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Eating Out in Ciudad Real

Posted in Castile - La Mancha, Ciudad Real, Ciudad Real Province, Spain with tags , , , , , , , on March 2, 2017 by gannet39

All the places I mention below, and more, are on this Google map.

I’ve basically divided them into two; posh and ordinary, although the former does not necessarily mean expensive. My info was garnered from the Guia Repsol and Lonely Planet guides, and the young school staff that I worked with.

For a posher tapeo (tapas crawl) you could start off in Plaza del Pilar which is due south of Plaza Mayor.

I began at the seemingly upmarket Bar Espana (High Intermediate B+) at 9 Plaza del Pilar where I had three complimentary tapas and a caña for a piffling €3.

The chewy Torreneos (deep-fried belly pork) and the insipid Asadillo soup were fine (B and B-) but the Tortilla with boiled ham and young fresh manchego knocked my socks off (A+). The tortilla had been cut in half widthways and used to sandwich the thin slices of ham and cheese before being sliced into segments and pinned with together with a toothpick.

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I also had a beer next door (9 Plaza del Pilar) at the modern and fairly atmospheric (incense sticks in the loos) Bar Los Faroles (Intermediate B) but was unimpressed by their cold complimentary Patatas Bravas (C+).

From here you should go round the corner to Miami Gastro www.miamigastro.es (Advanced A) at 2 Avenida Rey Santo which is perhaps the best place to eat in town. Although you can have tapas, I came for a multi-course lunch one day.

The have four tasting menus priced between €30 and €45. I opted for the €40 version which began with Pan de Cristal con Paletilla Iberica, Tomate y Aceite de Oliva; light crunchy bread doused with olive oil and tomato pulp and topped with Jamon. It was excellent if rather messy to eat (A-).

I love a good Croqueta de Hongos (mushroom croquette) and this one was pretty decent (A+).

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It’s hard to go wrong with simply salted Gambas Blancas Cocida, cooked white prawns (A).

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The Ensalada Templada de Foie con Fresas, or seasonal salad with foie de gras and strawberries, was beautifully dressed and simply stunning (A+).

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Codos de Bogavante en Tempura (lightly battered lobster) wasn’t available that day so I was given a huge portion of Tataki de Atun (seared sliced tuna), served with a wasabi mayo, instead (B).

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Carrillada de Cerdo Iberico con Crema de Patate, or beef cheeks with potato puree, will always go down well with me (B+).

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I can’t remember what the dessert was called but it was a kind of deep-fried crepe filled with vanilla pastry cream (B).

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To drink I had three small glasses of Analiva Verdejo (B+) with the seafood and with the meat a glass of Casa Albali Gran Seleccion, a 2014 Tempranillo from the local Valdepenas DO which was fantastic (A). Sadly this vintage was no longer available when I looked on the internet. Both wines were made by Felix Solis Avanti, a winery based in nearby Valdepeñas.

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With the dessert a glass of 2012 Pedro Ximenez Cosecha from Toro Albala which was also great (A). The amber colouring of this 17% PX was a revelation as it’s always been a very dark brown on the many occasions I’ve had it before.

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Interestingly they serve Lavazza coffee here which seems like a nod to the superiority of Italian blends, although it wasn’t particularly well served(B).

The final bill came to €45.70 which was fantastic value given the quality and quantity of what I had. The bill also included a beer, a small bottle of water and a croquette and some crisps to eat while I was reading the menu. I thought that the otherwise excellent servers had forgot to add everything on but it was correct.

The best down-to-earth places are all next to each other in Plaza Mayor, in the centre of town.

Acuario (Elementary B) at 11 Plaza Mayor you get a free tapa with your drink which you choose from a menu of mainly fried items. They are particularly known for their filling Huevo con Béchamel; a croquette with a hard-boiled egg inside (B+). With a large beer the bill came to €3.30.

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At El Portalon de La Casona (High Elementary B) next door at 9 Plaza Mayor they are known for serving good value-for-money tapas. I had their Migas (fried breadcrumbs with or without a fried egg) which was quite simple but tasty (B-). With a beer this came to only €2.10.

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Next door again (8 Plaza Mayor) at El Ventero (Elementary C), the Migas is more varied with chunks of ham and other things, but not particularly nice (C-) and certainly not worth the €9.50 I paid.

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They sell other typical Manchego dishes but I’m not sure I’d come here to eat again. However their tables outside are the best placed to view the Carillion clock which chimes at 6pm and 8pm in the evenings.

In the daytime you could finish with a sweet snack from Confitería La Deliciosa at 5 Plaza Mayor.

A good local wine shop is Vinalia at 4 Calle Lanza. I saw the PX pictured above for €18 there. They are also a wine bar.

Scallops in Vigo

Posted in Galicia, Spain, Vigo with tags , , , , , on July 11, 2011 by gannet39

I like Vigo a lot and would totally recommend it for a visit. The hilly urban landscape reminds me of my hometown, Sheffield, but the difference is that at the bottom of the slope there is a huge port on a wide river estuary, and consequently lots of good seafood. In fact it’s the biggest fishing port in Spain and incredibly, given its size, the second largest  market for fish in the world after Tokyo. The Spanish consider Galician seafood to be the best and a lot of the good stuff is put on the overnight train to Madrid and other inland cities.

Octoman

Whichever way you approach Vigo one of the first things you will notice are the lines of square rafts floating in the estuary. These are mussel platforms, called Bateas, where the mussels grow on strings suspended below the raft. The symbol of the city, and the whole of Galicia, is the scallop which features everywhere, from manhole covers to dinner plates.

