Algeciras – Villa Vieja – the market and around

Posted in Algeciras, Andalusia, Cadiz Province, Campo de Gibraltar, Plaza Nostra Senora de la Palma, Spain, Villa Vieja with tags , , , on March 23, 2017 by gannet39

The Mercado de Abastos de Algeciras in Plaza Nostra Senora de la Palma in the centre of town is worth checking out. Built in 1935, the domed roof was once the largest in the world until the Houston Astro Dome stole the title in 1965.

Google map here.

There’s a stall on the inner circle where I go to get paprika, cured meats and dried beans to take home.

Chorizos

A couple of the stalls specialise in bull meat, and probably other parts of El Toro as well. They have large photographic displays showing the provenance of their wares.

Bull meat merchant

You can get tapas and drinks from a couple of places inside but I prefer to go to La Casita below.

Around the permanent market in the market square there are lots of fruit & veg stalls. Other than the huge white salad onions and beef tomatoes, most of it was unremarkable but there are a couple of snail vendors.

Bags o Snails

Snails

Calle Tarifa leads out of the west side of the market square. There’s a great little tapas bar along here that I recommend for lunch…

La Casita (Elementary A+), 16 Calle Tarifa

It’s not often I agree with Trip Advisor but in my, and many other people’s view, ‘The Little House’ is the best eating out experience in Alcegiras. Not because of the food, the tapas are just okay (all B/C), but it’s the frenetic atmosphere and the hilarious bartenders that make this a great experience.

The place is always packed but the stocky tattooed chaps on the bar get your order as soon as you come through the door and bellow it in the direction of the kitchen serving hatch with a Gregorian chant-like inflection at the end of the sentence.

They do this while pouring drinks at top speed interspersed with cracking uproarious jokes with the clientele. If you’re female, you’ll be called ‘guapito’ or if you’re English you become ‘my friend’.

God knows how but your food is in front of you within seconds. And how they keep tabs on who has what I have no idea. But it all works, and I love it.
The tapas, or more correctly tapitas, are all around €1.30 each and they have a deal where you get two tapitas and a cerveza for €3.20. I had…

Paella de Pollo.

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Tapas de Plancha (Rosada, Lomo Fresco).

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Tapas de Frita (Calamares, Pollo).

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And the unexciting Salchicha Rojo.

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And their homemade Pacharán, a Basque liqueur made from soaking sloes (endrinas) in anisette.

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In total I had five tapitas, a pot of allioli, four cervezas and two doubles of Pacharán for just over €10. You can’t argue with that.

This next place is located in the run down area south of the market which I call ‘Little Morocco’. I was warned not to walk around here at night (although I did) but it’s fine in the day time.

Alkazar (Elementary B), 2 Calle Juan de la Cierva, next to the Tourist Information office

My friend Nicky loves North African food so I came here on her recommendation. It’s handy for the port if you’re waiting for a ferry and has veggie options if you fancy a change. The train and bus stations are nearby too.

There are several places around that serve similar food, including Casablanca next door but this one has lots of tables out on the street.

Their marinated olives are excellent (A).

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And their veggie tajine is fine (B).

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I upgraded with their Parrilada which involved five spits of meat; two of marinated lamb which were lovely (B+), two of chicken which were meh (C) and one of beef koftas which I left (C-).

With a couple of beers the bill came to a miserly €23.

See my ‘Villa Vieja – things to see’ post for some pics of the architecture around here.

From 2012:

Montes (Intermediate B), 27 Juan Morrison, Tel. 956 654 207

One of only two recommendations I considered from Trip Advisor at the time, and also the only restaurant to feature in the Rough Guide. I came for lunch and had the €9 menu-del-dia.

To start, El Cocido del Dia, or the ‘stew of the day’ (B), a typical lentil soup with the usual chunks of chorizo and morcilla. Saffron gave the murkiness a yellowish tinge.

Lentil soup

The next dish, two kinds of fried fish, was a mis-order on my part. Unboned and tasteless I could only give them a C.

