Upon arrival at Spanish Restaurant and Tapas Bar El Faro, the cobbled laneways, rustic setting and lively music instantly transport me to the back streets of Europe and I already feel a million miles away from mid-town Auckland.
Nestled in a cosy corner at the end of Elliot Stables, El Faro is your quintessential Spanish Restaurant and Tapas Bar. I’d heard great things and given tapas are quite possibly my favorite way to eat, decided it was my duty to substantiate claims for my next review.
Upon arrival, the cobbled laneways, rustic setting and lively music instantly transport me to the back streets of Europe and I already feel a million miles away from mid-town Auckland . The intimate space is charming with tea lights dotted around the room, quirky picture frames, quaint seating, wine barrels and tapas served on small, authentic Spanish plates.
After returning from working as a chef overseas, including a stint living in Spain, cooking for aristocrats in England and the rich and famous on yachts, owner Mark Ansley and his partner Sarah returned to settle back in Auckland. On their arrival back after checking out the restaurant scene, Mark says, "we could see real lack of informal, unpretentious, fun and reasonably priced dining options - good food does not need to be wanky". And so, El Faro was born.
Passionate about getting back to basics with simple food and fresh produce, Mark supports sustainable natural farming and sources much of his produce from nearby farms to support local economies. The beetroot and potatoes are from Pukekohe and the beef on tonight’s menu is Scottish Highland from a farm in Matakana.
El Faro’s food truly lives up to not only Mark’s vision of uncomplicated, quality food bursting with flavor, but also its many deserved accolades. We work our way through a delectable offering of small tasting plates; Pintxos de Jamon; a wild wheat bread toasted and topped with a swirl of Queso fresco, parsley lemon zest and caperberry, organic butter beans with Spanish chorizo, warm beetroot, blue cheese and roasted walnut salad and parsley and lemon anchovies to name a few. We are utterly impressed…the flavours are bursting and the food is authentically Spanish whilst remaining true to local ingredients.
The wine list isn’t bad either…we sample a bottle of lovely Spanish Cava and finish the night nicely with a glass of Mark’s famous Sangria.
Perfect for a pre-theatre or movie dinner, a date or even a work lunch or dinner given its central location, El Faro is sure to impress and provide the perfect outlet to escape for a bit of Mediterranean magic in the CBD.