Archive for the Almeria Province Category

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 weekend in lovely Granada 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) and several cervecas.

Migas and Sardinias

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!

Almeria – traditional tapas bars in the Centro

Posted in Almeria, Almeria Province, Andalusia, Centro, Spain with tags , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2019 by gannet39

Over two trips I’ve spent a couple of weeks in Almeria so I’ve managed to get a bit of a handle on the dining scene. Almeria is a big tapas town so most of the places below are tapas bars but a few double as restaurants. As there are so many I’ve had to break them down into separate posts to make them more accessible. This one is on Traditional Tapas Bars in the Centro but there are others on…

Modern Tapas Bars in Town

Chilling at the Zapillo Beach

Eating near the Hotel

Walking Around

My map is here and a map of the barrios is here.

Out of all of the great tapas bars in town, I think this one is unmissable…

Casa Puga (Intermediate A+), 7 Calle Jovelllanos, www.barcasapuga.es GEM ALERT!

The most famous tapas bar in town, so of course it’s in all the guides, but for good reason…

It’s been around since 1870 and the atmospheric interior is covered with beautiful old ceramic tiles and pictures of days gone by.

Comedor

Three huge earthenware wine jars fill one end of the restaurant area while the old wooden bar is where most people choose to stand and talk.

Wine jars

Everything I ate here was superb. My first visit was with a friend on a Saturday night when we did well to get a seat as it was heaving inside and out. We had three plates of sliced Chorizo, Salchicha (A)…

Chorizo

…and Manchego Curado with toasted almonds (A)…

Old cheese

…along with a decent 2002 Rioja Crianza (A).

Ondarre 2002 Rerserva

We were the last ones in the place but our excellent waiter still came to fill our shot glasses with a second complimentary Pacharan, this one tasting more like cough medicine than usual (B).

I was working nearby the next day so came back for lunch where, after another complimentary slice of ‘queso viejo’ (matured Manchego) with toasted almonds, I got stuck into the fishy side of things. I had a plate of sublime creamy Pulpo a la Gallega, still warm octopus sprinkled with paprika and olive oil (A+). (Pic was blurry sorry).

Also a plate of Salmonetes (Red Mullet)…

Salmonetas

…and a mixed salad with Ventresca (belly tuna) (both A).

House salad

This went well with a glass of dry white Verdejo ‘Monasterio de Palazuelos’ from Rueda (B).

Palazuelos

To finish, the Tartita al Whisky looked worryingly different from other times I’d had it. Unlike previous occasions though this one was partly made with ice cream which was a winner (A).

Whisky tart

With this two glasses of sweet dessert wine, called simply Vino Dulce, made on the premises (A+).

Vino Dulce

I had the same old boy looking after me as the night before, which he did very well (thanks Juan). I was literally purring with contentment when I left.

Not far from Puga is the Alcazaba, the ancient fortress on the hill. There was no way I was going to make it up any kind of incline in the heat after that little lot, so it might be an idea to do the sightseeing before you eat.

Cow cart outside Puga

Casa Sevilla (Advanced B+), 14 Rueda Lopez, Galería Comercial Almericentro, www.casa-sevilla.com

This restaurant and tapas bar is the most famous high end place in town, perhaps because it’s one of the oldest (since 1958). In summer it’s best to sit outside in the terrace. I say ‘in’ because it’s in a tunnel but that’s okay because you catch a bit of a breeze. The waiters weren’t particularly friendly but they warmed up a bit with time.

I had the Berenjenas Fritas con Miel de Cana which has been on the menu since they opened. They were very nice (B+) if rather calorific. The aubergines are sliced thinly, battered and deep-fried. You get a bottle of cane sugar to pour over them. Must have a go at making this when I get home.

I was in the mood for meat so I had the Gallego Entrecote de Buey which I asked for ‘pocho hecho’. I should have said ‘jugoso’ as it wasn’t bloody at all but I still enjoyed it (B+) along with the skinny chips (B+). The salt looks like Maldon but it’s a local copy.

