Whole fish is the name of the game at Restaurante Sa Rascassa, situated on the precipe that hovers over the pebbled cove of Aiguafreda. You would be hard-pressed to find this place were it not for a sign on the main road, as it’s completely surrounded by the pine forest and left largely untouched. The building, which also houses five hotel rooms, was originally built as a holiday home in 1916, back when the cala was private. It has since served as a residence for the guardian of the property, a holiday camp and a diving center. It was in 2002 that husband and wife team Merche and Oscar took over the place after quitting their jobs in Barcelona and packing up their life to move to the northern coast.
We met Oscar, ex-adman and genuinely friendly guy with a cool print bahama shirt, shaggy beard and perfect English. I especially appreciated the attention he put into understanding my wine preferences and making a suitable recommendation. We ended up with a bottle of the Compañía de Vinos Tricó “Tricó”, a Rias Baixas Albariño with body-ody-ody from extended aging, whose roundness and freshness went brilliantly with our entire sea-splashed meal.
To start, we ordered their croquetas de calamares, which were divine. A thin breadcrumb crust – grainy, crackling and crunchy – made way for a juicy, moist interior, which was a pretty orange color. There were lumps of tender shrimp meat mixed in with the thick and creamy filling, which was totally saturated with smoky, nutty shrimp head juice flavor. Awesome.
The signature dish at Sa Rascassa is the rascassa or scorpion fish, a local specialty. The thing was first presented on a platter for our approval and then filleted and thrown on the grill. It came with some thinly sliced potatoes sautéed to a golden brown with caramelized onions and herbs. The fish was meaty and quite firm, somewhere in consistency between red snapper and monkfish. The taste was mild, closer to that of lobster than any white fish and sported a nice salty, smoky crust from the grill.
For dessert, we shared their Piedras de Chocolate, a tender core of chocolate covered in a crunchy candy coat and sprinkled with cocoa powder. Yum.