It’s 19:30 Saturday evening and Palo Cortao has just opened. Just. It’s retro-industrial, empty and cold. We have a hungry baby in tow. None of this makes any sense. This is a place to go on date night or with your food-nerd friends. This is a restaurant whose final ambience arrives at your table in the form of its dishes, accompanied by a happy din of oohs, mmms and ahhhhs. It’s a place to sobre mesa with good wine and a cheese platter. It is not – allow me to repeat, NOT – the place to whip out a tupper of brown rice, ask for a small spoon, and start shoveling said grains into a tiny mouth (read: all over their floor), all while inquiring about their culinary ideology.
That, however, is exactly how we played it. And Palo Cortao took it in stride. The staff was friendly, courteous and engaged, and showed us the kitchen with its wood fired grill while making googly eyes at our mini-human. Chef Carles Fernández came out to say hello and explain the specials sporting his Jamaican flag chef jacket. It was too early to go for the full monty, food speaking, so we tried the extremely recommendable tataki de atún and a fritura gaditana de pescado that makes frying more respectable. It left us with muchas ganas de probar más. And, given the quality, raciones that span from €10 to €20 and medias from €4.50 to €10 make it possible to do fine dining for around €25.