tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:/posts Eat Like Ushi 2019-11-18T12:53:58Z Ushi tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1479137 2019-11-18T12:53:58Z 2019-11-18T12:53:58Z Fiesta del Marisco, O Grove 10-2019

I've wanted to go to this seafood festival for many years now, since about 2012 when I first read about it and was planning some food holidays. Unfortunately it never happened, mainly because I like travelling in September and so going in early October can be difficult. But finally, the stars aligned and I managed to get there in 2019.

After flying into Santiago de Compostela and driving down to the lovely seafood town of O Grove, I realised that tourists really don't go there. There was us 2 tourists, and we met one Dutch journalist who was passing through for work. Every single other person was Spanish.

The seafood market in O Grove is small, but has lots of high quality ingredients at reasonable prices. I only had a short lunch to cook some razor clams, percebes and scallops. I would have liked to stay longer and take advantage, but maybe that's for another time.

The town is obsessed by seafood with homages to the crustacean located around the place.

How was the fiesta then? Average unfortunately. Despite all the great local ingredients, only a select few are presented at the fiesta and only cooked in specific ways. There's some impromptu groups of people singing and dancing, and at night there was some reggaeton singers for the underage smokers and drinks (and the older ones at the back) for more entertainment.

Don't get me wrong, the seafood isn't bad, on the contrary it is decent quality, but there was nothing special there that I haven't seen before. The local mussels are large and delicious and the arroz (rice) and fideos (noodles) were full of flavour. Also the bread was excellent, but it's not great if that's a highlight in a seafood place. Razor clams were ok, clams and mussels small but flavoursome (oysters better). The scallops were tiny little things grilled and shrivelled. Considering the quality and breadth of the market, couldn't they have expanded the dishes a bit more? There was also a lobster tank and another crustacean I've never seen before (can't remember the name) but they weren't being served. The tease.

There's also commerative earthern ware and cups to take home for the memories.

I'm glad I've tried it, but I won't be back for the fiesta. Maybe just Galicia again for the seafood markets to enjoy.

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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1479131 2019-11-18T12:40:02Z 2019-11-18T12:40:36Z D'Berto, O Grove 09-2019

Apparently D'Berto was rated the Top Seafood Restaurant in Spain 2014. That's a huge accolade considering the seafood quality in Spain generally, particularly in Madrid and Galicia. I had been somewhat underwhelmed by the seafood fiesta in O Grove, and although part of me wanted to buy seafood to cook at home, part of me also wanted to go to a restaurant to see what they could do (in what would be probably the last night in O Grove for my lifetime).

Then there was the choice between restaurants, the more standard ones with standard prices, or D'Berto with its reputation and premium prices. I managed to get a Saturday night booking by calling on Friday. Considering it was the seafood fiesta opening weekend, there's a few interpretations - it really isn't that busy a town anyway, or people are happy eating locally rather than paying premium. Maybe a bit of both.

After finding a street carparking spot (not realising until a few minutes later they have their own private carpark), we walked past the front and were immediately confronted by very large crustaceans. The lobsters and langoustines in the tank were enormous, almost certainly the biggest I've ever seen. Once walking inside, some huge clams and percebes were in the display also.

The wait staff spoke English and were very friendly. Essentially they have no limits - order as little as you want of each dish and they will do it for you. Flexibility is always appreciated.

- Galcian broth €6;
- Oysters €4 each and Warty venus clams (carneiro) €2.5 each - both were good with nice flavour. The clams weren't as big (they seemed to not give us the giant ones) or as strong as those I have in London. It was one of the few places where I've preferred the oysters over the clams. I thought the clams were the spiky shelled ones (but I was clearly wrong);
- Percebes grande from Cedeira €19.8 for 100g - quite large, but not the biggest they had there. The largest one served was about thumb sized. It was definitely more satisfying than the thin types I got from the seafood fiesta. They were also cooked in very salty water, maybe just a little too much;
- Crab (necora) €27 - this tiny crab was coated in salt and had crystals on the shell. It made it difficult to eat and stung our lips. I mentioned it to them and they didn't really say anything. I probably should have been more insistent;
- Clams to the Frying Pan €15 for half portion - standard. Didn't need both these and the raw clams;
- Scallops "The Original" €6 for 2 - these were actually very nice grilled (with butter I think) scallops that retained their thickness through the grilling. Very good;
- Fried lobster (bogavante) €44 for 500g - the smallest lobster they had, which was fried in butter. Very nice too. Oddly served with freshly fried chips, that weren't cooked properly such that several were stuck together and therefore soft;
- Cheesecake (tarta de queso) €7 - unusual in that it had a very strong milk flavour to it.

