and two cañas came to just over €40.

I handed over a €50 note and as I started to search in my pocket to find the small coins, Sandro’s assistant Nadia waved them away and gave me a €10 note.

The cañas had beautiful heads