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Hostal la Fosca, Palamós, Spain …

Looking for a beach-side, child-friendly, dog-welcoming restaurant set on a pristine beach in a beautiful cove on the Costa Brava? Well, you might like to try this place!

It's a strong favourite with us for family get-togethers. We like to sit outside in a big rowdy posse on sunny days and look at the wonderful beach in the photographs below.

Last Saturday lunch-time, when we got together for a family jamboree, the water was full of surfers. Now none of us knows anything about surfing, but we quickly turned into a table of critics and spent a merry half hour telling one another why the dudes on the boards were failing to make an impact on any of the waves that were crashing onto the shore. It's amazing how a nice bottle of vino, congenial company and a plate of good food can give you the confidence to critique a sport that you know absolutely zilch about … .

At the other end of the cove there's an ancient ruin that we've always been too greedy for food to go and explore. One of these days … .

I can't pretend it's a fancy-pants place with starched tablecloths and a silver service: it isn't. It's an unpretentious beach joint with plastic tables on an outdoor terrace with friendly waiters and a laid-back attitude to both boisterous children and their pets. The Wonder Dog was welcome, and he spent a happy time in the shade under the table making puppy-dog eyes at people in the hope that they'd toss a bit of fish in his direction. And there were three or four other reasonably behaved pooches there doing their thing, and nobody – patrons or staff – seemed to mind the odd woof that escaped when they got over-excited about a newcomer.

The children were happy as they could race up and down the beach between courses or during those interludes when adult conversation sounded especially boring.

It was hot, hot, hot out in the sun, so the nice folk who run the restaurant gave us hats to borrow, which was of course a cue for a whole load of silly jokes about how we looked. In fact if they'd provided a floor act I don't think we'd have had anything like so much fun as we had with the sun hats, but that probably says more about us than the hats … .

It won't come as a surprise to reveal that the menu is heavily weighted in favour of seafood. They had some great sonsos (tiny little fried fish that the people out here go nuts for). A nice chap explained to me once that they were really sand worms, which didn't pitch them very attractively to my gastronomic tastes. But if he's right and they really are sand worms, then they're the tastiest sand worms on the planet. Someone else told me that they're full of phosphorus, which is apparently a valuable mineral to stock up on, and probably very useful too if you have ambitions to glow in the dark (!). In any event, give them a try: with a squeeze of lemon, they're delicious.

For main courses they offer a mean paella or a fideuà, which is a type of paella made using vermicelli-like noodles in place of rice. And whilst I'm not a fan of desserts they've got a good selection of local favourites on offer too.

But really, with a view like this, it's easy not to concentrate on the food.


COUNTRY


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Bonny divides her time between, West London, the sunny Costa Brava, the not-quite-so-sunny South West of England and the usually sun-less North of Ireland. She spends her days working as a writer and translator. With her faithful hound, the Wonder Dog, at her heels, she likes nothing better than to go exploring the very best that each of these regions has to offer.



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