Simply awful, grotty tapas consisting of mostly tinned and frozen ingredients reheated in a microwave. Although most of the seafood was fresh it was terribly cooked, the octopus was particularly bad. The paella, supposedly the restaurants "signature dish", was equally disappointing. The base of the dish was made with easy cook long grain rice with a bag of sloppy over cooked frozen vegetables added and not even a trace of paprika or saffron to be found. Despite the fact that the dish was served in a paella pan it was clearly not cooked in it, all elements of the meal were cooked separately and arranged in the pan making the result utterly bland and tasteless. The general atmosphere was flat and the only staff member smiling was the cocky used car salesman of a manager who seemed to find it amusing that he was serving uttlery unauthentic food saying a one point "do you know how long it takes to cook a proper f**king paella?" If you are looking for an authentic taste of Spain then steer well clear. At around £30 per head I expect much better. As another reviewer said you would get closer to the mark with ready meals from Tesco, sad just really sad.
I am always wary of restaurants saying they have authentic cuisine when often it is as authentic as Dick van Dyke's cockney accent, so when a native of a country praises a restaurant you know it is rather good.
San Miguel is not only a terrible Spanish lager but also a rather good tapas bar and Spanish restaurant specialising in fish and seafood on Greenwich Church Street right in the hear of maritime Greenwich very near the Cutty Sark DLR station and Greenwich Market.
I had been to San Miguel three times previously (once with a seafood loving fmember of the reviewing community) and have always had a good meal there. I went recently with a Mallorcan who had never dared to eat tapas in England as he felt he would be let down with the English idea of Tapas, so San Miguel really had to deliver and it did.
My visit like all bar one of my visits was at a weekend lunchtime. Like previous times we were promptly seated at a table with the menu in front of us (however this time they forgot the drinks menu so we had to ask for it). Its quite a large restaurant and quite dark due to the darkish red walls. Fishing paraphernalia such as nets are strewn round the restaurant. If possible try and get one of the booths near the front of the restaurant as they are lighter and you can sit and people watch. I've been near the window twice and further back twice. I find the further in the restaurant you go the darker it is.
The food menu is divided into three, First up is appetisers (surprise surprise) which consists of a number of various types of bread plus olives all costing under £3. We avoided all the garlic breads and selected the basket of plain bread and butter which was nice and soft slices of crusty white bread. This arrived promptly just before our main course and made a delicious neutral accompaniment to our other food.
The main menu is divided into hot and cold tapas and main courses. The main courses look tempting with a selection of paellas to share (round about the £25 mark for two) fish, meat and even a couple of vegetarian dishes. These cost anything from £8.9 for Spanish style vegetable rice to £14.95 for steaks and £16.95 for a seafood platter. I have been tempted by some of the seafood dishes but during my visits I have skipped the main courses and opted for the tapas selections and thus can not comment on the quality of the main courses. They also do a £4.9 set lunch menu but i barely gave this a glance.
I love the concept of communal eating and like mezze the eastern Mediterranean equivalent I always enjoy sharing little bits and pieces of different dishes rather than one main course. My fellow diner is also pesceterian so we set about the menu looking for all the fishy and seafood delights.
Usually it is customary for people to order two or three different tapas dishes as the portion sizes can vary. We ordered five different dishes plus the bread, which was ample for us. My fellow diner went straight for the grilled octopus whilst I selected a favourite of mine the deep friend aubergines with tomato sauce. We agreed on some piri piri king prawns and mussels in garlic and white wine sauce. We accompanied them wish a Greek style salad. The dishes may not look that much but we were nicely satisfied by the end of it. In the past I have also had sardines which are tasty but very messy to eat and an indulgence rock oysters ,which are £1.95 each and a bit of an acquired taste.
The aubergines as per usual were tasty with the crunchy batter and chunky tomato sauce to dip them into. The piri piri prawns were nice and fat but at £4.95 for four of them were quite expensive. Luckily the mussels were more plentiful. The octopus could have been disastrous and far too chewy but was not. My fellow diner was extremely impressed with it and that's high praise from a Spaniard. The Greek salad was nice but since when was there beetroot (my least favourite vegetable ) and radishes in a Greek salad??
The drinks menu at San Miguel is far more than San Miguel and sangria. There's a fairly wide choice for all tastes. I especially like their non alcoholic cocktails (£3.25) for lunchtime as you feel sophisticated but not decadent. They also do a range of alcoholic cocktails varying in price from about £4 to champagne cocktails at £6. They do a nicely priced cocktail of the week at £3.65. I have had it in the past but did not fancy the tequila, Tia Mario and cream concoction on offer that wee. Instead I pumped for a white sangria at £3.95 per glass. I've never had a white sangria (white wine, brandy, triple sec and lemonade and it was nice) however my companion told me it should really be made with champagne. My companion had a glass of Roija at the same price which was apparently very good.
The dessert menu is average size with most of your old familiar standbys such as apple pie. Chocolate fudge cake and profiteroles. The desserts are mostly over £4 which I found a bit expensive. I was looking at the sorbet but at £3.95 I thought that a bit extortionate. Instead we both ordered the traditional Catalan dessert of Creme Catalana. This was nice rich creme brulle. Companion said that it was served in the proper way and the only thing wrong with it was the icing sugar sprinkled on top. This was washed down by tiny cups of very strong espresso.
