Wednesday, 21st August 2019
EATING OUT Article
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This Month's Magazine
The WXPG food review – El Estribo - Sabinillas

The WXPG food review – El Estribo - Sabinillas

El Estribo, Sotogrande Current Opening Hours: Every Day from 12 noon to 16.00 & 19.00 to 23.30.

The food reviews are not advertisements. We pay for the meal then we comment and give points as honestly as we can for the benefit of readers. The points relate to quality and price according to the standard of the restaurant.  We try to avoid bad reports so we visit only restaurants which we believe are worth reporting on.

*Key: Price: M - Dress Code: SC

*FBA = First Bite Appeal
*Price Code (excl. drinks):
L = 15 - 30 Euros
M = 30 - 60 Euros
H = 50 – 100+ Euros
*Dress Code:
CC = Casual Comfortable
SC = Smart Casual
F = Formal

Introduction
It would seem that there are quite a few restaurants that pass themselves off as Argentinian, it is therefore relevant to highlight a genuine Argentinian restaurant, especially when the prices do not do take advantage of that fact. This is why we decided to visit this restaurantÂ’s second branch in Sotogrande and verify that pricings and quality are still the same.   

The Staff
We had not booked but a pleasant young lady showed us to a vacant table that she thought we might like. We found the waitresses extremely attentive, polite and the service efficient, but not hurried. What is more, they were smiling! It was just right and we felt comfortable and well attended to at the same time. Even the chef came to our table to ask if the food was to our liking.  

Atmosphere
The restaurant is located in the new commercial centre Sotovila II in Pueblo Nuevo de Guadiaro. There are no sea views this time, however the dĂ©cor and interior feel is exactly the same as in Sabinillas. The layout is modern, clean and very neat and clearly intended for the better type clientele. The chef and his built-in charcoal grill are visible as soon as you walk in. I thought that the outside dining area must be idyllic in summer, next to other restaurants.  

The Menus
The menu is identical as to SabinillaÂ’s, well presented in specially designed hard cover binders. Of course the main feature is meat, especially beef, however there is on offer something for every taste: Starters, salads, pork and lamb, pasta and even some fish. The Typical Argentinian Beef Steak was added to last yearÂ’s menu which is a special Argentinian cut of Beef fillet. Apparently this is the only restaurant anywhere on the Costa del Sol offering this speciality.

Wine List
There is a fair choice of Spanish wines, featuring whites, reds and rosĂ©. It was interesting to see a small selection of Argentinean wines which looked quite appealing.  The wine prices seemed at par with any well priced restaurant.


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Starters

While waiting for the meal which we were offered a delicious cheese and herbs paste spread with small toasts; it was not long before they started serving the meal.

Finely sliced veal in a mustard sauce.
I expected something equivalent to carpaccio but what was served looked more like the traditional cold roast beef. FBA – As a matter of fact it also tasted like the traditional roast beef served cold, the mustard sauce was a very good combination to complete a rather pleasing dish that might even serve as a main course.
Team score – 10/10

Empanadas Argentinas de Carne
Mini pasties filled with meat.  FBA – “Chimicurri” sauce was served in two small dishes, one hot the other not. The idea was to cut through the crusty pasties and pour some sauce over them. Certainly should be tried, we enjoyed it. 
Team score – 9/10

Main Course

EntrecĂ´te Argentino
This is quite simply a charcoal grilled sirloin steak FBA – We could not believe the thickness of this largish steak. We had asked for this to be medium to well done and that is exactly what it was, spot on. The texture and taste of the meat was superb. It was really tender and it certainly had not much fat at all.
Team Score – 10/10

Typical Argentinian Beef Steak
This was a fair size, thick. juicy steak, charcoal grilled and smelling delicious. FBA – Definitely not the usual fillet steak I imagined, it was thick but also large. Apparently this is a special cut that includes some very this layers of fat all over which melt away as the meat cooks on the grill. I had asked for it to be medium to rare. Guess what! It was spot on again. In my book this means a very good chef. With the chimichurri sauce it was just perfect. It was impossible to fault it; it was tender, with perfect texture and hardly any fat. Very recommended.
Team Score – 10/10

Vegetables
The main course did not include side vegetables, but for a mere €2 one can order from a fair selection of vegetables to one’s own taste. I thought it was rather preferable than being given no choice as in most places. We chose the Spinach a la Creme and the Garlic Mushrooms. Each was more than enough for the two of us and although they blended beautifully with our steaks, we just could not manage to finish them all.
Team score - 9/10

Dessert

Pancakes with Dulce de Leche
Pancakes filled with Dulce de Leche and garnished with some fresh cream. (Caramelizing sugar and milk, results in a spreadable brownish cream that is traditionally named Dulce de Leche). FBA – The idea of filling the pancakes with this traditional cream results in a rather pleasant and very sweet experience. I firstly mistook the taste for honey, and then realized that it was more like something between condensed milk and golden syrup. If you have a sweet tooth this is definitely recommended.
Team Score – 10/10

Dulce de Leche Mousse
Served in a glass cocktail type cup and decorated with an orange slice. FBA – Only after tasting it I realised that it was and unusual kind of mousse. In fact I even asked my partner if she thought it had honey mixed with it. It was the Dulce de Leche that made each spoonful taste even better than the previous. If you are on a diet do not even try this because you will not be able to stop until it is all gone.
Team Score – 10/10

At this point we were offered a couple of refreshing Chupitos on the house

Summary
There has been a number of Argentinian restaurants crop up from nowhere since we last published the review on El Estribo of Sabinillas last year. Many are either overpriced or serve beef that anyone can buy from the local supermarket. The owners of the restaurant do not necessarily need to be from Argentina, it is essential that the meat does, otherwise you are paying a real price for a cheaper meat.
The Estribo in Sabinillas has been doing very well since it opened, which means that our reviews was accurate, now that they have opened another branch in the Sotogrande area, it important to note that the management, the prices and the quality are identical in both.
You might not get the splendid sea view of the Paseo Maritimo, but the P.N. de Guadiaro restaurant is just as good and with a similar dĂ©cor and ambience. What is more the prices are competitive, there are too many Argentinian restaurants on the Costa del Sol charging prices that really cannot be justified, this is why I think that El Estribo in Pueblo Nuevo should really do very well.      



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