Archive for the Spain Category

Huelva – tapas in the centro part two – Avenida Pinzón

Posted in Andalusia, Avenida Pinzón, Centro, Huelva, Huelva Province, Spain with tags , , , , , on May 19, 2019 by gannet39

Avenida Martín Alonso Pinzón is the main pedestrian street coming off Plaza de las Monjas, the main square in the centre. It’s the street which has the highest concentration of my favourite tapas bars and as luck would have it’s also the same street as my hotel, the Hotel Eurostars Tartessos www.exehotels.com (decent breakfast, nice reception staff but the gym is a joke).

There are so many other good places to eat in the centre so to make everything more accessible I’ve broken them down into three separate posts of which this is the second. All the places mentioned are on this Google map.

D Alutura (Intermediate A-), 8 Avenida Martin Alonso Pinzon

Another favourite. A fun, modern place just up the street from the Hotel Tartessos.

The food is very good but I also like the design of the bar which has two tiers of tables running along the length of one wall to maximise space.

It’s quite fun sitting up high but surely there must have been some tipsy people who have tumbled down the steps at some point.

Not sure if eating at this height would pass health and safety in the UK.

I had the Croquetas de Queso Azul, a half portion of Jamon Bellota and the Milhoha de Presa, finishing with some cheese. All excellent or very good (A/B+).

The Paco Garcia, Martin Berougo and Carramimbre wines were pretty decent too (B+/B).

I had nice friendly service from an older guy but I think the younger ones could smile a bit more.

Another grumble was they wanted to charge me €14 for a glass of Luis Felipe, a favourite brandy of mine.

Granted it’s a top notch brandy but €10 would be more reasonable. Hoever they also do copas of cheaper Magno for a reasonable €4.50, and the waiter is very good at pouring. Video here.

A great place, check it out.

Kalaka (Intermediate A), 20 Avenida Martín Alonso Pinzón, www.kalaka.es

This small but very popular place is fortuitously located directly opposite the Hotel Tartessos where I was staying.

It’s very hard to get in, for lunch or dinner, so reservations are essential.

I went for lunch and had a very tasty Ensalada de Pollo (A)…

…and the Porcini Rissotto which was top notch (A+).

Both together came in at the ridiculously cheap price of €6! I really need to come here again.

Garum (High Intermediate A), 4 Avenida Martín Alonso Pinzón, www.garumrestaurantes.es

According to the teachers I worked with in 2015, this is the best arroceria (rice restaurant) in town. They were kind enough to invite me for a late lunch to celebrate the end of the Christmas term which was an offer I just couldn’t refuse!

We began with some top quality Jamon Bellota from nearby Jabugo, a town that I’m told has nothing going for it other than the fact the area around it produces some of the best cured ham in Spain.

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This can be tested by raising the plate to a vertical position. If the ham sticks to the plate and doesn’t move, it’s a sign that you have the best stuff. It was indeed sublime (A).

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After this some nice clams in a garlic sauce (A).

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And some of the famous Gambas Blancas de Huelva.

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For the main, a seafood paella utilising some of Huelva’s fantastic seafood (A). I just wanted to keep eating it but I had to stop for fear of appearing too greedy.

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One of the teachers Carmino was from Galicia and I put it to her that her region of Spain had the best seafood in Spain due to its colder water. She was very diplomatic with her answer, perhaps because her Andalucian husband was sitting next to her, and just said that the species of sea life in the Med and the Atlantic are completely different and so don’t bear comparison (the delicious white shrimp above being a case in point), which of course is completely true. I still think that cold water seafood has more flavour though as the creatures need to take on more fat.

The wine selected to go with the seafood was a local white called Barredero which at only 12% was soft and light, just what was needed (A). It seems a popular choice in Huelva as I was offered it again at Azabeche.

The dessert of choice for my fellow diners was pineapple from Costa Rica which is typically eaten around Christmas time in Spain.

This is an excellent restaurant and somewhere I’d love to go again. Bear in mind though that you need at least two people to share a rice dish which is rarely made for just one. There is another branch of Garum in nearby Punta Umbria.

And finally a couple of cautionary tales…

Gran Via Uno (Intermediate C-), 1 Avenida Martin Alonso Pizon

Another Guardian pick, but I had a bad experience here sadly. The Croquetas were cold in the middle but the young guy who served me tried to tell me they were okay. I think that because I was English, he thought I didn’t know what a croqueta should taste like. I insisted and got them back warm, but they were still just average (C).

I then tried to ask what kinds of Rioja he had and was subjected to a long and fast explanation of Rioja wine, obviously thinking that because I was English I didn’t know anything about Spanish gastronomy when in fact I’d be willing to bet I know more than he does. Our relationship broke down at this point so someone else came to serve me and I got a glass of Bai Gorri Crianza without any fuss.

The main of Ventresca de Atun was nicely cooked and quite good (B) but the vegtables I got with them had a strange and quite unpleasant earthy flavour and I only ate half (D+).

The Vina Barradero I had with it was okay though.

I might be persuaded to go again but next time I’d rather sit in the posher restaurant area rather than the gloomy tapas bar.

El Ambigú (Intermediate D), 479 Plaza las Monjas, NOW CLOSED!

While we were at Garum, the teachers also told me the place next door was good, or at least the meal they’d had was. Unfortunately that wasn’t my experience when I went for lunch a couple of days after the wonderful meal at the arroceria.

To begin with I had really poor service from a young and rather dim member of the staff who responded to my query about what the specialities of the house were by reeling off a list of everything they sold.

The situation was rescued by an older waiter who brought me a menu with the specialties (!), San Jacobo Casero (deep fried cheese and ham, similar to Flamequin) and Berenjenas Rellenas (stuffed aubergines), clearly displayed. Unfortunately they didn’t have any aubergines and I’m not a fan of Flamequin so I settled for a rack of prawns and a glass of wine. The wine was fine but the prawns weren’t very fresh as their darkening heads showed. Rather than have anything else at this place, I decided to go round the corner to Azabeche to finish my lunch.

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I went to the toilet first though and the washroom was a mess as well which was the final turn off for me. In their defence they had only been open a couple of days, the signs on the windows from the previous restaurant were still on the windows, but all the same this was not a good show from a restaurant pretending to be better than it actually is. I’d like to say they’ve got their act together now but they’re getting absolutely slated on Tripadvisor.

So you it is possible to get bad food in Huelva, but generally speaking I ate extremely well. Even more tapas next!

Huelva – tapas in the centro part one – Calle Vazquez Lopez

Posted in Andalusia, Calle Vazquez Lopez, Centro, Huelva, Huelva Province, Spain with tags , , on May 12, 2019 by gannet39

Locals used to joke that the statue of Columbus in Plaza de las Monjas, the main square in the centre, is pointing the way to all the good restaurants. It’s true that there are some very good places along Calle Vazquez Lopez but times have changed and there are now better and more modern places along Avenida Martín Alonso Pinzón, the other main pedestrian street coming off the square. I’ve broken them down by giving each street their own post, and written a third post about other places in the centre. They’re all on this Google map here. You’ll find a few more posts if you click on the Huelva link.

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So, in order of preference…

Azabache (High Intermediate A), 22 Calle Vazquez Lopez, www.restaurante.azabache.com

This higher end tapas bar is really hard to get into. I’m not exactly sure when it opens (8pm maybe?) but it would be advisable to get here as soon as it does most nights, and definitely at the weekend. It’s open Monday too but that’s not a good day for seafood so while you’ll easily get a spot at the bar, there’s not much on the menu. I went three times in all.

My favourite dish was the Ensalada de Berenjenas; a puree of roast aubergines and red peppers in olive oil and topped with Jamon Iberico (A).

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I ordered some Habas (broad beans) but these somehow became Gambas Rebozadas, battered and deep fried prawns, which were fine (B). If I’m going to eat prawns though I ‘d much rather have the grilled Gambas Blanca for which Huelva is famous.

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I also had Taquitos Corvina (chunks of sea bass) a la Plancha (B) and battered and fried Lenguado (sole) which needed boning but was also fine (B).

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I also had the Revuelto de Gurumelos, scrambled egg with earthy local wild mushrooms (B+) but it was a bit pricey at €14.

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My biggest regret about my visit to Huelva was not having the Huevos de Chocos (cuttlefish roe) at Azabache. I’d never had them before and they are supposed to be really good here. They need to be really fresh and are usually just served a la plancha with a bit of mayo on the side.

Glasses of wine cost €2.20, a little expensive but the quality is good. The local white wine Barredero seems to be the first choice here to go with seafood, as it was in other good places.

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You usually get a free chupito (shot) at the end of the meal and everyone seemed to be having something called Gecko which I’d never heard of before, so I ordered a double. It turned out to be caramelised vodka, very sweet and sickly but a good dessert substitute in small amounts (B).

