This past Friday we headed to Antonio’s in Utrera. Some friends had been there before and recommended it. 9 of us headed there around 8:30 PM for dinner. We were the first table in this mid-size, easy to find restaurant on the main drag in Utrera. As soon as you walk in you are standing at Antonio’s bar complete with tapas-of-the-day behind glass as well as a large refrigerated case of the day’s fresh fish, most still with heads. The owner/manager/waiter (I believe) speaks pretty good English and they had 3 English menus which were a huge help. Once seated the owner/manager/waiter brought a huge tray of the aforementioned fresh fish to our table to show us what he had to offer that day. The rolls on the table, which we were charged 1,50 Euros apiece for were slightly hard and stale but the table olives were perfectly marinated in a citrus and spice mixture. One look at the menu showed us we were inundated with choice at this place, mostly typical Spanish and Andalucian dishes. There was a wide range of prices from Spanish tortilla at 3,50 Euros to beef and swordfish steaks at over 15 Euros. Joe heard the steaks were good and ordered the solomillo y solomillo lechal. Some friends ordered the fresh swordfish either spiced and grilled or sauteed in olive oil and garlic. Another friend ordered the entrecot, a beef tenderloin and I ordered a house salad and an appetizer of garlic prawns.
The appetizers came, a plate of fresh fried calamari rings, my house salad, and the alcachofas y jamon (sauteed artichokes, diced with pieces of fresh ham). The calamari were prefectly tender with not a hint of chewiness, the artichokes and ham were well prepared and tasty, although a little oily, as is so often the case here in Andalucia. And my house salad, with white asparagus, tuna, egg and fresh ripe tomatoes was good but not worth the 5 Euros I paid.
Entrees were served haphazardly, leaving the people who received food awkwardly waiting for the rest of the table to receive theirs. Although I didn’t taste it my friends reported the swordfish was good but not great. The entrecot was reportedly delicious but Joe’s solomillo had to be sent back twice to be cooked more as the “medium” steak was served raw in the middle. It appeared the third time was the charm as it came back tender and juicy with a hint of red inside. The entrees were served with two tiny side dishes, more of a garnish if you want to get technical. In my opinion, the vegetables and sliced potatoes were added to make the plates seem less empty. My gambas de ajillo (garlic prawns) were delivered and I was slightly disappointed to say the least. What I paid 7,50 Euros for was a plate of slivered garlic and sauteed popcorn shrimp swimming in a pool of olive oil. Not my idea of prawns and not worth 7,50 Euros.
Beers and tinto (house red wine) were, once again, less expensive than Coke and Fanta. The coffees we ordered for dessert were good but a friend ordered a baked apple that she had seen in a dessert case in the lobby and was slightly disappointed at its lack of flavor.
Overall, Antonio’s was a disappointment for the money. The portions were small for the price and the dishes were mediocre, at best. Antonio’s gets a C-