Not be confused with a Mini-Golf Holiday, we are talking real Spanish golf, playing once at Platja de Pals and taking in both courses at Empordà Golf Resort, evenings were spent enjoying the culinary options in Begur, 50 kilometers from Figueres and a great base for golf as well as taking in the sun on the local beaches.
The last week in May the weather was variable with beautiful mornings and thunder showers threatening in the afternoon. As such, we didn’t get to see the stunning turquoise water pictured in all the tourist shop postcards.
Platja de Pals
Platja de Pals, set in an old pine forest has a lovely shaded setting especially on a hot summer day. The course, however, while in great condition was rather boring with flat terrain and few hazards.
In true links style this course offers long fairways on undulating land often ending in a dogleg to the right or left. For non-practiced golfer such as myself the red tees do not offer much relief on the seemingly endless par 5s.
Really a mix of links style holes and old pine lined challenges. Again a pretty setting in an old pine forest much like Platja de Pals but with considerably more challenges both in the rolling terrain and number of hazards. Similar to the Links course, the front nine include three long par 5s that will test the patience of the distance challenged. The back nine, however, is more friendly in terms of distance without giving up variety in hole design and number of hazards.
Sleeping and Dining in Begur
The Hotel Galena Mas Comagau is situated a lovely stone building on the edge of town with easy access by car, parking and within walking distance to the center of town and restaurants. We were in junior suite which occupied the old stables, with stone walls and modern furnishings. The room and bathroom are spacious including a large door-less shower. Amenities are on the light side with thin towels and sparse minibar. The public spaces of the main building offer cozy corners for chilling and enjoying the views overlooking an inland valley.
Hotel Galena Mas Comagau
Dining experiences included three very different options. First the more formal dinner at the Hotel Galena. Same stone décor with modern touches as in the rest of the complex with an outdoor terrace overlooking the inland valley.
The menu is more traditional, offering a selection of Spanish and French classics. Started with the baby fava beans and grilled baby squid. A dish that we first tasted in Barcelona and loved. The hotel’s preparation was just delightful as our previous experience with the delicate bitterness of the favas marrying well with the sweetness of the fresh squid.
Our mains were just as pleasing. Don’s turbot was perfectly grilled and my fish stew consisting of monkfish, prawns and potatoes had a richness and depth of flavor that only comes from a long cooking process without being the least bit over seasoned.
On warm evenings the back terrace of Pati Blau located in the town center (Carrer Concepció Pi “Tato”, 3) offers a pleasant, albeit more casual, alternative. While you won’t find anything beyond basic on their menu, they do have a broad range of generally well prepared dishes – the mussels and grilled dorado were perfectly cooked, the side of French fries fresh hot and crispy, and Don’s pizza while unremarkable hit the spot.
The only complaint was the unattractive salad with baked goat cheese, a hastily put together creation of iceberg lettuce, walnuts, ham and raisins topped with a warmed goat cheese rounds.
For a truly fun dining experience try Platillos, also located in the center (Carrer Pi I Ralló, 8; Phone – 972 62 25 02). Really a small bar turned into a restaurant with about six tables and seating for another half a dozen or so at the bar. The ambience is, however, elevated a bit with the addition of white table cloths.
The menu is an extensive selection of small plates ranging from simple small bites such as olives and anchovies to more refined mini-entrees. While the food over all was generally good, individual dishes ran from just OK to excellent. The fish soup for example was watery and the Bacalao, while well-cooked, was served with an unappealing and tasteless white cream sauce.
Our favorite dishes of the evening were two of the daily specials – tuna tartare with avocado, a sumptuous creamy combination; and the goat served with a cherry reduction, tender, flavorful and super moist. Be sure to make reservations as this tiny establishment fills up fast. By 8:30PM on a Tuesday they were turning people away.
May 31, 2012
For links to all the posts in this series see the Spain page.