Archive for the Centro Category

Gijón – Centro – Architecture

Posted in Asturias, Centro, Gijón, Spain with tags on October 12, 2017 by gannet39

Gijón is a paradise for architecture buffs like me. There are heaps of Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Modernista masterpieces dotted around.

I’ve indicated them as best I can with the yellow stars on this Google map.

My favourite building is Chalet de Ladislao Menendez in Plaza Europa.

It was designed in Modernista style by Manuel del Busto, a famous local architect.

Built in 1907 it could do with a bit of TLC.

If I had the money I’d love to buy it and do it myself.


Another favourite is at 43 Calle Cabrales.

It was designed in 1901 by Mariano Marin in an Art Nouveau style.

The ‘rejeria’, wrought iron work, is one of it’s finest features.

Marin was responsible for many other buildings in the town, all in a variety of styles.

Further down the same street at 43 Calle Cabrales is a nice Modernista number…

… which also houses the Tourist Information.

More beautiful iron work.

Nearby Plaza San Miguel has a few impressive piles.

As does Calle Jovellanos

Although I’m not that keen on Basílica-Santuario del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús at 6D Calle Jovellanos, although I haven’t been inside yet.

There are many other fine buildings dotted around town.



Gijón – Centro – Drinking

Posted in Asturias, Centro, Gijón, Spain with tags , on October 11, 2017 by gannet39

I’m a sucker for a cocktail in nice surroundings and these two places definitely float my boat.

Café Dindurra (Advanced B+), 30 Calle Covadonga,

This beautiful bar is next to the Teatro Jovellanos It was built in 1901 but received an Art Deco makeover in 1931. It has survived the bombing of the original theater it was attached to.

I’m in love with its angular fonts …

… and beautiful curves.

I had a couple of good Negronis here. I’m an aficionado but these were made with vermouths I’d never heard of before.

The first was made with a French vermouth called La Quintinye.

A green olive and slices of strawberry were added to the usual slice of fresh orange (B+).

The second used a Catalan vermouth called Yzaguirre and was garnished with semi-dried pineapple and fresh orange (B+).

Varsovia (Advanced A), 18 Calle Cabrales,

This is another excellent cocktail bar on the ground floor of a beautiful Modernista building called Edificio Celestino García.

It’s on the waterfront just a couple of doors down from the Hotel Alcomar.

They know how to make a decent Negroni in here and you can choose from a multitude of gins and vermouths.

The bottle shelves are on two floor levels and my bartender had to shimmy up a ladder to get my choices.

I went for a French vermouth with Plymouth gin, garnished imaginatively with maraschino cherries (B+). Another time I swapped the vermouth for Cynar which makes for a nice change too (B+).

My pictures of the cocktails didn’t come out so you’ll have to make do with a photo of this beautiful cut glass water jug!

There are many other bars of course but these two are really special. In June 2016 the going rate for a Negroni was €7.

Gijón – Centro – Eating Out

Posted in Asturias, Centro, Gijón with tags , , , , on October 10, 2017 by gannet39

Gijón is a fantastic destination for food and drink, especially seafood and the famous Asturian cider. Below are my reviews of a Marisqueria (seafood restaurant), a Sidreria (cider bar), a Quesería y Vinoteca (cheese  & wine shop) and a Parrilla (grill). Between them I managed to try most of the classic gastronomic experiences this region has to offer.

These are all in the Centro, please see my other Gijón posts for more suggestions. There’s a map with everything on here.

La Zamorana (Intermediate A), 38-40 Avenida Hermanos Felgueroso,

I came to this old tavern on my first night and it was my best and most authentic experience during my stay. It’s the only place where I experienced cider being poured in the traditional way, by hand from a great height in order to aerate it, which is a great skill.

Inevitably some ends up on the floor and the waiter will also dash out any dregs in your glass by simply tossing them against the wall. No surprise then that the smell of cider permeates the air.

I had a really nice friendly chap pouring mine, and everyone else’s, and it was basically all he did all night. He’d only pour a quarter glass at a time as you’re supposed to drink it straight away. If you leave it he’ll chuck it.

In terms of food, I was so excited to be here that I had the full works of traditional fare on the menu.

