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.
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…
…and the Puente Nuevo and El Tajo looking the other.
I kicked off with the homemade Foie con Membrillo y Pistacho which was fabulous (A).
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.