We stayed in Soldeu for three days last weekend and I decided to treat my boyfriend to a nice dinner. Based on reviews and the menu, I picked La Llar de L´Artesa as we are both carnivores. We live in Barcelona where dinner tends to start fairly late and because we knew that the weekend would be extremely busy (half-term in France and extended weekend in Spain), I contacted them via Facebook (they don´t have a website and I like to get a confirmation in writing - I am my mother´s daughter, after all) ahead of time to reserve a table for two. I got a response within 24 hours but as I don´t check my Facebook very often, I called on the day we arrived to make sure that they had a table for us which they did. The restaurant is approx 5 minutes by car from Soldeu and offers free guest parking. We showed up a little late which was no problem. La Llar de L´Artesa is situated in a rustic stone and wood building and stretches over two floors, the downstairs being more of a bar with an open fireplace. The upstairs dining area features an open grill, exposed wooden beams and is really cozy.
The menu is somewhat limited (only one salad) but we knew that already. For some reason, both waiters on staff were extremely busy and did not find the time to hand us a menu. Lucky for us, our table was next to the open grill and the chef on duty noticed that we had waited for quite some time, trying to catch the eye of both waiters and the owners to get menus. We picked our dishes pretty quickly (I had had a look at the menu before we made the reservation), and tried (again) to catch the eye of one of the waiters...with no success...that theme seemed to be the soundtrack for the evening, us trying to be pleasant and appreciative and the waiters doing their best to ignore us. We ended up with the chef as our waiter, which was fine for us: he was more attentive than any waiter I have had so far, trying his best to make our meal a great experience – which it was as far as the meat was concerned.
Both cuts were terrific if a little (maybe a little too much) on the Bleu side. (We had both ordered Medium rare and it was almost raw). I noticed that this seemed to be the case for almost all cuts being served – most of the other guests were parties of 4 or more and almost all of them ordered the house special „Chulote“ – a HUMONGOUS cut of meat (pics on the Facebook page) that looked amazing. However, most of the time, it came back with the request for further cooking. That said, the quality of the meat was truly outstanding – the filet almost melted on my tongue and my boyfriend was the happiest I have seen him when digging into a piece of meat.
The side dishes (potatoes, tomatoes, grilled veggies) were very unlovingly done, almost no seasoning apart from olive oil.
For the record: the prices are pretty steep, I paid € 97.00 for:
1. Pa amb tomàquet for two (the regular...what can go wrong with toasted Pa ?)
2. 2 Amuse Gueules (2 mejillones (mussels) with a weird sauce…)
3. 1 mixed green salad with grilled goat cheese
4. 1 rump steak (I believe it was 250 gr), with ½ baked potato, a ½ grilled tomato, a couple of other grilled veggies and...eh, that´s it!
5. 1 filet steak (180 gr) with the exact same fixings as above
6. 1 extra Sauce Romanesco
7. 1 large bottle of water
8. 1 Crema Catalan (AWESOME!!)
9. 1 Mousse au Chocolat (AMAZING!!!)
10. 2 cortados
The fact that we did not drink any alcohol and ended up with a 100 bucks makes me wonder what the other guests, who ordered several bottles of wine, spent.
Resumé: Best meat I have had in a long time, steep prices, great service if the chef is your waiter. I will be in Soldeu again next weekend with my best friend from NYC and will give it another shot!
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