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It’s much better to stick to their Limoncello, which seems to be quite popular in Andalucia. The one they have here is made in the province and is surprisingly good (B+).

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There’s a restaurant in the back but it seemed to be booked up with groups each night with no tables for single diners. This was the week before Christmas though so it might be different at other times of year. The whole place was still buzzing when I left at 11pm on Saturday night.

Portichuelo (High Intermediate B+), 15 Calle Vazquez Lopez www.restauranteportichuelo.com

This place is highly rated by some people on the net and by the Frommers guide. I visited it twice and liked the food but not the atmosphere particularly although they do have a terrace in the square outside, unlike Azabeche below.

On my first night I sat in the restaurant at the back where dishes cost a couple of euros more. I had a decent Rabo de Toro (B+) and two glasses of Rioja for my main.

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For dessert I had a slab of the deceptively named Tocino de Cielo (bacon from heaven), a speciality of Jerez, which I think is essentially another member of the flan family. It was much too sweet for me though (C). With a glass of PX the bill came to €27.

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On a second visit they were very busy but there was still space at the bar. I had their ‘obligatory’ house speciality, the Revuelto de la Casa (scrambled eggs with potato, jamon and green peppers) which was very good (A-) but served on a cold plate and a bit pricey at €13.

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I also had Albondigas de Chocos (cuttlefish balls which were very intense in flavour (B-).

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With two glasses of slightly effervescent Verdejo called Melior by Bodega Roble de Matarromera (A), the total came to €20.40, which is a bit on the steep side.

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Abacería La Abundancia (Intermediate B), 48 Calle Vázquez López

This place is just down the road from Azabache and gets a mention in the Rough Guide. I come here when I can’t get in at Azabache. It’s a bit small and lacking in atmosphere but the food is fine. I like the Albondigas de Carril (B+).

More great tapas bars on Avenida Pinzón next!

Andalusia – San Fernando – eating around Calle Real

Posted in Andalusia, Cadiz Province, San Fernando, Spain with tags , , , , , , on May 11, 2019 by gannet39

Calle Real and its side streets are where all the best restaurants and bars are. See my next two posts for alternatives. Map here.

This is the best place in town for food in my experience…

El Patio de Benitez (Intermediate A), 2 Calle Hermanos Laulhé, www.elpatiodebenitez.com, closed Monday

I was brought here by my local colleagues, Edite and her husband Wakim. This is their favourite place to eat in San Fernanado and I can understand why, the food is very good and the atmosphere is nice.

We shared a bottle of Beronia Crianza (B+), a good Rioja readily available at all Spanish airports, and several tapas (all A/B+/B).

The tapas we had were…

Crujientes Rellenos de Queso de Cabra y Berenjenas, crispy stuffed goat cheese and aubergines.

Saquitos de Bogabantes, ‘little sacks’ of lobster.

Barriga de Atun, tuna belly.

Albondigas Vietnamita, meatballs in a sweet spicy sauce.

Pluma con Reduccion de Mostaza Verde y PX, a tender pork neck cut with reductions of green mustard and Pedro Ximenez wine.

Lagarto Iberico (a cut of pork between the loin and the chops).

Pringaito de Carne al Toro, (a beef stew).

My favourite (A) was the Tosta de Setas, Jamon y Roquefort (Toast with Mushrooms, Ham and Roquefort).

The final bill came to just over €60 for the three of us, which is excellent value.

De Javier Taperia (High Intermediate B+), 58 Calle Real

This is a good place that has been #1 on TripAdvisor for quite a few years. The food is very good but I have a gripe with the fact that it calls itself a taperia but there are no tapas on the menu, only platos, ie big portions, which are a bit expensive for the non-sharing single diner.

One night I had this excellent Tataki de Atun Rojo de Almadraba, Wakame y Gazpacho de Tomates Verdes; traditionally caught, seared Bluefin tuna on a bed of seaweed with a green tomato gazpacho (B+).

It cost €14 which might seem expensive but it really isn’t for such top quality fish.

They have a good selection of local wines so I tried a few. I began with a local Palo Cortado called Monteagudo which was great (A).

The Tempranillo/Syrah/Cab Sauv blend by Fabio Montano scored well too (B+).

As did the (non-local) Rioja from Lopez de Haro (B+).

Latascona Gastrobar (Intermediate B), 54 Calle Real

This is a bright modern place on the main street selling a mixture of traditional and modern fusion cuisine. The service was nice and friendly and I liked the jazzy soundtrack.

The Salmorejo con Costrón de Algas, Huevas de Lumpo y Mojama, or tomato and bread soup with seaweed croutons, lumpfish roe and air-dried tuna was an interesting take on an Andalusian classic (B+).

The Medallon de Ternera, Foie Caramelizado, Gratén de Patata y Salsa y Boletus, or medallion of veal with caramelised foie, potato gratin and a mushroom sauce, was nice too (B).

Café D’ Anvers (Intermediate B+), 22 Calle Gral. García de la Herrán, m.facebook.com

In 2017, after eating well at El Patio de Benetez, Edite and Wakim brought me here for an after dinner G&T.

Wakim especially likes his cocktails so you can bet this is a good place. Certainly the lady server knows how to make a good one. Here she’s pouring the tonic down the bar spoon so it keeps it’s fizz.

Thanks for a lovely evening out guys! 🙂

Pastelería La Mallorquina (Intermediate B), 42 Calle Real

Just over the way from the Hotel Salymar, this is the local cake and coffee institution. I enjoyed the tuna empanada and a slice of pine nut tart here (both B).

I’ve always stayed at the AC Salymar (Intermediate C) www.hotelsalymar.com. It’s relatively modern and well located on Calle Real but doesn’t really have much else going for it.

To my knowledge the only other four star hotel in town is the Hotel Bahia Sur www.hotelbahiasur.com which is in a shopping centre and a fair way from the town centre, so I was happy to put up with the Salymar.

Ignore the next two, they’re closed now and the reviews are just for my memory only…

El Real de Velez (Intermediate B) 40 Calle Real, NOW CLOSED

I came to El Real on my first night in town in 2015, after binning the takeaway Bienmesabe I bought at Freidor El Deán (see next post), simply because it’s near the hotel and I’d arrived in town too late to go further afield. Rather than going on the rating Trip Advisor gives a place I like to check out the most reviewed establishments which is why I ended up in this modern but tatty and otherwise nondescript restaurant.

As they had no local delicacies on their menu I had their tuna salad, some croquetas and Guisos Calamaritos; squid in a saffron stew with rice, all of which were edible but unexciting (B). Their 2014 ‘Yllera’ Verdejo was okay (B)

Asador El Anticuario (Intermediate B), 2 Calle Cayetano del Toro, NOW CLOSED

I came to this place on my last night in 2015. Recommended by a local, it’s next to the town hall in the Plaza del Rey, on a street with a few other restaurants. I was the only customer, possibly because it was carnival week and everyone was in Cadiz having a good time.

I had the Tartar de Atun Rojo (Bluefin tuna, thankfully now recovering in numbers) which tasted tired (B-). I also tried their Carilladas Iberica which were fine (B).

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See my previous posts for food in other parts of San F. Huelva is coming next!

Andalusia – San Fernando – lunch time around Plaza Hornos Púnicos

Posted in Andalusia, Cadiz Province, San Fernando, Spain with tags , , , , , on May 10, 2019 by gannet39

This post is primarily for my colleagues as Plaza Hornos Púnicos is just a roundabout near the school I was working at and not an area to go out in the evenings (see my other San F posts for that).

However, in the middle of the roundabout you can see the mildly interesting remains of four pottery kilns which are of Carthaginian-Punic and Phoenician origin (hornos púnicos y fenicios) and date from between the 6th and 1st centuries BC. They were dedicated to the manufacture of amphorae and other containers for transporting fish, as well as other everyday objects. It’s the only archaeology in San Fernando that can be viewed by the public that I’m aware of.

There are a couple of places near the school where I went to eat lunch…

Disparate (Intermediate B+), 1 Avenida Almirante León Herrero, disparate.business.site

This is a gourmet spot just a few minutes’ walk from the school. It’s on the roundabout, over the road from the kilns.

The service is nice and friendly but painfully slow, although you do get an amuse bouche will you’re waiting.

I had the Callos de Bacalao con Garbanzos y Setas de Temporada, a tasty soup stew of cod guts, chick peas and mushrooms (B).

With bread and water it cost me €11.40.

Bodegon Andalusia (Intermediate C), 10 Calle Rafael Alberti

I was brought to this everyday place for lunch in 2015 by John the school owner (more of whom in my Cadiz carnival post!).

I gave the ‘Bienmesabe’ another go and liked it more than I did at El Deán (C+) but it still didn’t live up to its name for me (‘good taste’).

