Lunch in Spain or Restaurant for masochists

We love popping over the border to Spain for lunch. It sounds so exotic (and I suppose it actually is!). We live about an hour from The Pyrenees, the mountain range that forms the border between France and Spain, and an hour and a half from our favourite Spanish restaurant. Its everyday fare of excellent quality cooked over an open fire in the restaurant. The two women who run it are incredible characters – one makes Attila the Hun look like a nice guy, and the other has two beauty spots that I swear are on a different spot every time we go there. And don’t think that the service is going to get better when Senor Pascha gets there – he does NOT work, but will take your money, soon as he’s finished doing whatever it is that he’s (not) doing!

You get to the restaurant in Bossost via the Val d’Aran, a narrow valley with gorgeous scenery. Sometimes we just drive to the border area with a picnic and sit at the Garonne River and have baguette with some of the local cheese and pate, or fry up some poitrine (thick bacon slices) on our gas stove. There are always picnic tables around in France which is such a bonus. In the village of St. Beat, just before the border, they have the most beautiful marble sculptures strewn throughout the village. It used to be the biggest marble producer about, but the marble from Carrara is apparently whiter so this marble has lost its luster so to speak. There are quaint houses along the river, with some of them still sporting the old long drops exiting directly into the river. These are no longer in use, so a visit to the area is perfectly safe!

long drop at Garonne river

marble heart and hands

marble statue of a woman

Once you cross over into Spain, you pass through the town of Les which sports a big supermarket where thousands (no exaggeration) of French people go shopping for (mostly) alcohol and cigarettes as the taxes are lower in Spain. The owners have figured this out and now the prices are not so great. Don’t stop at the restaurant there!! Keep driving and about 6km’s later you arrive in the town of Bossost and the restaurant Borda Lucia is on your right hand side as you drive in. REMEMBER though, that you WILL be treated badly. I kid you not. We have often witnessed tables leave after having been manhandled by Senora Attila. If she is feeling even just a little stressed (and this happens naturally upon customers entering the restaurant) you will be (at the very least) glared at and shoved to a table. We are in the fortunate position of being “liked” as we have persevered through years of abuse and keep going back (this is due to my masochistic husband, I might add, and not because of moi) and even get kissed on both cheeks! Other customers look at us in awe and wonder as they get tossed their bread and try desperately to get a glass of wine as Senora ignores them.

But all this said, the food is great. Most times while there, the butcher will arrive with the fresh meat that Senora Beauty Spots immediately puts on the open grill for you. We generally have the smaller 3 course menu, as the 4 course menu is just sooo much food. I took photos for you and got laughed at by some tables – seems blogging is even more unknown in Spain than in France. The first course is a huge salad that is always fresh and an absolute joy. (There is also soup, but the salad is better.) It contains lettuce, tomatoes, onion, grated carrot, sweet peppers, sweet corn, olives, sardines and hard boiled egg. There is olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper on the table so you apply as much dressing as you would like.

salad in Spanish restaurant

If you are having the 4 course menu, this is followed by either Paella or sliced smoked ham. The ham is from the region and has the most incredible flavour. We skipped this course this time and went straight to the main course of pork and fried potatoes. With the 3 course menu you have a choice of pork or sausage (its good, but the pork is better), and with the 4 course menu you can have these two options, plus the option of lamb or chicken. We have tried them all and they are all great. Nothing is over cooked and the meat is fresh so it’s a real treat. The pork is topped with crushed garlic and parsley in olive oil so you should both have a bite to avoid garlic breath problems. The potato chunks are fried so not so good for Weight Watchers, but superb tasting they are.

Spanish pork and potatoes

The dessert choices are ice cream, crème Catalan (the Spanish version of crème caramel), cheese or ice cream cake with a crocant covering served with a splash of whiskey. Bingo. I’m normally to full for dessert, but the crème Catalan and the whiskey ice cream cake are great. The crème Catalan is made slightly differently in that the sugar on top is not caramelized with a torch or under a grill, but with a hot iron that is heated in the fire and then put on top of the sugar to caramelize it. I’ll take pictures of this process for you next time we go there. The next time we feel like being ignored, barked at, and generally being treated as though we are bothering her otherwise perfectly nice day by coming to the restaurant.

Spanish lady at grill

Atmosphere, that’s what this restaurant has, atmosphere. A lovely ambience in spite of everything. Go and enjoy it! (And don’t say I didn’t warn you….)

Bar Restaurant Tipic
Sant Roc, 2
Vall D'Aran
T. 973 648251

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