For €159.3 for 2 people, there was good variety but it just didn't seem worth the money. I suppose it feels like they are priding themselves on the size rather than the cooking quality. In fact most things are raw, boiled in very salty water, and the few extras are fried (which is a bit better). For comparison, I'd have to say Ramiro in Lisbon is better (https://eatlikeushi.posthaven.com/cervejaria-ramiro-lisbon-10-2013).

I was disappointed to find they also had charged €1.5pp for the bread and €2 for tap water. That is not a standard in the region and probably should have limited my tip. Oh well. I won't be back.

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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1479127 2019-11-18T12:09:39Z 2019-11-18T12:09:39Z Ravello Heladeria, O Grove 10-2019

I actually wanted to go to the gelato place across the road (Heladeria Encantadas y Dulces), but for some reason it wasn't going to be open for another 30mins (and this was 4.30pm). There didn't seem to be much point waiting and the quality at Ravello looked adequate.

Forest fruits (frutas del bosque) and hazelnut (avellana) were alright and filled the need. Just as we finished, the other one opened.

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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1479126 2019-11-18T12:02:56Z 2019-11-18T12:03:13Z Castro's Panaderia, O Grove 10-2019

In Galicia, empanadas are not the same as what the rest of the world thinks. Here they are large pies essentially, and filled with local ingredients like seafood.

There aren't many bakeries in O Grove, but Castro's seems to have the nod with also all the locals queuing there for their morning bread each day. They probably don't get a lot of tourists, because even the locals seemed amused/surprised to find me there (and speaking some Spanish).

I tried the cockles (berberechos) empanada €12 - a thick buttery pastry with lots of cockles filling the inside. It had good flavour. My only small gripe was it was quite gritty too.

Upon leaving at the end of the trip, I had a mussels (mejillones) €7 to go. Although the local mussels are great, these were slightly less in terms of quality and flavour (obviously used for this purpose) but still good. And not gritty either.

If I'm ever in the area (which is quite unlikely to be honest), I will be back at that bakery.

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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1479125 2019-11-18T11:56:17Z 2019-11-18T11:56:38Z O Piorno, Santiago de Compostela 10-2019

After arriving into Galicia into the heavy evening rain, a nearby dinner was needed before the drive to O Grove. I was told by a Galician friend that I should stop into Santiago but given the dark and weather it meant that anything more food was probably not going to be fruitful. After finding a random place to park on the street, I looked on Google maps and found a Galician restaurant nearby. It would have to do.

The fresh seafood in the counter was a good sign.

- Homemade croquettes €7.2 - cheese and jamon. Very good;
- Steamed cockles €9.95 - simple flavours;
- Grilled king prawns €10.95 - very flavoursome prawns actually.

It was a good meal and a nice introduction to simple local seafood flavours.

Considering we were going to drive to O Grove for more seafood (and decent meat being more difficult to find), I should have ordered the beef (Rubia Galicia breed). Next time.

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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1479121 2019-11-18T11:39:24Z 2019-11-18T11:46:31Z Burgermeister, Berlin 09-2019

Before going to the airport, I had time for one final meal. I had walked along the art of the Berlin Wall and it was only a short walk across the river and through a park filled with lots of young males to get there.

The burger place is known for the odd location - an old public toilet block under a road and enclosed by two others. It is known for queues also, but assumably at 7.30pm on a Tuesday, there isn't as much drunk traffic through there.

At the recommendation of Berlin Food Stories, I ordered the Meisterburger €5.3 and also my own choice of chili-cheese fries €4.1. I thought both were good, but neither was fantastic. The patty was cooked through but still soft and charred for flavour. There wasn't much seasoning. The fries in particular were on the expensive side, with no flavour on the meat, weak jalapenos and the gross American-style liquid cheese really isn't to my taste and thick and gluggy. I suppose I just like better quality ingredients overall. 

I'm glad I've tried it, but no need to go back. Not sober at least.

