El Pato Mareao

The name translates as ‘the dizzy duck’, although the word ‘dizzy’ in Spanish can also mean ‘merry’, as in mery after 20 flagons of mead. As the restaurant’s symbol is a picture of a duck with a pint of lager in its hand, the latter interpretation seems correct, and considering that it’s situated near the University, it’s clear that this place caters for the erudite, who only eat and drink in order to be able to continue studying 20 hours a day in optimum conditions.

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The main attraction is the group suppers, with which you can try out a number of typical Spanish dishes for a modest price. There are two special menus priced at 12 & 15 euros, for which you can get delights such as pasta salad, roast potatoes in garlic sauce, Russian salad, spicy sausage in Roquefort cheese sauce, cheese in batter with cranberry sauce, chicken, a frying pan with potatoes in paprika and various Spanish sausages and canapés, platter of Iberian cured meats, prawns in garlic and grilled squid.

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If you feel the need to experience the decline of the Roman Empire at first hand, the 15€ version offers a salad and drinks, and they’ll also lay on a wheelbarrow to push you home in.

If you’re still hungry after all that then it’s a doctor you need not a different menu.

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The restaurant itself has the feeling of an ambitious shed, with wood abounding on ceiling, bar, tables or even a barrel. For the suppers they play modern music from the 90s onwards and between dishes you can gaze around at photos of English pubs and English bar signs like Bass or Caffrey’s. Even the toilets are identified in English, and in the ladies’ toilet the lid bears a warning ‘Emergency Exit Only’, although how I would know that is my business.

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At lunch time there’s a more straightforward 7.50 euro menu and they also do rolls and snacks throughout the day.

On a window sill there’s a curious collection of old typewriters, cases and a safe that may have been left by would-be writers who couldn’t pay their bills, or perhaps they are intended to be decorative.

El Pato is located in C/ Serpis 36.

 

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