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Everything else was okay here though (B) and it was very busy and popular.

In early 2017 when Bodegon Andalusia was at #2 for San F on Tripadvisor, I got this update from a friend who found it “all rather beige. I thought the fish was frozen. Didn’t have one decent tapas to recommend and thought most dishes had been microwaved. Nothing really disgusting (except local fish) but not good either. So maybe give this one a miss as well!”

I went back in late 2017 and unfortuantely had to agree with her. The meatballs in a tomato sauce were C- and the chips were C. However it’s hard to argue with a Menu del Dia that costs only €7.50.

So while it’s still popular, it seems this place has gone down in quality in recent years. Disparate around the corner is probably a safer bet.

For some post-prandial exercise you could go for a stroll in the unnatractive but nearby Parque del Barrero where you can catch a glimpse of the world-famous Real Instituto y Observatorio de la Armada. As well as having a famous library, this is where the official time of Spain is set on atomic clocks. Free guided tours are available on request but are on weekday mornings only.

If you’re desperate to wash some clothes (as my colleagues often are) and you can squeeze it in between work, there’s a lavandería autoservicio called Lava+ www.facebook.com at 1 Calle Muñoz Torrero.

It’s all on my map here.

Please see my other posts for better places to eat…

Andalusia – San Fernando – tapas around Plaza de las Vacas

Posted in Andalusia, Cadiz Province, Plaza de las Vacas, San Fernando, Spain with tags , , , , on May 9, 2019 by gannet39

Plaza de las Vacas is a scrubby square next to the castle, about a ten minute walk north east from the Hotel Salymar. Map here.

I’ve walked past the castle several times without realising. It’s been made so featureless that it’s virtually unnoticeable.

There are a few tapas bars around the square and a very famous music venue nearby…

Venta de Vargas (Intermediate B), Plaza Juan Vargas (no number), www.ventadevargas.es

Since opening in 1921, Venta de Vargas has become a legendary place in the history of Flamenco. Local boy and the most famous Flamenco singer of all time, Camarón, first sang here in 1959 when he was only 8 years old. His 2006 album is named after the venue and this video was shot there.

There were no flamenco shows when I was in town unfortunately but I still came to sample their traditional Andalusian cuisine.

I had the Croquetas de la Tia Maria which are actually made from leftover Puchero, a local stew (B).

Also a plate of Gambas Blancas Cocidas (€19 for 250g, about a dozen prawns) which were fine but I’ve had better (B). With a couple of glasses of mediocre Rioja Crianza, the bill came to €30.

So, average food, but still a good place to come if you can get tickets for the show. Check the website for info.

This next little bar is one of my favourite places in town…

Peña La Bandurria aka Guichi de Guerra (Elementary A) Plaza de Las Vacas, no number (north side of the square, midblock)

This tiny place is what’s known as a ‘gúichi’. a wine tavern where you can drink vermouth on tap and nibble on charcuterie and cheese. Why its nickname is ‘Güichi of War’ I don’t know as it seems a very friendly place.

It’s oozing with atmosphere with hams hanging from the ceiling, pungent cheeses sitting on the back bar and ancient paraphernalia hanging off the walls. On both my visits there were several people wedged in chatting with the owner, an old chap whose father opened the bar many moons ago.

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To go with my glass of wine, I tried the powerful ‘Emborrao’ goats cheese (B+), one of twelve cheeses on sale, with Picos (small breadsticks).

This amusing poster on the wall tickled me (sorry about the blurry pic). It lists health problems and their remedies, all of which are different types of alcohol!

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A good place to practice your Spanish should you be feeling sociable. Good luck understanding the accent!

Bar Leon (Elementary C+) Plaza de las Vacas, no number (east side of the square)

One evening I decided to try another local speciality, the Tortillita de Camarones, where tiny prawns are mixed into a chickpea batter (with wheat flour, chives, parsley, salt and water) and deep-fried. The chickpea element is a Genoese influence according to my research.

They were okay (B) but not ‘the best ever’ as one reviewer claimed. I wasn’t feeling the atmosphere so I barhopped to the next place below as soon as I finished eating.

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El 15 (Elementary B), Plaza de Las Vacas, no number, (north east corner of the square)

Next stop was this marisqueria two doors down from the above. I came here at the suggestion of the waitress in El Real to try yet another local delicacy, Cañaillas, or sea snails. They are so popular here that Los Cañaillas is also a nickname for the local people! They were fine but nothing mind blowing (B).

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There are a couple more bars in the square that I didn’t get to try.

This next place is a stonesthrow from the Hotel Salymar but I include it here as it’s on the way back from Plaza de las Vacas should you still be peckish.

Freidor El Deán (Elementary B), 57 Calle Real

This fish frying establishment is 200 years old so I thought it’d be a good place to try another local speciality ‘Bienmesabe’, or Cazon en Adobo, which is dogfish (a small shark) that has been marinated in vinegar, battered and deep fried. Sadly I wasn’t keen (C) as I found the vinegar overbearing and the flavor of the fish not to my liking, so it’s probably an acquired taste.

The shop sells other fried foods though so it’s still a good place to get fed quickly as it’s handy for the hotel.

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So as you can see, there’s lots of culture in San Fernando if you’re prepared to dig it out. Please see my other posts for more places to eat and stuff to see.

Andalusia – walking and shopping around San Fernando

Posted in Andalusia, Cadiz Province, San Fernando, Spain with tags on May 8, 2019 by gannet39

San Fernando is a small town on the other side of the bay from Cadiz.

This is the first of four posts about the town, the other three are about places to eat. Everywhere mentioned is on my Google map.

Although San Fernando might not seem particularly special at first impression, the town has several claims to fame.

The town has very strong maritime and naval links. El Panteón de Marinos Ilustres, a mausoleum for famous Spanish sailors, as well as a training school for NCOs, the Naval Museum, navy barracks and an old royal shipyard are all located here. The navy’s Real Instituto y Observatorio de la Armada is one of the most important scientific centers in the world.

San Fernando is also where the Cádiz Cortes, the first national assembly to claim sovereignty over the whole of Spain first met in 1810. It met in the building now known as the Real Teatro de las Cortes.

It’s also the birth and final resting place of Camarón de la Isla, considered by many to be the greatest Flamenco singer of all time.

San Fernando is also famous for its food. The inhabitants are nicknamed Cañaíllas because of their love of eating a local sea snail from the Bay of Cadiz of the same name.

The Andalusian classic dish of Tortillitas de Camarones, a deep-fried mixture of tiny prawns and chickpea flour, was invented here.

While I’d say the Tortillitas are worth a go, another famous local dish called Biensamabe, aka deep-fried vinegared dogfish, is not.

San Fernando is also known as “La Isla” (The Island) because it’s located on an island surrounded by salt marshes (hence “Camarón de la Isla”). So another nickname for the locals is “Isleños“. Salt production was once a major industry in the area.

There are two indoor food markets quite near each other; Mercado de San Fernando behind the old town hall and Mercado de San Antonio on Calle Juan Van Halen, a side street a bit further along Calle Real. Neither are particularly impressive but they are good places to pick up local ingredients to take home, or for a hotel room picnic.

In 2017 I did my shopping at El Almacen del Pata Negra, a deli at 20 Calle San Diego de Alcalá, around the corner from Mercado de San Fernando.

My local colleague Wakim had recommended a local cheese; Emborrado by El Bosqueño www.quesoselbosque.com, a mature sheep’s cheese from the Sierra de Grazalema (the highlands of Cadiz province), so I purchased a whole wheel of it here for €50. I can understand why it came third in the 2016 World Cheese Awards because it was superb (A).

I also picked up another local product; a bag of salt from Salinas San Vicente www.salinasanvicente, the last working saltern in San Fernando. The seemingly severe and unsmiling owner threw it in for free which was nice of him.

Wakim also recommended the Moscatel Pasa de Chipiona although I didn’t know where to look for it so I missed out. Next time.

In terms of architecture there’s not much to see. Most of the buildings you can see in the gallery are along Calle Real, the main pedestrian street running through the city. Although many of them are quite old (1755 was the oldest date I noticed), none of them are particular beauties.

There are a few newer buildings if you like that sort of thing (I do).

If you’re looking for a place to walk or run, or indeed to lie in the sun, you could make your way to Playa Camposoto. Just turn south down Calle Real and keep going as straight as you can (see map).

You’ll see a few salinas, salt collecting channels, along the way. It took me about an hour and ten minutes to walk one way from the Hotel Salymar to the beach after work one day.

Next time I’ll try the Salina Dolores trail to the north west of the town.