To go with it the Rincon Postrero Crianza, a Syrah Merlot blend which was okay (B).

A beer, a Torres 10 year old brandy (B) and the bread took the bill to just under €60. Expensive for Almeria but it was all good tackle.

Bodega Las Botas (Intermediate B+), 3 Calle Fructuoso Perez

This is another atmospheric old joint in the historic centre, tucked down a back street. It’s hard to find but worth it for the beautiful interior, packed with bullfighting memorabilia, including a couple of huge horned heads peering down at you from the wall.
Bull

You can also sit outside in the alleyway on some beautifully painted but very uncomfortable traditional chairs and tiny tables (hence the A minus).

As with all other places in Almeria, you immediately get a complimentary tapa on the house, in our case a plate of unshelled almonds and some fantastic ham on tomato bread (A).

Jamon

My choice of crinkly under-ripe Raf tomatoes (a local speciality) with raw garlic wasn’t the best (B-) as the huge plateful really needed something else to go with it.

Raf tomatoes

The house salad has lots of ingredients but was just ok (B).

There were some beautiful looking canapés on other tables as well. Service was just ok. One negative for me was that this is accordion player territory, but you may like music with your food.

Marisqueria Baviera (Intermediate B), 10 Calle Tenor Iribarne

This seafood specialist is the sister restaurant of Las Botas just around the corner. I had a hankering for some grilled prawns so I had a half dozen Gamba Blanca for €6 which, although very heavy on the salt, pressed the right buttons once I’d brushed it off (B). Not sure I’d come here for any other reason though.

Kiosco Amalia (Elementary B+), 10 Plaza Manuel Pérez García, www.facebook.com/KioskoAmalia

This street kiosk is a quite a famous spot in Almeria, popular with daytime customers and late night clubbers alike. They sell a local coffee drink called Café Americano which is made of milk, cinnamon, lemon rind and a dash of a cola cream liquer called Kola Cortails.

Sadly I didn’t find the right time to try one but instead I had another well known local drink, a Jabega de Menta, basically a slush puppy with a shot of Crème de Menthe, which is very thirst quenching on a hot day (A).

As you can see in the photo, Jerry Garcia is a regular here.

Bar Bahía de Palma (Intermediate B), 17 Calle Mariana

An old school bull fighting bar, plain and simple but with plenty of character. I found it a good place to meet locals and had a couple of good conversations with an old teacher and a young gypsy guy.

And a couple of places to avoid…

Parrilla Pasaje (Elementary C), 1 Calle Rueda López

This bar is famous for the Chérigan, a popular tapa served in many bars around the city. I was slightly disappointed to discover that it’s basically just a piece of toasted bread spread with aioli (or sometimes tomato) and a topping, such as tuna, cheese, tortilla, serrano ham, mackerel, quail egg, or in my case Jamon de York.

However, it did prompt me to find out why ham from my county in England is so popular in Spain. It turns out that in 1860, the cured hams produced by butcher Robert Burrow Atkinson, whose premises were on Blossom Street in York, became so popular that visiting customers exported the name and, in other British locations, they requested York-style cured ham. It is even mentioned by Auguste Escoffier in Le Guide Culinaire and in fact I have eaten it in Lyon (post here) with a Madeira wine sauce.

It seems the name Chérigan may be a corruption of “Sheriff”, perhaps from the Westerns that they film at the nearby Tabernas desert or possibly from the nickname of a bossy waiter (or chef, explanations vary) who once worked in the bar.

Bar Casa Joaquín (Intermediate C), 111 Calle Real

This historical tapas bar just down the road from La Mala (see next post) gets recommendations from both the Frommers and Michelin guides, perhaps because it has been around such a long time, although probably too long in my opinion. The first time I tried to go the waiter told me they opened at 21.00 which was too late for me. The second time I went for lunch at 13.15 which again was too early really but they were open and serving drinks and tapas so I went in.

