Archive for Hotel Castellano

Castile La Mancha – Eating, Drinking and Walking around Manzanares

Posted in Castile - La Mancha, Ciudad Real Province, Manzanares, Spain with tags , , , , on February 6, 2019 by gannet39

Manzanares is another wine-producing town in the province of Ciudad Real in Castile La Mancha. It’s just a few kilometres of Tomelloso (see previous post). My map here. It’s smaller and less pretty than Tomelloso but there were are a few things that caught my eye.

On the way to my hotel from the bus station, I stumbled across the remarkable facade of the Gran Teatro www.manzanares.es at the Plaza del Gran Teatro.

Plaza de la Constitución, the old central square, is quite pleasant.

The town hall sits above the porticos that run around three sides of the plaza.

The main church is in the square; Parroquia Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, has a nice doorway and tower.

As it was my day off, I spent my first afternoon here trying the local wines and eating tapas in one of the two bars in the square. It was a sunny Saturday so there was a bit of a buzz, especially as there was a wedding in the church that day so there were lots of people strutting about in their glad rags. Fireworks were set off when the happy couple came out of the church.

Cervecería-Cafetería Miguelón (Elementary B-), Plaza de la Constitución

It was a bit too hot to sit outside so I sat at the bar instead and watched Real Madrid scrape a win against Betis on the telly.

A free tapa came with every glass of wine. I liked their Tortilla (B+) and their Migas and Gambas Blanca were both okay (B) but I was less impressed with their fatty Chicharrones (B-) and the overcooked Tortelitas de Camarones were the worst I’d ever had (C-).

I started with the local whites which are better than the reds I think, at least in this bar. The most impressive was a sparkling sweet number called Poetica (B+) which I later found on the internet for about €4 a bottle! Sadly I couldn’t convince the bodega to post me any though.

Next best was the local dry red Senor de Guadianeja (Macabeo 2016) which was okay (B). I’d passed their big wine factory on the bus as it came into town.

The dry Yuntero had a nice flavour although it fell away towards the end and there was little discernible nose (B-).

Onto the reds, I tried the Senor de Guadianeja Macabeo Cab Sauv which was okay on the nose but again the flavour fell away too quickly (C+).

The Finca Antigua, made with four grapes (not a good sign) was also disappointing (C). I think this bottle had been open a bit too long though as I had it a few times elsewhere and it was better.

I got the bill after this and was stunned to only have to pay €9.20 for six small glasses of wine and seven tapas! Not the greatest food and wine but it would be churlish to complain too much at that price.

From Plaza de la Constitución I walked up the street to Plaza de San Blas…

Restaurante Castillo de Pilas Bonas (Advanced B), Plaza San Blas

The old castle, Castillo de Pilas Bonas, www.pilasbonas.com, has been converted to be an upmarket restaurant and hotel.

Having had just tapas in the square, I had no room for a full meal in the restaurant (highly recommended and still at #5 on TripAdvisor in January 2019), so I sat at the bar and had some more tapas and red wines which were much better here.

The young staff, dressed in black tunics and silver buttons, gave me some good suggestions. These included a racion of Lagartijos de Ibéricos, strips of pork, which were very good (B+) but came with those annoying little fries, Patatas Paja, that are nearly impossible to get into your mouth without them going everywhere (C).

The Jarrete de Cordero Lechal, shank of suckling lamb, was good (B) but the sweet potato puree with it was much too sweet and detracted from the meat rather than complementing it (C-).

The reds I tried included one called Quixote which had a good colour but was quite light on the nose (B+).

The La Finca Antigua Syrah had a better nose but a slightly weak finish (B+).

The Epilog was less impressive (B).

The two dishes and three wines came to €21 so more expensive than in the square but much better quality.

El Parador de los Galanes (Intermediate C), Arrabal Sector Pp 2, 18

Made a bit of a screw up with this one! I didn’t realise there are two paradors (hostels) right next to each other, on the ring road, about thirty minutes’ walk from the centre of town, and I went to the wrong one! This one is actually a dingy privately-owned motel by a petrol station. The food and wine scored C-/C/C+ with me i.e. it was all perfectly edible and very cheap (£15 for the set menu) but not somewhere I’d return to.

The nearby Parador de Manzanares www.parador.es is probably much better as it was at #4 on Tripadvisor in 2017 and was also the most reviewed. As it has a swimming pool it might also be a better place to stay than my hotel below, although it is a bit of a walk from town.

Hotel Castellano (High Elementary B), 71 Calle Valencia, www.hotel-castellano.com

This is a nice two star with spacious rooms and comfortable beds. The WiFi was annoyingly erratic in March 2017 though. The café downstairs is a popular meeting place in the mornings for lots of the local blokes, whether retired or on their way to work and there’s a nice courtyard where you can sit outside.

There’s not much on offer for breakfast. I usually just had a Café con Leche and a Tostada with tomato pulp, olive oil and manchego, or maybe just a Magdalena (a pre-packaged cup cake-like bun).

The hotel restaurant is better though, it was actually at #4 on TripAdvisor at the time of writing in March 2017. The menu has quite a few traditional local dishes on it. I had the Sopa Castellano (bread and egg in broth), a half racion of Croquetas, lamb chops with chips and a half bottle of local Finca Antigua Tempranillo with the white label (all B) for only €15.