The next three posts are about good places to eat in different parts of San Fernando…

Jaen – Santa Catalina – restaurants on the hill

Posted in Andalusia, Jaen, Jaen Province, Santa Catalina, Spain with tags , on April 6, 2019 by gannet39

Santa Catalina is the name of the castle and the hill upon which Jaen sits. I’ve written a separate post about walking to the top, this one is about a couple of old school places to eat when you finally get up there.

This first place is about halfway up…

Horno de Salvador (High Intermediate B+), Subida al Castillo, www.hornodesalvador.com

I decided to go a little out of town for Sunday lunch during my 2017 visit and this seemed the best option. You need a taxi to get here (€6 or so, more going back if you call it), as it’s on the steep hill road going up to the castle. The restaurant is quite posh but the waiters are friendly and the food is good.

To start I had the Pate de Perdiz, partidge pate, which is very typical of the area. It was very good (B+), but there was too much and it could have fed three or four, although I polished the lot off because I was starving. The price (€15) should have been a warning but I was just eager to try it.

As the word ‘horno’ suggests, Salavador speicalises in roast meats so I had the Cochinillo Tostón al Horno; two slabs of roast suckling pig with chips, which was just what I wanted (€20, B+).

To drink, a bottle of Marques de Campoameno, an old friend and generally regarded as the best local wine (also €20, B+).

To finish, a dessert of super sweet Tocino de Cielo (B-)…

…a glass of PX (B)…

…and a Terry Reserva brandy (B).

With bread, water and coffee the bill came to a tasty €83. It was a great food experience but a rather greedy one!

This next post is about the restaurant in the government owned hotel next to the castle at the top of the hill…

Parador de Jaén (High Intermediate B-), Castillo de Santa Catalina, www.parador.es

On my final day in 2013 I decided I just had to get to the top of Santa Catalina hill (see previous post), and if I couldn’t do it on foot, I’d do it by car, so I booked a table at the parador’s restaurant and took a taxi each way. For some reason it was a cheaper fare going there than getting back!

When you go inside, after first walking past the hotel reception and along a corridor, you get to ‘the lounge’, a huge square room with soaring vaulted ceilings, high chimneys on facing walls.

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And on another wall, a bank of windows with wooden Moorish shutters.

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The décor in here consists of long swords hanging on the walls, alongside portraits of Christian saints. One shows a knight with a halo riding a horse and smiting the heads of some turban-wearing men with his sword.

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Not very PC but this is the actual history of this place. A Moorish castle once occupied the hill but it was put under siege several times by the Christians who eventually captured it and built this newer fortification in its place.

Passing through this room you come to the restaurant which has been designed to look like a Medieval banqueting hall; very long with a low ceiling and several arches.

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It’s decorated in sturdy Medieval style with clunky wooden light fittings and a huge tapestry showing a battle scene on the end wall.

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Unfortunately the food at these paradors is often not very good so I wasn’t counting on a gourmet meal. The Gazpacho Andaluz, with two halves of quail egg and a swirl of excellent olive oil, was pretty good (B+), but that’s quite hard to get wrong if you have quality ingredients.

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However the grilled leg of goat came with the kind of mixed veg (diced carrots, beans and peas) that you get from a bag in the freezer, and the solitary potato looked processed as well. A swirl of reduced vinegar failed to make it posh (C).

The saving grace was the award-winning local red, Marques de Campomeno 2011 (B+), a Tempranillo/Cab Sauv, which is now my favourite local tipple whenever I’m in Jaen.

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To finish a local dessert, Dulce de Gachas con Matalauva y Aciete de Oliva Extra Virgen, which translates as a sweet set porridge, topped with aniseed and extra virgin olive oil. The main ingredients of most Gachas recipes seem to be milk, flour, sugar and whatever flavourings are to hand; a sweet born out of poverty if ever there was one. Despite its simplicity it was quite nice (B) and the waiter loved me for ordering it!

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Generally the front of house staff here were very pleasant but they took a long time to attend to me, although to be fair they do have a lot of ground to cover.

After eating I decamped to the lounge with a glass of the local sweet anis, appropriately named Castello de Jaen, which seemed the only fitting way to end the evening.

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So a  mediocre and slightly pricey food experience but the interior of the parador and the views of the town at night were worth it.

Please see my other posts on Jaen for other places to eat.

Jaen – delis and things to buy

Posted in Andalusia, Casco Antiguo, Jaen, Jaen Province, La Victoria, San Ildefonso, Spain with tags , on April 5, 2019 by gannet39

As Jaen has such a good rep for quality ingredients, a visit to the local deli for treats to take home is a must for me. The most famous one in town is Casa Paco.

They have two locations, both of which are top notch and very well stocked with local goodies. The first one is at 12 Paseo de la Estacion.

And the second at 7 Plaza de los Jardinillos (opposite the main post office).

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They are both on my map which is here.

I always pick up a few tins of my favourite Ortiz tuna from here.

And always a couple of local prize-winning olive oils. The Paseo de la Estacion branch has a display of the best eight local oils on a special shelf.

Must remember to get some saltcod next time. The term Bacalao Inglés refers to a good quality curing technique which gives the cod a golden colour and harder texture, rather than any appellation of origin.

I’d loved to have taken a big batch of their olives home too but one of the kind ladies said that the plastic tubs would explode in my baggage at an altitude!

Casa Paco are also known for their crisps which they bag on the premises www.patatascasapaco.com.

The toasted almonds are a good buy as well.

If you can’t face climbing the the steep slope to Casa Paco to buy your olive oil then Carniceria Almaden at 7 Calle Manuel Caballero Venzalá is just two blocks from the Hotel Infanta Cristina and also has a good selection of local produce.

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Happy shopping!

Jaen – museums and galleries

Posted in Andalusia, Casco Antiguo, Jaen, Jaen Province, Spain with tags , , , on April 4, 2019 by gannet39

These are my experiences of a couple of museums in Jaen. I would also have liked to have seen the Museo Internacional de Art Íbero www.museosdeandalucia.es but it was closed for renovations when I was last in town.

This first museum was my favourite…

Centro Cultural Palacio de Villadompardo, Plaza Santa Luisa de Marillac, www.xn--baosarabesjaen-rnb.es

This is by far the most interesting museum in Jaen because you get to see the eleventh century Arabic baths, the Baños Árabes, in the cellar which are apparently the biggest and best preserved in Europe.

Entrance to the museum is free but you’re not allowed to take pictures, except of the baths.

The museum is located in a lovely old fifteenth century palace. It was built over the Banos Arabes which were only rediscovered in 1913.

The other museum displays aren’t that exciting, unless you like looking at old workman’s tools, ceramics and children’s toys.

There was also a temporary photography exhibition when I was there. This picture showing the realities of the Almadraba, the ancient but modernised method for catching blue-fin tuna, caught my eye.

I also liked this picture showing the traditional process of making pork products.

The palace also houses the International Museum of Naïve Art. The museum (three rooms) is also named after Manuel Moral, a local artist famous for his depictions of the countryside in Jaen province.

On Wikipedia, naïve art is defined as “visual art that is created by a person who lacks the formal education and training that a professional artist undergoes (in anatomy, art history, technique, perspective, ways of seeing)”. The Wikipedia post also adds that “When this aesthetic is emulated by a trained artist, the result is sometimes called primitivism, pseudo-naïve artor faux naïve art”.

Much of what was on display was a bit too childlike for my taste but there are some really beautiful pieces, particularly those by Moral.

I was told sternly to stop taking photos after this (it was okay at the other place below) but there were many more nice paintings.

I can also recommend the view of the town and the castle from the terrace outside the museum café on the top floor of the building. Video here.

Museo de Jaen, 29 Paseo de la Estacion, www.museosdeandalucia.com

Entry is free to this combined museum and art gallery and you are allowed to take pictures without a flash.

It’s housed in another old palace towards the bottom of the hill, so quite easy to get to from the Hotel Cristina Infanta.

Here are a few quirky pieces in the archaeological sections that took my fancy.

My favourite piece was this Iron Age fibula (brooch) depicting a man on horseback hunting wild animals.

Upstairs there is an art gallery.

A line drawing by Picasso was the highlight for me.

There were a few other paintings and sculptures that caught my eye. Click to enlarge.

So not the most exciting choice of museums but okay for killing time if you need something to do. There are some interesting developments happening though. Just two blocks away from the Hotel Infanta Cristina, between the ends of Calle Miguel Castillejo and Avenida de Madrid, is an overgrown plot of land that is boarded off from the new builds around it. Archaeologists have found the remains of a settlement with some unusual circular buildings dating back to 3000BC but excavations haven’t started yet.

If I had a car I’d really like to go to the olive oil museum, Museo Terra Oleum www.terraoleum.es, which gets great reviews from people who have been. Not sure how much it would be in a taxi or if there is a bus going there.

