Andalusia – Jaén Province – a brief stay in Linares

I came to Linares for work for only two nights in early September 2018, so please think of these comments as just my impressions, not a guide.

The town is the second largest urban area in Jaén province with a population of 62,000. The local economy was built on the mining of lead (continuous since Roman times) although reserves are now depleted and the industry has finished. The town attracted a lot of British mine employees and there is even a cemetery, El Cementerio Inglés, for them on the outskirts of town.

My Google map is here.

I visited the Archaeological Museum of Linares www.linaresturismo.es at 2 Calle General Echagüe as it was free. Despite the ancient history of the area, there wasn’t much to see although the phallic amulet was an eyeopener.

Linares has a famous bull ring which is famous for the death of the famous bullfighter Manolete (Manuel Rodríguez Sánchez) in 1947. People still place flowers on his statue on 28 August every year. Youtube video in Spanish here.

The town’s most famous son is the classical guitarist Andrés Segovia who is regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of all time and the grandfather of the classical guitar. For his achievements he was even referenced by Ian Dury & The Blockheads in ‘There Ain’t Half Been Some Clever Bastards‘. Here are some more facts about him and a documentary about his life. There’s also a museum dedicated to him in Linares.

In terms of architecture there’s not much of interest to see, but the Antiguo Hospital de San Juan de Dios (now the Palacio de Justicia) at 49 Calle Cánovas del Castillo has a beautiful baroque facade.

The Correos (post office) at 1 Plaza San Francisco is also quite eye-catching.

I mention a couple of tapas bars later but this is the best place in town for a sit-down meal…

Restaurante Los Sentidos (Advanced B), 13 Calle Doctor, www.lossentidos.net

This fine dining restaurant was TripAdvisor #1 and the most reviewed place in town when I was there. I ended up coming here for lunch twice because my second choice Taberna Canela en Rama was closed for renovations. Both visits were good but not amazing, hence the B score, but it’s still the best place in town as far as I know.

For Sunday lunch I had the €41 Menu Gastroleo, which was quite stunning value for ten dishes. In order these were…

Bread and olives, with a local oil called Iberis. Jaén province is the world capital of olive oil, so this was top notch.

Salmorejo Cremoso con Granizado de Naranja con Aji y Flores de Calabacin Crujientes (creamy salmorejo with orange granita with garlic and crispy courgette flowers).

Trucha de Cazorla Macerada en Jugo de Pipirrana Jienense (local trout macerated in the juice of a local salad).

Perdiz en Escabeche Frio, Chalotas al Regaliz, Higos y Hojas Frescas (cold pickled partridge, licorice shallots, figs and fresh salad leaves).

Bunuelos de Pollo de Corral en Pepitoria su Jugo y Almendra Trufada (fritters of free-range chicken stewed in its juice with truffled almonds).

Manitas Guisadas y Tostadas con Gamba Roja y Picadillo de Piparras (stewed and toasted pig trotters with red shrimp and a sauce of Basque green peppers).

Arroz Tostado de Iberico, Cereza y Anguila Ahumada (a dry paella of cherries and smoked eel).

Then I think Callos de Bachalau (cod tripe) which I usually love but not with this egg foam (D+).

Mollejitas de Cordero Glaseadas con Verduritas al Palo Cortado (glazed lamb gizzards with vegetables in sherry).

I added on some cheeses.

Not sure was this was sorry. Looks like sugar beaten into egg.

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And finally Helado de Natillas con Galleta (custard ice cream with a biscuit).

All the wines I tasted (two Verdejos and a Palmino Fino) were okay and the final Nectar PX was complimentary. A Cardenal Mendoza brandy was €7.50 which is cheap.

On another day I came back for lunch and had a complementary black pudding tostada followed by the Paletilla de Choto Lechal Asada en su Jugo (roasted shoulder of suckling goat), which were also decent (B).

A good place which I don’t hesitate to recommend.

And if you’d rather eat tapas…

Taberna Lagartijo (Intermediate A), 27 Calle Pérez Galdós

This tapas bar doubles as one of the most important bullfighting museums in Andalusia with particular reference to the afore-mentioned Manolete.

Even if you don’t like bull-fighting, it’s still worth a visit to admire the costumes, pictures and posters.

And the tapas is pretty good too. The Tortilla de Patatas was great, and the Ajo Atao (an emulsion of potatoes, extra virgin olive oil, egg yolk, garlic, salt and sometimes lemon juice, typical of Jaén) was good too.

I also enjoyed the Morros, which I learned are like Chicharrones (pork scratchings) but taken from the head area.

And you can continue your tapeo (tapas crawl) by going just around the corner…

Taberna La Carboneria (Elementary B), 9 Calle Zabala

Another popular spot for the locals. The tapas are basic but fine and it has a buzzy atmosphere.

I had my first Rosca here; a Spanish begel that comes in small and large sizes. I would imagine it to be of Sephardic Jewish origin although my research only turned up sweet versions that are popular during Christian festivals. I did learn that rosca means ’round’ in Ladino, the language spoken by the descendants of Jews exiled from Spain.

All three of these places are in the TripAdvisor top three, at the times of visiting and writing, and have received the most reviews (the most important criteria for me when using TA).

I stayed at the Hotel Santiago at 3 Calle Santiago, which was fine if unremarkable.

Beautiful Ubeda next!

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