I have read other reviews about the service being pretty dire but I have never experienced this probably because I have tended to eat there at lunchtime. We found that the food was served reasonably quick and the Polish waitress was very attentive and friendly with finger bowls being brought out to cleanse our fishy fingers. My companion was quit happy having a laugh and a joke with the Portuguese waiter who latterly served us.
Greenwich is jam packed with eateries jostling for my custom. For me to go back to a place four times it must be fairly special. Its a place you can go for a quiet lunch or a bigger gathering such as birthday party, as better fun with more people. I can highly recommend San Miguel especially now it has a Spaniard's seal of approval.
18 Greenwich Church Street
020 8305 1720
As a resident of Greenwich, I have tried many restaurants in the area but undoubtedly the San Miguel Tapas Restaurant has the worst customer service in Greenwich. A friend and I booked well ahead of time a table in this restaurant only to find ourselves waiting half an hour for our table. We stood waiting for our table with no notice from the staff to how long we were going to wait. The lack of hospitality made the wait long and tedious but we were determined to find out what the food was going to be like. Eventually we noticed that people who did not book a table were being seated before us and promptly asked why this was so. The rude Head of Service said that it could be 5min, 10min or 50min so what do you want me to do. We explained how we had booked a table and would like to know how much longer we had to wait. Not longer than 30seconds later we were shown to various tables which were available and were confused why we werent seated sooner.
We sat down and ordered from the menu determined to make the most of it all. We ordered a starter and several small tapas dishes for our main course. Our starter arrived and we began to relax. Not even half-way through our starter, our main course arrived. What was all this about? We were confronted with all our food with no break between the starter and the main course. Since we could not let our main course get cold we abandoned the starter. Our little table was completely cluttered with dishes.
In the end the food was nothing special, in fact it replicated what you would get in Tesco quick dishes warmed up in a microwave one waitress joked lightly. Not knowing whether to take this seriously it did explain the quick turn around and how the sea food based dishes we ordered tasted more fresh than the other meat dishes. Should I return to this restaurant I would only order the sea food based dishes.
The waiting service were over worked, no smiles or hospitality could be seen. The lack of management of the floor was unforgivable and clearly more staff would create a more positive service.
Finally our table was cleared and we were given our dessert menu. Keen to try out one of their desserts, we waited another half an hour before someone came to take our order. We could not believe the time management in the restaurant and ordered nothing. Who knew how long we would have to wait for that. We asked for our bill and would you believe it they were prompt. Within 1minute we had paid our bill and began to leave.
As we left the Head of Service rudely said Is that it then? and we promptly left.
San Miguel Tapas Restaurant is not a place I would recommend unless you are brave enough to face and experience the lack of customer care. It is not a restaurant for families and certainly not for a romantic meal. There are several restaurants in Greenwich, all which have a decent service to the paying customer. Will we ever return to San Miguel Restaurant? No way.
Ola Senorita! - Tues es muy guappa!
My feeble and unsuccessful attempt to chat up the gorgeous waitress didn't dampen my first dining experience at San Miguel.
Armed with an empty stomach and a craving for a fish dish, my friend and I embarked on a desperate journey from New Eltham to Greenwich on the back of another friend's previous nights' recommendation.
Ola Senor! Dous cerveza por favor!
A couple of light ales (bottles of Sol avec lime) later and we were being dished up a fabolous range of Spanish Tapas. Jalapeno's stuffed with cheese, Mussels in Garlic, Chorizo rice, Octopus accompanied with a shared meal of the sea food medley - Squid, Prawns, Lobster, more mussels, Monkfish, Scallops. I was in heaven.
The meal was expensive. £64 for 2 but then you'd expect that for good food. The ambience was relaxed Spanish, warm and fun, the food and drink plentiful and rich and as I said the waitress hot!
I'm the one recommending now and I reckon i'll be back within the week!
I quite agree with 'Fabulous Girl' about San Miguel in Greenwich. We go there very often and are planning another visit ASAP.I am particularly craving their food having just spent 10 days in Andalucia - supposedly the 'home' of tapas - where the authentic versions of the dishes served at SM were bland and insipid by comparison. Make sure that you ask for a pitcher of Sangria, then marvel at the way that it doesn't seem to run out! The restaurant has a bubbly atmosphere and plays interesting background music - eg: flamenco versions of rock classics/ballads - not as bad as it sounds, honest. Prices are reasonable and the portions are generous - we rarely finish everything, no matter how hungry we are! Service is fast, friendly and efficient, even though they're usually very busy. There is a lovely controlled-chaotic vibe to the place and it all feels very Spanish.
'Fabulous girl' may like to know that the dishy owner has a twin - I thought the sangria had really gone to my head when I first saw the two of them in the restaurant at the same time - mind-boggling!