Time for a spot of shopping now…

Jaen – wandering around the Casco Antiguo

Posted in Andalusia, Casco Antiguo, Jaen, Jaen Province, Spain with tags , , , , , , , on April 3, 2019 by gannet39

If you have a day or two to explore Jaen you have a number of options. The more exercise minded might want to make an assault on the castle for which I’ve written a separate post. A less strenuous alternative is to wander around the old town but you’ll still have to walk up half the hill to get there. With the latter option you could take in one or two museums along the way, also in a separate post. Here’s the rest…

Jaen is very famous for its Renaissance cathedral www.catedraldejaen.org. Like most other cathedrals in the south of Spain, the Catedral de Jaén was built on the site of the ancient mosque.

Personally I find it quite ugly except for some of the frescoes on the façade on Plaza de Santa María, the cathedral square, which have some interesting details. You can click on the following images to see them in more detail.

The streets to the south of the square plunge sharply giving you fleeting views of the tree covered hills in in the distance.

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Heading north west from the square you could take in the Arco de San Lorenzo www.turjaen.org on Calle Almendros Aguilar. The arch is all that remains of the old San Lorenzo church. The Gothic-Mudejar interior can be viewed on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, at 11.00 and 13.00, as part of a free guided tour which you can book at the Tourist Office at Calle Maestra (minimum five people).

Further north is Barrio de Santa Cruz, the location of La Judería which was the medieval Jewish ghetto es.wikipedia.org. The main streets are Callejón del Gato, Calle del Rostro, Calle Santa Cruz and Calle de los Huérfanos.

There’s not a lot to see in terms of physical sights but wandering around the narrow streets quite atmospheric, especially when you imagine its time as a walled ghetto. The ghetto was a means of protecting Jewish customs and also as a defence against possible attack from enemies.

At the end of Calle de los Huérfanos is a small square called Plaza de los Huérfanos which was the location of one of the two gates into the ghetto, the Puerta Baeza. There are various plaques and installations here that commemorate the presence of the Jewish community in Jaen for over twelve centuries.

On the edge of La Judería is the Fuente De Los Caños, a public fountain dating from 1569.

From here head a little further north to Palacio de Villardompardo where you can see the Baños Arabes www.bañosarabesjaen.es in the cellar (see my separate post on museums).

In terms of more recent architecture, there are a few nice buildings around…

The first building on Calle Maestra, the main street leading off the cathedral square, is this quirky little place on the corner. It was renovated in 2015 so I’m looking forward to having a nosey inside.

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Another nice house I’ve seen backs onto Plaza del Pósito and has its front door on Calle Bernabé Soriano.

This nice building is at 18 Calle Bernabé Soriano.

This post is a work in progress so I’ll be adding to it on my next trip. Museums next!

Jaen – places to eat in La Victoria

Posted in Andalusia, Jaen, Jaen Province, La Victoria, Spain with tags , , , , , on April 2, 2019 by gannet39

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.

From 2013…

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.

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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.

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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).

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I also had artichocke hearts with ham (B) and some pork with chips and gravy which I wasn’t particularly keen on (C+).

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This was washed down with another decent (B) local red called ‘Glosa’ from the Sierra de Sur Jaen IGP.

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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.

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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.

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Andalusia – restaurants in Granada

Posted in Andalusia, Granada, Granada Province, Spain with tags , , on April 1, 2019 by gannet39

Granada is not short on atmosphere, and this definitely translates to its restaurants. It’s easy to focus on the tapas (previous post) and miss all the amazing sit down spots. I’ve added an ice cream shop at the end as well as that’s what I usually do for dessert.

Everywhere mentioned is on my map.

Claustro (Advanced B), 31 Calle Gran Vía de Colón, inside the Hotel AC Santa Paula, www.hotelacpalaciodesantapaula.com

This is a high end but not overly expensive restaurant located in the porticoed courtyard of a former cloister, now a posh hotel.

The bland exterior of the building deceptively hides the beauty of what lies inside.

Service is exemplary, most of the time, the menu is very playful and the food is imaginatively presented, but isn’t always as tasty as it could be.

I went with my friend Nicky, a fellow lover of fine food. To begin she had a glass of her much loved Rueda Verdejo and I had one of my favourite commercial Oloroso sherry, Alfonso by Gonzalez Byass (A).

The amuse bouches were quite imaginative. First, a wire tree bearing green ‘fruit’ made of goats’ cheese (B+)…

… followed by an ‘orio’ tasting of chocolate, coffee and curry flavours (B) accompanied by a blini on a spoon topped with aubergine ‘caviar’ (B+).

Some nice Pan Cristal with local olive oil was a reminder of normality.

These came with a glass of Rebujito; an Anadalucian aperitif similar to a Sherry Cobbler, which was a new concept for both of us. It’s made differently in different cities, and I’m still not completely sure what the components were, but I guess it was sparkling wine with a shot of Manzanilla sherry.

I didn’t grade the remaining courses as I was in relaxation mode, but I had…

Remojón Granadino; normally a simple salad of orange, oil, and salt or sugar but here with the addition of salt-cod, gherkins and some kind of mousse. Pretty but strange.

The Envuelto de Rabo de Toro con sus Callos y Espuma de Huevo Frito arrived looking like a foamy soup…

… but upon investigation was found to contain oxtail and tripe raviolis covered by a fried egg foam.

It all makes sense when you remember that the idea is to try and make ingredients look like something else so that they surprise you. It’s a nice idea but sadly it sometimes comes at the cost of flavour.

The following dishes of Faisan a las Especias en Dos Servicios, pheasant with spices in two (tiny) servings, and Cordero Segureño, Aceitunes Verdes y Velo de Leche de Cabra or local lamb with green olives with a veil of goat’s milk, were unremarkable and not worthy of a photo.

To drink we went with a bottle of my trusted Juan Gil from Murcia (B+) which helped us finish the Tabla de Quesos which was something of an overkill. No desserts were needed.

Total cost €72 per person which is par for the course. It was a very pleasant evening in beautiful surroundings but the food was more about form than flavour in my opinion. I’d go again if someone else was paying!

Tajin Elvira (Low Intermediate B), 46 Calle Elvira

Eating or drinking tea at a Morrocan restaurant or teteria in the Albacin neighbourhood is pretty much a must do when in Granada. This one is great for atmosphere and pretty good for food but some of the others on my map may be better.

I had the all-day Menu del Dia for €8.50 which lets you select one dish from a list of five for each of two courses. I went with the Berejenas, hoping for some roasted aubergines in yogurt but instead getting some bitter tasting ones in some kind of red sauce that didn’t really cut it for me (C). I wasn’t too fussed about their Morrocan bread either (C) so I left most of it.

On the other hand the Tajine Pollo was really tasty (B+).

To finish I had some pastries; two kinds of Baklava from Syria (B+) and Hamsa (C) and Shubakia (D) pastries from Morocco.

As no alcohol is served here, I had two pots of tea; Te Marroqui with mint (B), and some Syrian something or other (C).

Total cost €21 which is as cheap as chips.

And if you’re near the cathedral…

Fior di Gelato (Elementary A), 3 Calle Acera del Casino

The best ice cream in Granada according to my friend Tom who lived in Granada for a while.

Going on their Kinder Bueno and Dulce de Leche, I can’t disagree with him (B+).

Phew, don’t know how I managed that lot in less than 48 hours! Still plenty left to do though. Granada I need to see you again!

Jaen next…

Andalusia – eating tapas in Granada

Posted in Andalusia, Granada, Granada Province, Spain with tags , , , , , , on March 31, 2019 by gannet39

Granada is famous for its tapas which traditionally come free with your drink. There are heaps of good tapas bars, too many to sample in a weekend, but here are a few famous ones that I quite liked. You’ll find them all on my map, along with many more that are untried.

Please also see my following post for Restaurants and Takeaways in Granada.

Antigua Bodega Castaneda (Intermediate A), 5 Calle Elvira and another entrance on Calle Almireceros, m.facebook.com/BodegasCastaNeda

This famous restaurant and tapas bar was my favourite dining experience in Granada. It has heaps of atmosphere, the staff are really nice and the food is great.

My friend Nicky and I sat outside in the cool alley and shared the local speciality Habas con Jamon (broad beans with some wonderful cured ham from nearby Trevelez, served with a fried egg). Unsightly but very tasty (A).

We also had the Carrillada Iberica, pork cheeks, (B) and a bottle of Habla del Silencio, a favourite red of mine from Extramadura (B+). The bill came to about €30 each. A great little spot, definitely recommended.

Taberna La Tana (Low Intermediate A), 3 Placeta del Agua, www.tabernalatana.com

I love this tiny tapas bar with its pretty rustic décor and friendly staff. Due to its size and popularity, it’s best to arrive as soon as they open if you want a table.

I didn’t eat much as this was my last stop on a lengthy tapeo but the freebies I had were very good so I presume everything else is.