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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1479120 2019-11-18T11:31:14Z 2019-11-18T11:32:28Z Zazza Kaffehaus, Berlin 09-2019

After eating at Imren, I had some time to kill before going to the airport. I took advantage of finding a cafe which had a powerpoint to recharge my phone. It has a pleasant atmosphere (other than one screaming child), a nice hot chocolate, and a famous rusty car outside. The things in Berlin that make it artistic and cool...

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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1479117 2019-11-18T11:29:57Z 2019-11-18T11:29:57Z Imren Grill, Berlin 09-2019

I made it back (https://eatlikeushi.posthaven.com/imren-grill-berlin-07-2018), this time to the original branch and the one most glorified on the Berlin Food Stories website.

I wasn't as enamoured as the first visit, but it was still very good. The doner im brot was €4 - not sure if that's the branch or just the prices have gone up in the past year.

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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1479116 2019-11-18T11:27:17Z 2019-11-18T11:44:50Z Marafina, Berlin 09-2019

I wanted to try something a little more inspirational in Berlin. Something new for me was finding a Sudanese restaurant. It required a little train journey out to a small place with delightfully artistic decor and delicious food for eat-in or takeaway.

- Chorba adas (red lentil soup with peanuts) €3 - excellent dhal-like soup laced with olive oil and chilli sauce;
- Marafina Spezial Teller (grilled chicken breast fillet, grilled minced beef, falafel, fried goat cheese, fried veggies, salad, eggplant sauce, mich & peanut sauce) €7 - that all-inclusive plate had so many elements and all were good. The falafels were not the best I've had, but still crisp on the outside. The chicken was tender and the salads nice too.

The food was very good all around with heavy similarity to Middle Eastern.

Would definitely return the next time I'm in Berlin.

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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1479115 2019-11-18T11:21:10Z 2019-11-18T11:43:17Z Monsieur Vuong, Berlin 09-2019

Monsieur Vuong is no longer known to be the best pho in Berlin, that honour goes to the Dong Xuan centre in the far east. However for a convenient one in Mitte, is does alright.

Pho Bo €9.5 for a big bowl. Nice clear soup broth with good flavour. Beef was scrunched up and average. My main issue was they didn't provide any extra herbs, they said everything is in there, and no Sriracha. No Thai Basil even.

Also the cocktail I ordered really had minimal alcohol in it.

Oh well, no matter. I will probably try somewhere different next time.

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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1479111 2019-11-18T11:13:44Z 2019-11-18T11:13:44Z La Granja del Pollo Asado, Madrid 09-2019

The final lunch in Madrid before leaving was one I wanted paella. Unfortunately nothing was open before 12, which limited the time and effort required to have it. Instead we went for the local roast chicken place, run by Chinese people, but still cooking up a mean roast chicken and some delicious chicken rice also.

€8 for a whole chicken is not bad at all. Not what I would usually go for in Spain, but fast local food when required.

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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1479109 2019-11-18T11:10:33Z 2019-11-18T11:10:33Z La Concha and Casa Lucas, Madrid 09-2019

A couple of pitstops on a tapas crawl.

A few dishes from La Concha and a quick stop into Casa Lucas for drinks and grilled pork tenderloin.

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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1479107 2019-11-18T11:04:20Z 2019-11-18T11:04:20Z Bico de Xeado, Madrid 09-2019

I coincidentally came across Bico in Plaza Mayor in Madrid. The name was instantly recognisable after my one and only previous visit (https://eatlikeushi.posthaven.com/bico-de-xeado-malaga-04-2019). It was a big surprise and I was happy about it too. Once again the pistachio and coconut were excellent.

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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1479102 2019-11-18T10:36:35Z 2019-11-18T10:36:35Z Hong Kong 12-2005

I don't remember any of these places in Hong Kong. But I remember thinking the food was ok, although not fantastic. Sampled some Cantonese, Thai, buffet and street food.

This will have to do until my next trip there.

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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1479100 2019-11-18T10:30:29Z 2019-11-18T10:30:57Z Unnamed restaurant, Tokyo 01-2006

First taste of Japanese kaiseki cuisine (coupled with the worst photo-taking of my life)

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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1479099 2019-11-18T10:15:01Z 2019-11-18T10:15:01Z Winkel 43, Amsterdam 11-2009

I had read about their famous homemade apple pie, and in the cold end of autumn it was an easy idea to try it. It had thick apple chunks and a thick pastry that closer resembled a crumble. Not the best I've had, but very good.

