Archive for the Malaga Province Category

Málaga Este – places to eat around El Palo beach

Posted in Andalusia, El Palo, Malaga, Malaga Province, Málaga Este, Spain with tags , , on November 18, 2017 by gannet39

El Palo is the next beach along from Pedregalejo. For me it made for a nice walk along the beachfront.

There are heaps of restaurants along the way but this first one is worth going the distance.

El Tintero (Elementary A), 340 Avenida Salvador Allende

El Tintero is a large and very famous chiringuito that attracts an avid crowd of followers. The food is good (B/B+) but nothing out of this world, just what you’d expect from a good Spanish beach restaurant.

What makes them special though is the way they serve the food. The waiters collect plates of whatever the kitchen has just made and parade them around the tables shouting out their wares until someone takes a fancy to what they have and claims it. It’s much more fun than ordering from a menu which is why they are so popular.

I came with my local friend Juan for a light lunch and a few beers. We had an Espeto de Sardinas which Juan taught me how to eat like a Malagueno; with your hands nibbling around the middle and discarding the backbone with the head and tail still attached. A squeeze of lemon juice is all that’s required as they are already salted.

I have a penchant for prawns (it’s the Norwegian in me) so we also had a plate of these delicate white prawns which I think are Gambas de Huelva by the look of them. Again, a little lemon juice is all that’s needed.

After a meal like this, it’s quite okay to suck your fingers (‘chuparse los dedos’).

El Tintero is a great experience which I thoroughly recommend.

Candado Beach (Advanced B+), Cliub Náutico El Candado, Carretera de Almería (no number), www.grupogorki.com

A posh place a bit further along the coast from El Tintero, technically in El Candado neighbourhood but included here for simplicity’s sake. It’s a kind of beach club affair with posh sun beds and a large semi-covered restaurant terrace, located next to a marina far away from the madding crowds.

I was pretty full from lunch and wasn’t keen on their high prices so I only had an Espeto de Sardinas and a couple of glasses of Verdejo for €10.60. Service was efficient and friendly. Be nice to come here to eat with company or spend a day luxuriating in the sun.

El Cobertizo (Intermediate C), 25 Avenida Pio Baroja

I came here because it gets a shout from the Michelin guide but I wasn’t too impressed. The service was good but the food didn’t cut it for me, but that could be because I didn’t order very well.

I love broad beans and black pudding so I went for the ‘Habas Naurales Salteadas con su Vaina, Cebolleta, Jamon y Morcilla Grainaina’ (broad beans sautéed in their pods with scallion, cured ham and Granada style black pudding) but what arrived was rather unsightly, too salty and way too big for me to finish (C).

‘Rabo de Toro’ with chips is hard to get wrong (B). The Tagus red wine and Principe brandy, both from Málaga were drinkable but not particularly special (B-).

With cover, water, dessert and coffee the final bill was €51.

A disappointing experience but maybe if you’re not as strict about having local dishes and drinks as I am, you might have a better meal.

And that was my cheap and cheerful holiday in Málaga. Nothing too wild, just a relaxed recharging of the batteries. Definitely recommended.

Málaga Este – places to eat around Pedregalejo beach

Posted in Andalusia, Malaga, Malaga Province, Málaga Este, Pedregalejo, Spain with tags , , , , , , , on November 17, 2017 by gannet39

Pedragalejo is a long, manmade beach in Málaga Este. It’s about fifteen minutes on the bus from central Málaga.

It’s a popular area with heaps of restaurants and bars along the long Paseo Maritimo. I’ve put the ones I visited on this Google map.

You can get a good run in along the Paseo in the mornings which is when I took these photos (hence the lack of people). Over the bay you can see Torremolinos on the left in front of the Sierra de Mijas mountains and Malaga on the right.

At night every restaurant will be grilling seafood in these little sand-filled boats. The boats can be swivelled so the wind doesn’t smoke out the diners.

The most popular choice is an ‘Espeto de Sardinas’, grilled sardines on a skewer which is stuck into the sand near the flames. This is very typical, in fact Malagueños get their nickname (Los Boquerones) from their love of sardines.

El Balneario aka Baños del Carmen (High Intermediate A), 26 Calle Bolivia, www.elbalneariomalaga.com

This is my favourite place to eat and drink in Málaga, well worth the walk or short taxi ride from the centre. It’s set in a beautiful location next to the sea with a nice view of Málaga across the bay. The atmosphere is magical at night time with the moon in the sky and the waves crashing against the rocks next to your table. The outdoor dining area is under a canopy but you might catch a bit of spray if you’re near the water.

I went twice, the first time on a Saturday night when they had a wedding in and the second time on a Monday when it was still quite busy but easier to get a table.

Reservations are probably a good idea but on both occasions the lovely lady front of house sorted me out and found me a table. The other staff were generally very nice as well even though they seemed very harassed at times.

You’re not supposed to have half portions but the amiable section chief let me have a media of Croquetas de Puchero which were excellent (A). The Croquetas de Bacalao on the second visit weren’t quite as nice but still pretty good (B+). The salad that came with them had a wonderful dressing (A).

The first time I had Gambas Plancha, a bit pricey at €20 for fifteen, but very good (A). A bottle of La Goleta Verdejo was pretty good (B) and well priced at €12.

On the second visit the Calamar Plancha was huge (I could only manage half of it) and again somewhat expensive at €24. I like it a bit crispier that it was but it was still good (B).

This time I had a bottle of Botani Blanco a really nice (B+) white from Málaga for €19 which upped the bill to a total cost of €48.50.

For dessert I had the Leche Frita and a glass of local Pajarete sweet wine which took the bill to €45.

On the top floor there’s a bar where you can get a fancy Mojito for €7.

It was too dark for my photos to come out sorry, but suffice to say it is a very romantic place. A top recommend, especially in the company of a loved one.

In August 2016 I rented an AirBnB in Pedragalejo and stayed on for four days holiday. I spent all my days lounging in the sun at this place…

Hotel La Chancla (Intermediate B+), 64 Paseo Maritimo El Pedregral, www.lachanclahotel.com

This is a small three storey hotel on the beachfront, the only hotel I know of in Pedragalejo, which has a restaurant and bar on the ground floor.

It’s a nice relaxing place for breakfast as from 9am they either had a violinist or a contrabass player playing soothing live music while you eat.

A narrow sunbed (hamaca) and sonbrilla (sun shade, sic) is €5 for the day or you can rent a double bed type affair on stilts for €24. You can get table service from a waiter who’ll bring you chilled beers in an ice bucket.

Kali (Elementary B), 62 Paseo Maritimo el Pedregral

Another good place for breakfast that’s right next door to La Chancla above, so you can still listen to the live music but pay slightly less.

