Archive for the La Victoria Category

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).


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

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.


Happy shopping!


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.


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.


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).


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


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


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.


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.


Jaen – staying in La Victoria

Posted in Andalusia, Jaen, Jaen Province, La Victoria, Spain with tags , on December 2, 2015 by gannet39

My employer puts us up at the Hotel Infanta Cristina on Carretera de Madrid, in La Victoria, one of the newer parts of town.


It’s handy for the train station (max ten minute’s walk) but the neighbourhood it’s in is pretty sterile and there are no good bars or restaurants nearby that I know of.

Personally I like a bit of exercise before I eat so I always walk up the long hill most of the city is located on to one of the tapas areas I mention in my other posts.

The hotel itself is supposed to be the best in town, but that’s not saying much as there is a dearth of good hotels according to Lonely Planet. It’s tolerable but the rooms are quite dingy and the walls are a bit thin.

On the other hand, the breakfast is usually quite comprehensive and the hotel tapas bar seems to be relatively popular should you not want to go out. Avoid getting boccadillos from the tapas bar though, a ham, cheese and tomato one cost me €9.60!

There’s a sun deck with a swimming pool on the first floor. The entrance is next to Room 109. A G&T served poolside costs €6.50.

Outside the front door of the hotel on Carretera de Madrid is the ghostly spectacle of the brand new tram tracks, although you won’t see any trams on them. A teacher later told me that the city had run out of money after the 2008 financial crash and had never got round to buying them. A shame as it would be a good way to get up the hill!


In recent years Jaen has become a destination for food tourism, especially oleotourists as this is the ‘world capital of olive oil’. This is the city’s gastronomic website which has news of special events and a list of places to eat.

It’s only when you leave Jaen by car or train that you got a true understanding of why the area is so well-known for olives. All you will see out of the window is olive trees for hour after hour (video here), a slightly unsettling monoculture with no other kind of vegetable life in sight. According to the Olive Oil Times Jaen province produces 45% of the Spanish total and 20% of the world total, an incredible statistic!

You can find everywhere I write about and more on my Google map.

Please see the following posts on food and things to do in Jaen:

‘Places to eat in La Victoria’ is a post about bars and restaurants near the Hotel Infanta Cristina.

‘Tapas in the Casco Antiguo 1’; a post about tapas bars off Calle Maestre, near the cathedral (halfway up the hill):

‘Tapas in the Casco Antiguo 2’; a post about tapas bars around Plaza Posito (slightly down the hill from the above).

‘Eating at Casa Antonio’ is a post about the best restaurant in town, slightly up the hill.

A post about another area to eat near the top of the hill and to the left.

For info on how to get to the top of the hill to visit the castle read this post.

This post is about places to eat at the top of the Santa Catalina hill, restaurants that require some effort to get to!

For food shopping and stuff to take home read this.

I hope this information will help you enjoy your time in Jaen. Please let me know 🙂

Jaen – La Victoria – Casa Antonio

Posted in Andalusia, Jaen, Jaen Province, La Victoria, Spain with tags on November 28, 2015 by gannet39

La Victoria is the neighbourhood on the bottom half of the hill. It takes in most of Paseo de la Estación and Avenida de Madrid. This restaurant is on a side street running parallel between the two.

I like this place so much that it gets a post to itself. It is simply the best place in town…

Casa Antonio (Advanced A), 3 Calle Fermin Palma, Tel. 953 270 262,, closed Sunday evening and Monday

I’ve been three times and have posted in chronological order, so most recent visit in 2017 is at the bottom of this post.

This is my review from 2013…

The tasting menu was only €47 for about 12 different plates, not including a couple of little extras not pictured. These were:

Pan, Aciete y Chocolate (bread, oil and chocolate); an unusual combination that works.

Trufas de Perdiz Escabechada, Foie Tartufo (truffles of pickled partridge and foie) and Croqueta de Trufa y Parmesano (truffle and Parmesan croquette), served with root vegetable crisps.