For dessert Natillas (custard) which inexplicably came with a soggy digestive in the middle. It was a first for me, but is a thing in Spain it would seem. It tasted amazing; especially with the liberal sprinkling of cinnamon it had received (B+).

Natillas

This is a bit gloomy place favoured by an older clientele but you could probably eat well here if you make the right choices.

It was once one of the best places in town but I have read a few comments that say it has changed hands and isn’t as good as it was.

Photos uploaded June 2012 and February 2017.

Algeciras – Villa Vieja – things to see

Posted in Algeciras, Andalusia, Cadiz Province, Campo de Gibraltar, Spain, Villa Vieja with tags , , , on March 22, 2017 by gannet39

Plaza Alta is the central square in the old town of Algeciras. It’s the town’s central hub for social activity in the evenings.

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In the centre of the square is a monumental fountain dating from 1930. It’s decorated with Seville ceramics, including ornamental frogs around the perimeter.

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A balustrade runs around the square which is also decorated with ceramic tiles.

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As are the benches, although they aren’t quite as old as the fountain.

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The Church of Nuestra Señora de la Palma stands on the west side of the square.

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In the southeast corner is a small chapel, the Capilla de Europa.

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At the end of Calle Alfonos XI, on Avenida Blas Infante, you’ll find the highly uninimpressive Parque Arqueológico de las Murallas Meriníes de Algeciras, the only uncovered archaeological remains in Algeciras.

Remnants of the old city wall, and a surrounding moat (ditch?) can be seen which caused the intended extension of Avenida Blas Infante to the waterfront to be diverted around it.

The walls were built by the Marinids in the 14th century when Algeciras was a Moorish town. They were destroyed during the Castillian reconquest of 1344.

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Personally I’d have just bulldozed through it (and that’s coming from the son of an archaeologist) after fully excavating and recording it first of course. Still I guess the local folks feel they need at least some connection with the past as there is precious little else.

I had to search hard for some modern architecture that I liked and eventually found Edificio Kursaal on Avenida Villanueva behind Restaurante El Alkazar which I will review in a coming post.

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It’s a Modernist conference centre built quite recently in 2007 I believe and designed by the artist Guillermo Pérez Villalta who is from nearby Tarifa. I understand preparations are under way to use the building to display his work.

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The most decorative aspects of the exterior are the wrought iron window grilles.

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There are more features inside I’d love to see. The slideshow here shows some of them.

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I quite like the Deco style building next to it as well although I don’t know anything about it.

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Over the road from El Alkazar is this old veteran which doesn’t seem to be getting much use.

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And that’s about it in terms of interesting architecture, although the market building is quite famous as well (see the next post on ‘Villa Vieja – the market and around’).

Algeciras – Villa Vieja – tapas around Plaza Alta

Posted in Algeciras, Andalusia, Cadiz Province, Campo de Gibraltar, Plaza Alta, Spain, Villa Vieja with tags , , , on March 21, 2017 by gannet39

Plaza Alta and the streets off it, particularly Calle Alfonso XI, constitute the main area for tapas bars in Algeciras. Please also see my next post on things to see in the Villa Vieja, which includes photos of Plaza Alta. My Google map is here.

La Querido (Low Intermediate B+), 2B Calle Alfonso XI, the street leading north out of Plaza Alta

I really like this little place and so do a lot of other people as it was always crowded on both my visits; once for lunch and another time for dinner.

The guys who run it are friendly and very hardworking; constantly running up and down a ladder into the store room in the loft space.

The simple and very short menu has lots of international influences and there seems to be an emphasis on organic products. There’s a good choice of veggie options as well.

For lunch I had a cheese Empanada (B) followed by the Entrana which was sliced rare sirloin served with Foccacia (B) and Chimichurri (A), an Argentinian salsa the name of which has an interesting history (click on the link).

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The Banoffee pudding is a decadent delight (A).

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A glass of Gloria Sanatorio, a sweet wine from Cadiz, went really well with this (B+).Their other dessert wine is a cream sherry called Canasta which I’m not too bothered about (B-). With a couple of beers the bill came to €21.40.