My ‘Hola, buenas’ wasn’t even acknowledged which wasn’t a good start. I had two beers and two compliementary tapas; a Pisto which was good (B) and some boiled Squid which tasted okay at the time but which I think upset my plumbing later. I think it had been standing unrefridgerated for a bit too long. I wanted some of their excellent looking seafood out of the glass fridge but it wasn’t 2pm yet so I wasn’t allowed. Don’t think I’ll be going back. Miserable waiters and suspect food.

La Encina (Intermediate C), 16 Calle Marin

This place comes recommended by Michelin, Frommers and Repsol, perhaps because it’s in an old (not especially) atmospheric building containing a Moorish well. I might have chosen badly but I wasn’t impressed by the tapas I had in the front area. The restaurant at the back might be better.

This was my first try of Patatas Pobre, a classic local dish which I think just isn’t for me. The pale potatoes were edible (C), but only just. Don’t be put off though, you can get better elsewhere.

The Arroz Negro was a bit too oily for my taste (C) and the Croquetas failed to impress (C).

I asked for a local wine and was given a bottle called Carum which was undrinkable (D). They were nice enough to replace it with a glass of Ribera though (B).

Don’t think I’ll go again though as there are plenty of other places around.

Modern tapas bars next!

Almeria – walking around the Centro

Posted in Almeria, Almeria Province, Andalusia, Spain on March 20, 2019 by gannet39

I’ve been to Almería twice, in 2012 and 2017, and it’s grown on me more and more each time. While not exactly a stunner, the city does have a lot of historical buildings, and there’s a huge beach which is never a bad thing.

I’ve broken my posts down to make them more accessible. This one is about Walking Around, ie architecture, street art etc but here are some others:

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

My Google map of the city is here and a map of the barrios is here.

Almería was founded by the Moors in 955AD. The Alacazaba on the hill is the second largest Arabic fortress in Andalusia.

It has been used as a set for Conan the Barbarian, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Never Say Never Again, and Wonder Woman.

I’ve never actually made it inside. On my first attempt I’d just eaten a huge lunch and couldn’t contemplate walking up a steep hill in the sun, and on my second try it was too early in the morning and they wouldn’t let me in. To be honest, friends tell me I’m not missing that much but I’d like to get inside one day just for the views.

Le Catedral in Plaza Vieja is much more accessible after a big lunch at nearby Casa Puga (see my post on Traditional Tapas Bars in the Centro).

In terms of architecture, there are a few Modernista buildings around. My favourite is the Edificio De Las Mariposas at 6 Puerta de Purchena. Video here.

The butterflies around the top are a lovely feature.

There are a couple more Modernista buildings over the road at 4 and 5 Puerta de Purchena.

They were designed in an Electic style that includes a variety of influences; Moorish as well as neoclassical European.

There’s another in Plaza Flores.

A statue of John Lennon is also in the same square.

The old train station is another example of Moderisme.

It was being renovated when I was there so I need to go back for a proper look at the details.

I adore this house at 31 Calle Juan del Olmo. Wish I knew more about it.

I stumbled across a couple more modern buildings that I liked.

Can’t remember where they are, sorry.

I tried looking for this one on Google street view but still can’t recall where it was, apologies again.

I’m also a fan of the Fuente de los Peces in Parque Nicolás Salmerón.

I’m sure I’ve seen a cartoon character that has similar features to this fish but I can’t think where.

They love a bit of topiary in Almeria. Many of the main streets are shaded by beautifully sculpted trees.

These trees are in Plaza Campoamor in the Centro Histórico just south of the Alcazar.

I was lucky to catch the beautiful climbing flowers in bloom.

The barrio is a nice area to walk around.

In terms of street art, I didn’t see much about, but I quite like these squiggly images.

Both are by the same artist I presume.

Here are a few other bits and pieces that caught my eye.

Time for some tapas…

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