The owner is a sommelier (sumiller) and he has an extensive selection of excellent wines.

I’ll come here first next time!

Chikito (High Intermediate B+), 9 Plaza del Campillo, www.restaurantechikito.com

A very famous and long-standing locale, beloved by the local great and good. An earlier incarnation was frequented by local poet, Federico García Lorca.

You can sit outside in the pretty square or…

… sit down in the restaurant, or do as I did and stand in the tapas bar.

In accordance with local tradition, free tapas came automatically with each glass of wine I had.

I wasn’t too keen on the local Muñana (C) red wine but the Morcilla (black pudding) tapa it came with was quite sweet and liquid (B).

The Pinchos Moruno (pork kebab) were a bit tough but still tasty (B). I enjoyed the Añares Rioja as well (B).

The final bill was a mere €6 but à la carte would be more expensive.

Cunini (Intermediate B+), 14 Plaza de Pescaderia, www.cunini.es

A very famous restaurant and marisqueria which is one of the best places for fish and seafood in Granada. There’s a busy terraza outside, a restaurant area which I haven’t seen, and a frenetic tapas bar, which was where I did my best to get served on a very busy Saturday lunchtime.

Attracting the attention of a bartender whilst standing behind people eating at the bar is the first challenge, the second is finding somewhere to put your plate once you’ve been served. Inevitably a fair bit of waiting is involved, especially between getting your drink and receiving your free tapa.

I had two glasses of a decent verdejo (B), a free tapa of very wet paella with tiny crabs and clams (B)…

…and a purchased plate of Necoras, velvet crab (B+).

I didn’t wait around for my second free tapa as it took too long to arrive. To be fair, the guys on the bar work their socks off and my chap was quite affable despite being driven to distraction. I’d definitely come again but would try to time it better to avoid the crowds.

Löwe Gastrobar (Intermediate B+), 6 Calle Ángel Ganivet, Calle Ganivet, www.liongranada.com

A rather soulless modern bar with no outside terrace. However, they sell excellent award-winning, if slightly pricey, tapas.

I had three tapas (salmorejo, hamurguesa, ensalada rusa) and two glasses of wine for €7.40, all of which were very good (B).

Pescaderia Puri y Sandra (Elementary B+), San Agustín Market, Plaza de San Agustín

Located in San Agustín Market, this is a fishmongers that serves its own produce.

It seems very popular with the locals (I was lucky to get a seat), perhaps because it’s better value than the posher or more touristy places above.

A prawn loving Norwegian like myself couldn’t help but be impressed by their display.

Even if some of it is a bit frightening.

I went for a plate of prawns (B+)…

… and a glass of Verdejo (B+), both of which did the business.

There are many other tapas bars in the market to try, definitely a good spot.

And that was my very brief experience of the tapas scene in Granada, although I think I’ve done a pretty good job of finding some of the best ones.

Plenty left for next time though. Restaurants next…

Granada – getting into the Alhambra

Posted in Andalusia, Granada, Granada Province, Spain with tags , , , , , , , on March 30, 2019 by gannet39

I came to Granada at very short notice so I didn’t have time to book a normal cheap ticket to go and see the Alhambra. They sell out weeks ahead, and although there are a few held back for purchase on the day, they are taken as soon as it opens.

An easier way to go is to take a guided tour and I was able to book one through the receptionist at my hotel as soon as I arrived. It cost €55 (in 2017, as opposed to €15 under your steam) but it saved me lots of hassle and Daniel our guide was quite knowledgeable. I went with the Granada Travel Centre granadatravel.com. There are several other outfits but GTC picked me up and dropped me back at the hotel which sold it to me.

Bear in mind that the Alhambra has on average eight thousand visitors a day so it’s virtually impossible to have the place to yourself. Mornings are the best time to go, the gates open at 08.30.

The Alhambra is actually a complex of different palaces and fortifications. The first one to visit is the Palacio del Generalife www.alhambra-patronato.es which is separated from the Alhambra by a ravine.

It was built in the late thirteenth century as a place for the Nasrid rulers to relax and there are several lovely tranquil areas. Particularly famous is Patio de la Acequia (Court of the Water Channel); a long water pool fed by fountains and framed by flowerbeds on either side.

There are also other beautiful internal gardens.

An interesting fact I learned from the guide was that Islamic fountains are always soothing and quiet whereas Christian fountains are deliberately noisy in order to attract attention!

For the North African Moors water was a symbol of power, so they built aqueducts stretching several kilometeres to bring it from the hills.

The interior of the palace contains beautifully carved Arabesques.

Click to enlarge.

Outside the palace is the the Jardím de la Sultana (Sultana’s Garden or Courtyard of the Cypress).

The garden is very beautiful but most likely not authentic as its reconstruction in 1931 was done purely by imagination.

You can get excellent views over the town from here.

On the other side of the ravine, in the Nasrid Palaces, the most stunning sight is the Hall of Abencerrajes www.alhambradegranada.org with its incredible Muqarnus ceiling.

The artistic intention was to symbolise God’s creation of the universe.

This honeycomb or stalactite effect is known as Mocárabe in Iberian architecture.

The windows in the hall are also very intricate.

As are others elsewhere in the palace.

Nearby is the Patio de Los Leones www.alhambradegranada.org, another stunningly beautiful work.

Also of interest is the Mexuar Hall www.alhambradegranada.org which has undergone many alterations over the centuries as its use has changed.

Here are some more Arabesques from the Nasrid palaces. Click to enlarge.

And some other shots from around the Nazrid Palaces.

And of course the views are wonderful from here.

It’s incredible to think that the whole complex was nearly blown up by Napoleon’s troops.

If you don’t actually make it inside the Alhambra, you can still get a good view of if from Plaza San Nicolas which has a nice vibe in the evenings. If you want a drink and a seat with your view, try this place…

El Huerto de Juan Ranas (Intermediate B+), 6 Calle Atarazana Vieja

This is bar on the at the top of the Albacin has a fantastic view of the Alhambra which is immediately opposite on the next hill. You could walk up but it’s quite hard going. Much easier to splash out on a taxi which will get you to the top for around €6.

Nicky and I got a table and had a G&T while taking in the vista. They weren’t cheap, €9.50 each, but you’re paying for the location. They do food (no reservations taken) but I haven’t tried it. A friend who came in the evening, just to see the Alhambra at dusk, said that the Rabo de Toro was pretty good.

I took heaps more photos but I think that’s enough for today, I’m getting hungry!

Andalusia – Granada – walking around

Posted in Andalusia, Granada, Granada Province, Spain with tags , , , on March 29, 2019 by gannet39

I finally got to go to Granada in July 2017 after wanting to visit for nearly twenty years. My work itinerary had me just changing trains and continuing on to Jaen but I managed to delay for a couple of nights of quality R&R.

It was a whistlestop tour and these posts are just a record of my experiences and are not intended to be a guide. Hopefully parts of them will be of use though.

The main reason anyone goes to Granada is of course to see the famed Alhambra so I’ve given it its own post (next up). Another very good reason to visit is for the city’s food culture, particularly tapas, so that also has its own post. The old Moorish neighbourhood, the Albaicín, will no doubt get its own post in the future but for now you’ll find it represented in the food section.

This post is about all the other stuff I saw when I was walking around. It’s all on my Google map here.

The next most famous construction in town is the Catedral de Granada www.catedraldegranada.com, the impressive façade of which can be viewed in Plaza de las Pasiegas, preferrably from a stool on a bar terrace.

The interior is beautiful but it was 5€ to get in and I didn’t have much time so I left it for another occasion.

The side entrance on Calle Cárcel Baja is quite ornate as well.

Flanking the cathedral on the other side on Calle Oficios is the royal chapel, the Capilla Real de Granada www.capillarealgranada.com.

From here a gate takes you to the main street Gran Vía De Colón.

There are of course heaps of other beautiful churches in Granada.

Big and small.

Not far from the cathedral is the Corral del Carbon www.alhambradegranada.org, an early 14th century Alhóndiga (farmers market) from the Nasrid era.

The entrance is particularly nice.

The rest of the building houses a free exhibition on the history of Granada.

Another piece of Moorish architecture still standing in the lower town is the Puerta de Elvira at Plaza del Triunfo.

I can’t remember exactly where sorry but there are a few nice bits of Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Modernista architecture dotted about. You can click on this gallery to enlarge the pics if you’re on a computer.

Not too sure about this post-modern monster though.

Time for something far more beautiful…

Andalusia – eating and drinking in Osuna

Posted in Andalusia, Osuna, Seville Province, Spain with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2019 by gannet39

There’s not a huge choice of places to eat in Osuna but here are a few good ones, in order of preference. My map is here.

