Moonraker Morsels

A Barcelona food blog

La Costa Dorada in Sitges

The world could learn a lot from the town of Sitges. What I perceived as a ghetto of hedonistic, holidaying, gay folk whose partying and two weeks in the sun got in the way of residents lives was completely shattered after my first visit. Instead, this picture postcard, seaside town is a melting pot of all walks of life and I am completely infatuated with it. View of Sitges town and beachesSit on the main street, especially in summer, and you will see couples of all persuasions taking a stroll, old people walking dogs, groups of holiday friends, babies in buggies and screaming toddlers. And of course there are the well turned out fellas whose saunter past wafts their cologne in your direction which leaves an after-taste on your tongue and curious of where their night is going to take them. This is a truly mixed bag of harmonious living (although I’m not naive enough to think this is always the case). Take note Uganda!

My love of this place means any visitors in town now get the obligatory trip on the train to spend the day there. It’s worth noting that this is not just a summer resort. Whilst it is of course more jumping in the summer and at times you’ll struggle to get on the beach, this is not a town that completely shuts down out of season and is equally enjoyable in the cooler months.

The train drops you straight in the centre of town, and the station looks stunning in the summer as the bougainevillea hangs over the walls adjoining the tracks. From here you can leisurely take in the quaint streets, boutiques and gift shops and try and resist the temptations of some of the several patisseries. Being Easter when I last went it was still too chilly for a swim but at least stick those feet in the ocean for a paddle. Paddling in the sea in SitgesWith many cafés and restaurants to choose from and without any recommendations it was difficult to know where to satisfy our hunger. Some fine looking paella at La Costa Dorada finally lured us in. La Costa Dorada in SitgesLooking out onto the San Sebastian beach this was a perfect setting for taking in the ocean and doing a favourite pastime of mine, people watching. At 17€ each for the paella we plumped for the menu del día at 25€ which also gave us a starter platter to share, dessert, drink and bread. Who could turn down an offer like that?

The starters missed the photographs, we were famished and got stuck straight in to the plate of calamars, croquetes and the xato salad I could’ve happily eaten more of and forfeited the rest of the meal. Xato is a salad of salt cod, served here with bitter frisée lettuce, olives and romesco sauce. However, that wasn’t all and a large pan of mussels in tomato sauce arrived, tender and juicy in a creamy tomato sauce that was soaked up by the bread.

We probably could’ve stopped there but the star performer was on it’s way. I’ve never had a paella since I’ve been here, always suspicious of their authenticity and tourists connotations. I should probably stop being such a snob. Paella at La Costa Dorada, SitgesA steaming dish of saffron rice with mussels, clams, prawns, langoustines and peas landed on our table so we took a deep-breath to aid our starters’ digestion and got stuck in. Heavenly marine flavours and the perfectly cooked rice (although lacking the true paella crust on the bottom) was so good we fought off our increasingly stuffed stomachs to finish.

Thankfully desserts were of a much lighter note and we both chose the Catalan staple crema catalana. Similar to the neighbouring French crème brulée and our lesser known ‘burnt custard’, this is spiked with cinnamon and lemon flavours and has a satisfying crack to get into it. Crema catalana at la Costa Dorada, SitgesNot overly sweet or filling after the feast prior this was a perfect end to the meal. And to end a post about Sitges here’s a photo that captures the perfect end to a day there. View of Sitges in the eveningLa Costa Dorada, Playa San Sebastian 27, Sitges

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2 comments on “La Costa Dorada in Sitges

  1. maria
    May 12, 2011

    I usually enjoy reading your posts, but found this one a bit offensive. Your use of “ghetto of hedonistic, holidaying, gay folk who’s partying and two weeks” sounds quite homophobic.

    Was it really necessary to point out more than once the presence of gay individuals in the area? I´m sure you´ve encountered people of all lifestyles in the city.

    I understand that you´re trying to explain your perception was shattered, but how that could have been your perception in the first place leaves me perplexed. Gay slur aside, I´m also wondering if you´re clear on what a ghetto actually is and what tossing around that word implies.

  2. butterytoast
    May 12, 2011

    Hi Maria,
    Thanks for your comment on today’s post although I am saddened that you find it offensive and in parts homophobic and I would like to take the opportunity to respond here.

    Firstly, with regards to “pointing out the presence of gay individuals in the area more than once”, Sitges is well known as a town with a strong gay community and as a gay holiday resort. The UK gay press is awash with adverts for holidays, flat hire etc there and many bars, shops and cafes proudly fly rainbow flags and sell merchandise aimed at gay residents and visitors. This is not a town that hides its gay identity and I feel no qualms about making reference to it.

    As for “hedonistic, holidaying, gay folk whose partying and two weeks in the sun…”, it all sounds (and I know is) jolly good fun. However, I do feel that this shouldn’t happen to the detriment of residents of towns which become tourist resorts, deteriorate and become a ‘no go’ area for local people. Places that spring to mind as being as such are Ibiza’s San Antonio and Crete’s Faliraki, places that I would also deem ‘ghettos’.

    Whilst my use of ‘ghetto’ might not fit directly into the traditional definition, can people not ghettoise somewhere as well? I would certainly say that drunken, yobbish louts in the places mentioned above have done just that and my fear was that, given the partying reputation I’d heard of, visitors to Sitges had done the same there. Gay people would be no less capable of ruining somewhere as anyone else. It was a wonderful revelation to be proved wrong and Sitges strikes the balance between fun and hedonism and preserving the charm and local community, of which gay people are a definite part.

    Finally I go back to the first line of the post: that I feel the world could learn a lot from the town of Sitges and my reference to Uganda. In a week when the internet has been flooded with requests to denounce legislation being pushed through parliament in Uganda which would imprison gay people for life and their ‘accessories’ for periods of time as well, it seems heartwarming that in other parts of the world everyone’s getting on just fine and don’t give a damn which way we swing, as I said a “truly mixed bag of harmonious living”.

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