La Victoria is the neighbourhood that takes in Paseo de la Estacion and Avenida de Madrid, the bottom half of the hill. Our work accommodation, the Hotel Infanta Cristina (see separate post) is located here. All these bars and restaurants below are easily walkable from the hotel. My map is here.
From 2017, in order of preference…
Restaurante Tamesis (High Intermediate B+), 9 Maestro Sapena
Named after London’s famous river, this is a new place that has opened since my last visit in Jaen in 2015. It has received accolades from many quarters and was at top spot on Tripadvisor in June 2017 when I visited. The menu is very innovative and all the food I’ve eaten has been great (A/B+/B).
My favourite place in town, Casa Antonio (see separate post), is more of a refined restaurant whereas Tamesis has more of a tapas bar feel, but I’d put them in the same league. For me it’s the second best place in town for food.
I went twice, once for tapas and another time for a main meal. Both times I ate and drank very well for around €40 although you could spend much less given that I’m quite greedy! The menu is highly innovative and there is a Japanese influenced section as well as one for sharing plates.
I didn’t grade the tapas on my first visit but they must have been really good or else I wouldn’t have gone back!
Hojaldre Avainillado de Puerros Confitados y Jamon, described as their classic tapa, is a Vanilla puff pastry with a confit of leeks and shredded ham.
Alchachofa, Viera Asada, Crema de Sopa de Ajo, Tocino de Lardo Collonata aka artichokes, seared scallop, cream of garlic soup and fat of Tuscan ham.
Ravioli de Confit de Pato, Foie y Crema de Boletus is a ravioli of confit duck, foie gras and a cream of boletus mushrooms.
Pan Bao Relleno de Salteado de Col y Tocino de Iberico, Requeson, Huevo Frito de Cordoniz y Trufa or, Taiwanese bun filled with sauteed cabbage, Iberian ham, curd and fried quail’s egg with truffle.
I tried a glass of Marcelino Serrano, a Cabernet/Merlot/Tempranillo blend from the Sierra Sur de Jaen DO but moved on to Abadia San Quirce from Ribera del Duero. A balloon of Grand Duque de Alba finished things off.
The second time I had another tapa to start, the Milhojas Calabacin, Boletus, Foie, Cebolla Caramelizada y un Toque de Aove Variedad Picual a slice of a layered pie containing courgettes, mushrooms, foie and caramelised onions with a touch of extra virgin picual olive oil, which had fantastic flavours (B+).
Then a main of Paletilla de Cordero Lechal al Tomillo, Asada de Forma Tradicional, or a shoulder of sucking lamb roasted in a traditional style, with delicious potatoes and a tasty thyme gravy (B+).
The house Rioja Izadi is okay (B).
The end game involved their Esfera Chocolate, a tennis ball sized chocolate sphere filled with vanilla ice cream standing on a chocolate infused powder and drizzled with a red berry sauce (A), alongside a glass of PX.
A complementary shot or two of Orujo finished off the evening.
This is a great place. Just wish I’d had time to work through the whole menu!
Cafeteria Restaurante Estacion (Intermediate B+), Plaza Jaen por la Paz, in the station building
Who says that the food in station cafes has to be rubbish? Not me on this showing. I remembered the restaurant terrace being packed with non-travellers when I walked past on a previous visit and when a taxi driver mentioned it in the same sentence as Casa Antonio and Tamesis, I decided to give it a try for my final meal in Spain before catching the train to the airport.
The service isn’t great, the inattentive gruff waiters, although numerous, seemed very stressed when I was there, probably because the private function room was fully booked out, but fortunately the food made up for it. I had the Menu Especial (ten choices for each of the three courses) for €17 and felt it was good value.
I had the Menu Especial (ten choices for each of the three courses) which for €17 is good value (B+/B). The starter of some great Jamon Iberico, two slices of different Queso Anejo and a scoop of the ubiquitous Pate de Perdiz (partridge pate), was all top notch (A/B+).
…I enjoyed the Esparragos a la Plancha con Cremoso de Queso, aka grilled asparagus with a swirl of cheese and potato mash (B+)…
… and the Carrillada Estofado al Pedro Ximenez, , or stewed beef cheeks with sliced boiled potatoes and a raisin wine reduction (B+).
To drink I had of an unknown but pretty decent Rioja (B+), one of which came as part of the menu. The final cheese cake with cream finished things off nicely (A). Final cost €20.
A great place to spend time if you’re waiting for a train, but also worth the short walk just to eat.
Kasler (Intermediate B), 2 Miguel Castillejo
Much as I love Spanish food, it’s nice to have a change every now and this popular and longstanding Germano-Hispanic restaurant, is good for that. The dining room is a bit small but there is a tapas bar and a terrace on the pavement out front if you want more space.
To start I had a tuna salad and a Croqueta de Codillo (pork knuckle croquette). For the main, a half portion of their Surtido de Salsichas Kesler (B+); three different sausages with chips and dips (the sweet mustard is the best). To finish, a slice of Apfelstrudel and ice cream and a complementary shot of Orujo des Hierbas, all of which was fine as I recall (B).
A great place for a sausage fest!
Café Bar Tito Candi (Elementary C), 43 Avenida de Madrid
This is the cheap and cheerful option near the Hotel Infanta Cristina, suggested to me by a school owner that I was working with.
The Menu del Dia costs €8.50. The food is all completely edible (C) and portions are generous but you can get much better if you’re prepared to walk to one of the other places above.
Turn right out of the side door ofthe Hotel Infanta Cristina, then left at the junction and it’s immediately on your right.
Casa Vincent (Intermediate B), 3 Calle del Cristo Rey, Tel. 953 232 222, Closed Sunday eve and Monday
A Frommers one star suggestion, this is reputed to be one of the best places in town. It’s very old school and slightly formal with a dark wood interior and bulls heads on the walls.
If you are interested in the Moorish influence on local cuisine, this would be a good place to come, although the ‘typical local dishes’ I requested were just interesting and not particularly amazing. I’m sure if you stick to more standard orders you’d score it higher than I did.
As well as the usual olives, some excellent toasted almonds were put in front of me as soon as I sat down.
For the first tapa I had cardoons with egg, a dish of Moorish origin, which came sizzling on a plate in a beautifully carved wooden tray. It looked better than it tasted (C).
I also had artichoke hearts with ham (B) and some pork with chips and gravy which I wasn’t particularly keen on (C+).
This was washed down with another decent (B) local red called ‘Glosa’ from the Sierra de Sur Jaen IGP.
Finally a shot of Crema de Café (B) made by the same Castillo de Jaen brand who also made the Anis I had at the parador.
Service was friendly from the younger English-speaking guy but the older chap (the owner?) didn’t want to try to understand my Spanish. I would come back but again give me Tamesis or Casa Antonio over this traditional place any time.
La Verja (Low Intermediate B+), 56 Paseo de la Estacion, at the bottom of the hill
A good place for simple home-cooked local dishes near the Inlingua school I was working at. There’s nothing fancy about the food or the surroundings.
I had a menu-del-dia type lunch here twice and enjoyed it both times. The lentil soup, mixed salad and rabbit with garlic all stick in my mind as being good (B+). Can’t remember how much the bills came to but it was definitely very cheap.