Doña Guadalupe (High Intermediate A), 6 Plaza Guadalupe

This is the best, and probably most expensive, place in town, located in a hidden square just a few minutes’ walk from the Hotel Palacio Marques De La Gomera. You can sit outside under the porticos in the square but I chose to sit inside as it was a bit more comfortable.

On the waiter’s suggestion I began with the Surtido Iberico (three kinds of charcuterie with cured cheese, grilled peppers and some toast with local olive oil) which was great (A) but had I known it was going to be so big, and at a cost of €20, I wouldn’t have ordered it for just one person.

It was nice to see my old friend Overo (B), a red from nearby Lebrija, which was good value for €15.

For my segundo; Perdiz de Monte en su Jugo, or mountain partridge in its own gravy (B+).

And to finish, Flan Naranja con Arroz con Leche, aka orange caramel pudding with rice pudding (A).

With this a glass of ‘Espuny’ Pedro Ximenez (A).

Dessert came with some complimentary Pastitas Caseras (homemade shortbread biscuits) and two bottles of digestifs; Pacharan (a Basque liqueur made with sloes) and Aguardiente des Hierbas (like grappa with added herbs).

Total cost was a somewhat excessive €71 although this included a beer. You don’t have to be as greedy as me of course.

My second favourite place was this modern tapas bar…

Taberna Jicales (Intermediate B+), 11 Calle Esparteros

Tapas I tried included, in order of preference, Carrilladas aka pork cheeks (A), Pulpo Gallego or Galician style octopus (B+), Piruletas also known as chorizo lollipops (B+), Miloja de Berenjena or battered and deep-fried slices of aubergine enclosing some brie-like cheese (B-), Croquetas de Cabrales y Sidra aka Asturian blue cheese and cider croquettes (B-).

I was less keen on the Solomillo al Pedro Ximenez which is pork loin in a PX wine reduction (C+) and the Mini Hamburguesa (C). All of these were very cheap at only €2 or €3 a pop.

This next place is the local institution…

Casa Curro (Intermediate B), 5 Plaza Salitre

The food here is fine but nothing amazing. On my first evening I ate in their restaurant at the back. As you’d expect from an olive oil producing town, their olives are pretty good. I had their mixed Croquetas to start and followed up with the Rabo de Toro, stewed oxtail, and had a bottle of Ramon Bilbao Rioja to drink. The Flan de Chocolate finished things off. (All B).

On another night I enjoyed their Almejas de Carril en Salsa de la Casa (Galician clams in the house sauce) and their Salmorejo (bread and tomato soup with ham, egg and olive oil), along with a bottle of Barbadillo white wine (all B again).

You can get a very cheap brandy for a night cap from their tapas bar at the front.

There is no outdoor area Casa Curro so they have opened this other smaller tapas bar over the square where you can sit at tables on the street…

Taberna Currito Chico (Elementary A), 9 Plaza Salitre

I much prefer the ambience at this little tapas bar to that of its big sister over the road. The food seems a little better too. Certainly the Carrillada con Queso al Pedro Ximenez, pork cheek with cheese and a sweet wine reduction, is a winner (A). Tables are hard to snag though so arrive early.

El Molinillo (Elementary C+), 6 Plaza Mayor

This tiny tapas bar on the main square is run by a nice old boy. You could stand inside but the terrace on the square is a good spot for sinking a cold one while you watch the town at play in the evenings. Although the Jamon is good (B+), I wasn’t that impressed by the Solomillo Ajillo aka pork loin in garlic (C-).

And a couple to avoid…

Cafeteria Arco (High Elementary C), 8 Piazza Cervantes

Came here for lunch and ordered the Butifarra hoping for a grilled version of my favourite Catalan sausage. Got some thinly sliced cold version on white bread that was more akin to garlic sausage (C-) for which they charged me €3.

Vera (High Elementary C-), Calle Alfonso XII

Although this was #6 on TripAdvisor and the fifth most reviewed in 2017, the tapa of Bacalao Frito I had here failed to impress (C-).

For hotel room picnickers…

…you could get a roast chicken to go from Pollos Asados La Fama at 25 Calle Alfonso XII.

The old bakery Panadería Moyá (since 1920) at 60 Calle Sor Angela de la Cruz has some nice bread in the window.

And for those sweet of tooth, you can get cakes and biscuits from the nuns either from Religiosas Madres Concepcionistas at 1 Calle Sevilla or from Monasterio de la Encarnación at 2 Plaza la Encarnación.

Andalusia – walking around Osuna

Posted in Andalusia, Osuna, Seville Province, Spain with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2019 by gannet39

Historic Osuna is built on a sandstone hill which has been a source of ashlars (stone building blocks) for the town’s buildings for millenia. Some of these come from El Coto las Canteras, a spectacular quarry known as ‘the Petra of Andalusia’ which is just on the outskirts of town. Sadly this amazing attraction is only open on special occasions but the link above will give you a good idea of what it looks like inside. It’s on my map if you want to go and have a look through the fence.

We are put up at the best hotel in town, the 18th century Palacio Marques De La Gomera www.hotelpalaciodelmarques.es, a baroque palace with a beautiful stone facade and entrance. The turret room was used in the 2001 film “Callas Forever” with Fanny Ardant and Jeremy Irons. The cast and crew of series five of Game of Thrones also stayed here.

The entrance has some nice details and inside there is a lovely internal courtyard with a fountain. You can click to expand these and other smaller pics if you’re on a computer.

According to UNESCO Calle San Pedro is the second most beautiful street in Europe, While I’m not sure I agree with that, it does have another spectacular facade a few doors up at 15 Calle San Pedro. The Cilla del Cabildo Colegial is another baroque palace built in 1773.

The doorway is decorated with symbols of Seville’s cathedral, such as lilies in vases and a representation of the cathedral’s clocktower, La Giralda.

If you walk up to the top of and turn left you’ll soon come to the Posito Municipal andaluciarustica.com, at 80 Calle Carrera. Built in 1779 it was the town’s municipal granary and later a hospital.

At the bottom of the hill you come to the neo-classical Arco de la Pastora andaluciarustica.com, the Arch of the Sheperdess, which is the town’s last remaining gate.

Nearby is the Plaza de Toros dating from 1903.

It’s largely unused nowadays although some scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed inside.

On the other side of town on Calle San Agustín is the former post office, the Palacio de Miguel Reina Jurado andaluciarustica.com.

Nearby at 10 Calle la Huerta is the Palacio de los Cepeda andaluciarustica.com.

On a parallel street at 44 Calle Sevilla is the Palacio de Puente Hermosa, also known as the Palacio de Govantes y Herdera.

The impressive Solomonic columns of its doorway are decorated with bunches of grapes and vine leaves.

A few doors away on the same street is this unmarked building.

I love the decorative faces above the door.

Up the road at 9 Calle Sevilla, is the less impressive doorway of the Antiguo Convento de Santa Catalina. The internal layout of the convent was used as a template for convents in Mexico.

You can buy cakes from the nuns next door at Religiosas Madres Concepcionistas at 1 Calle Sevilla.

At the end of Calle Sevilla you come to Plaza Major. The town hall sits over one of the streets entering the square.

The eastern side is lined with attractive buildings.

From here you can see La Colegiata de Osuna on the hill above the town.

The Rennaisance church houses the Museo de Arte Sacro de la Colegiata de Osuna www.colegiatadeosuna.es.

On the way up the hill you’ll also come across the Torre del Agua andaluciarustica.com which is also the home of the Museo Arqueológico de Osuna. Neither museum’s opening hours coincided with when I was free unfortunately so I saved them for next time.

You can get some great views over the town from the top of the hill.

Over the road at the very top of the hill is the famous Escuela Universitaria de Osuna www.euosuna.org, founded in 1548 and still a functioning university.

I sneaked inside to get a few shots of the beautiful internal courtyard.

It was strangely quiet when I was there.

The walls of the entrance hall bear some ancient decorative inscriptions.

Back down at the bottom of the hill in a small square is the Iglesia y Torre de La Merced andaluciarustica.com.

And that is probably enough baroque for one day, time for some grub now…

Almeria – eating near the hotels in Los Molinos

Posted in Almeria, Almeria Province, Andalusia, Centro, Los Molinos, Spain with tags , , , , on March 24, 2019 by gannet39

This is a post primarily for my colleagues as the hotels we generally use aren’t in the Centro but a little way out in the barrio of Los Molinos.

Apologies for the lack of photos but nothing was particularly photogenic!

Hotel Tryp Indalo (Intermediate B), Avenida del Mediterráneo, www.melia.com

A fairly modern tourist hotel I stayed in in 2017 that’s about a twenty to twentyfive minute walk away from the Centro. Alternatively you can catch the #6 bus to the Catedral or the #1 to the Alcazaba from the bus stop outside the Jefatura over the road.

The name Indalo comes from a prehistoric magical symbol found in a cave near Almeria (info here).