On Tuesday 4th April, I paid my second visit to San Miguel for another colleagues leaving do. It is very sad to see her go, and so this review is dedicated to Chanel- I will miss thee, the only other person in the dept near my age, with all you lovely shoes and handbags! Moving on
San Miguel is based on Greenwich Church Road, in Greenwich, London. The nearest tube station is the Cutty Sark (DLR) and if youre lucky you may be able to park right outside.
Chanel chose San Miguel for her send-off meal because we are sick to death with Italian food. Another colleague, who is Italian, is always dragging us to Italian restaurants, and while I love the food, it does get repetitive.
San Miguel is a Spanish restaurant, specialising in Tapas and Spanish Cuisine.
N.B. Tapas definition Spanish appetizers that can also form an entire meal when many are ordered together. Tapas dishes are generally quite small and can be either simple (fresh olives served with cubes of ham) or elaborate (snails in a spicy sauce). When ordering tapas, it is best to combine a number of dishes together and allow everyone in your party to sample each dish.
***Décor and Atmosphere***
The restaurant is well laid out and decorated in dark wood, with leaves hanging down form the ceiling to create a kind of grotto effect. The place is fairly dimly lit, to create just the right ambience, as well as allowing you to see just where youre sticking that calamari. There are small booth seats at the front near the bar for smaller parties, and a couple of steps up to another level, where we were seated on our extra long table- just in front of the open kitchen, mouth-wateringly good.
The diners tend to be couples and families with grown-uppish kids- I am not sure if the place is very family friendly, as the variety of food available isnt exactly of the chicken nuggets and chips variety. And of course the clientele involves raucous groups of NHS staff.
The toilets are just downstairs. They are clean and there are two cubicles in the ladies, and presumably, the same in the gents, so not particularly wheelchair or pushchair friendly.
***The Menu (What we Had)***
There were 15 members of our party altogether, and the staff were very accommodating to our needs. Some people, as stated in the Tapas definition, had all Tapas, and some of us had a dish each to start and then a main meal. I was sat in a foursome at one end of our table- well call it smokers corner. Between us we chose Jalapeño poppers (deep fried Jalapeño peppers stuffed with cream cheese), deep friend squid, Spanish omelette, and chorizo (Spanish sausage). The choice was hard because quite frankly, everything on the menu sounds and is delicious. There is something for everyone, be you vegetarian, or carnivorous like moi. The dishes are also numbered to prevent embarrassing pronunciation attempts (although my manager did keep trying to speak French to the Spanish waiters- in true Del-Boy fashion). The Tapas dishes are priced at £2-6, depending on size and type. There are also appetisers, such as olives and garlic bread, but we bypassed these and went straight for the kill.
Main meals are split into Paellas, which come as a shared dish for two, at £19-22. Then the meat (chicken or steak, mainly) dishes are listed, followed by seafood, and vegetarian. Veggie dishes are about £10.00 while the meat and fish dishes are about £15. I opted for the seafood medley, as did 3 others on my part of the table (Very Victoria Beckham, dahling). This was amazing, consisting of big ole prawns, shrimps, squid and monkfish, along with a few scallops for good measure. This dish, like most others, unless specified (some come with rice) was served with potatoes and vegetables- which is my one gripe. To me, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots just arent very Spanish- surely the dish would be better off served with Mediterranean roasted veggies? Ah well, that aside, the seafood itself was amazingly fresh and tasty, if a little hard to dissect (I had never done the whole shrimp thing before).
Desserts were also available- I opted for apple pie which was fabulous (though not so Victoria Beckham), but tried my friends crème Catalana, which was a little bland for my taste. It was like a plate of clotted cream, but off. The rest of the table more or less opted for an Irish coffee- and so we alls pent about £3-4 on desserts.
As usual we bought a few bottles of wine for the table- I think it must have been 5 overall, plus a JD and coke, and a couple of Orange Juices.
***The Grand Total***
The bill came to a whopping £462.02- split between 14 (as we all shared the cost of Chanels). Service charge was included, and so we all put in £34.00 each. This sounds like a lot but bear in mind it includes part of somebody elses meal too, and in my mind, it was well worth it, for the food, the service and the general atmosphere.
Our waiter was a little grumpy, especially with the Chiefs Del-boy act, but everything arrived as and when it should have done. After the meal was over and people started departing to far-off lands (like Kent) to get home, we stayed and continued to drink Brandy-, which was deliciously smooth and served lovely and warm- just as it should be. Although we were the last in the place, they made no attempts to kick us out or make us feel unwelcome, although they were very very obliging when we asked them to call us a taxi. The owner was also very nice, and extremely good looking, and in our pissed state we managed to get his name and a photo behind the bar.
One final tip- this place does great Sangria- it is AMAZING! I didnt have any this time (ok, well, a few sips of Chans, not my fault shes a slow drinker and I am the human booze-hoover). But if you ever find yourselves at San Miguels- try it, youll love it, and it will complete the whole Spanish experience.
San Miguel, 18 Greenwich Church Road, Greenwich, London, SE10 9BJ
Nearest Station: Cutty Sark
Type: Spanish Tapas and cuisine
Average meal cost: £30 (in wine)
Parties catered for
Owners: Pedro (very tasty) and Miguel Castelao