Swan Bar (Intermediate B+), 67 Paseo Maritimo el Pedregral, www.facebook.com

The best Mojito I had on this visit was here (A) although when I went a second time a different bartender put way too much sugar in it (B-). Serving it in a jar is a nice touch. It’s also well priced at €6.50 a pop.

Helados Cremades (Intermediate B+), 34 Calle Cenacheros, www.heladoscremades.es

The best place for ice cream in the area according to my hosts because they make their own, unlike all their competitors.

Miguelito El Cartinoso (Intermediate B), 77 Paseo Maritimo el Pedregral, m.facebook.com

This chiringuito (beach restaurant specialising in seafood) is my host family’s favourite place to eat and for them the paella here is the best in Málaga. The Paella Mixta I had was pretty tasty (B) but the purists would scoff at mixing meat with seafood as many places do in Spain. With a tubo of Tinto Verano (B) and a half bottle of Marques Caceres white the bill on my first visit came to just under €30.

The second time I had the Calamar Plancha which was very nicely presented and pretty cheap at €14. With a couple of thirst-quenching tanques of Cerveza and a doble of Orujo de Hierbas, the bill came to €26.

Service ranged from dour and unsmiling to friendly and efficient over the two visits.

El Cabra (Intermediate C), 17 Paseo Maritimo el Pedregral, www.restauranteelcabra.es

Listed in 1001 Restaurants to Visit Before You Die, and a local institution since 1965 my experience here was sadly quite disappointing.

Unlike many places they will make a paella for one here but the Paella Mariscos wasn’t cooked properly (C) with a few grains of rice still hard and a pool of stock still sitting on the surface. The clams and prawn were nice though. Maybe it’s true that you do need to make it in large amounts for it to be good.

I had a half portion of Boquerones Fritas (fried anchovies) which were okay but pretty tasteless so I had to salt them a lot to enjoy them (B-).

The olives I began with were fantastic though (A) and the half bottle of wine was good so maybe I just caught them on an off day. Total cost with a beer €23.50. Service ranged from friendly to sour. I’d still give them another try if I was in Pedregalejo again.

If you’re prepared to walk a bit further along the beachfront to the next neighbourhood El Palo, there’s one place worth going to in the next post…

Málaga Este – places to eat around Malagueta beach

Posted in Andalusia, Malaga, Malaga Province, Malagueta, Málaga Este, Spain with tags , on November 16, 2017 by gannet39

Malagueta is the main beach for central Málaga, even though technically it’s in Málaga Este. Muelle Uno (Pier One) runs parallel to it on the other side of the peninsula.

The beach is completely urban with blocks of flats overlooking it along its whole length. None of them were of any architectural interest to me, except this one.

I’ve never been on the sands because it’s always so busy, but I have eaten at a couple of places nearby.

You’ll find everywhere on this Google map.

Ba (High Intermediate B), 4 Plaza de la Malagueta, www.grupogorki.com

This is a Japanese Malagueno fusion restaurant recommended by Guia Repsol, part of a group of restaurants that all do different things. I’ve not eaten in the main dining room but I’ve sat outside on the pleasant ground floor terrace which overlooks the beach.

I began with a Wakame salad dressed with sesame seeds, oil and togarashi (Japanese chilli), which was very good (B+).

I followed up with ‘Ostras Japonesa con Ponzu y Momiji’ which were fantastic (A+), if a bit pricey at €3.25 at each. I must try to recreate these.

By the way, Ponzu is a dipping sauce made from rice wine, rice vinegar, soy sauce, bonito flakes, konbu seaweed, and ideally fresh yuzu juice. Momiji I think refers to Momiji Oroshi which is grated daikon radish and red chilli although here it looked and tasted like plain old Tabasco to me, not that that was of concern.

I went with the restaurant’s own recommendation of the ‘Urumakis Huevo Escondido’; California rolls of butter fish and truffle concealing quail egg yolks and completely obscured by a thick pile of battered and deep-fried Chanquetes (whitebait), which I really wasn’t expecting. It was an original concept and sounded wonderful on paper but was quite disappointing in terms of texture and flavour (C+). Best avoided in my opinion.

I tried to cheer myself up with a couple of Salmon Nigiris which are hard to get wrong, although these were a bit on the titchy side (A-). I also had a pair of Tartar de Atun Nigiris (diced tuna with chilli on crunchy rice) which were just okay (B-).

However, the Revuelo white wine from Ronda was good (B) and very reasonably priced at just €9 for the bottle. My total spend was just under €50.

I might go back for the oysters and the more traditional Japanese food but the fusion stuff didn’t work for me.

Café de Paris (Advanced C), 8 Calle Velez Málaga, www.rcafedeparis.com

One of the best places in town according to the Michelin Guide and Guia Repsol, but a big letdown as far as I was concerned.

The à la carte menu has some hefty prices, and I’m sure the food listed on it is excellent, but in an effort to cut down on my restaurant expenditure I had their lunchtime ‘Menu Mediodia’ which was only €17.

You get three options for each course. To start I had the virtually tasteless ‘Ajo Blanco Frio de Alemendras con Uvas’ (B)…

… followed by the ‘Filete de Mero Café Paris’, topped with an unlikable gloopy sauce and plain boiled spuds (C). And to finish a slice of their ‘Tarta Casera’, homemade cake with a sweet syrup that really didn’t go well with it (B-).

With a glass of excellent local sweet wine (A), the bill was just shy of €20 which is very cheap. Just a shame the food didn’t work for me. Maybe the evening chef is better…

Málaga – Centro – Soho Art District

Posted in Andalusia, Centro, Malaga, Malaga Province, Soho, Spain with tags , on November 15, 2017 by gannet39

Soho is the designated art district in the south west corner of the Centro; forty run-down but regenerating blocks between the harbour, the River Guadalmedina and Alameda Principal. It’s where you’ll find the street art and avant garde galleries.

There are lots of good pieces on many of the walls here. Click on the pics to get a better view.

Entrance to the Centro De Arte Contemporáneo De Málaga (CAC) cacmalaga.eu is free so I had a gander.

This post is a work in progress, no doubt I’ll add to it when I’m next in town.

Málaga – Centro – Rooftop Bars

Posted in Andalusia, Centro, Malaga, Malaga Province, Spain with tags , , , on November 14, 2017 by gannet39

On a sultry summer evening in Málaga, the best place to be is catching the breeze on a roof terrace with a cold drink in your hand. There are many roof top bars in the town. These are my favourites.

You’ll find them all, and more on this Google map.

In the interests of research I tried a few rooftop bars around the centre and each time had a G&T made with Bombay Sapphire gin (although there are many gins to choose from on most bars). Here are the results in order of preference:

Alcazaba Premium Hostel, 12 Calle Alcazabilla, www.alcazabapremiumhostel.com

I like this place because it has the best view of the Alcazaba and the Castillo Gibralfaro that I know of. It’s especially nice at night when the castle is lit up. There’s a restaurant (Batik, untried) and two bars on different levels. A G&T costs a fair 8€.