Also kept warm with Pumpkin soup with Granny smith and pepita pesto €4.5.

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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1479098 2019-11-18T10:10:44Z 2019-11-18T10:10:44Z Nooch, Amsterdam 11-2009

Amsterdam is known for having Indonesian influence in their food. After walking through east part of town and not finding much that I liked the look of, I went to the west to a more "modern" looking pan-Asian restaurant.

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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1479097 2019-11-18T10:05:34Z 2019-11-18T10:05:35Z Bounty Island Resort, Fiji 05-2010

A short few days in the all-inclusive resort Bounty Island. Nice food, very friendly people, beachfront shacks and beautiful beaches and diving.

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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1477782 2019-11-14T23:30:53Z 2019-11-14T23:30:53Z Bar Restaurant Plazhi I Ri Caci, Sarande 09-2019

After driving back to Sarande and returning the car, we had enough time for one final Albania meal before taking the ferry back to Corfu. While walking toward the port, an older man sitting outside his shop saw us and asked what are you looking for? Some food I guess. Albanian? Yeah. Cross the road and go down the stairs and walk until you find the restaurant. And so we did. And opposite the beach with its perfect blue Mediterranean waters we came across Caci.

A couple of wasps seemed to hover, but not too bad overall.

- Salad - giant and the largest we had during the trip (maybe ever) with loads of chunky feta;
- Tave kosi (yoghurt casserole with lamb) 900lek - I tried hard to find this dish anywhere and failed. It is more a dish that is served at homes or more inland toward Tirana. In Ksamil I asked our Airbnb host and he didn't know anywhere to find it. Luck would have it this final place would allow me a national dish before leaving. It was like a tender lamb quiche with a tangy sour yoghurt flavour. I liked it;
- Fried squid 1100 lek - quite good. Bit chewy. Bit of salt.

Considering the location along the beach, the meal was great value overall. I left full, exchanged my remaining lek for € at a good rate at a random travel agent, and boarded the ferry which was actually (reasonably) on time.

Thanks Albania.

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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1477781 2019-11-14T23:19:39Z 2019-11-14T23:19:39Z Guvat, Ksamil 09-2019

For the final dinner of the lovely week in Albania, we wanted a slightly more special one. The choice was between Apollonia (walked past on first evening with welcoming wait staff and a nice menu) or Guvat (which was on my list for Ksamil). After a bit of internal deliberation, we ended up at Guvat including getting the best seats in the house (which has a reserved sign until we arrived) to watch the sunset.

The sky had beautiful colours with which to enjoy some cocktails (pina colada and banana daiquiri with fresh fruit). Some average bread, somewhat plain tzatziki and pretty decent olive oil started off the food too.

- Fried hard cheese (kackavall) 500lek - I had difficulty finding this cheese fried on local Albanian menus, and finally took the opportunity. The cheese was thick, firm, squeaky, salty, delicious - it was perfect. It did cool quickly though;
- Black cuttlefish ink & cuttlefish risotto 1200lek - cooked al dente with lots of cuttlefish, red peppercorns and grated cheese;
- Linguine "Xha Aliu" with seafood, tomato, cognac, red pepper, garlic 900lek - pasta was slightly al dente. The seafood was one prawn, and bits of octopus and squid. The sauce was really tasty like a spiced chilli tomato base. It was exceptionally good in flavour.

A beautiful setting in the September twilight, without pesky insects, and a gentle not-too-cold breeze. A lovely environment with excellent food. Would definitely go back for the cheese and linguine if I'm ever in Ksamil again.

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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1477777 2019-11-14T23:06:10Z 2019-11-14T23:06:11Z Brothers Fish & Meat Tavern, Ksamil 09-2019

Brothers seemed to be a well rated dining venue and it surprised me to find the building with a gated metal fence just off the main road, with a dumpsite of building shell and neglected cars in the adjacent carparking area. Interesting. It was a quiet lunch after spending the morning at the ruins of Butrint National Park.

There is an enclosed spit outside in the courtyard but due to the off-season, it wasn't in use.

The minimally English speaking elderly couple cooking and serving were quite homely.

