Q&A: Ricardo Gonzalez, La Taverneta
We’re out and about meeting the people who run shops, bars and provide services in and around El Perelló, L’Ampolla and L’Ametlla. Former fisherman Ricardo runs La Taverneta and prides himself on serving dishes that celebrate the heritage of the fishing families of L’Ampolla and the Delta.
Ebre Connect: What is the story behind La Taverneta?
Ricardo: I’m from a fishing family and I was a fisherman here in L’Ampolla before I opened La Taverneta with my parents in July 2009. There was no other place in L’Ampolla like it serving typical food from the sea. To start with we only served mussels and fried fish. Little by little we added more types of fish and seafood.
Ebre Connect: Life running a restaurant is very different to life on the sea, isn’t it?
Ricardo: Yes. The sea is hard – in the winter it’s hard and in the summer too. So yes, the quality of life now is better and I work with products from the sea so I’m happy.
Ebre Connect: What type of food do you serve now?
Ricardo: We serve food that is typical of the people from L’Ampolla, the food that was cooked by my grandparents, the food that is typical of the homes of fishermen. So our dishes include l’anguila amb suc (eel in sauce) – a very typical dish of the Delta, caço (dogfish), peixet fregit (little fried fish), palaí (a type of small sole) – which is typical of L’Ampolla and I don’t think anywhere else serves it around here. In other restaurants you’ll find paella and mariscadas, but our food is simple, to give people the best price.
Ebre Connect: Where does the food come from?
Ricardo: Every day we go to buy the fish when the boats come in at 5pm – it’s all fresh and we look after it carefully.
Ebre Connect: What is the most popular dish?
Ricardo: It’s peix de bou – ‘bou’ is the art of how these fish are caught. The dish is a selection of small, seasonal fish that are fresh off the boat and then fried in rice flour, which is the best way to do it.
Ebre Connect: How would you describe the atmosphere to someone who has never been here?
Ricardo: People who eat here like the family ambience. It’s not over the top, the type of seats and furniture aren’t important. We have good food at a good price, and we treat people well. The people who work here are all linked with this place and know about the sea. We have a lot of regular clients and that’s important to keep a business running. I like working like this and seeing people happy.
La Taverneta is at Carrer Banys 21, L’Ampolla, 977 460 044. The header photograph shows Ricardo at La Taverneta in front of a family photograph of L’Ampolla fishermen.
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