Above and Beyond in Granada

We usually focus on food and drink when we do a restaurant post. This one isn’t necessarily about food, although it was outstanding. This is about restaurant employees who go above and beyond good table service.

Mary had a craving for paella, and we found a nearby restaurant, Los Manueles Catedral, that’s been serving guests in Granada for well over 100 years. We showed up a few minutes before our Sunday lunch reservation and joined the long check-in line, where folks without a reservation were being turned away.

When it was our turn to check in, the manager was perplexed. He couldn’t find our name on the reservation list. Fortunately, I had the confirmation for patio seating on my phone. He asked us to wait a moment, then motioned for us to follow him. We did, and he led us right past the patio.

“Where are you taking us?” I asked as we hurried down cobblestone streets. “There are five Manueles and you’re booked at another location,” he explained as we emerged into a charming plaza. In moments he handed us off to the right Manueles.

We were amazed. When was the last time a maitre’d went out of his way like this to help a customer? He was gone before we could get his name. Muchas gracias amigo!

We ended up with a nice shaded table for two, with a cooling breeze. The servers here teamed up; each was very friendly and professional. One let us sample wines before we ordered a bottle. Another suggested the seafood paella – “The best Spain!” he said. And it was delicious, almost as good as the one we made at paella school in Valencia a few years ago.

The bill came to 86 euros, a bit higher than I expected, even though we also had a meal-size salad with dried figs, goat cheese, and greens. I had my card out to pay when our server returned, grabbed the bill, and walked away. We were puzzled. In a few minutes he was back, with a new check … this one totalled 52 euros. Whew!

Curious about the big reduction, Mary looked over the new itemized bill. They didn’t charge us for the wine; she said. We had to tell them – one good deed deserves another. When we finally tapped the card on the credit card reader, our bill was for less than 70 euros.

Thoroughly satisfied by the meal and memorable service, we headed back to our apartment about six blocks away. We were about a third of the way there when the server flagged us down. In his hand was my Wine Dine & Travel Magazine ball cap I had left on the table. Unbelievable!

It was a meal to remember – especially for the kindness and integrity shown to two travelers on a Sunday afternoon. All confirmed our growing respect for the gracious Spanish people we encounter every day.