Isaac Loya, Asturian cuisine rooted in modernity
Isaac Loya and his cooking have earned their place as a benchmark of today’s cuisine on the Coast of Cantabria. The location of the restaurant – in the Real Balneario de Salinas – has contributed to putting this young Asturian chef on the map of Spanish gastronomy. Loya, an Asturian from Avilés, born in 1979 and with almost 20 years of experience, begins his work in the kitchen every day just a stone’s throw from La Peñona: the promontory that is home to a monument to Cousteau, and to the famous open-air Anchor Museum.
When Isaac and his team prepare grouper, steamed sea bass, or red bream – the most popular rock fish – they do so in harmony with the sea. Waves break in the background, and diners are part of this seamless picture that truly integrates the cuisine, taste sensations and the landscape. The base stocks, salads, side dishes and textures are linked to a sea-based menu on which there is grouper, red mullet, hake, eel, tuna belly as well as nods to it in his dishes of sea urchins, clams and grilled monkfish.
This cook has managed to consolidate a cuisine inherited from his family and of which he is a successor. He has achieved this without neglecting the avant-garde and creativity thanks to the work done in the kitchen’s workshop. His restaurant is a true reflection of the Asturian pantry and includes quesucos (cheese) and blue cheese: Asturian tripe and fabada are present – though given a very personal twist – as are, of course, stews eaten with a spoon; not forgetting a range of Asturian red meat and, always on the menu, red partridge and squab.
Furthermore, alongside the tasting menu, is a menu showcasing Asturian cuisine. Isaac Loya has mastered a difficult balancing act on the waves of Spanish cuisine, upholding his dishes with well-defined produce and the variety of seafood essential for a place by the sea. This Asturian cook has thus weighed anchor in his own land and on a beach, that of La Salina, which for 17 years has been the sandy carpet that leads to the door of the Real Balneario restaurant.
Today, Isaac Loya del Río’s gastronomic restaurant is part of the Real Balneario de Salinas, and it is here where the Loya family is at the helm. The tables in the dining room of the restaurant, anchored to the very beach of Salinas, are part of an old Modernist construction that last century was part of the baths and swimming pools of the seawater spa which, incidentally, was inaugurated by His Majesty Alfonso XIII in 1916.
By Javier Pérez Andrés