La Piscina Lounge, Molina Lario Hotel, 20 Calle Molina Lario, www.hotelmolinalario.com

This split level bar is on the rooftop (eighth floor) of the hotel I usually stay in. There’s no view to speak of really but there’s a small swimming pool and a few sun loungers which make it a great spot for chilling in the day time. The loungers are very popular so you might have to go before lunch to snag one, especially at the weekend. A G&T costs 8€ and you usually get a little pot of ‘frutos secos’ (nuts, raisins etc) with each drink.

Ático, Hotel Marriot, 1 Calle Cortina del Muelle, www.marriott.com

The Marriot is directly opposite the Hotel Molina Larios and towers above it. Ático, the hotel’s bar is on the fifteenth floor so you can look down on La Piscina Lounge next door (hence the picture above). In fact you look down on most things and you can see for miles which makes this one of the best views in the city. This height superiority comes at a price however as a G&T costs 12€, a euro for each extra floor. That doesn’t stop it being a popular spot though, especially at the weekend.

Terraza Club Chinitas, Chinitas Urban Hostel, 3 Pasaje Chinitas, www.chinitashostel.com

A pleasant split level roof terrace that doesn’t seem to get too crowded as it’s off the beaten track down a side street. There’s no view to speak of, although you can see the cathedral, but a G&T only costs 7€ and they play chilled house music, or at least they did when I was there.

To sum up then, G&Ts and presumably most other cocktails, cost about 5€ at ground level whereas rooftop bars charge between 7€ and 12€ depending how high they were. The average (in 2016) seems to be around 8€.

And while we’re here…

In Málaga back in 2013 I had my first taste of Licor 43 (aka Cuarenta y Tres), Spain’s best-selling liqueur. The secret recipe has forty three ingredients (hence the name) but the main flavours are orange and vanilla. The latter dominates, too much so for my taste (C+), although it might be better mixed with other things.

A similar southern tipple is Ponche, a brandy-based liqueur that has been infused with Andalucian oranges, dried fruit and spices. I know there’s more than one brand but Caballero is the only one that the bars ever seem to have. It’s ok, like a weak spiced brandy (B), but there are several other Spanish digestifs I’d rather drink.

I’d love to hear about your experiences of drinks and cocktails in Spain. Please tell me your stories in the comments section below.

Málaga – Centro – where to drink local wines

Posted in Andalusia, Centro, Malaga, Malaga Province, Spain with tags , on November 13, 2017 by gannet39

Wine production in Málaga province started in the eighth century BC with the Phoenicians and the industry was later developed by the Greeks, Romans, Moors and more recently, by the British.

Málaga has three DOs (Denominaciones de Origen):

DO Málaga (mainly sweet white wines)
DO Sierra de Málaga (white, rose and red wines)
DO Pasas de Málaga (raisins).

The province is most famous for its sweet fortified dessert wines from the DO Málaga which are made from the Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel white grape varieties.

The three main growing areas are: La Axarquia, Montes de Málaga , and Zona Norte (the hills north of Antequera).

I know of two bodegas in the Centro where you can try local wines; one quite central, and the other (my favourite) slightly off the beaten track.

For more contemporary drinking experiences, please see my post on Rooftop Bars. All these bars and others can be found on my Google map
.
Antigua Casa de Guardia (Intermediate A-), 18 Alameda Principal, www.antiguacasadeguardia.net

This ancient tavern has sold famous local wines on draught since 1840. It’s just a single large room spanned across its width by a long bar and barrels with signs on along the back wall. My favourites are the Málaga Virgen and Moscatel.

In traditional style, the bartenders chalk up your bill on the bar as you go along. They serve simple tapas too which probably haven’t changed since the place opened.

Casa de Guardia is a good place to start your night out as it has heaps of atmosphere and cheap, though not amazing wines (B/C).

La Odisea (Intermediate A), 2 Subida a la Coracha, www.vinosdemalaga.com

This is a favourite spot of mine and I have my friend Nicky and a local blog to thank for making me come here. I love the old world charm of ‘The Odyssey’ and would totally recommend it over the more famous and touristy Antigua Casa de Guardia.

There are about twenty small barrels of different local wines inside and customers can buy wines to take out by the bottle. They sometimes also put on wine tastings and live music.

The location isn’t ideal (on a main road right by the entrance to the tunnel that goes under the castle) but it’s still nice to sit outside on the small terrace.

If you want more peace and quiet there’s an internal patio out the back, complete with a small bomb shelter from the Second World War. Or you could sit in the dark interior by the barrels, but it can be a bit stuffy in the summer, even with the doors open.

I tried two local sweet wines at €2 a glass; the Pajarete (B+) and the Málaga Cream (A), which has notes of coconut to my palate. I liked the Cream so much that I got a bottle to take home for a mere €12. I also tried their brandy which was just okay (B) but good value at €3 a glass.

They also serve tapas which I also need to try next time, along with their acclaimed homemade vermouth. A favourite spot, do go.

Málaga – Eating in the Centro

Posted in Andalusia, Centro, Malaga, Malaga Province, Spain with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 12, 2017 by gannet39

I’ve put my favourites first and a few to avoid at the end. Old bodegas and rooftop bars have been given their own posts. You’ll find everything on this Google map.

El Pimpi (Intermediate A), 62 Calle Grande, www.elpimpi.com

A local institution, centrally located near the amphitheatre on Calle Alcazabilla. It’s a big place with two entrances, a sizable terrace out front and a couple of seating areas inside. It was very busy when I went, mainly with tourists.

The building is very intriguing; attractively decorated inside with ceramic tiles, old bodega barrels and climbing plants.

The name comes from the colourful characters who would help disembarking ship passengers get what they wanted, although whether they were tour guides or flesh-peddlers seems a little unclear.

In 2013, wanting a healthy lunch, I had the ‘Ensalada Malaguena con Salmorejo, Naranja y Bacalao Asado’; a Malagan salad of oranges and grilled salt cod, with a dressing of cold tomato and bread soup, which was excellent (A).

With a bottle of water the bill was €8.80. The food was beautifully presented and everything looked and tasted great.

Meson Cervantes (Intermediate B+), 11 Calle Álamos, www.elmesondecervantes.com

The original and largest member of the small Cervantes chain (three locations all nearby) which feature highly in the TripAdvisor rankings. Although only at TA#8 at the time of writing in 2016, it easily has the most reviews, which is what I tend to look for on the rare occasions I use TripAdvisor.

My friend Terry and I ran up a bill of only €41 between us (I know, I wasn’t very hungry). We shared three tapas (salmon, jamon iberico, piquillo peppers), a half portion of seared tuna…

…four medium beers and two glasses of Legaris Crianza, the latter quite expensive at €6 a pop. I was too busy chatting to take notes but everything was good.

