Thursday, 2nd July 2020

This Month's Magazine
SALSA for food with a taste of South Africa

SALSA for food with a taste of South Africa

Sotovila 1, Pueblo Nuevo de Guadiaro, Sotogrande - Open Tuesday to Saturday 12:30 to 14:30 & 18:30 till late – Sunday Lunch only – Monday Closed.

The food reviews are not advertisements. We pay for the meal and 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 visit only restaurants which we believe are worth reporting on. The food testing team includes Web Express Guide clients and readers who wish to join in and get to meet each other.

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


There have been some major changes in this restaurant. A change in management and a change in the kitchen. Although our food report is genuine and valid for that night, of course we cannot comment on the food and the service after the changes have taken place. 

Introduction Salsa is the newest restaurant opened in Sotogrande. We heard of it because Matthew White, a well known chef from another restaurant in Puerto Sotogrande who has taken over the kitchen. We know Matt is very good so we decided to pay this restaurant a visit with our Diners Club and report our experience. We persevered with the concept of a fixed three course meal with a choice of 3 starters, main courses and desserts.

Atmosphere: This is not a large restaurant and it does not need to be. It is modern and well designed. In summer the terrace would probably play its pleasant role, however inside the layout is well thought out; the initial reception area with its welcome drinks, followed by the bar area and then the restaurant itself. I like the fact that the kitchen and every one in it are visible from the bar so you can see what they are doing. The tables are impeccably prepared and set enough apart not to interfere with other diners. The lighting is right and the background music is right creating an inviting atmosphere with the promise of a good meal.

The Staff: We found the staff to be friendly and intent at being helpful. There were quite a few people there when we arrived, which is a good sign, yet no one was ignored. We were warmly welcomed from the moment we arrived, I had the sensation they wanted to make sure that clients come back again. We were asked for our choice of meal almost at the outset so that it could be prepared while we enjoyed our drinks and waited for others of the group to arrive. Considering that this restaurant only just opened, I think they all did very well to give us a pleasant evening. Again, the personalised pre-printed menu with our choice of dishes was well received.

The Wine List
It is impossible to describe the choice and selection of wines available. As you walk in, the amount of wines on the shelves along the whole wall speak for themselves. This is something one has to go into as a separate topic. LetÂ’s just say that we opted for the house wine, red and white, and it was excellent.

The Menu
The importance of the menu is that it is intended to give us a taste of South Africa with a touch of Spanish and English dishes. The one difference is that the beef is imported from Argentina and the reason for it is obvious, especially as most of the dishes are grilled on charcoal. The chef is certainly showing his skills in combining these concepts to present a menu which caters for most palates at reasonable prices. It even includes a bar menu for those who prefer to sit at the bar over a good glass of wine or beer.



Spicy Buffalo Wings
Chicken wings and drumsticks grilled on charcoal and prepared with a special South African sauce and served with celery sticks, a salad and a blue cheese dressing. FBA - I think that “finger licking good” is right expression. The combination of buffalo wings and salad accompanied by the blue cheese sauce was just right.

Char-grilled Prawn Skewer
Grilled on charcoal, the prawn skewer is served over an avocado salad accompanied with a lemon and chilli mayonnaise. FBA – “Like you never tasted before” is an apt description for this dish. We know what grilled prawns taste like but their sauce and the special mayonnaise certainly complement to create a new appetising flavour.

No-one ordered the third option, probably because it was described as a salad, but we should have tried it because I am sure it would have been very different from what onbe imagined.
Team score – 10/10

Main Course
The selection had to emphasize the South African taste with ingredients that we are familiar with, which I think was achieved well.

Grilled Rib Eye Steak
This was served with tomatoes, mushrooms and chips or a salad with a jacket potato. FBA - Although some people commented that they would have liked the meat a bit more done, I thought the steak was just as a steak should be, especially when all the beef is actually from Argentina. I thought the ensemble, with its juice, was a perfect charcoal grilled steak.

Barbecued Baby Spatchcock Chicken
I believe that not many realise the skill needed to prepare a Spatchcock chicken, but the taste and the way it cuts under the knife should certainly highlight the difference. Marinated with Peri-Peri spices and served with potato chips, it was a good dish. FBA – Now that is what I call a charcoal grilled chicken, full of flavour.

Peri Peri Prawns This was served with sweet and spicy dipping sauce and vegetable rice and well presented on the dish. FBA - I heard someone say “Now this is exactly what I was trying to tell you. I love this dish!” Need I say more?

Overall everyone said they like what they had and they certainly thought that the charcoal as well as the “Taste of South Africa” was a good experience requiring further visits.
Team score – 09/10


Dark chocolate and Tia Maria cheesecake A very unusual but tempting combination. I donÂ’t regret having it and I will certainly ask for it again next time I visit. I liked the slices of strawberry that go with this dish, it complemented the cake perfectly. Unfortunately it is not ideal for slimmers.

A selection of cheese and biscuits served with quince jelly. Cheese is cheese and so are the cheese biscuits. What made the difference is the quince jelly and grapes that went with it. Excellent for those those are avoiding sweets.
Overall Team Score - 9/10

I have no hesitation in recommending this restaurant. The food is very good, the prices are reasonable and if you have a taste for wine,b you will be spoilt for choice. It is a modern, clean and welcoming small restaurant that lends itself to all purposes, be it a family dinner, a business lunch with the interruption of distracting new flavours or just a quiet romantic meal with your partner. The added bonus is that you have no problems with parking.

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