The new Garcia Stavanger Øst is worth a visit
It was not that long ago since I wrote a review about the restaurant Basil & Co in Stavanger Øst. Unfortunately the place went out of business but the venue was taken over by Garcia (originally located at Forus outside Stavanger) and in August 2018, Garcia – Stavanger Øst welcomed the first customers. The restaurant claims to focus on Mediterranean food and to have classical dishes from France and Spain. We went there on a Saturday night and we were welcomed by a waiter and quickly shown to out table. I was pleased to see that there was quite a lot of people in the restaurant and I hope it stays this way! The entrance and restaurant have a new and modern feel to it – with mood lighting and with wine and cheese on display.
The menu is not extensive, but it has both fish, meat and chicken options and there is also a sharing menu that I assume will change a bit from day to day. As we were not that hungry, we decided to share a caprese salad to start with and Nikki chose bacalao as her main meal and I chose the risotto (of course). We got the caprese salad after about 15 minutes and it was a colorful display. I am a bit puzzled that it came with Parma ham as it is usually a vegetarian dish with just tomatoes, basil and the mozzarella. But I’m flexible (especially when it comes to Parma ham) and I guess it is important to make it into a signature dish by changing it a bit. I was also served with warm tomatoes and bread croutons, so they were really pushing the boundaries. All in all a good starter but I am not big fan of the herb that was used on top (I’m not really sure about the name of it).
About 20 minutes later we got our main dish for the evening. Nikki got her bacalao and as with the starter, it was served with a twist. The fish was served on top of the actual bacalao – and it was not salted and dried cod! Bacalao means cod basically and if you got to Portugal (see my Lisbon trip report ) you will find out that they have many ways to prepare a dish with cod. In Norway bacalao is more or less synonymous with Bacalao a la Viscaina – a stew with tomatoes, olives, onion etc. But back to the dish that was served at Garcia: Nikki enjoyed the bacalao and felt it was a generous portion. I would have enjoyed to see klippfisk (salted and dried cod) being used instead of tusk (or brosme in Norwegian) but then again, I love my klippfisk.
It is always interesting to order risotto at restaurant. Even if it is quite a simple dish, it can also end up as a disaster. The risotto that was served at Garcia was greenish and looked like a risotto primavera – well, if you didn’t count in the chicken that was on top of it. The risotto was actually excellent: it was creamy, it had a citrus taste to it (according to the menu it contained gremolata which is a lemon/garlic/parsley mix) and the rice was cooked right. It was topped with a small grilled lettuce and the chicken which on the menu was described as a “crispy chicken”, was a juicy and tender chicken piece.
We decided to skip dessert – not because I was not tempted by the options but because we were running out of time.
Conclusion: I have eaten at Garcia at Forus before but that is more of a lunch place. With Garcia in Stavanger Øst they seemed to have taken it up a notch. Our meal was very good without any flaws in food or service. As you can see from my description above, they have taken some liberties to changes dishes into their own “Garcia style” and hopefully this will be a bit of a surprise for some. Only the future will tell if Garcia can make it in Stavanger Øst. The food is in my opinion, worth a visit!
Facts: Homepage: https://garcia.no/
Location: Ryfylkegata 33 - see this Google map
Price for the food on this visit: 630 kroner (about 75 USD)