The hotel itself is fine, nothing special, but better than the Hotel Vincci below. There’s a terrace on the roof with some broken sunbeds but little else in the way of facilities. It doesn’t have a restaurant but there’s a decent tapas bar nearby…

El Rincon de Basi (Intermediate B), 37 Travesia de San Luis

This is just two blocks up the hill from the Hotel Tryp Indalo, on the parallel street to the main road, so very handy if you can’t face going into town. It’s highly rated by the locals and was at #5 on Tripadvisor on my visit in 2017.

I had a couple of tapas but neither particularly impressed me. Service was pleasant and you can sit outside on the pavement terrace. I would go again but choose more carefully.

They have a second sister restaurant in town…

El Rincon de Basi Centro (Intermediate B), 12 Calle General Segura

This modern tapas bar is just opposite the Inlingua I was working at. I went for lunch and had a couple of decent but watery salads (B-), as is the Spanish way.

Hotel Vincci Mediterraneo (Intermediate C), 281 Avenida del Mediterraneo, www.vinccihoteles.com

This is where I stayed in 2014. Nice enough staff, except for one miserable guy in the breakfast room. It has spacious, basic rooms and is probably quite cheap, but it’s not very central and they fleece you for the internet. Maybe that’s changed since though.

Cadenas (Elementary B), 98 Haza de Acosta, closed Sunday.

Turn right out of the Hotel Vincci, turn second right down unsigned Calle Muro, turn right at the end and you’ll see this bar on the right in a block of small bars.

The easy option near the Hotel Vincci, this is a local tapas bar selling decent food. Get there soon after 8pm to guarantee a place on the terrace as it’s very popular. At lunchtime they only serve raciones.

I had the Patatas Bravas (pictured), Ensaladilla Rusa (boiled potato. tuna, mayo ), Carne con Salsa de Tomate (all B).

Bravas

So these were the options I tried when I was too tired to walk into town. You’ll be rewarded with much better food and atmosphere though if you can make it into the Centro.

A key to other posts on Almeria:

Traditional Tapas Bars in Town
Modern Tapas Bars in Town
Chilling at Zapillo Beach
Walking Around

My map is here.

A few days in historical Osuna next.

Almeria – chilling at Playa Zapillo

Posted in Almeria, Almeria Province, Andalusia, Neuva Almeria, Spain with tags , on March 23, 2019 by gannet39

There are a couple of very large beaches near the centre of town which is why Almeria is a major holiday destination, particularly for Spanish tourists. I’m told the best beaches, and nature, are up the coast at Caba de Gato, but I have never had the time nor the car to go. One day though.

Here are a couple of chiringuitos (beach bars specialising in seafood) at Playa del Zapillo that I’ve been to…

El Tio Pepe (Elementary B), Avanida Cabo de Gata

This was the hotel recommended beach shack down in Neuva Almeria, a good place to go on a Sunday when everywhere else will most likely be closed. The food is fine but nothing out of this world.

I just had a plate of Migas (B) with some perfectly grilled Sardinias (A) alongside a few cervecas.

It takes ten minutes and €6 in a cab to get there from the Hotel Tryp Indalo (see next post), or you could take much longer on the bus. A sun lounger cost me €3.50 for the day.

In 2017 I arrived at El Tio Pepe a bit late at about 2pm (which is when most Spanish people eat lunch) and there was a queue of about twenty people ahead of me so I went to the next chiringuito down the beach where there were plenty of free tables…

Terraza del Mar (Intermediate C), 14 Calle Lopez Delgado

I think this place fancies itself as a bit posher than El Tio Pepe but I don’t rate it particularly highly.

I began with the Caballa; a loin of mackerel with local tomatoes (B).

The Lenguado however wasn’t great as a lot of the flesh was stuck to the backbone, perhaps a symptom of having been frozen until very recently (C).

And I do like my fried potatoes (no pic), the Patatas Alioli, to have a bit of colour (C).

The bottle of Castelo de Medina was very good though (B+) which cheered me up.

The Tarta de Queso was okay but nothing special (C+).

With an Orujo de Hierbas the final bill was €56.

After all this a snooze in the sun was in order. A ‘hamaca’ (hammock) here costs €5.

So treat yourself to a lazy day at the beach!

A key to other posts on Almeria:

Traditional Tapas Bars in Town
Modern Tapas Bars in Town
Eating near the Hotels
Walking Around

My map is here.

A post for my colleagues next…

Almeria – modern tapas bars in the Centro

Posted in Almeria, Almeria Province, Andalusia, Centro, Spain with tags , , on March 22, 2019 by gannet39

There are heaps of tapas bars in Almeria so I’ve had to break my posts down to make them more accessible. My last post about the tapas in the Centro was about the trad places, this one is about the more modern bars. As ever, it’s just my brief impression, not a guide.

Here are my other posts on Almeria:

Traditional Tapas Bars in the Centro
Modern Tapas Bars in the Centro
Chilling at Zapillo Beach
Eating near the Hotels
Walking Around

My map is here.

My, and everyone’s, favourite tapas bar is Casa Puga but this next place comes in a solid second…

La Mala (Intermediate A), 69 Calle Real

This hipster bar in Quatro Calles in the Centro is about thirty minutes’ walk from the Hotel Tryp Indalo where I was staying. It was my favourite place in town for food on my trip in June 2017 and at the time it was deservedly (for a change) the Tripadvisor #1 for its Cocina Creativa.

I went twice, once by myself and again with my colleague Sean and two of his local friends.

On both occasions I ordered the Tortilla con Trufa which was always knock out (A).

Don’t recall the name of the dish but it was great; thinly sliced, coiled courgettes tubes with parmesan cheese (B+).

The Entrana steak was a bit of an extra chewy cut (B+) but the Tuna Roja Tartar was really good (A).

We had a great bottle of Verdejo as well but foolishly I neglected to get the name. This Bai Gorri is a great Rioja though.

This is a great spot, definitely a top tip for food.

Continuing in order of preference…

Nuestra Tierra (Intermediate B+), 16 Calle Jovellanos, corner with Calle Marin, www.tabernanuestratierra.com

This bright, modern place has won a few Ruta de Tapas awards for the tapas below. You get one free when you buy a drink and pay a bit more, €1.60 when I was there, if you get extra ones. This is why drinks seem a bit expensive (€3.20 for a beer or €3.60 for a glass of wine).

The Bacalao Frito con Mahonesa Pil-Pil (A); chunks of battered, deep fried saltcod with mayo made with the oil from frying the cod and a sprinkle of chilli flakes, won second prize in the 2014 Ruta.

Also the Pasamar en Acietede Oliva; squid in a jar with olive oil and a black alioli made from squid ink was very good (B+). The year before I was there this tapa had won the won first prize in the 2016 Ruta.

The Crujiente de Morcilla; black pudding fritter with tomato jam, was just okay (B) although it won second prize in 2013.

Sadly though the Boladillos Jamon were not for me. A mash of potatoes with chunks of ham and garlic was strangely inedible (D).

I had a bit of a run in with the mardy waiter about this. I think uneaten unpleasant food shouldn’t be charged for and he did take it off the bill but without any grace. Also his tiny pouring of wine was considerably smaller than that of the person on the next table (a regular no doubt) which I made him remedy.

I’d go back for the Bacalao Frito and the Pasamar though. Total cost €11.50 which is very good for what I had.

El Vino en un Barco (Intermediate B+), 2 Calle Arco

This is a cool little bar on a side street off the Calle Real strip. I came for drinks I’d like to come back for tapas. They’re also known for their cocktails.

The waiter was really nice and friendly but I didn’t like the El Terrao red wine he recommended to me as being the best local wine. National classics like Rioja and Ribera might be a safer bet.

I stayed because they had my favourite rum; Diplomatico from Venezuela, which is sublime mixed with a bit of fresh lime juice.

A place I’d go back to for sure.

De Tal Palo (Intermediate B), 15 Calle Real, detalpaloalmeria.es

This big, modern, popular tapas bar used to be the (failed?) Museo de Aciete. I’m guessing that the large pieces of antique olive oil processing machinery they have on display were once some of the exhibits.

As elsewhere, you get a free tapa with every drink. I had another go at the local classic Patatas Pobre, ‘poverty potatoes’, aka greasy fried potatoes with a fried egg, but I’m still not a fan (C).

The Solomillo al Foie con Reduccion de PX sobre Camas de Patatas Paja, didn’t impress as much as I hoped either (B-).

I also had another glass of El Terrao , the same wine I’d had over the road at El Vino en un Barco which had been described as the best but again it really didn’t do anything for me (C).

Total bill for three tapas and two glasses of wine was €8.80. It wasn’t that bad, but I probably won’t be returning when there are so many other places to try.

To the beach next!

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