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The next day I came for dinner and had the Hummus with Pita to start which was okay but rather unexciting (C+).

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I followed up their very filling Parmagiana (B+), the Sicilian ‘aubergine lasagna’ served here with a dollop of pesto.

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I finished with some excellent artisanal cheese. I think all three slices were Payoyo (a favourite cheese of mine from Cadiz) in various stages of ageing; fresh, semi-curado and curado (all A).

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I had a couple of glasses of their best wine, a Rioja Crianza called Pinturas which was great (B+) and a Rioja Roble called Lagrimas de Maria which wasn’t all that (C).

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One of my favourite places in Algeciras with good food and a good attitude.

Recoveco (High Intermediate B+), 16 Avenida Blas Infante

I quite liked the atmosphere in this modern Guia Repsol recommended place so I hung out for the evening using their free Wi-Fi. There’s a nice courtyard terrace out back but no one seemed to be using it when I went in April so I stayed inside.

The food is very tasty and reasonably priced but I wish they didn’t chill their red wines as I like to be able to smell what I’m drinking. The staff aren’t particularly friendly but they’re okay.

The Carrillera tapa, beef cheeks with mashed potato, is excellent (A).

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The Mini Burger de Trufa y Parmesan is also good (B+) but I wasn’t particularly blown away (B-) by their gimmicky Yakitori; a skewer of pork marinated in a sweet sauce and served on a tiny grill.

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With a tapa of Manchego cheese, four glasses of red and a Cardenal Mendoza brandy the bill came to a very reasonable €25.

From 2012:

La Carboneria (Intermediate C), Edificio Europa, on the corner of Calle Muro and Calle Murillo

This is an asador (grill house) so good for meat. They also have a lively tapas bar at the front a with waiter who is a bit of a character.

I disturbed the kitchen staff from having their pre-service meal at 9.15, so you may want to come a little later. I wasn’t too impressed by the complimentary starter of what seemed to be Kraft cheese between to crackers on a bed off browning sliced red cabbage. Also, I already knew that the bread in Spain generally leaves a lot to be desired, but the anaemic roll on my side plate took things to another sub level.

Things got better with the Ensalada de la Casa (A), a huge bowl of mixed salad, some deep fried balls of cheese and great belly tuna, all nicely dressed. I’d suggest coming here just for this.

The Solomillo Iberico was ok (B) as was the Ribera (Marques de Caceras) I had with it (B). To finish the Tarta Fina de Mazana (B). Total spend €47. Might come back for tapas.

This next place is closed now, a victim of the economic crisis no doubt. I’ve not deleted it though as some of the things I had here were quite nice and I’d like to remember them.

Marea Baja (Intermediate B+), 2 Calle Trafalgar, NOW CLOSED

A teacher-recommended fish specialist that looks traditional which, along with the price of their brandy, put me off on my initial recce. In fact though, they are quite experimental, for example, they use soya sauce and wasabi in some dishes. I was pretty happy with the attentive owner’s recommendations.

He has a good range of wines too and I enjoyed a nice 2011 Verdejo (B+) from Palacio de Bornos in Rueda which was put in an ice bucket without me having to ask.

The complimentary apertivo was a couple of whitebait dressed in a soya sauce with a chive and olive oil dressing which was great (A). I wasn’t so sure about the green olives with cumin that came with it though (D). The following Boquerones Rellenos (stuffed anchovies) and mashed potato croquettes were sadly tasteless, even with energetic salting (C).

Boquerones Rellenos

After this, Guiso Marinero, a fish stew with potatoes featuring heavily (B).

Guiso Marinero

Then a main of Corvina in a sauce with a small portion of nicely cooked veg on the side (A). The name Corvina is used for different fish around the world, but here it was most likely a large sea bass.

Corvina

Finally, on the portly waiter’s say so, an almond-flavoured panna cotta (A).

Pannacotta

And a chupito of Coriander liqueur (‘Cilantro’ from Galician distiller Valdomino Manor) (A).

Cilantro liquer

Both were totally new, but delicious concepts to me.
What completely won me over was the free (usually €10) brandy balloon of Cardinal Mendoza (A) that I received with the bill (€55.50).

