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Juan Sanchez Restaurant And Bar San Juan Reviewed

Rakhi Sinha juanders around Chorlton looking for the Juan and only

Published on August 22nd 2011.

Juan Sanchez Restaurant And Bar San Juan Reviewed

TWO TAPAS joints occupy Chorlton, no relation to each other but both with the name Juan in the title, Juan Sanchez and Bar San Juan.

But which Juan’s better?

San Juan’s tortilla was cooked perfectly but unlike the former, it came with aioli. It was also a good deal thicker and in this case, bigger was better. It was the winner.

San Juan, on Beech Road, is a bar which also sells tapas. It used to be Lorenzos before it was closed down for being too noisy. The same vibrancy still exists although the new owner, who also worked at Lorenzos, is trying to rein it in in order to get a late licence.

Juan Sanchez, on Barlow Moor Road, is more of a restaurant and with its whitewashed walls and tasteful décor, it’s the kind of place where you would go for a sit down meal.

The menu at Juan Sanchez is broad with plenty of traditional vegetable, meat and seafood tapas to choose from.

We went for vegetable lentils (£2.95), which were heart and, full-flavoured, and whitebait (£2.95), which were deliciously crispy with a lovely, vinegary tartar sauce. Whitebait if old or not timed right, can taste like the remaining potato extract left at the bottom of a McDonald ‘s carton, in otherwords very very bad.

We also got a tortilla de patatas (£2.95) which was perfectly cooked and seasoned. It was very moreish but came with the same sauce as the whitebait. I would have preferred it with its traditional accompaniment of garlic mayo (aioli). I’m very particular about tortillas and this combination was poor.

Things went a bit downhill with the other tapas. The King Prawns Juan Sanchez (£3.95) amounted to three crustaceans, tasteless and atop a bowl of soggy potatoes. If you’re going to name them after your restaurant, they should be memorable for the right reasons. The seafood paella (£3.95) had been cooked with too much stock and as a result was very and chalky and too sticky.

Overall, great service and friendly staff, but nothing special and a bit lacking in atmosphere.

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Over to San Juan.

With its images of bullfighting on TV, traditional Spanish flamenco music, and the Virgin Mary, it wouldn’t look out of place on a cobbled Sevillano street.

To accurately compare the two establishments, I had gambas (£4.50), seafood paella (£4.70) and tortilla (£3.75) again.

Like Juan Sanchez, San Juan’s tortilla was cooked perfectly but unlike the former, it came with aioli. It was also a good deal thicker and in this case, bigger was better. It was the winner.

The gambas were four and came in a delicious, spicy, garlicky oil, great for bread dipping.

 So far, San Juan was winning.

Round three, the paella. There was a generous amount of seafood and a nice lemony saffron flavour. But like Goldilocks, I still wasn’t satisfied. This time it was too dry.

We also ordered albondigas (£4.50), meatballs. My fellow diner lapped up the tomato sauce they came in and loved the herby flavour which ran throughout.

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The calamares (£4.25) were the best thing we ate. So easy to get wrong, they were fresh and covered in a lovely light batter. I could have gone for another plate.

The atmosphere is Bar San Juan’s main pulling power. It’s always busy and lively and the tasty tapas are a bonus. If you want an authentic Spanish experience, this Juan’s got it.

A meal for two at Juan Sanchez cost £31.70 and at Bar San Juan, £36.35.

Juan Sanchez, 366 Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton, M21 8AZ, 0161 862 0267 

Rating: 12/20

Food: 6/10

Service: 4/5

Ambience: 2/5 

Bar San Juan, 56 Beech Road, Chorlton, M21 9EQ, 0161 8619558

 Rating: 15/20

Food: 7/10

Service: 4/5

Ambience: 4/5

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away.

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17 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousAugust 22nd 2011.

The tortilla was "perfectly cooked and seasoned", then its described as "very moorish" but a sentence latter with the wrong sauce its "very poor"? also are king prawns a molluscs? really?

EditorialAugust 22nd 2011.

Yes, prawns, are molluscs. The combination of the sauce with the tortilla was very 'poor'.

The LiquoristsAugust 22nd 2011.

prawns are crustaceans not molluscs.

crustacean are various predominantly aquatic arthropods of the class Crustacea, including lobsters, crabs, shrimps, and barnacles, characteristically having a segmented body, a chitinous exoskeleton, and paired, jointed limbs

Molluscs are a numerous, chiefly marine, type of invertebrate of the phylum Mollusca, typically having a soft unsegmented body, a mantle, and a protective calcareous shell and including edible shellfish and snails.

this does not affect the quality of the sauce/tortilla combo.

EditorialAugust 22nd 2011.

Prawns are crustaceans not molluscs. We are very sorry and we've changed it.

The LiquoristsAugust 22nd 2011.

a victory for the common man indeed.

Jared SzpakowskiAugust 23rd 2011.


The LiquoristsAugust 23rd 2011.

@jared - name the time and the plaice and i will turn you into fish food ya guppy!!

Robert KnightAugust 23rd 2011.

I think we should also point out that the tortilla was most definitely described as "moreish", not "moorish", although I did once have a tortilla with chilli in which was both.

Richard HJAugust 23rd 2011.

Technically they could be Moorish. But that would make them about 1300 years old. And probably not very nice anymore.

Thorsten Mayer shared this on Facebook on August 23rd 2011.
UgottaseeherAugust 29th 2011.

Hello, tortilla never comes with alioli in Spain. I'm Spanish, so I know :). Oh, and food at Bar San Juan is delicious

Catherine McLeanNovember 22nd 2011.

We are a group of seven eight businesswomen who meet at least twice a month for a meal and a night out. e have eaten at Juan Sanchez on numerous occasion and have always been more than happy with the food. We used to go to Tapas Tapas in Didsbury but as we all live in Chorlton we thought we would give Juan Sanchez a try. We love the food the ambience and even of we are just meeting for a drink we prefer to go there than a bar. I was going to mention the alioli but someone has beaten me to it, I met someone who loves ketchup on everything she used to carry sachets in her handbag perhaps you could do the same ha ! Will try the one on Beech Rd do believe its good too !

Paddy WagonFebruary 9th 2012.

Extremely bad play to review these two amazing places with the starting point of seeking a winner and a loser. I've used them both lots, both are amazing. We are soooo lucky to have two genuine spanish bars in our small locality. I could never choose between them, and long may we have the opportunity of trying.

NorthernGeezerFebruary 10th 2012.

And molluscs to you to!

Jonathan SchofieldFebruary 10th 2012.

Northerngeezer are you making a hobby of commenting on old stories?

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