El Tapeo de Cervantes (Low Intermediate B+), 8 Calle Carcer, eltapeodecervantes.com

This is the much smaller, and more cramped, sister bar of Meson Cervantes above, just around the corner. It was at TA#6 in 2016, it easily and had the second most reviews. Again, it’s very popular so reservations are recommended.

In 2016 I came here on my first night with a hunger for Spanish food and wine that took a bit of sating. After a beer to quench my thirst I had glasses of three different Riberas and six tapas, all of which was very good (A/B).

The grilled Atun Rojo with cauliflower puree (see pic above) was a winner and these Mollejas (sweetbreads) from the specials board were also a favourite.

Despite my gluttony, the bill came to a reasonable €31.50.

El Marisquero (Elementary B+), 7 Calle Olozaga

This marisqueria, out the back door of the market on Calle Atarazanas, was recommended by a local food blog. It’s a down-to-earth, basic kind of tapas place with standing areas both inside and out so you can catch the shade or the sun as you like. The grilled prawns I had were very good (B+) and it was bliss to slake my thirst with a couple of ice cold canas.

La Cosmopolita Malagueña (Intermediate B), 3 Calle Jose Denis Belgrano

Recommended by the Guia Repsol, this is a tapas bar and restaurant located in the busy part of town but with surprisingly few customers, despite having a terrace on a quiet side street. I’m sure the items on the main restaurant menu are excellent but there seems to be a limited choice of tapas.

I had tapas of the Albondigas and Croquetas de Puchero which, along with three canas, brought the bill to €12. The quality was good so I would go back to try their mains.

El Jardín (Intermediate B+), 1 Calle Cañón, www.eljardinmalaga.com

I come to this beautiful old café just for the décor (Belle Epoque fittings like cut glass lampshades and lace tablecloths).

According to the barman the building dates from 1927 and it’s called ‘The Garden’ because it’s right next to the lovely garden behind the cathedral.

I haven’t eaten but I know G&T made with Beefeater (they didn’t have Bombay) costs a mere €5, much cheaper than the rooftop bars I review elsewhere. Although I love the interior, I wouldn’t mind sitting on the big pavement terrace outside. There’s Tango dancing on Thursdays for more energetic people than I.

La Esquinita del Chupa y Tira (Elementary B), 31 Calle Victoria

This is an old grocery shop that has had its storeroom converted into a tapas bar. They sell wine, cheese and ham, both Spanish and Italian, and the prices are very cheap. The friendly young waitress was Italian by birth so perhaps there are some family connections. It’s nothing out of this world but makes a nice stop on the way to this next place.

Montana (Intermediate B+), 5 Compas de la Victoria

This is a very nice spot as at the back as they have a covered courtyard terrace and a garden with palm trees and a pond with carp and terrapins.

According to the blog they do a tasting menu but you have to order ahead. I had a half portion of Rabo de Toro Croquetas which were nice (B).

Also,‘Huevos Rotos al Estilo Candido con Ajada y Secreto Iberico Confitado’, basically shreds of good quality sautéed pork artistically placed atop a fried egg and potato. The bloggers raved about this although for me it was fine but nothing special (B).

On the other hand I really enjoyed a couple of glasses of excellent an Ribera del Duero from Lopez Cristobal (B+).

The bill came in at €18.50. Service was pleasant.
This is a good place for a romantic date, especially if you snag a table under the palms.

 

El Refectorium (Advanced B+), 8 Calle Cervantes, elrefectorium.es

For some reason I thought this Frommers recommended place would be quite down to earth due to its location by the bullring but it’s actually fairly posh. Apparently it’s very popular with the matadors and their fans, so it’d probably impossible to get in when there’s a bullfight on. I went at a quiet time so I managed to get in without a reservation.

I had some I had some high quality local fare (B/B+) but I wouldn’t go back due to the fairly high prices, although the adjoining tapas bar might be more affordable.
Embarrassingly I forgot my wallet and had to go back to the hotel to get it. When I came back I was treated like a returning hero, with a ponche on the house and lots of cheers from the waiters!

These last few aren’t bad as such, just non-descript…

La Camapana (Elementary B+), 35 Calle Grande

A well-known and very popular tapas bar selling typical seafood dishes. I didn’t really explore the menu on my visit in 2013 but my squid rings, bravas and two large beers for €11.60 filled a hole.

El Chinitas (Intermediate C), 4-6 Calle Moreno Monroy

Another Frommers and Seleccion del Gourmet recommended restaurant.

It’s old school and atmospheric but I wasn’t particularly impressed by their tapas tasting menu (mainly C except for the cured ham).

La Farola de Orellana (Intermediate C), 5 Calle Moreno Monroy, www.lafaroladecervantesmalaga.es

Over the road from El Chinitas and once owned by the same people although I’m not sure that’s still the case. I had a cana and a tapa of some cheese concoction which I’ve since obliterated from my memory. I didn’t like the food or the atmosphere so I doubt I’ll go back.

Okami (Intermediate C+), 18 Calle Cister, www.okamirestaurante.es

Entirely edible Japanese food, but nothing special.

The ‘Pollo Teriyaki’ looked great but was a bit too salty for me, and I like lots of soya sauce.

The ‘Uramaki Atun’ and ‘Uramaki Salmon Mango’ were okay but amazing (B-).

For Mediterranean/Japanese fusion you’d be better off going to Ba (see my coming Malagueta post).

Málaga – Centro – Architecture along Avenida de Cervantes

Posted in Andalusia, Centro, Malaga, Malaga Province, Spain with tags , , on November 11, 2017 by gannet39

As anyone who reads this blog will know, I do like me a bit of fancy brickwork and Málaga has some nice examples along Avenida de Cervantes which, along with Parque de Málaga alongside it, was built on reclaimed land near the waterfront. You’ll find them on this Google map.

At 4 Avenida Cervantes is the Neo-Baroque Ayuntemiento de Málaga, the work of architects Guerrero Strachan and Rivera Vera, opened to the public in 1919.

At 3 Avenida Cervantes is the Art Deco Banco de España, completed in 1936 by architect Jose Yarnoz.

Finally, next door at 2 Avenida de Cervantes is the rectory of the Universidad de Málaga which used to be the Casa de Correos (post office). The architect of the building was Teodoro de Anasagasti y Algan and the Neo-Mudejar construction was finished in 1923.

A smidgen of Málaga

Posted in Andalusia, Centro, Malaga, Malaga Province, Spain with tags , , , , , , on November 10, 2017 by gannet39

I’ve been to Málaga three times; once in October 2013 for two days, once in early August 2016 when I stayed for ten nights and another occasion lost in the mists of time. So, please don’t think of these posts as an authoritative guide to this ancient and fascinating city, they are just my brief experiences.

