Local girl Laura Armstrong and her husband José Manuel Mallo Varela opened this appealing restaurant in 2012 - and, billing itself as an ‘Authentic Spanish Restaurant’, it’s a first for Fermanagh and attracts diners from a fair distance to enjoy the ambience and chef José’s cooking.
If the name Pinsapo doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue, think of it as an aromatic Spanish Fir. The thought of its scent wafting around will instantly transport you to sun-soaked southern Spain as you settle into this atmospheric restaurant and enjoy the Spanish music and José’s menu, which offers a taste of the various regions.
Some tables are set up for dining in the spacious reception area, which has a curvaceous bar and is pleasant although it’s less intimate than the main dining space. Lovely and welcoming, this is a roomy rectangle with a series of big beautifully lit framed tourist posters from Spain set against warm coral walls, the soft effect accented by a series of little trees illuminated with small white led lights. Nicely spaced tables are set bistro style, and the ready smiles of young Spanish girl servers add to the atmosphere.
Everything is cooked to order and they only accept one booking per table each evening, so there’s no sense of rush. The main menu is a laminated sheet printed on both sides, but it’s supplemented by little reversible blackboards on stands, one per table, explaining the specials – two starters and two mains.
Dishes are described in Spanish, with English translation and, while you choose your meal, a tasty dip arrives with some warm olive bread – a nice touch. The starters include a tapas platter too, so plenty of sociable sharing to get the evening going.
Choices are well balanced, with poultry well represented and dishes like rump of lamb with rioja red wine sauce and pork tenderloin in a sherry sauce typically appealing options for meat lovers, although fish choices are very strong and may win out for many diners.
Think of Galicia for example and it’s synonymous with seafood, especially hake - typically Merluza a la gallega, Galician style hake fillet served with salsa espanola and mash. This is a generous portion of fish, perfectly cooked and seasoned and with plenty of the very tasty sauce – tomatoey-peppery with a note of chorizo - set on a bed of mash, with a delicious melange of vegetables underneath, including lovely pak choi.
Very quaffable wines, good coffee and lovely service all contribute to what should be a very enjoyable evening here.
The atmospheric surrroundings, the food and the service are all of a piece and it’s a genuine taste of Spain, not available elsewhere in the area. And special evenings are sometimes held, with a flamenco dancer to add to the atmosphere.