La Llardana with a Vista over Benasque

This is one of those meals I’ve been wanting to resurrect from my Drafts folder for quite some time now. Here goes. About a year ago, the beau and I rented a car and drove out to Benasque to spend some time enjoying the Spanish town’s gorgeous natural surroundings with my brother and his wife, who were there for a conference. We hiked all day and watched the Eurocup qualifier games and ate well throughout the course of the weekend. I even brought home a goat cheese, one of the best I’ve ever had.

On the last day we visited La Llardana, a hotel and restaurant with a gorgeous canopy terrace built of wood and glass. Through floor-to-ceiling glass windows the leafy green hillsides are visible. Sitting around a table here feels like being in a dainty birdcage hung from a tree in the middle of the landscape. This is an “occasion” restaurant and clearly the most impressive in town, a fact of which both the host and waiter seemed to be well aware. They made sure we were there to eat before letting us sit, they forgot to set napkins on the table and they offered neither butter nor oil with the bread basket. Not cool. But, well, the view and the quality of our meal more than made up for it.

5

At the request of my beau, a bit of foie gras micuit to share. Creamy and served at the right temperature with some caramelized balsamic drizzle and raspberry jam (neither of which I touched).

3

My sister-in-law ordered delicate little lamb ribs (costillas), crunchy and caramelized and still endowed with that delicious musky lamb flavor. The tender bits of meat ripped easily off the bone. These were served with a baked potato and a warm slaw of carrots and zucchini.

1

My brother ordered another part of the lamb, the juicy shoulder meat roasted to perfection and served in a delicious demi glaze, with baked potato and the same veggies on the side. Crispy skin, tender flesh and seasoned perfectly. Not a very complex dish but very well executed.

4

The beau was craving pasta (he often does) and ordered a bowl of spaghetti with baby shrimp and mushrooms in an herby cream sauce. Not bad, a good combination of ingredients and a generous amount of each.

2

As for me, I ordered the Civet de Jabali, a rich stew of wild boar braised with plenty of red wine. The chunks of meat were beautifully tender, with just the right amount of fat, but otherwise very lean. The sauce was very decadent, savory and deep against the subtle sweetness of the wild pork. The potato was nice too, crunchy on its exterior and creamy soft inside.

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