Archive for the Granada Province Category

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…

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