The weather in this Atlantic coastal town is quite English with cloudy skies most of the time but luckily no rain at all during the four days I was there. In fact I timed it quite well and arrived on a sunny weekend when the temperature was only three degrees off the local record.

Sea mist

Making the most of our Sunday off, two of us decided to catch the catamaran ferry to the Islas de Cies.

Pirata de Cies

These small islands are a nature reserve but there are several public beaches and a camping site if you want to stay a while.

Smaller beaches

The largest beach has been named as one of the top ten in the world which obviously you should take with a pinch of salt but it is certainly is a beautiful spot.

Main beach

If sun worship is not your thing there are walks all over the island with some great views. Perhaps get your ticket the day before if it’s going to be a nice day as the 10.15 sailing was sold out when we went. There are a couple of companies who run ferries. our thirty-minute crossing cost us €16
Back in town, there is a long parade of bars and restaurants along the seafront on Montero Rios St. None of them are gourmet places but the key thing is you can sit outside and catch a cool breeze while watching the world go by.

Paella

The ‘old town’ on Teofilo Llorente with its recently modernised oyster bars with picture menus, is on a parallel street to the  seafront. It all looked a bit cheap and nasty and there wasn’t any breeze so we gave it a miss. However there will always be something open down here on a Sunday in both these areas when the rest of town is closed.

La Comidilla, (Intermediate B+), 5 Rua Palma, Tel. 986 431143

This was my favourite eatery in Vigo due to the multi-cultural atmosphere , brightly coloured decor and very friendly service. The food is international with lots of world cuisine but they serve local dishes too and it’s all pretty good.

To start myself and my friend Bernard shared a starter of small local scallops which were very good (B+).

Scallops

To follow the Albondigas with plain rice which looked bland but was just what I wanted (B+).

Albondigas

The dessert of local crepe with sugar and lemon was ok but nothing special (C).

Crap crepe
The star (A) however was the Señorio de los Rubios Condado 2010 white wine, from bodegas Coto Redondo, a blend of four grapes (Treixdouro, Albarino, Godello and Loureiro),  from the Rias Baixas DO (sadly sold out on the net, next year!).

Senorio de Rubios

I wouldn’t  recommend the clear aguardente though which although complementary would have been better employed as paint stripper (D).

Paint stripper

So, a reasonable place to come for warm service, a bright friendly atmosphere great wine and good food.

Acuario, (Intermediate B), 23 Rua Cervantes, Tel. 986 223015

A strange old-school little spot just around the corner from the hotel. It seems to be a one-man operation with the waiter doubling up as the cook. Dishes are either served cold or reheated in a microwave. Sounds like a recipe for disaster but the food is actually pretty ok tasting and very cheap. I had Mejillones (al Vapor) which were plump and juicy but served cold (C+).

Mejillones al Vapor

These were followed by Vieiras, a grilled scallop served Galician style in a sauce of onions, garlic, onion, parsley and fine breadcrumbs.

Vieiras

Still feeling hungry I went for the Ternera Estofado, veal stew with chips on the side, which was excellent (A).

Ternera Estofado

The house Albarino was also good. Total cost only €25.


El Mosquito
(Advanced B-), 4 Praza de Pedra, Tel. 986 433570. Tel. 986 433570/224441, www.elmomosquitovigo.com

An old school place described by the Cadogan guide as “the people’s choice” but in reality the preserve of the besuited classes. It is indeed “classic” in that it serves good quality ingredients in a traditional way, but I found the food to be bland and nondescript. First off: Mejillones (al Vapor), twenty steamed local mussels, served naked but for a slice of lemon, for the princely sum of €13 (B-). A lot given the short distance they had to travel from the waterfront, but presumably you’re paying for the chef to go to the fish market at 5 a.m. to get the good stuff.

El Mosquito

Next I ordered Calamares, dreaming perhaps of a lightly grilled squid drizzled in olive oil in the Italian style, but sadly I received  the usual deep fried rubbery rings in batter that you can get in any bar, albeit better quality and for €12. There was a lot of them which, without the help of a fellow diner, started to make me feel slightly nauseous half way through.

Finally, a slice of Tarta de Almandreas (spelling?), which was the usual uninspiring dry slab of cake I’m used to in Spain (B-), but almond flavoured this time. To go with this, two chupitos of good quality (B+) Orujo des Hierbas, which in more customer-friendly places would have been free, but I was charged €3 each. The only saving grace was the preceding ‘Valtea’ Albarino, perhaps one of the best I have ever had (A).

The septuagenarian service was kind but a bit slow to give me any attention and I had to get the menu myself after a long wait while they chatted with other customers. I judge the attitude of a place a lot by the way they take your money and the teller (owner?) didn’t even look me in the eye while he parted €51 from me. I wouldn’t go again and I’d recommend you don’t either, unless there’s more of one of you and you both like bland seafood. Apparently the lamb is good though.

Hotel Zenit Vigo, 1 Gran Via, Tel. 986 417 255

This is a great hotel, located near the train station and just ten minutes walk from the waterfront. The rooms (€75 for a double) are modern and spacious and have free Wi-Fi, but no English channels on the TV. The breakfast is comprehensive and served to a  subdued soundtrack of ambient Drum & Bass. The water out of the tap smells and tastes pretty horrible but I guess that’s not their fault. Lovely staff here as in their other branch in A Coruna. Overall it gets a like.

Dawn on the port

Get a room on one of the top floors facing the street for some stunning views of the estuary and surrounding hills, or get the key from reception and go to the top floor terrace for the same.

Sunburst

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