Villa Más – and why wine is cheaper in Spanish restaurants than anywhere else in the world

The Financial Times’ food critic Nicholas Lander clearly has a penchant for Catalan gastronomy, to which his column is dedicated with increasing frequency. Last weekend Lander reviewed the Villa Más restaurant in the Costa Brava bay of Sant Feliu de Guíxols, no more than an hour’s drive north of Barcelona.

Villa Más is not as well known outside Spain as that jewel in the crown of Spanish, and indeed, world gastronomy, El Bulli, which sadly closed this summer, nor is it as well known as El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, which this year won the accolade of second best restaurant in the world, just behind Copenhagen’s Noma, in the San Pellegrino Restaurant Awards.

Clearly, Lander was more than impressed not only by the cooking, but by the wine-pricing policy and the breadth of the cellar. The chef at Villa Más is Carlos Orta, a former DJ turned chef and a serious wine lover.

Typically wine mark-ups in Spanish restaurants are far lower than in other countries. In Britain, France and America a mark-up of 200% is typical and 300% not uncommon, even in French wine villages where they are actually making the stuff. In Spain there is a different mindset and an enlightened 20-25% is normal.

According to Lander, the mark-ups at Villa Más are so generously slight that they are unrivalled anywhere. In addition the breadth of the wine list at Villa Más is vast – there are 12 pages of whites and 14 of reds, and some great champagnes apart, with 8,000 bottles stored under the restaurant and another 4,000 bottles stored nearby.

Wine aside, the cooking at Villa Más is also world-class. In his review Lander strongly praised a rice casserole with prawns of the kind which Catalunya excels at – nothing more than rice, prawns and a fish stock known as fumet. A simple dish such as this relies solely on the skill of the chef in marrying good simple ingredients.

Catalunya, and Barcelona in particular, are wonderful places to enjoy this kind of seafood cooking. If you are visiting Barcelona, Villa Más is an easy day trip up the coast in a wonderful part of the Costa Brava.

Villa Más

Passeig Sant Pol 95
17220 Sant Feliu de Guíxols
00 34 972 82 25 26
00 34 972 82 25 62

Open for lunch and dinner in summer, lunch only in winter

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16 Responses to Villa Más – and why wine is cheaper in Spanish restaurants than anywhere else in the world

  1. Lenora from hood sales says:

    This jewel of Spain is very nice indeed. And I agree with you that Catalunya, and Barcelona in particular, are wonderful places also.

  2. Martin from Restaurant Richmond Hill says:

    I think the mark-up on Spanish wine may also be less on exports. In my local LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario – government stranglehold on alcohol, backwards or what?) some of the best and cheapest wine available is Spanish. Luckily for me most consumers here are unaware of the quality of these wines and judge them only on price. That should mean I’m able to enjoy great wines at great prices for sometime yet.

  3. Kasha from progressive house DJ London says:

    I’ll right away snatch your rss as I can’t to find your e-mail subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Please let me understand so that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  4. Brian Kinkade from Denver luxury real estate says:

    This looks like the place to be especially for people who love wine. With cheap prices and good food I am sure the place attracts so many customers from different parts of the world.

  5. This is just one more reason to love traveling in Spain! Their food is fantastic and there is nothing I enjoy more than a spicy spanish red! Everyone get to Spain, eat paella and drink as much delicious red wine as you can! You won’t regret it.

  6. Edu from Continuum South Beach says:

    Great, I love wine. I’m really excited to go to Barcelona. Thank you so much for providing a wonderful information about Barcelona. This site is awesome.

  7. Villa from W South Beach says:

    The whole world of wine has been changing, nowhere more so than in Spain. No one wants the cheap, bulk peasant wine anymore, but there is an ever-growing demand for quality wine.

  8. Edward from Miami Homes says:

    I will surely give a visit to Villa Más when I go to Spain. Thanks so much for the information and contact numbers, this site are really helpful for all those who want to travel and visit Barcelona.

  9. Bill says:

    That’s great to know about the wine prices. Is that just on domestic wines or imported also? Wine prices at restaurants here in the U.S. are depressing sometimes. Such high markups even on poor quality wine.

    • Josep Ferrer says:

      There isn’t any import wine to speak of in Spain – its all domestic. That is the same in France and Italy as well; why import it if they make it on your doorstep!

  10. Lina from Acqualina Miami says:

    Spanish wines are really great, i love it, makes me feel good and relax.

  11. Victoria from BC Canada Hotels says:

    Is it really true? The wine is cheaper in Spain than anywhere? Interesting. But here’s something else to consider – the wineries in BC, Canada have been expanding and are turning out some world class wines! And the vineyards are open year-round for tastings.

  12. Adam from champagne tasting says:

    I enjoy plenty of types of wines but my absolute favorite are the French ones. Romanian and Spanish are also quite good.

    • Josep Ferrer says:

      French ones is a broad church Adam, you can buy perfectly horrible wine in France as well as wonderful wine. Ditto Spain, Italy, anywhere.. Its all down to your personal taste what a good bottle of wine is at the end of the day.

  13. Elissa from Zuma says:

    You’ve wonderful stuff in this article.

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