I’ve organised my posts as follows:

Málaga – Introduction (this post)
Málaga – Centro – Eating
Málaga – Centro – Old Bodegas
Málaga – Centro – Rooftop Bars
Málaga – Centro – Architecture along Avenida de Cervantes
Málaga – Centro – Soho Art District
Málaga Este – places to eat around Malagueta beach
Málaga Este – places to eat around Pedregalejo beach
Málaga Este – places to eat around El Palo beach

Google map here.

I’ve always stayed at the Hotel Molino Lario www.galleryhoteles.com which is very comfortable. It’s in a prime location just opposite the cathedral and there are heaps of restaurants in the streets around the hotel. The staff are helpful, the breakfast is varied, and my rooms have always been a good size with functioning Wi-Fi. On the roof terrace there’s a postage stamp sized pool that’s a godsend in the summer heat.

I’ve not been inside the Renaissance style Catedral de Málaga but I quite like the entrance with the orange trees outside.

The most noticeable monument is the Castillo Gibralfaro www.malagaturismo.com on the top of the mount of the same name that dominates the skyline of the old town. Gibralfaro comes from Jabal-Faruk which means ‘Mount of the Lighthouse’. Although it was used by the Phoenicians and the Romans, it was the Nasrids who turned it into a fortress.

I worked climbing the steep slopes into my morning exercise routine as you can get some great views of the port and the rest of the city.

At the western foot of the mountain you’ll find the entrance to the Alcazaba www.malagaturismo.com, an earlier Moorish citadel that’s connected to the castle via long zig zagging walls.

Next to the entrance you’ll find the Anfiteatro Romano www.andalucia.com. Bits of it (columns, capitals) have been nicked to build the Alcazaba but it still retains its basic form and plays are still held here on certain nights.

I’ve also visited the Museo Picasso www.museopicassomalaga.org (€9 entry) All the guides have it as a must-do but it’s not really worth the cost of entrance in my opinion. The exhibitions I saw were just of his early stuff and not particularly interesting works by other artists.

I was more impressed by the building itself; a wealthy Moor’s town house. I particularly liked the peaceful courtyard and the beautiful, ornately carved wooden ceilings.

You can also see some archaeology pre-dating the house down in the basement level.

There is of course a very modern side to Málaga as well, as epitomised by ‘El Palmeral de las Sorpresas‘ (The Palm Garden of Surprises); the shaded promenade along Muelle Dos down by the waterfront.

More architecture in the next post…

Ronda – Barrio San Francisco – Places to Eat

Posted in Andalusia, Malaga Province, Ronda, San Francisco, Spain with tags , on March 19, 2017 by gannet39

The Puerta de Almocábar separates La Ciudad from the Barrio de San Francisco which lies outside the city walls. Some describe the barrio as having a village atmosphere as it’s right next to the countryside.

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On Saturday night I did a one man tapeo (tapas crawl) starting in the two places below and finishing at El Lechuguita and El Almacén in Barrio Mercadillo (see my Mercadillo – some places to eat post).

Bodega San Francisco (Elementary A), 32 Plaza Ruedo Alameda, www.bodegasanfrancisco.com

This atmospheric old place would have to be included on any must visit list made for Ronda. All the guides like it, and the locals seem to as well. They seem to have spread to adjoining buildings so they must be popular.

The hams are hung so low from the ceiling that only short people can comfortably work here.

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I was in the busy, slightly raucous tapas bar where you can take your pick between two TV screens, football or bull-fighting, or alternate between both depending on which is more exciting.

 

I’d hazard a guess and say that generally the food here is very simple but good. They make their own salchichas and chorizos which obviously I had to try. I was introduced to the Masita de Chorizo, a small kind of bread bun (a local speciality) with a patty of spicy chorizo mince sandwiched inside. It was really good (A), much better than the ones I’d have later at El Lechugita.

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I also had a great Croqueta de Setas (A), but then I’ve never had a bad one. If you’re not a fan of commercial mayo you might want to ask them to leave it out as it does seem to appear with a lot of items on the menu.

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Next stop on my tapeo was…

Almocabar (High Intermediate B), 5 Plaza Ruedo Alameda

Yet another place recommended by Toko, and by several guides, as being one of the best eateries in town. Noticeably most of the clientele are from out of town, unlike Bodega San Fernando over the road. It has a tapas bar at the front and a small restaurant with 24 covers at the rear.

I came twice, the first time just to the tapas bar where I hit it off with the friendly young bartender. On his recommendation I had this rather unsightly tapa on a slate, some kind of meat on a skewer with brown stuff squirted erratically all over it. It tasted fine as I remember, so a B for flavour but a D for presentation.

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I played safe with the next order and got some cheese (B) before moving on (see my Mercadillo – some places to eat post).

I came again the next day, also my last night, and gave the restaurant a try seeing as it had such a good reputation. The back room is small and doesn’t have any windows, which became a problem later.

The menu is impressively large for such a small place but I found the options a bit too international given my predilection for trying local specialities. Ingredients as varied as mango, ginger, soya sauce, parmesan cheese and basmati rice all featured.

Another thing that I disliked was the BS I got from an older waiter who took me for a know-nothing tourist. I caught him out a couple of times on the provenance of ingredients he was trying to sell to me.

As I result I don’t know whether to believe him about the restaurant’s black salt coming from Mallorca.

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The island is certainly famous for salt (I like the Flor de Sal d’Estrenc brand) but I can’t dig up any trace of a black variety. I’d imagine it’s probably quite easy to make if you mixed it with squid ink or herbal ash maybe.

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However, most importantly, the food saved the day.

The Ensalada de Melva (a smaller member of the tuna family) was great (A).

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It went well with a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc (B+) by Palacio de Bornos from Rueda that I’d not come across before.

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The Paletilla do Cabrito (shoulder of kid goat) I followed up with was fine (B) and quite typical, according to my untrustworthy waiter. I think he was right though, if only because it was rustic and simply presented, with a few baked baby spuds and a medley of diced local veg.

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The glass of local Lagarejo red I had with it wasn’t great, one to avoid (C).

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When two tables ordered sizzlers (immediate thought: what are they thinking serving these in here??) and started cooking their own meat (duck I think) the small unventilated room quickly started to fill up with smoke. I escaped to the bar to finish off my meal with another round of local cheeses (B+).

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I got chatting with a Dutch couple and an Australian family so I had a couple of brandies. The commercially available one I had was good quality and was okay, but the next one (made on the premises I believe and called Palacio de Mondragone) I regretted the next day (C-). Avoid.

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My total bill came to €80 which I didn’t mind seeing as it was my last night and I’d had a good time. By way of summary this is undoubtedly a good place with an adventurous chef/owner, but make your choices wisely. There is probably something for everyone on the menu though.

My last night in Ronda, and I’ve done so much but yet I feel I’ve hardly done it justice. I’ll have to come again.

