Week 47 : La Tia Rica (Chile)

We visited this Chilean restaurant on the day of German unity and were lucky to get the last table reservation as it was packed. The location is in a swanky part of Charlottenburg near Ernst Reuterplatz. On the way we walked past some upmarket looking restaurants and a posh burger place with the most ridiculous name I have seen so far; ‘Who’s That Burger’. Thankfully, La Tia Rica is much more down to earth and we liked the feel of the place as soon as we walked in. We were seated in the corner and immediately noticed some familiar lit up papier mache head decorations on the wall. In a strange coincidence these are made by the same Arts Centre that we ended up at after our visit to the Filipino restaurant back in March.

pisco sour

pisco sour

light up heads

light up heads

We started our meal with a Pisco Sour as this is a traditional aperitif in Chile. It was delicious enough to make me look up how much it cost to buy Pisco online when  I got home (20 euros). Being a Chilean restaurant they had a great wine list which was reasonably priced. We took a bottle of the Carménère Reserva which was really delicious, full-bodied and a steal at 19 euros a bottle. The menu was small which gave me hope that it would be good as I never trust big menus. They also had a list of specials which included my favourite meat; rabbit, but sadly it was sold out.  We chose to share a ceviche and empanadas to start and then for main course Richard had lava stone grilled lamb chops and I had the lamb shank with pumpkin which the menu assured me was very traditional. I am not usually one to care about service as I will tolerate a lot in search of good food, but I must note how good it was here, being very personal and warm which is rare for Berlin.

2015-10-03 19.44.49

The food was really delicious. The empanadas were super tasty and came with a delicious spicy salsa that we asked for more of and the white fish ceviche was classically tasty with a lime tang and fresh crisp salad (although I did eat a better one at Sauvage in Neukolln recently). The main courses were extremely filling, the lamb chop were grilled to perfection and the shank was comfort food at its finest.

2015-10-03 20.38.34

The one thing that wouldn’t have us racing back is the prices, at an average of 16 euros for a main course it is quite expensive for Berlin but with such a warm atmosphere and such reasonably priced wine it was a really enjoyable visit especially as a treat.

Date of visit October 3rd 2015

Week 46 : La Casa Buena Vista (Cuba)

We visited La Casa Buena Vista on one of the first autumnal feeling nights of the year seeking out some Caribbean sunshine. This neighbourhood Cuban restaurant is in Weisensee and it was my first visit to this sleepy Bezirk outside the ring bahn near Prenzlauerberg. It was fairly busy for a Tuesday with German locals and we were seated at the back on the warm restaurant. The decor was a bit naff for my taste with lots of Che posters and rum adverts but it could have been worse to be honest.

We took a while to navigate the fairly long menu which had tapas starters and then variations on chicken, pork, beef and fish in ‘Cubanesque’ sauces served with rice. We chose filled croquettes and slow cooked beef pastries to start and then the special platter with a bit of everything and a chicken dish with a lime and coriander sauce. For reasons outside of the blog I also ordered some garlic bread as it is comfort food that I haven’t had for a while. The menu also features a long list of cocktails and rum choices so Richard started drinking his way through the list starting with an El Presidente (of which we cannot remember the ingredients).

beef 'pies'

beef ‘pies’

The starters were okay; the slow cooked beef in the pastries was falling apart and very tasty but the croquettes were fairly bland and the accompanying salsas were not as good or as spicy as in the other Latin American meals we have had recently in Colombian and Argentinian places. The garlic bread was pretty weird, very dry and un-garlicky which was disappointing. The main courses were also a mixed bag, the grillplatter looked a fright but was actually very tasty and everything was cooked well and still moist despite appearances. The chicken dish was pretty weird and featured boring dry bits of chicken breast drowning in a sauce which didn’t work at all and tasted competitively of salt, sour lime, sweet honey and bitter coriander.

mixed grill

mixed grill

I certainly won’t be bothering with a follow up visit here as it was nothing special, of mixed quality and probably inauthentic (judging by the staff and customers). If you are in the area on an early evening it might be worth a visit as they have half price main courses and cheap cocktail deals but otherwise don’t go out of your way.

Date of visit 7th September 2015.