Andalusia – Jaén Province – eating well in Úbeda

I was only in Úbeda for nights but I managed to eat very well on each occasion. You’ll find all the places I mention, and more, on my Google map.

I’ll begin with a couple of fine dining places and end with two medium range places.

Cantina La Estacion(High Intermediate B+), 1 Calle Cuesta Rodadera,

According to my research, this was the best restaurant in town when I was there in September 2018. They have a Michelin Bib Gourmand which boded well. There are three rooms, all decorated on a railway theme. The front two rooms are for the tapas bar, which I will definitely check out next time I’m in town. However on this occasion I sat in the dining room at the back which is decorated to look like an old railway carriage.

I had the Menu Degustacion for €45 and a wine matching for an extra €30. We began with a tasting of local olive oils.

A couple of these were new to me. It was the first time I’d tried Royal and Carrasqueno olive oil as they are quite rare varieties. The Arbequena was excellent too.

I’ve mislaid my notes and grades but I’ll do my best to remember what I had.

First four amuse bouches served on four dishes that together visualise the Úbeda skyline. Served with a glass of Manzanilla sherry, no doubt excellent.

Followed by the most beautifully decorated prawn I’ve ever seen, matched with a white from Jerez.

Then another beautiful something, I’m guessing raw minced seabass with caviar and a glass of Austrian Riesling.

A tomato salad with red berries, matched with a French wine called Vieilles Vignes.

Some surf and turf conconction with a glass of Bierzo, a lesser known Spanish red from León.

A cod steak matech with Caíño Blanco a white Spanish and Portuguese grape variety that is grown in the area between Vinho Verde and the Denominación de Origen of Rías Baixas. The grape is often confused for Albariño as it is sometimes known by the name Alvarinhão.

Some lamb perhaps, with a glass of South African Pinotage.

Some icecream with some French Sauternes.

The chocolate fix with a Vendemia Tarda from Spain.

Sorry about the lack of notes but at least you get an idea of the beautiful presentation. The dishes scored Bs mainly with the occasional A (the bejewelled prawn) and C the tomato and berry salad but the quality/price ratio was very good. The wines were good too, and from all over the world, which shows a lot of knowledge. However, stickler that I am, it would have been nice to try more local, or at least Spanish wines. A definite recommend though.

Amaranto (High Intermediate B+), 6 Calle Hortelanos,

This is another Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant but a much smaller operation, tucked away on a back street. I was the only customer on a week night. Again, it’s fine dining at a very reasonable price.

I began with a glass of a lovely Oloroso (A) and an amuse bouche that didn’t stay in the memory. To eat the ‘Ferreros’ de Morcilla con Compota de Manazana Avainillada, aka cakelets of black pudding studded with pine nuts and served with an apple vanilla compote, which sound wrong but were actually pretty good (A). Then some great Croquetas de Jamon (B+) followed by Raviolis de Rabo de Toro, oxtail raviolis, also very good (A). The Entredicho red wine was okay (B). With a bit of cheese the bill came to €53.40 which was pretty good value I thought.

Medium range:

Taverna de 12 (Intermediate B+), Plaza 1 de Mayo, corner of Calle Montiel

I didn’t really like this place when I came here for a lunch time glass of wine on my first day, although admittedly the building work next door didn’t help. However, it really comes into its own in the evening when it’s much more atmospheric. Seating is limited so try to arrive early to snag one of the tables outside as the interior cramped and gets a bit stuffy on a warm evening.

What really makes it though is the food. The Revuelto de Pulpo y Gambas, scrambled egg with octopus and prawns, and also onions and mushrooms, blew me away (A). I wish I’d had more time to try other things off their menu but this revelation came too late for me.

However, I did come back for a nightcap each night after eating elsewhere because they only charge 5€ for a Cardenal Mendoza brandy and 12€ for a Luis Felipe. Most places would charge 3€ more for each. Taberna Antique on Calle Real wanted 15€ off me for a Cardenal, the most anyones ever tried to make me pay, but maybe the waitress got it wrong.

Llámame Lola (Low Intermediate B), 5 Baja del Salvador

This is a pleasant spot where you can eat outside on a tree-lined cobbled street, down the side of the famous Sacra Capilla de El Salvador.

The food I had, a complementary pork brochette followed by steak and chips, was fine (B).

Just at the end of the road is a mirador (lookout) with great views over the countryside below Ubeda.

If you’re looking for a late bar, Pop Beltraneja Club at 6 Calle Alcolea is a cool little spot.

For foodstuffs and bottles to take home, try Enoteca El Druida at 17 Calle Real.

I stayed at the pleasant Hotel Zenit El Postigo. The rooms were comfortable, the staff helpful and the breakfast comprehensive. They have a tiny postage sized pool and sun deck at the back.

Off to the sticks next!

2 thoughts on “Andalusia – Jaén Province – eating well in Úbeda”

  1. I think Gevrey-Chambertin is the name of the wine (a fairly generic term) and ‘vielles vignes’ (a common addition to French wine labels) means ‘old vines’. An appellation for the area which is the biggest producer in the Cote d’Or with wines ranging from several of the truly great Burgundies to some fairly bog standard Côte de Nuits. Allegedly Napoleon ordered his troops to doff their hats when passing through the village.

    1. Thanks Iain, my knowledge of French wines is limited although I did spend a few summers there in my youth. The village we lived in was called Mirefleurs, because one day the king said ‘Look at the flowers!’ as he was riding past in his carriage one day 😀

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