Ajo Blanco de Coco, Pina, Albahaca (a local cold almond soup, not garlic as you might think, with coconut milk, pineapple and basil).

Yema, Trufa, Patata (a whole poached egg rather than just a yolk and grated white truffle, I think on a bed of potato puree). So delicious.


Ensalada de Perdiz de Campo y su Escabeche Emulsionado (country partridge salad with a marinade emulsion). In Spain escabeche is a vinegar marinade which I’m not particularly fond of but I didn’t notice it here.


Morrococo, Cocido Mareao. I know the former is a local chickpea mash sometimes referred to as Jaen hummus! Cocido is a stew but I’m not sure what ‘mareao’ refers to. Either it’s leftover stew that in this case has been mashed into the chickpeas, or it’s the stock from boiling the stew ingredients which is sometimes eaten as a separate soup, as is probably what they’ve done here.


Papada, Anguila, Mango-Pasion (possible pork jowl with Anguilla eel and mango something).


El Pez (Segun Lonja) or fish of the day depending on market availability. Not sure what fish it was but it looks like bream or bass.


Cordero Segureño, Naranja, Cardamomo (local Segureña lamb with orange and cardamom).


This might be Melon, Ginebra, Manzanilla al Limon (melon, ginger and apple with lemon) as per menu but the photo doesn’t really match the description.


There was definitely apple in this dessert though.


Last of all I was given some complimentary chocs at the end and this strange milky digestif which was nice but again I don’t recall what it was exactly.


All the wines I had here were excellent. I sampled two Ribera del Duero reds (the Matarromera crizanza and a young wine by AC), a Rioja (Bai Gorri 2007) and a local red Marcelino Serrano from the Sierra de la Sur de Jaen IGP.


With a dessert I also had a glass of Moscatel de Alejandria, an ancient grape.


An excellent meal at a very reasonable price.

And a couple of other reviews of my first meals at Casa Antonio:

One of the highlights for me is trying their local olive oils. The flavours are unlike any oils I’d tasted before and a couple are luminous green in colour!


On my first ever visit I started with a small bowl of salmorejo, my favourite cold soup.


After this I had Espaldilla de Cordero Segureno con Pure de Patata y Ajo Morado (Shoulder of Segureño Lamb with Potato Puree and Purple Garlic).


And to finish some aged Manchego cheese. It could have done with some membrillo but it was still good.


On the next occasion, Arroz Negro de Calamares su Alioli (rice made with squid and its ink with an accompanying sauce of emulsified garlic and oil).


Can’t remember all the wines I tried, but they were very good.

Followed by Cochinillo Lechal en Dos Tiempos, Cebolleta a la Naranja y Cardamomo (twice-cooked (?) suckling piglet with chives, orange and cardamom).


Not quite sure what this apple and cream creation was called but it was very nice.


Suffice to say my stomach is always singing when I leave this place!

Chef Pedro Sánchez uses high quality local and international ingredients for innovative presentations. I like to treat myself to the Menú Degustación which includes two appetizers, five entrees, a fish and a meat course and two desserts. The current price is €52, less than €5 a dish, which is great value given what you get.

In 2015 I started with a chilled glass of Oloroso and some fantastic olives (A).


And I tried a couple of their wonderful local olive oils (A) with the bread.

I followed this with Pan, Aciete y Chocolate (bread, oil and chocolate), a mainstay of the menu (B+).

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I told the owner I wanted to try local wines and he suggested a bottle of Eclo which was very good (B+).


This was followed by a couple of dishes utilizing I think the famous prawns from nearby Huelva. First prawns with yellow chilli (A).


And then a red prawn in a broth (B).


Then Ajo Blanco de Coco, Pina, Albahaca (coconut, pineapple, basil); an innovative take on a classic local soup, another mainstay (A).


The asparagus in a mayonnaise based sauce with trout roe was very subtle (C).


The Presa Iberica, smoked pork with a caper sauce, had heaps of flavor (A).


Then I think some roast suckling pig.