Next, a return to Algeciras by train on Henderson’s famous railway. The route passes many notable sights including the Cueva del Gato (Cave of the Cat). I had the misfortune to be sat next to a harmless but bonkers old guy who miaowed constantly at me by way of explanation as the train passed the cave. Ah, the memories…

Ronda – La Ciudad – Sunday lunch with a view

Posted in Andalusia, La Ciudad, Malaga Province, Ronda, Spain with tags on March 18, 2017 by gannet39

This restaurant in La Ciudad was recommended by Toko the receptionist at my hotel as a good place for Sunday lunch and it’s also described by Lonely Planet as one of Ronda’s best restaurants.

Restaurante Albacara in the Hotel Montelirio (Advanced A), 8 Calle Tenorio, www.montelirio.com

Toko told me the two things that make it special are its food, which is excellent, and the views which are stunning. She said reservations were advisable so I popped in just after midday to bag a table with a view. I was greeted by Ion, the effervescent maître d’ who is originally from the Basque country. When I came back a couple of hours later I found to my pleasure that he’d saved me the best table in the house, Mesa #1.

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It’s in the corner of the restaurant with views in two directions; the fields and hills of the countryside to the west of Ronda looking one way…

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…and the Puente Nuevo and El Tajo looking the other.

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I kicked off with the homemade Foie con Membrillo y Pistacho which was fabulous (A).

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In a town famed for its bull ring, the obvious choice for the main was the Rabo de Toro Estofado a la Rondeña. Ion explained that the Ronda style of this national dish had a lighter gravy made with more vegtables and was less gelatinous than other versions. It was fantastic (A).

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After this a media racion of cheeses was needed to finish off the wine. These were Rulo Cabra (a white goat’s cheese), a Manchego semi-curado, and Boffard Viejo (all A). Ion told me he thinks Boffard is Spain’s best cheese.

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I also had the best bottle of local red so far (A); a 2010 Cab Sauv crianza called ‘Encaste’ from Bodega Dona Felisa who also made the Chinchilla I had at La Lechugita. I’m on the waiting list for their next vintage.

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Such a good meal needed to be finished off properly so I had a look at their list of brandies and spotted one of Spain’s finest, Luis Felipe, at a mere €13 for a glass, much cheaper than I’d ever seen it anywhere before.

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Obviously this bumped the bill up significantly to about €82 but that didn’t stop me bunging Ion a €10 tip for taking care of me so well. He tried to refuse it but I insisted. It was a meal I’ll always remember.

Ronda – La Ciudad – things to see in the old town

Posted in Andalusia, La Ciudad, Malaga Province, Ronda, Spain with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 17, 2017 by gannet39

There’s heaps to see in the old town, La Ciudad. These are just a few of the sights that I particularly liked. More info here and here. Google map here.

At the end of Calle Real is the Puente Viejo (Old Bridge).

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This was once the only means of crossing El Tajo before the completion of the Puente Nuevo.

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In front of you, you’ll also be able to see the Arco de Felipe V and the walls defending the more approachable side of the city.

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If you continue through the arch you’ll reach the upper part of La Ciudad. However if you turn left before the arch and go down the stairs…

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… you’ll come to Los Baños Árabes, a Moorish public bathhouse dating from the 13th-century. It’s considered to be one of the best-preserved in Spain.

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It’s open from 10:00 till 19:00 Monday to Friday, and 10:00 till 15:00 at the weekend. Entrance was €3 in 2016.

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Here’s a video taken from the Puente Viejo. It starts looking down Calle Real where you can see the Fountain of Eight Spouts in front of the church, before moving right taking in the third bridge built during the Roman era. Then it swings past the baths, the stairs with the walls and arch above and finishes looking down into El Tajo.

Up in the old town, another beautiful place to see is the Palacio de Mondragón in Plaza de Mondragón, a former Moorish palace. It houses the Museo Municipal, the local museum. It cost €3 to get in and it’s open from 10:00 till 19:00 from Monday till Friday and from 10:00 till 15:00 Saturday and Sunday.

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To be honest the museum displays are pretty boring and disappointingly there isn’t much to see from Ronda itself. My advice is to scoot through the exhibits at speed and spend more time in other parts of the palace.

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The building itself is wonderful. There are two courtyards, the first has vaulted brick arches, marble columns and a well.

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The second gives access to a beautiful garden with a fountain.

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The terrace perched atop the precipice has a fantastic vista across the countryside.

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There’s a second terrace…

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…which also has marvellous views.

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Calle Arminan is the main street that runs through La Ciudad from the Puente Nuevo. This photo was taken on the bridge and Calle Arminan is on the left.

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Where Calle Arminan and Calle Marques de Salvetierra meet at Plaza Abul Beka, you’ll find the Alminar de San Sebastián.

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As the doorway suggests, this was once the minaret of a small mosque. It was later converted to be the bell tower of a church that no longer exists.

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In Plaza Duquesa de Parcent you’ll find the most important church in Ronda; the Iglesia de Santa Maria la Mayor. It was built over the town’s main mosque after the Reconquista.

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If you keep going south you’ll eventually come to the in the lower part of La Ciudad and the Puerta de Almocábar, the Moorish gate in the city wall.

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You can climb the stairs of the watchtowers to get more good views.

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Another important church is here; the Iglesia del Espíritu Santo (centre left in the picture above). It looks like a bit of a lump but I’m sure it’s nicer inside.

There’s lots more to see in La Ciudad, this is just what I saw in the limited time I had.

Ronda – Mercadillo – Puente Nueva and around

Posted in Andalusia, Malaga Province, Mercadillo, Puente Nueva, Ronda, Spain with tags on March 16, 2017 by gannet39

The barrio of Mercadillo is separated from the old town, La Ciudad, by El Tajo, a deep canyon formed by the Guadalevín River. The famous Puente Nuevo was built in 1751 (completed in 1793) to better connect the two districts.

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The bridge is ‘new’ in that it’s more recent than the Puente Viejo further down the gorge.

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The 120 m (390 ft) drop is vertigo-inducing…

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…but does provide stunning views in many directions.

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In Hemingway’s novel For Whom the Bell Tolls, a scene in Chapter Ten describes the execution of Fascist sympathisers during the Spanish Civil War. The Republicans kill them by throwing them off the cliffs of a fictional village in Andalusia. It’s said that Hemingway modelled it on real events that took place in Ronda.

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If you walk along the street with your back to the bridge, through Plaza Espana, and along Calle Virgen de la Paz, you will come to the famous bullring which is the oldest in Spain.

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At the end of Calle Virgen de la Paz is the church of Nuestra Señora de la Merced.

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Back over the bridge next!