I like this place. The owner is passionate, his staff less so but they were still friendly and attentive. Satisfaction and value-for-money criteria were all met.

Photos uploaded June 2012 and February 2017.

Algeciras – Staying in barrio El Mirador

Posted in Algeciras, Andalusia, Cadiz Province, Campo de Gibraltar, El Mirador, Spain with tags , , , on March 20, 2017 by gannet39

I’ve been to Algeciras twice for work, in May 2012 and April 2016, staying for a total of about two weeks. I’d never heard of it before, which is strange as it’s Spain’s largest port (and one of the largest in the world for cargo), built by Franco to compete with Gibraltar over the water.

The reason for this is probably that there’s very little of anything cultural to experience and it’s not a holiday destination by any stretch of the imagination. Even local people I have worked with describe it as ‘not beautiful’ and ‘ugly but comfortable’ as part of their warm but slightly apologetic welcome. It has grown on me with time though, and I’ve discovered a few gems hidden away in the corners.

One good thing about the city is all the other places you can get to from it, such as Gibraltar, which is just a bus ride away on the other side of the Bahia de Algeciras (or Bay of Gibraltar depending on your loyalties). You could visit the beautiful beaches of neighbouring Tarifa, or travel the famous train line inland to lovely Ronda, or perhaps even take a short ride on a fast ferry to Tangiers in Morocco. I’ve written posts for all these places except Tarifa.

Here’s a map of the barrios, and my Google map.

On both my visits I’ve stayed at the Hotel AC Algeciras www.marriott.com. It’s located near the waterfront in a barrio called El Mirador, which is walkable from the centre.

It’s worth requesting a room on floor seven as they have private balconies and the reception seem happy to upgrade you if they are available.

I’ve stayed in 601 which is a suite with an extra bathroom and a sitting room that I never used. I preferred 604 which is one large room and has better views, although the downside is it’s opposite the lift. It might be better to ask for the higher numbers on each floor.

The AC is a modern hotel (around two years old in 2012) with (usually) friendly and helpful staff, a good breakfast spread (it’s part of the Marriot group who always put on a good brekky) and a small gym. It’s quite stylish with lots of stained dark wood, bathrooms with glass sinks and plenty of chrome.

I’ve eaten in the hotel once (something I never usually do) when it was raining stair rods outside. There are only about four options for each course on the menu, none of which particularly inspired me. I had the Chicken Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Jerez Vinaigrette, which arrived without the vinaigrette (C). We were overseen by the waitress from hell; sullen, rude and intentionally accident prone. I was gobsmacked to find her still working there in 2016 but she was much better behaved. Still my advice would be to walk into town, or to one of the places below if you’re feeling lazy.

Jaipur (Elementary B+), 82 Avenida Virgen del Carmen

In need of a change from weeks of eating only Spanish food, I came to this ‘Indian’ (actually Pakistani) restaurant for a light evening meal. I wanted to order more from their extensive menu of Indian standards but having had a large lunch I had to rein it in.

A spicy Aloo Gobi will always be a winner with me and this hit the spot despite the potato being ever so slightly undercooked (B+). The Raita and Pilau Rice were both perfect (A) and the Chipati was okay (B). The friendly owner gave me a complementary Gulab Jamun (B), a Delhi speciality, when he heard I’d lived there for a while.

The total bill was only €24 with a tip. There is zero ambience as it doubles as a pizza and burger takeaway, but they’ll deliver to the hotel should you be feeling lazy. You’ll find their menu here.

Meson La Posada de Millan (Intermediate C), 47 Maestro Millan Picazo, mesonlaposadademillan.com

This was a recommendation from the hotel receptionist. It’s nearby, fairly cheap and you can get some okay food if you choose the right things. It looks like it should be part of a chain with paper menus for place mats and decor on the faux Posada theme (like thousands of other similar places around Spain) with fake wooden beams on the ceiling, modern ‘old world’ ceramic tiles and cast-iron electric chandeliers.