- Spicy cheese grilled topped with olive oil and peppers;
- Stuffed peppers with rice 550lek - quite simple, salty and nice;
- Greek souvlaki with kofte 650lek - very ugly kofte that were quite average. But the bread and tzatziki very good.

I have to be honest and say the food was average. It also didn't look like the pictures of dishes on the front of the restaurant. Maybe it's an off-season thing...

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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1477130 2019-11-13T11:03:52Z 2019-11-13T11:03:52Z Hello Creperie, Ksamil 09-2019

My partner was craving crepes - an odd choice in the middle of Albania. But luck would have it that as I searched out some breakfast burek, I walked past a creperie. What are the odds.

After seafood dining at Ftelea (and being pretty full), the idea was to go for a light crepe to finish the day. One can always have plans but those went out the window pretty soon, we realised. It probably would have helped to see the monstrous creations.

They are only open from 1800-2400 which made it perfect for the last deal of the day. And they also have a fun quote "Waffles are just crepes with abs".

- Dried fruits waffle (ice cream, chocolate, walnuts, almonds, raisins, hazelnuts) 500lek - this was the world's largest consumer waffle, huge and thick but still cooked well. There were lots of crushed nuts, whole walnuts and topped with vanilla icecream. There's no way we could finish that;
- Pineapple sweet crepe (white chocolate, coconut, pineapple, cinnamon) 300lek - the crepe was large and thick, not so much the thin delicate French type. The white chocolate made it a too sweet (not a fan of it generally). The warm pineapple was delicious though.

The waffle certainly didn't help my abs at all.

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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1476852 2019-11-12T18:28:37Z 2019-11-12T18:28:37Z 14 Hills, London 11-2019

Located high up on level 14 near Bank, is the newly opened 14 Hills restaurant. It is a lush area full of green and I can only imagine how many landscape people must be responsible to keeping everything alive. Even the entrance to the lift (complete with door person) has wow factor with the impressive enormous LED screen on the ceiling entrancing you while you wait.

Once upstairs, you are greeted and then we were shown to the bar. There are expectedly good views from the top, including a small part of Tower Bridge on display. The Xpress Martini sounds excellent, but not wanting to have a late night awake, I opted for The Hive (Patron silver, Olmeca blanco, Montelobos Mezcal infused with thyme, aperol, amaro montenegro, honey, fresh lime) £11.5. It was an alright drink with a bit of smoke to it. I couldn't understand the honeycomb and stirrer on top, which really seemed for art decoration but little functioning else.

We waited 30mins for the table, which I think was because they forgot about us (maybe confused us for another couple). People who arrived with and after us were already seated, and it wasn't because the place was full. It was however, their opening night and so I think a little concession needs to be made (as the food was 50% off).

The French FOH staff and the French waitress made me think they was something French about this place. And the menu confirmed there certainly was. Some good quality bread (excellent crust) with butter started things off in typical French fashion.

- Crab (white crab, crab essence, cauliflower, oscietra caviar) £17.5 - warm bits of crab meat covered by a foam. Pretty good although I would have preferred a stronger crab flavour;
- Game (pork, duck & pistachio terrine, pastry crust, brandy cherries) £14 - a cold dish with reasonable crust (given it is cold) surrounding the the meats and asparagus. Pretty good actually;
- Turbot (roasted, with cuttlefish risotto, beurre blanc) £26 - a nice fish albeit bony with a rich sauce and a thick black risotto;
- Rossini (beef fillet, mushroom duxelle, seared duck liver, toast, madeira & truffle sauce) £36 - very tender, very rare (to request) fillet, with tangy mushrooms and an excellent piece of foie gras (that didn't have a very strong liver taste). Really good dish all around.

I'm generally not one to go for French food, but the quality of cooking here was very high. It has a nice setting too if you are willing to pay those prices.

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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1476834 2019-11-12T17:58:03Z 2019-11-12T17:58:04Z Ftelea Fishop & Grill, Ksamil 09-2019

I was trying really hard to find a local fishmonger to buy some things to cook at home. It proved surprisingly difficult with the only one coming up on a Google search being at the beach area opposite The Mussel House. I never made it there.

