Avilés Eats: Cider, fresh seafood, and excellent service at La Botella
I hadn’t done any research into restaurants in either Asturias or Galicia, so just asked the lady at the hotel’s front desk for recommendations. She named four place; the first seemed a bit too busy (and commercial, with merchandise on sale), the second seemed a bit grungy, the third I was simply stared at when I walked in, given me an uncomfortable feeling.
Finally, I ended up at La Botella. I was welcomed in by a waiter and brought upstairs to a table.
His service was great throughout, even though he seemed to be the only waiter serving all of the tables upstairs, attentive and checking in on how things were going. The staff even thanked me upon leaving. This is something that is sometimes missed in Spain!
Lots of plaid!
This being my first meal in Asturias, I had to try the cider, or sidra. I had absolutely no idea how it worked - I thought I was just ordering a glass of cider! It turns out that one must aerate the cider, and only one gulp of cider is poured at a time. Traditionally the waiters pour the cider from a great height, but here they provided an aerating bottle top. The waiter showed me how to do it the first time, and then I was on my own.
For a starter, I chose something that I was very curious about, the pastel de cabracho. Cabracho is scorpionfish, and instead of being like a pate, it was more of a flan. Delicious, with the toast points and either a mayonnaise or a thousand-island type of dressing. It wasn’t very fish, but very light in flavor.
For my second course, I had to order the well-known Asturian stew of large white beans, which was prepared with clams here. This was absolutely delicious! There was a bite from copious garlic, and the brininess of the clams were luxurious.
And the clams weren’t just any old clams; they were plump and juicy. I loved mopping up the sauce with some bread.
Around me I could see that most people were ordering fish or seafood, simply grilled or fried. Upon exiting, I saw that they even had a live seafood tank, like in Chinese restaurants.
So if I were to return to Avilés, I would definitely come back, and order some of the fresh seafood dishes that seemed so popular. With the excellent service, La Botella is really a winning restaurant.