To begin I had the Gazpacho Andaluz, which was fine (B) but nothing special. To follow I had Carrillades en Salsa. The beef cheeks were beautifully fibrous as you would expect and the gravy sauce was full and rich (B+), while the skinny chips were just ok (B-). This was only a half portion but would have been a full meal in itself.

I went with the Protos Roble (C+) for €14.75 but wished I’d gone for the crianza (two year old) version which is much better. I‘d been spoilt by a Protos 2006 a few weeks earlier, a reserva I think, which was stunning (A).

The very gruff waitress tried to whisk my plate away when I was only halfway through my cheeks and replace it with one of those crappy ice cream menus you get when restaurants outsource the dessert course. I wasn’t too happy and let her know it. Not sure if she hates all her customers or just the English ones (Gibraltar might be an issue here with some people).

The following Chuletas de Cerdo do Cabezal were the cheapest meat item on the menu but were too heavily salted (C), and the accompanying sautéed carrots, peppers and courgette were overcooked (C-) as were the square chips (C). The Tocino de Cielo (a kind of very sweet flan) tried to look attractive but was doused in too much honey (B-).

I came here on another day out of sheer laziness to sample the €12 menu-del-dia, for which I got the house mixed salad with lettuce, onion, sweet corn, beetroot, black olives and a chunk of great tuna (B+), followed by Secreto Iberico which involved some tiny tasty boneless chops (B) and the same poorly cooked veg (C-) I’d had the previous time. The flan (caramel pudding) to finish was just like anywhere else (B). You get what you pay for here.

When it comes to food I’ve heard Algeciras described as ‘gastronomically conservative’. I gave it my best shot, and after a poor start, I think I have eaten pretty well here overall. Please see the coming posts for some better tips.

For a room picnic, or more serious gourmet food shopping I recommend the Hipercor supermarket in El Corte Ingles at Calle Juan Pérez Arriete (see my Google map). This particular branch is a wonderland of top quality Spanish foods and wines. I picked up four 250g tins of Ortiz Bonito (best quality A+ line caught tuna) which were on sale at only €3.10 each. I also got a bottle of Cardenal Mendoza ‘Angelus’ brandy liqueur which I’d never seen before for only €17.30. All great bargains.

Ronda – Barrio San Francisco – Places to Eat

Posted in Andalusia, Malaga Province, Ronda, San Francisco, Spain with tags , on March 19, 2017 by gannet39

The Puerta de Almocábar separates La Ciudad from the Barrio de San Francisco which lies outside the city walls. Some describe the barrio as having a village atmosphere as it’s right next to the countryside.

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On Saturday night I did a one man tapeo (tapas crawl) starting in the two places below and finishing at El Lechuguita and El Almacén in Barrio Mercadillo (see my Mercadillo – some places to eat post).

Bodega San Francisco (Elementary A), 32 Plaza Ruedo Alameda, www.bodegasanfrancisco.com

This atmospheric old place would have to be included on any must visit list made for Ronda. All the guides like it, and the locals seem to as well. They seem to have spread to adjoining buildings so they must be popular.

The hams are hung so low from the ceiling that only short people can comfortably work here..

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I was in the busy, slightly raucous tapas bar where you can take your pick between two TV screens, football or bull-fighting, or alternate between both depending on which is more exciting.

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I’d hazard a guess and say that generally the food here is very simple but good. They make their own salchichas and chorizos which obviously I had to try. I was introduced to the Masita de Chorizo, a small kind of bread bun (a local speciality) with a patty of spicy chorizo mince sandwiched inside. It was really good (A), much better than the ones I’d have later at El Lechugita.

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I also had a great Croqueta de Setas (A), but then I’ve never had a bad one. If you’re not a fan of commercial mayo you might want to ask them to leave it out as it does seem to appear with a lot of items on the menu.

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Next stop on my tapeo was…

Almocabar (High Intermediate B), 5 Plaza Ruedo Alameda

Yet another place recommended by Toko, and by several guides, as being one of the best eateries in town. Noticeably most of the clientele are from out of town, unlike Bodega San Fernando over the road. It has a tapas bar at the front and a small restaurant with 24 covers at the rear.

