Ever the soul of discretion, I won’t mention the three people who have recently remarked to me about the difficulty of finding a good restaurant in Andorra la Vella. I’m always keen to help, though, so it seems only fair to share that I found not one but two perfectly pleasant restaurants right in the city centre last weekend.
Before praising them, one grumpy point. I was keen to try renowned El Faisà
on my last day, but pushed for time. I hovered around the entrance at 12.30 until the staff member deigned to pause from her phone call and ask me what I wanted. I asked for a table and she waved me away and said that they opened at 1pm. The clear indication was that then a table for one would be available. I loitered in the vicinity, came back at 1.02, and was told with a rather smug smirk that they were fully booked (the restaurant was completely empty). I could have gone elsewhere at 12.30 and the whole approach was arrogant and offhand. If anyone’s been there do let me know if the food
makes up for the ‘tude
My lunchtime saviour was just around the corner – L’Arrosseria. Despite being on a very touristy old town thoroughfare, Carrer de la Vall, with unprepossessing snapshots of paellas outside, the contrast in service to El Faisà was marked. Three kindly waiters fussed over me. I sat in glorious sunshine next to a beautiful fountain and feasted on chicory, honey, walnut and goat’s cheese salad and a half portion of seafood stew. It’s hard to spend much money on food and drink in Andorra and this was no exception. Definitely an appealing option for a lunchtime pit stop in the old part of town.
The night before I’d enjoyed some simple-but-spectacular razor clams and a couple of glasses of great white wine at Le Papanico. The secret’s clearly out about this place because it was buzzing with people of all ages, many gathered around the fun circular bar that dominates the interior.
Service was slick and happy to let me linger at a large table despite a small order for one person on a Friday night. No doubt there were fellow tourists and travellers there but the local presence was palpable, and its character and charm provided a pleasant contrast to the slightly generic shopping streets nearby.
Le Papanico is at Avenue Princep Benlioch 4. I inexplicably managed to walk past its doorway twice before finding it but do make sure that you find your way inside if you’re in Andorra because it’s a great dinner choice.