Ronda – Mercadillo – some places to eat

Posted in Andalusia, Malaga Province, Mercadillo, Ronda, Spain with tags , on March 15, 2017 by gannet39

There are heaps of good restaurants and bars in Mercadillo but I only had time to try a couple, both recommendations from Toko the hotel receptionist. There are lots more places I wanted to try on my Google map, but I didn’t have the time for them all.

This is the second half of a tapeo I started in Barrio San Francisco. Please see my separate post for there.

La Lechugita (Intermediate B), 35 Calle Virgen de los Remedios

The Little Lettuce is a classic Spanish tapas bar, tiny, crowded and a lot of fun. You order by ticking items on a menu pad, tearing off the page and handing it to a barman.

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I had a selection of Masitas, the small bread buns that are a local speciality, with various fillings. I wasn’t that impressed unfortunately (especially because I’d eaten a better one at Bodega San Francisco earlier) as it was quite hard to tell what was what due to them being very salty. I had fillings of Pringa (a meat stew, B-), Salchichon (sausage, B-) and Morcilla de Ronda (local black pudding), which was my favourite (B).

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Morcilla de Ronda differs from other varieties due to the inclusion of pancetta and bacon it seems.

I ordered some of the famous lettuce to put in the buns to try and override the salt. It tasted really nice by itself (A), maybe because it had been lightly vinegared .

A glass of unimpressive local red called Chinchilla scored B-.

So not the best food and wine but an A for Atmosphere and I’d love to come again to explore their menu more.

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El Almacén (Intermediate B+), 7 Calle Virgen de los Remedios, tabernaelalmacen.com

A modern tapas bar with friendly enthusiastic staff. The young proprietress told me they’d only been open for three weeks when I went.
The food is really good. I had tapas of Croquetas Boletus (B+)…

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… and the wonderful Cochinillo (A).

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They specialise in local wines so I tried glasses of red called Morillas, a crianza from Bodega Los Villalones (B+)…

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… and Lunares by Bodega Lunares de Ronda (B+).

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At €2.50 a glass the wine was a bit more expensive than elsewhere but the quality was better. Definitely somewhere I’d go again.

Ronda – Mercadillo – Architecture around Plaza del Socorro

Posted in Andalusia, Malaga Province, Mercadillo, Plaza Del Socorro, Ronda, Spain with tags , on March 13, 2017 by gannet39

Plaza Del Socorro is the central square in Mercadillo. Google map here.

There are lots of nice buildings around the square including the church of Nuestra Señora del Socorro on the east side.

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The northern end is dominated by the El Casino restaurant.

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There are several other nice buildings around the square.

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In the middle is this rather bizarre statue with a waving lion which is in fact a potent symbol of Andalusian nationalism. You can find out why here.

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Some off the streets around the square are very atmospheric.

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I love the Spanish style of enclosed balcony windows; ‘balcónes cerrados’. The double windows help regulate temperature and noise from the street.

This is one of the most beautiful examples I’ve ever seen. I love the wrought iron railings.

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It obviously paid to be security conscious in 1793. The bars are called a ‘reja’ (grille) and allowed the windows to be open while keeping intruders out.

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You’ll find lots of other nice details if you look carefully.

But sadly not all buildings are loved.

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Ronda – Mercadillo – Calle Real

Posted in Andalusia, Calle Real, Malaga Province, Mercadillo, Ronda, Spain with tags , on March 13, 2017 by gannet39

This was my second time in Ronda. My first visit was on a brief day trip during a holiday nearly twenty years before, in September 1997. The late-summer heat stopped us walking around too much on that first trip but on this visit in April 2016 I had the opposite problem as the spring rain prevented me getting out and about as much as I’d have liked to.

Ronda is divided into three neighbourhoods: the relatively modern Mercadillo (with the bullring, train and bus stations) which is separated by a steep gorge from La Ciudad, the old Moorish quarter. This in turn extends down to the old city wall at Puerta de Almocábar beyond which is Barrio de San Francisco, lying outside the walls. Google map here.

Looking at the map I could see my hotel on Calle Real was walkable from the station but I wasn’t counting on having to drag my spinner across cobbles for the last section. I arrived without too much hassle though.

What a hotel! I think perhaps my favourite ever! The Hotel EnFrente Arte www.enfrentearte.com (€80 a night for a single room in April 2016) is located in an old townhouse at 40 Calle Real but its attitude is entirely modern with much of the interior Pop Art décor made from upcycled materials.

The reception desk is the front half of an old Seat 600 whereas the back half is used for plate storage in the breakfast lounge. Similar quirky ideas (tyres and surfboards for tables, colanders for lampshades, basketballs for plant pots) can be found throughout the building. Funky isn’t a word I use lightly but I think it can be correctly applied here.

The hotel permanently resides at the #1 spot on TripAdvisor for good reason. Even Madonna stayed here (in room 10) when she was in town. Please click on a photo for a full screen slideshow.

My receptionist was the wonderful Toko from Hokkaido in Japan who speaks fluent English and Spanish. She was super helpful and very efficient, as were all the staff I met. The breakfasts are great; I loved the chorizo and quail’s egg fry up every morning. You’re taught how to use the coffee machine when you arrive and it’s all very self-service. Free drinks are included in the price. My only quibble was that there’s no 24 hour reception service but that’s a new trend in Spanish hotels it seems. Just don’t forget the door code.

The hotel is the creation of a collective based around a Belgian band called dEUS and this is their creative bolthole. It’s a fabulous place, and very popular, so it’s best to book it as soon as you can.

There are lots of other nice old buildings along Calle Real, and you’ll also find the Fuente de los Ocho Caños (Fountain of the Eight Spouts) on the corner with Calle Santa Cecilia. Again, click to go full screen.

At the end of the Calle Real is the Puente Viejo, the older and smaller of the two main bridges that cross the gorge, the Tajo, into the old town, La Ciudad. Alternatively you can turn right before the bridge and walk up Calle Escolleras to the upper part of Mercadillo. Please see the coming posts for these places.

Not so marvellous Marbella

Posted in Andalusia, Malaga, Malaga Province, Marbella, Spain with tags , on January 6, 2015 by gannet39

In November 2013 I made my second visit to Marbella and stayed for a couple of nights. The first occasion was about 25 years earlier when I was working as a painter and decorator for a Liverpudlian club owner who was selling his flat there.

It hasn’t changed much, it’s still a high end resort for wealthy expats and is the kind of place I’d avoid like the plague if I had the choice. Even in the off season, the only language I heard being spoken on the streets was English, usually with an Essex accent. However someone was paying me to be here again so I made the best of it.

There are heaps of top notch restaurants all about town but I really couldn’t justify paying their extortionate prices. Many of them are on my Google map, along with the more reasonable places below. I remember this place on the edge of the sanitised old town as being fairly good value:

Marisqueria La Pesquera (Intermediate B+), www.lapesquera.com

Mentioned in Frommers, albeit without a star rating, this place seems to be a bit of an institution amongst the indigenous locals. I sat out on the large enclosed terrace but there’s also a buzzy tapas bar at the back that you might prefer. As the name suggests they specialise in seafood.