I asked the owner of Zace Studios (our accommodation) and he recommended nearby Ftelea which he said you can buy fresh to cook home, or pay them an extra 100lek or so to cook for you takeaway. That would have been much cheaper than eating there, but when on holiday why not enjoy the conveniences of an atmospheric eating place. I had actually mentally noted the place while walking home from the main beach area as a seafood place that smelled good and was full of people into the evening, when most other restaurants centrally were very empty in the off-season.

- Arugula salad 400lek - bitter rocket and parmesan;
- Prawns 1000lek for 300g - flavoursome, cooked well with a little chew. A marked difference in 300g compared to the terrible Genti;
- Grilled squid 800lek for 300g - unseasoned but well grilled squid and excellent once salted lightly;
- Gilthead 650lek for 300g - panfried well with crisp skin and soft flesh.

An excellent meal overall. I'm disappointed we didn't have enough meals left to go back.


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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1476832 2019-11-12T17:45:00Z 2019-11-12T17:45:01Z The Mussel House, Ksamil 09-2019

The Mussel House has a good reputation for - you guessed it - mussels from the local waters. I think it is the opposite side to Lake Butrint proper, but I'm sure the water is roughly the same. It's a steepdrive up/down off a mainroad, so I would be surprised if accidents didn't occasionally happen there. But none this time at least.

Along the offroad, there doesn't seem anything else there other than The Mussel House. And there's certainly lots of people coming to eat happily, including some Italians who were praising the food and pasta.

What I remember is several wasps that wouldn't leave us alone. It just meant careful moving and eating so as not to agitate (or swallow) any of them. Also the waters around were teeming with tiny little fish that seemed to detect you looking at them and move away. They would come up to the surface and make tiny little breaks in the water

- Mussels saganaki 550lek - deshelled in tomato and feta sauce. Quite good, although it did seem like a small serve and not the best way to taste the mussels for themselves. It really wasn't what I was expecting; from the waiter's description I thought it would be shelled mussels steamed in a light salsa with chopped tomatoes;
- Butrint Lake Eel 750lek for 300g - very nice grilled, with thin bones, soft flesh and little heads to chew on.

Overall a nice place to have some local seafood. Would go for the normal mussels next time.

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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1476827 2019-11-12T17:24:38Z 2019-11-12T17:24:38Z The Blue Eye, Albania 09-2019

One of the essential daytrips in the Sarande area is the Blue Eye. Although we drove from Dhermi, we basically passed through the outskirts of Sarande to get there, firstly along highway, then dirt road, and then slow moving rocks, sand and gravel. Luckily everyone else was in the same boat, either grinding their rental cars through or parking higher and walking down while dust rose around them. The weather forecast for the day was a little ominous for rain and cloud, but to our luck none of that ever surfaced.

The Blue Eye is a stunning place. There is an area you can dive into the freezing water, which I would recommend just to see the clearest of waters disappearing below.

From a food point of view, the restaurant is surrounded by peaceful water (away from the jumping hole), greenery and mountains. A grill ensures you can smell what they are cooking there, and for a touristy middle-of-nowhere spot, the prices are not much above usual.

- Grilled goat 900lek for 500g - heavily grilled and tasty, although with a lot of salt;
- Grilled trout 800lek - grilled until the top was a bit too burnt and that flavour dominated the skin;
- Country salad 400lek - standard with lots of raw onions and a large slab of feta.

The food was far from the best we had but adequate enough. I would eat there again if I visited. I think I would prefer that to bringing my own food.

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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1476568 2019-11-11T22:54:17Z 2019-11-11T22:54:18Z Bar Taverna Hibraj, Llogara National Park 09-2019

We took a daytip to Llogara National Park. We left quite late and the windy roads went all the way up until the mist covered the pass and the view unfortunately. Still there were people there and locals selling fruit. Llogara NP has quite a few restaurants, an unusual amount of highly rated ones actually, but it's easy to see why in that setting and if they all make similar food based on charcoal meats.

After a 2.5h walk just in the local loop, it was time for lunch. Under the beautiful sun, it was interesting to find quite a few restaurants closed, particularly the one I wanted to go to - the farm Dukan (from memory the name isn't quite correct on Google, it's slightly different). Uji i Panijes was another on my list, but in the end I watched past and selected Hibraj because it was the only place which had a glorious spit visible.

We were the only 2 eating at the unusual time of 3pm and they had just taken the spit down and chopped it up. Luckily there was enough still to order, although only lamb in the off season, not goat which I wanted. Some average bread but livened up with some butter and dried herbs.