Then a tasty segment of Butifarra de Pichón (pigeon?) sausage. I love this Catalan sausage, just wish there’d been more of it (B+).


Melon with sorbet and crystalised basil was a good cleanser but didn’t have much flavor (C).


On the other hand the delicate bread-pudding like dessert was fantastic (A).


It went very well with a glass of excellent Malaga Muscat (A).


Also a complementary flask of very lemony homemade limocello, which was nice but not as strong as the Italian version (B).


They have quite a collection of Spanish brandies here, about thirty in all, about ten of which I hadn’t tried. I took pot luck and went for the 1885 Gran Reserva Malaga which was fine but not amazing (B).


As always, I left a very happy bunny.

I came back for my third visit in July 2017…

Senor Antonio introduced me to his new head chef Pedro. I was slightly concerned about the change in personnel but I needn’t have been.

I’d asked for all the trimmings and wines to be as local (Andalucian) as possible, so proceedings began with a degustation of local olive oils (all A).

Particularly unusual was this oil made with Royal, a rare indigenous varietal.

The Menu Degustacion had gone down to €50, which is an absolute steal, and I added on a Maridaje de Vinos for €40. The first drink was a fine Oloroso from Boedegas Juan Pinero (A).

Which went well with Pan, Aciete y Chocolate (bread, oil and chocolate), an old friend from previous visits (A). Not sure about the crisps though.

Then a fino called Inocente from Macharnudo (B).

With a bit of charcuterie from Cazorla, a small town in Jaen province (B+).

Another sherry in an unmarked bottle (B+) was ‘en rama’, that is, not excessively filtered and as close to its raw state in the barrel as possible.

After this a Melon Gazpacho (B).

Then another en rama sherry bearing the famous Tio Pepe name from Gonzalez Byass. Also loved the glass it came in.

I loved the Tartar de Quisquilla de Motril en Erizo del Mar or shrimp (from Motril in Granada province) in a sea urchin broth (A). It was decorated with some samphire by the looks of it.

Then Cigala Perdiz, a crayfish and partridge combo that worked well (A).

After this, an unusual Amontillado from Gonzalez Byass again who can do no wrong it seems (A).

The Almendras con Agua de Tomate, or almonds with ‘tomato water’, acted as a palate cleanser (B).

Following on, an Oloroso (A) called Marques de Poley and unusually made from Pedro Ximenez grapes in the Montilla Moriles DO. All the previous sherries were from Jerez and probably used Palomino grapes.

Then a tiny but very delicious pork concoction arrived…

…on a huge board! (A).

Another PX fino called Electrico came in a great bottle (B).

The Ajo Blanco de Coco y Granizado de Pina y Albahaca, a white almond soup with coconut and a granite of pineapple and basil, is another menu stalwart which I love (A++).

This is spooky number is Chipirones al Fondo aka baby squid in a broth (B+).

The next drink was a Manzanilla called Callejuela (B).

Callos de Bacalao y Chorizo, cod tripe and spicy sausage with new potatoes (B).

Then a fino called Huerta del Carmen (B).

Merluza Volanta de Costa y Espuma de Patata en Salsa Verde, or coastal hake with potato foam and a green salsa, was good after a bit of salting (B).

The Vina Zorzal’ Garnacha Rose had a great nose (B+) and tasted pretty good too (B).

Butifarra de Pichon de Sangre Elaborada en Casa, or homemade Catalan pigeon blood sausage, made a reappearance. It’s unsightly but very tasty (A).

Then another very nice Amontillado called El Tresillo (B+).

After this a big frozen slab of marble with Sorbets de Hierbabuena y Limon, a peppermint and lemon sorbet for further palate cleansing (A).

Then a wonderful Riesling called Kerpen (A).

Then Sandia, Yogurt y Limon, watermelon topped with very light and fluffy beaten yogurt and lemon which I really must learn to make at home (B+).

Finally, a new brandy (for me) called El Tresoro (B), from their extensive collection.

And a couple of chocs.

Although I found the presentation a little strange at times, the flavours were still great. I’m just glad to see they are still on form!

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