My parrillada (mixed grill) was on the small side for €36 but the seafood was good (B+). Total cost with a bottle of white and a brandy was €63. Service was fine. It’s handy for a nice stroll in the narrow streets of the tiny old town afterwards.

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Chowka (Intermediate B-), 11 Bulevard Principe Von Alfonso Hohenlohe, www.chowka-marbella.com

I always grab the chance of a decent curry if I can as I usually need a change from whatever cuisine I’m eating. This modern, comfortable place would be particularly good for my colleagues as it’s very near our hotel and it’s relatively cheaper than anywhere in the old centre or by the beach, although it’ll still cost a few bob.

I had the curried chicken livers followed by a lamb curry, dahl, chipatti and rice which were all fine (B).

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The extortionate asking price for an after-dinner brandy stirred me to complete one of their feedback forms though. Nice local servers but the owner/manager only seemed interested in getting my money (€50).

I stayed at the NH Marbella on Avenida Conde Rudi. The room, wifi, breakfast and staff were all fine and there’s also an okayish gym and an outdoor leisure pool. The only downside is that it’s a 20 minute walk to town, but I quite like walking around so this wasn’t a problem.

I was actually working in nearby Estepona which had no hotels open in the off season. A lasting memory is of having breakfast at the bus station at 6am with the local workmen, all of whom were sinking carajillos (coffee with a shot of brandy) before going off to operate heavy machinery. Only in Spain!

So not much of interest for me here (please tell me if I’m wrong) and I was glad to move on…

 

 

 

 

A smidgen of Malaga

Posted in Andalusia, Malaga, Malaga Province, Spain with tags , , , , , , on January 1, 2015 by gannet39

I only spent three nights in Malaga so please don’t think of this post as an authoritative guide to this ancient and fascinating city. It was November as well so it had none of its usual summer buzz. I did have time to nose out a few good places in the short time I was there though. It was after lunchtime when I arrived in town and I was starving, so I headed straight to the old market on Calle Atarazanas in the hope that somewhere would be open nearby . Thankfully I located this marisqueria out the back door of the market that had been recommended by a local food blog:

El Marisquero (Elementary B+), 7 Calle Olozaga It’s a down-to-earth, basic kind of tapas place with standing areas both inside and out so you can catch the shade or the sun as you like. The grilled prawns I had were very good (B+) and it was bliss to slake my thirst with a couple of ice cold canas. It’s always good to be back in Spain when it starts like this.

Antigua Casa de Guardia (Intermediate A-), 18 Alameda Principal,

www.antiguacasadeguardia.net This ancient tavern (since 1840) near the waterfront sells famous local wines such as Malaga Virgen and Moscatel on draught. It’s just a large single room spanned across its width by a long bar, the surface of which is used by the servers to chalk up your bill as you sample the various contents of the barrels that line the walls.

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They serve tapas too but I was saving myself for later so I can’t comment on the food. It’s a good place to start your night out as it has heaps of atmosphere and cheap, though not amazing, wines.

El Pimpi (Intermediate A), 62 Calle Grande, www.elpimpi.com

A local institution, well located near the amphitheatre on Calle Alcazabilla and hence very popular with tourists. It’s a big place with two entrances and was very busy when I went.

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There’s a sizable terrace out front and a couple of seating areas inside. It’s an intriguing building, attractively decorated inside with ceramic tiles, old bodega barrels and climbing plants. The food is beautifully presented and everything looked and tasted great.
Wanting a healthy lunch, I had the Ensalada Malaguena con Salmorejo, Naranja y Bacalao Asado, a Malagan salad of cold tomato and bread soup, oranges and grilled salt cod, which was excellent (A). With a bottle of water the bill was €8.80.

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Refectorium (Advanced B+), 8 Calle Cervantes For some reason I thought this Frommers recommended place would be quite down to earth due to its location by the bullring. It’s actually fairly posh and very popular with the matadors and their fans, so I’d be surprised if you could get in when there’s a fight on. I went at a quiet time and got in without a reservation. So I had some I had some high quality local fare (B/B+) but I wouldn’t go back due to the fairly high prices, although the adjoining tapas bar might be more affordable. Embarrassingly I forgot my wallet and had to go back to the hotel to get it. When I returned but was treated like a hero, with a ponche on the house and lots of cheers from the waiters!

El Chinitas (Intermediate C), 4-6 Calle Moreno Monroy Another Frommers and Seleccion del Gourmet suggested place. It’s old school and atmospheric but I wasn’t particularly impressed by their tapas tasting menu (mainly C except for the cured ham).

I wanted to try Bar Orellana over the road which is owned by the same people but it was closed for renovations when I was there. You might have better luck when you go on both counts. La Camapna (Elementary B+), 35 Calle Grande A popular tapas bar selling typical seafood dishes. I didn’t really explore the menu but my squid rings, bravas and two large beers for €11.60 filled a hole.
I had my first taste of Licor 43 in Malaga. The secret recipe has forty three ingredients (hence the name) but the main flavours are orange and vanilla. The latter dominates, too much so for my taste (C+), although it might be better mixed with other things.

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A similar southern tipple is Ponche, a brandy-based liqueur that has been infused with Andalucian oranges, dried fruit and spices. I know there’s more than one brand but Caballero is the only one that the bars ever seem to have.

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It’s ok, like a weak spiced brandy (B), but there are several other Spanish digestifs I’d rather have.

I stayed at the Hotel Molina Lario a nice hotel well located just opposite the cathedral. The staff were helpful, the breakfast was varied, my room was large and had good wifi. There’s a postage stamp sized pool on the roof which would be a godsend in summer. There are heaps of restaurants in the streets around the hotel.

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I didn’t get to go inside the Renaissance style Catedral de Malaga despite it being very near. The entrance with the orange trees outside is quite nice though.

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One morning I finished my morning exercise with a walk up the steep slopes of the Alcazaba, the Moorish fortification that dominates the skyline of the old town, where you can get some great views of the harbor and city. You can pay to get into the inner citadel although it was too early when I went.
The Roman ampitheatre is just below it. Bits of it were nicked to build the Alcazaba but it still has its basic form. 20131113_142330

 

 

 

I also visited the Museo Picasso at 8 Calle San Augustin (€9 entry) but was more impressed by the building itself (a wealthy Moor’s town house) rather than any of the exhibitions inside (his early stuff or not particularly interesting works by other artists). I particularly liked the peaceful courtyard and the beautiful, ornately carved wooden ceilings.

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You can also see some archaeology pre-dating the house down in the basement level. It’s still not really worth the cost of entrance in my opinion. Here’s my Google map with the above places on and some others I didn’t get to. Hopefully I’ll be back soon to explore some more.

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