I came twice, the first time just to the tapas bar where I hit it off with the friendly young bartender. On his recommendation I had this rather unsightly tapa on a slate, some kind of meat on a skewer with brown stuff squirted erratically all over it. It tasted fine as I remember, so a B for flavour but a D for presentation.

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I played safe with the next order and got some cheese (B) before moving on (see my Mercadillo – some places to eat post).

I came again the next day, also my last night, and gave the restaurant a try seeing as it had such a good reputation. The back room is small and doesn’t have any windows, which became a problem later.

The menu is impressively large for such a small place but I found the options a bit too international given my predilection for trying local specialities. Ingredients as varied as mango, ginger, soya sauce, parmesan cheese and basmati rice all featured.

Another thing that I disliked was the BS I got from an older waiter who took me for a know-nothing tourist. I caught him out a couple of times on the provenance of ingredients he was trying to sell to me.

As I result I don’t know whether to believe him about the restaurant’s black salt coming from Mallorca.

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The island is certainly famous for salt (I like the Flor de Sal d’Estrenc brand) but I can’t dig up any trace of a black variety. I’d imagine it’s probably quite easy to make if you mixed it with squid ink or herbal ash maybe.

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However, most importantly, the food saved the day.

The Ensalada de Melva (a smaller member of the tuna family) was great (A).

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It went well with a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc (B+) by Palacio de Bornos from Rueda that I’d not come across before.

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The Paletilla do Cabrito (shoulder of kid goat) I followed up with was fine (B) and quite typical, according to my untrustworthy waiter. I think he was right though, if only because it was rustic and simply presented, with a few baked baby spuds and a medley of diced local veg.

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The glass of local Lagarejo red I had with it wasn’t great, one to avoid (C).

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When two tables ordered sizzlers (immediate thought: what are they thinking serving these in here??) and started cooking their own meat (duck I think) the small unventilated room quickly started to fill up with smoke. I escaped to the bar to finish off my meal with another round of local cheeses (B+).

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I got chatting with a Dutch couple and an Australian family so I had a couple of brandies. The commercially available one I had was good quality and was okay, but the next one (made on the premises I believe and called Palacio de Mondragone) I regretted the next day (C-). Avoid.

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My total bill came to €80 which I didn’t mind seeing as it was my last night and I’d had a good time. By way of summary this is undoubtedly a good place with an adventurous chef/owner, but make your choices wisely. There is probably something for everyone on the menu though.

My last night in Ronda, and I’ve done so much but yet I feel I’ve hardly done it justice. I’ll have to come again.

Next, a return to Algeciras by train on Henderson’s famous railway. The route passes many notable sights including the Cueva del Gato (Cave of the Cat). I had the misfortune to be sat next to a harmless but bonkers old guy who miaowed constantly at me by way of explanation as the train passed the cave. Ah, the memories…

Ronda – La Ciudad – Sunday lunch with a view

Posted in Andalusia, La Ciudad, Malaga Province, Ronda, Spain with tags on March 18, 2017 by gannet39

This restaurant in La Ciudad was recommended by Toko the receptionist at my hotel as a good place for Sunday lunch and it’s also described by Lonely Planet as one of Ronda’s best restaurants.

Restaurante Albacara in the Hotel Montelirio (Advanced A), 8 Calle Tenorio, www.montelirio.com

Toko told me the two things that make it special are its food, which is excellent, and the views which are stunning. She said reservations were advisable so I popped in just after midday to bag a table with a view. I was greeted by Ion, the effervescent maître d’ who is originally from the Basque country. When I came back a couple of hours later I found to my pleasure that he’d saved me the best table in the house, Mesa #1.

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It’s in the corner of the restaurant with views in two directions; the fields and hills of the countryside to the west of Ronda looking one way…

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…and the Puente Nuevo and El Tajo looking the other.

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I kicked off with the homemade Foie con Membrillo y Pistacho which was fabulous (A).