After some complimentary deep-fried prawns I began with a half portion of the famous local belly busting bean stew made with chorizo and morcilla; Fabada Asturiana which was great (A).

Then Rodaballo a la Plancha, or grilled turbot, simple but also very good (B+).


While I was eating, another couple came in and wanted crab so the waiter brought them one to the table to show them. It was huge and still very much alive!



Next a hefty slab of the legendary Asturian blue cheese, Cabarales (B+), which goes surprisingly well with a glass of Andalucian PX raisin wine (B+).

It would have been rude not to try the local cake Tarta Gijonesa (B+).

With two bottles of cider, some complimentary choccy biccies and a (southern) Cardenal Mendoza brandy the total came to €67.70. Not cheap but for me, totally worth it for the experience.

Tino (Elementary B), 9 Calle Alfredo Truan,

This is a friendly, family-run pincho bar recommended by Frommer’s guide. There’s a restaurant attached but it looked pretty closed when I was there. I was enticed into the bar by the retro feel and the fact it seems popular with the locals.

I asked the young guy for some traditional local food and somehow ended up with a full portion of Calamares Fritos, a dish I really try to avoid in Spain. They were as uninspiring as ever (C) and not cheap at €15.

The classic dish of Merluza a la Sidra Asturiana was better (B) but also a bit pricey at €23.50. This recipe makes it with clams but otherwise it looks pretty similar.

The cider here is served in the modern way, via a plastic electronic pump in the shape of a little man that slots on to the top of the bottle. Much less labour intensive and still quite fun.

I also got to try a shot of ‘La Praviana’ Licor de Guindas, cherry liqueur, which is a fine use for cherries! (B+). According to their website, they add some fresh sloes and a bit of anise.

So a nice neighbourhood place where I learnt a bit more about local food and drink, but I’d only go again if I lived here.

Coalla Gourmet, 8 Calle San Antonio,

I came to this modern deli on the recommendation of my gourmet teacher friend and ended up doing an extended cheese tasting. All the cheeses mentioned here are local but not the wines.

The first Tabla de Quesos was okay but not amazing. I had Vare (B), Ahumado de Pria (B), the Cabarles (B), but my favourite was the Geo de Lazana (B+) (third from left).

The second tabla was much better as it included some of the teacher’s local favourites. His list included Afuega‘l Pitu and Queso Casin but these were both sold by the unit so I didn’t get to try them.

The server gave me Maximo Rey Silo (B+) as a replacement for Afuega‘l Pitu as it was similar. My favourite was La Peral, an excellent blue (A), and I also really liked the Gamoneu Sobre Cueva (B+), at the top of the picture.

I had a couple of glasses of red to go with the cheese. The 2013 La Zorrina (B+) was the most expensive…

… but just as good was the La Garnacha Mustig (B+).

I also had a glass of Maritavora Ruby Port for the blue cheeses (B+).

I also got a kilo of Fabas de la Granja (aka Judiones) to take home to make my beloved Fabada Asturiana. They sell Fabada kits here too with the meats and beans vacuum-packed for easy transportation.

So, a good spot for cheese and wine. For the cheese it’s best if you know what to ask for so keep my tips in mind.

This next place is just down the street…

Los Patios (Intermediate B), 10 Calle Instituto,

I came to this grill-bar when my first choice was shut. I’d heard of it through a local blog but I wasn’t that impressed. It’s handy for the hotel but there are lots of other modern bars around these backstreets that look quite nice too.

I’d had a big lunch so sausage and chips was all I could manage. First I tried the Chorizo Rojo (B)…

…then the Matachana (B), a kind of morcilla, originally from nearby Leon, which you split open, scoop the insides out and spread on bread, or in this case chips (patatinas).

I also tried a local red wine called ‘La Fanfarria’ which is from Cangas , the only wine DO in Asturias. It was much better than I’d been led to believe (B) but definitely not on a par with the great Spanish reds.

Everything here was okay but I’d go for different meat selections if I went again.

While we’re talking about meat, I picked up some great steak knives at Jesus Pastor, a kitchen and dining equipment shop at 110 Calle Cabrales. I don’t know of anyone who does a better knife for meat than the Spanish.

So I think I managed to try a fair selection of local products in just these few places in the Centro. Check out my other Gijón posts for some more restaurants in the old town and other areas.

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