By Wendy Williams and Amie Keeley
Overlooking the azure lake situated in the picturesque pueblo blanco of Zahara de la Sierra, family-run Al Lago restaurant has the perfect backdrop for a romantic Valentines evening.
Unfortunately, neither of us had a date so we ended up going ourselves hoping that the place wouldn’t be completely full of couples.
Luckily it wasn’t and the atmosphere struck the perfect balance between romance and fun with everyone welcome.
In fact it was as much a family night as one for lovers (thank god).
The presence of the owner’s children, there to welcome the diners and even give us a quick flamenco performance, also lightened the mood.
But to inject a little passion into the night there was a flamenco show by El Niño de la Ratera and his dancers from El Saucejo.
All five dancers were impressive, but the lead dancer in particular held the whole room every time she took to the floor.
But the plaudits must go to her nine-year-old daughter who twirled and stamped like a true professional.
In terms of food, American-born chef Stefan Crites put forward just the right number of dishes to choose from not to be left flustered with what to order.
Starters included mushroom soup, rabbit terrine or smoked salmon.
Looking around the room, it looked like most people had opted for the terrine, so we both went for that and it didn’t disappoint.
For the main course, we both had fillet steak which was delicious and the best steak I’d had for a long time.
It came with perfectly presented gratin potatoes and vegetables cooked to perfection.
Other choices included John Dory stuffed with crab mousse and langoustines or seared loin of wild boar and red currants.
Overall, the evening ran smoothly from start to finish, thanks to Mona, Stefan’s wife, who works front of house overseeing the impressive service from all staff.
The waitresses were attentive without being over bearing and got into the spirit of the night – one waitress even performing some Flamenco herself to entertain the diners.