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In a town famed for its bull ring, the obvious choice for the main was the Rabo de Toro Estofado a la Rondeña. Ion explained that the Ronda style of this national dish had a lighter gravy made with more vegtables and was less gelatinous than other versions. It was fantastic (A).

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After this a media racion of cheeses was needed to finish off the wine. These were Rulo Cabra (a white goat’s cheese), a Manchego semi-curado, and Boffard Viejo (all A). Ion told me he thinks Boffard is Spain’s best cheese.

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I also had the best bottle of local red so far (A); a 2010 Cab Sauv crianza called ‘Encaste’ from Bodega Dona Felisa who also made the Chinchilla I had at La Lechugita. I’m on the waiting list for their next vintage.

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Such a good meal needed to be finished off properly so I had a look at their list of brandies and spotted one of Spain’s finest, Luis Felipe, at a mere €13 for a glass, much cheaper than I’d ever seen it anywhere before.

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Obviously this bumped the bill up significantly to about €82 but that didn’t stop me bunging Ion a €10 tip for taking care of me so well. He tried to refuse it but I insisted. It was a meal I’ll always remember.

Ronda – La Ciudad – things to see in the old town

Posted in Andalusia, La Ciudad, Malaga Province, Ronda, Spain with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 17, 2017 by gannet39

There’s heaps to see in the old town, La Ciudad. These are just a few of the sights that I particularly liked. More info here and here. Google map here.

At the end of Calle Real is the Puente Viejo (Old Bridge).

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This was once the only means of crossing El Tajo before the completion of the Puente Nuevo.

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In front of you, you’ll also be able to see the Arco de Felipe V and the walls defending the more approachable side of the city.

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If you continue through the arch you’ll reach the upper part of La Ciudad. However if you turn left before the arch and go down the stairs…

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… you’ll come to Los Baños Árabes, a Moorish public bathhouse dating from the 13th-century. It’s considered to be one of the best-preserved in Spain.

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It’s open from 10:00 till 19:00 Monday to Friday, and 10:00 till 15:00 at the weekend. Entrance was €3 in 2016.

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Here’s a video taken from the Puente Viejo. It starts looking down Calle Real where you can see the Fountain of Eight Spouts in front of the church, before moving right taking in the third bridge built during the Roman era. Then it swings past the baths, the stairs with the walls and arch above and finishes looking down into El Tajo.

Up in the old town, another beautiful place to see is the Palacio de Mondragón in Plaza de Mondragón, a former Moorish palace. It houses the Museo Municipal, the local museum. It cost €3 to get in and it’s open from 10:00 till 19:00 from Monday till Friday and from 10:00 till 15:00 Saturday and Sunday.

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To be honest the museum displays are pretty boring and disappointingly there isn’t much to see from Ronda itself. My advice is to scoot through the exhibits at speed and spend more time in other parts of the palace.

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The building itself is wonderful. There are two courtyards, the first has vaulted brick arches, marble columns and a well.

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The second gives access to a beautiful garden with a fountain.

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The terrace perched atop the precipice has a fantastic vista across the countryside.

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There’s a second terrace…

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…which also has marvellous views.

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Calle Arminan is the main street that runs through La Ciudad from the Puente Nuevo. This photo was taken on the bridge and Calle Arminan is on the left.

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Where Calle Arminan and Calle Marques de Salvetierra meet at Plaza Abul Beka, you’ll find the Alminar de San Sebastián.

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As the doorway suggests, this was once the minaret of a small mosque. It was later converted to be the bell tower of a church that no longer exists.

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In Plaza Duquesa de Parcent you’ll find the most important church in Ronda; the Iglesia de Santa Maria la Mayor. It was built over the town’s main mosque after the Reconquista.

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If you keep going south you’ll eventually come to the in the lower part of La Ciudad and the Puerta de Almocábar, the Moorish gate in the city wall.

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You can climb the stairs of the watchtowers to get more good views.

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Another important church is here; the Iglesia del Espíritu Santo (centre left in the picture above). It looks like a bit of a lump but I’m sure it’s nicer inside.

There’s lots more to see in La Ciudad, this is just what I saw in the limited time I had.

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