- Fergese (tomatoes, cottage cheese, peppers, onion) 250lek - a tasty creamy homemade dip that wen well on the bread;
- Roasted lamb 600lek for 300g - small but delicious portion of lamb, salty, crisp skin, tender meat;
- Grilled beef steak 1000lek for 300g - although cooked a little heavier than I wanted, a beautiful salty and spiced char coated the beautiful meat.

A wonderful meal in an exceptional setting in the perfect September weather.

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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1476538 2019-11-11T21:45:04Z 2019-11-11T21:45:05Z Barba Niko Bakery, Dhermi 09-2019

After picking up our first ever hitchhiker, a young Chinese girl who was travelling for a year and was currently hitchhiking her way through Albania (respect), we dropped her off and went to the bakery. Barba Niko is located up the top of the hill along the main road and was a pitstop for some small supplies before the steep drive down toward the hotel and the beach.

It has some ok byrek and some very good flat bread rolls. These were perfect with cheese and smoked ham. They also have some good dessert. Tre leche (3 milks) was like a sponge soaked in milk with jelly. Baklava was quite sweet with some crunch and pistachios.

They are also open 24h a day and have some basics like milk and yoghurt.

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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1476391 2019-11-11T20:20:53Z 2019-11-12T17:58:13Z Genti, Dhermi 09-2019

I was looking for a nice restaurant with good food and a fancy sunset view. The choices I found on Google were between Fevan and Genti. In the end I chose Genti because a picture of prawns looked good and I thought it might be more Albanian, whereas Fevan was Greek. After eating a lot of meat generally, it was nice to see seafood featuring on the grill menu.

In the end it was a terrible mistake. The sunset was fiery and beautiful, but unfortunately on their balcony they have a very large curtain shade that blocks most of the view. We asked them to raise it and they said they would but didn't.

It seems like primarily a sports bar. A football/soccer game was showing and as a result there were lots of men sitting around watching, and almost wondering why two tourists were there. Maybe because they knew the food wasn't good and would never eat it themselves.

- Big shrimp 1200lek for 300g - these were tiny prawns with ok texture and decent flavour, but I can't imagine how they can be big. There's no way 9 of those could be 300g either;
- Octopus 1000lek for 300g - seriously terrible. Not crisp not tender and flavourless. They were the ends of leftover skinny tentacles;
- Grilled vegetables 400lek - very good with eggplant, light zucchini and peppers;
- Village salad 300lek - standard and fine. Lots of onions, some feta and olives.

Maybe the meat grills would be better. I'd probably prefer to avoid the place altogether actually.

For a comparison of what 300g of prawns should be, look at Ftelea in Ksamil (https://eatlikeushi.posthaven.com/ftelea-fishop-and-grill-ksamil-09-2019)

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Ushi
tag:eatlikeushi.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1476381 2019-11-11T17:03:20Z 2019-11-11T17:03:20Z Taverna Lefteri, Himare 09-2019

After arriving in Albania from the Corfu ferry, we hired a car (from a slightly dodgy operation) but safely drove off. After a little while, we passed through Himare in perfect time to eat lunch. Actually it was early for lunch because I didn't realise Albania is 1h behind Greece.

I actually wanted to eat at Merluc, but they weren't open. In hindsight maybe it was because it was too early, or maybe it was simply because peak season had ended and so a lot of places had shut up shop. Given the past few days in Corfu, I wanted to eat more Albanian than Greek food, but it seemed alright to go Greek just once more.

As the first guests to Lefteri, the staff were almost shocked to see us there. In fact it took a bit more time for them to finish their lunch, realise they should be doing something work-related, and get us menus. After this it was all pleasant and decent service.

A trio of starters to eat with some decent grilled crusty bread kicked things off.

- Sardines marinated 430lek - really delicious with salt and olive oil;
- Mousaka 580lek - a very good size and tasted rich with vegetables and some meat;
- Okra with meat 480lek - I wanted hochpotch with meat (whatever that is) but they didn't have it. Instead I settled for this one. Although the veal was not that tender, the okra was soft and a bit slimy in a good way, and the sauce was rich with flavour and tomato spices.

The meal was excellent. I would happily come back here.

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Ushi