All in all a good place to go on a diet! However, there was a tapas festival during the time I was there whci is next…

Castile La Mancha – Quintanar de la Orden – Eating & Drinking

Posted in Castile - La Mancha, Quintanar de la Orden, Spain, Toledo Province with tags , , , , , on February 3, 2019 by gannet39

Don’t expect any culinary sensations in Quintanar. You can eat reasonably well here though. Here are my culinary experiences, not in any particular order. My map is here.

El Almirez (B+), 9 Calle San Juan, elalmirez.eltenedor.rest

This is the best place in town I reckon , one of two Guia Repsol recommendations. It’s modern and bright and they play relaxing music and the service is friendly and efficient.

Unfortunately it was closed on the two evenings I tried to go despite their website saying otherwise (perhaps because Real Madrid and Barcelona were playing in the Champions League on consecutive nights) but I did make it for lunch one day when I had a late start for work.

I had the Menu del Dia for €11 for which I got a hefty salad, a bowl of unnatractive but tasty squid ink black rice and a slice of pineapple, with water and coffee thrown in.

Everything was well prepared and cooked and I’d say it was a B+ experience overall.

Granero (Intermediate B-), 90 Calle San Fernando, restaurantegranero.eltenedor.rest

The second of the two Guia Repsol recommendations in the town, but the first place is better. It’s modern but a bit garish and scruffy. I was only in the tapas bar but they have a restaurant room (never open when I went) which might be nicer.

I came for lunch one day and had the plain and simple Menu del Dia; three courses for a paltry €9. First I opted for the Revuelto de Trighueros y Jamon (scrambled eggs with wild asparagus and ham) which was too salty (C).

Next, Calabacin (pumpkin) stuffed with meat which was quite nice (B).

Finally, a slice of Tarta Manzana (apple pie) which was good too (B).

So the food can be good here but the ambience doesn’t do anything for me, and it’s on the other side of town from the hotel.

I came back one evening but the staff were different and not very welcoming so I didn’t hang about.

Cafeteria Echegaray (Elementary B+), 9 Plaza Miguel Echegaray

A plain ordinary tapas bar in the central square. Not as busy as the bigger place below but the guy running it is nicer in my opinion. It was a good place for me to watch Napoli lose 3-1 at home to Real Madrid in the Champions League.

As I’d never heard of it, I tried a tapa of Carcamusa, a pork stew from Toledo (see coming post) which was okay but nothing amazing (B-).

I followed up with a Pincho Moruno, grilled lamb on a skewer, also good (B-).

Finally the young Queso Manchego with tomato bread was very good (B+) but there was too much of it so it was a bit pricey for me at €8.

Three glasses of the owner’s best local red, a 2013 Syrah called Finca Antigua (B), brought the bill to €27. A good no frills place, I’d go again.

Las Cuevas de Sancho (Elementary B), 1 Calle Princesa, off Plaza Miguel Echegaray

Another plain ordinary tapas bar on a street off the central square. It’s bigger that Cafeteria Echegaray which might explain why it’s busier but the welcome isn’t as friendly.

I had a hefty sandwich, the Especial #3 with pork loin, ham, cheese and grilled green peppers which was very good (B+).

The glass of local red was okay too (B).

I watched Barcelona win 6-1 against Paris Saint-Germain to go through 6-5 on aggregate in a truly amazing game, although the ref didn’t do the French any favours. I’ve never seen Castillians go so crazy for a Catalan win when the winning goal went it!

Hostal San Francisco (Intermediate B), 24 Calle San Francisco

I came here when most of the places were closed on a Monday night. I didn’t get the friendliest of welcomes but I have come to realise that it might be due to the shock of possibly having to speak English. They needn’t worry, I speak fluent restaurant Spanish.

I ate in the restaurant in the back which is relatively plush and modern. The music they played off the radio was terrible though. Everybody Dance Now!

I had the Ensalada Ventresca to begin. The belly tuna was excellent but the tomatoes had been picked a bit too early in the season to be good (A+C=B overall). Their bread was pretty good too (B).

The following croquettes were edible but overdone (C) and the following Chuletas de Cordero, lamb chops, were rather fatty (B) although the red pepper salsa with it was quite good (B+).

The local red given to me was once again Finca Antigua (B).

The proprietor slowly warmed to me when he realised he could communicate with me in Spanish but he positively loved me for asking for a glass of local Anis de la Asturiana to finish (B+) and he left the bottle on the table.

Hotel Castellano (Low Intermediate C), 24 Calle San Francisco, www.hostalsanfrancisco.eu

A basic hotel but essentially ok, except for the thin walls, vibrating pipes and the occasional beetle in the bathtub! Breakfast in the hotel’s bar consists of a coffee and a Madalena cake in a plastic packet (C-). The people running it are okay and the WiFi works. It’s slightly out of town, the central square is about twenty minutes’ walk, but it is next door to a chocolate factory which could be a bonus!

One day I was working in the next village, Miguel Estaban, and one of the teachers kindly drove me back to Quintanar via a supermarket. With the advice of the supermarket manager I got a bottle of (fairly local) 2009 Valdepenas ‘Pata Negra’ which was very good (B+).

So these were my food and drink experiences in Quintanar. Nothing great but not too bad either. Off to neighbouring Manzanares next where I fared slightly better.

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