StephenL

Feb 092018
 
LA FONDA,         BENISSA     966394502

 ★★★★☆ 

That fonder feeling

 

La Fonda is a long established traditional Spanish bar/restaurant and B&B that is located at Orxelles 36, which is a side street at the top of the hill in Benissa, just off the Avenida Pais de Valencia, close by a small filling station.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently La Fonda was subjected to a make-over and the result is a modern façade and once inside the bar and restaurant,  there is a good mix of dark wood furniture and clean white walls with large framed mirrors.

Although it was a chilly February day our group were welcomed by a warm and friendly ambience.

The menus del dí are priced according to the main course selected and ranged across €11 for chicken, €14 for rice and prawns and €20 for a large entrecote;  for starters we enjoyed large oblong cocas, pilotas and salads.

The house wines were a Rueda called La Casa by Menude and a Monastrell from Alicante called DNA Murviedro, both very acceptable. We completed our lunch with copas of brandy (€1.50) each having enjoyed the friendly ambience and agreeable staff who served well cooked dishes. The cost p.p. was just  €14.71.

JS 79                                                 

Feb 022018
 
RESTAURANTE DEL HIERRO,         JALON       692738016

 ★★★★☆ 

Good lunch in an empty venue

 

The town of Jalon lies almost exactly on the Greenwich meridian and the Calle Mayor runs due north from the Plaza Mayor. It is a narrow street with a few shops and bars and at number 11 is the restaurant Del Hierro. It is not clear how it acquired this name “Of Iron” as it has traded as Indonesian, Chinese and rice restaurants over the past twenty years or so.

On entering the restaurant there is an intimate setting with table linen service, an attractive bar and interesting Spanish tiles on the walls.

 

In the back there is a larger room with the same decor but which was closed as we were the only customers for lunch.

The menu del día costs €16 including pan and alioli but not any drinks. Two of our party went for the menu and the others opted for à la carte. The menu lunchers chose a substantial dish of canelones and a pate with strawberries  and figs.

The others had gambas al ajillo (€5.50) that were in need of some extra salt for flavour.

For main course the choices were medallions of solomillo of pork (€13.50 when not on the menu del día),  magret de pato (€14) and stone grilled entrecote (€16.80).  All well presented and tasty although one the solomillos was a little chewy.

On the wine front our host selected a Rueda Verdejo called Vega Mascan (€13) and a Vegamar Merlot (€12). Both pleasant. Together with coffees and brandies our pleasant lunch in the heart of Jalon cost €29.62 p.p.

LdD  77    

CANDE, JAVEA

 Javea  No Responses »  Tagged with:
Jan 262018
 
CANDE,                JAVEA       965795990

 ★★★☆☆ 

Good food let down by house wines

Restaurante Cande is located at Cristo del Mar, 20 in the old port of Javea. The façade is modest enough but the restaurant inside, which has been run by three Spanish sisters for over 20 years, is comfortable and homely. There are some interesting photographs on the walls of the Javea coast before the area was developed.

The menus del día are featured on publicity boards outside the entrance and are priced at €12 and €15; we tried both.

 

 

 

 

For starters we chose soup, steamed mussels and entremeses – a selection of cold meats. All were enjoyable. However the accompanying house wines were decidedly disappointing. The white called Rioblanca was thin at just 11.5% and the red called El Primar was equally sad but perhaps the price of just €3.50 should have warned us. Fortunately our host traded up to a verdejo from Tierra del Castilla called Mataespesa (€12.50) and a Rioja Crianza from the Torres stable called Altos Ibéricos (€14) were much more acceptable.

 

Our main course selections were grilled sole, pork chops with a pepper sauce and stuffed loin of pork with prune sauce. All good.

Desserts were limited to sliced orange in a Cointreau sauce or flan. The cost of our lunch in Cande, including coffees and brandies, amounted to €22.33.

 

KK 68              

Jan 192018
 
BAR VARETES,            LLIBER          659243832/640788329

 ★★★★☆ 

Tapas under the False Pepper tree

 

The village of Lliber in the Vall de Pop, otherwise known as the Jalon Valley, must rank as one of the prettiest in the Marina Alta.

Many of the streets have had the tarmac stripped off to reveal to the original stone base and one street has a wonderful display of flowers outside each house.

 

 

 

 

There is a set of steps that is often used for wedding photographs and Lliber´s  imposing church overlooks the Plaza Mayor.

 

In fact when our group of lunchers are not heading to the coast we often meet for a pre-lunch drink in the Plaza Mayor under the False Pepper tree just outside Bar Varetes, one of three bar/restaurants in the village square. The tree has become a bit of a legend for freeing up the tongues of those sitting under it.

Bar Varetes changed hands in late 2017 and the new enthusiastic young team have developed the food offering, with a substantial tapas menu. There are almost 30 tapas dishes to choose from as well as other meat and fish plates but we selected a total of seven different tapas to share between us.

 

Our selection included a wonderful Pate del Hierro, Pelotas, Calamar á la romana, Gambas á la plancha, mini burgers called Figatelles and nicely spicey Patatas bravas.

The only tapa that did not meet with universal approval was the Aspencat, a dish of two grilled vegetables served cold.

The wines accompanying our delicious array of tapas were Dársena, a verdejo from Rueda (€9.50) and Montelciego from Rioja (€8.00).

We completed our lunch under the False Pepper tree with the usual coffees, but the brandies were very generously offered by the casa. The cost of this delightful, relaxed repast in the interior of the Marina Alta was a modest €17.17 p.p.

SL 79

 

 

Jan 052018
 
GUANTANAMERA,             DENIA        966431483

 ★★★☆☆ 

Cubano or Mexicana ?

Guantamera is one of many restaurants driving north from Denia on the carretera Las Marinas and is to be found at km 2.6. It proclaims it has authentic “Cocina Cubano-Mexicana” .

One enters Guantanamera via a rather anonymous enclosed terrace where surprisingly smoking is permitted. We chose to lunch in the small restaurant inside which can only accomodate about 30 guests but is smoke free.

 

 

There is an extensive á la carte menu of both Mexican and Cuban dishes or you can opt for their menu del día which costs a modest €8.50, including a half bottle of wine.  

One of our group chose from the á la carte option and had a substantial quesadilla de gambas, a mexican style tortilla which he shared amongst the rest of us. He followed up with Mexican chicken tacos. The cost of these two tasty dishes amounted to €15.45 not including any wine.

From the menu del día our group selected cold prawns, fresh sardines and steamed mussels. These were followed by a beef broth or gazpacho.

For main course we chose lamb chops, pork chops and swordfish all served with puréed potatoes or rice.

 

The house wines were Adelum, a Sauvignon blanc from Alicante, and Senorio de Los Llanos, the well-known Tempranillo from Valdepeñas.  Together with coffees and brandy our taste of Cuba/Mexico cost just €18.87 p.p.

MH 74                    

 

Dec 152017
 
BON VENT,              SIERRA DE BERNIA       969659554

 ★★★☆☆ 

Rustic lunch in the mountains

Bon Vent is located at km11.5 on the CV-749 which is the road that climbs from Jalon towards the spectacular Sierra Bernia mountain range. The restaurant has only recently reopened after being closed for two years.

 

Bon Vent is a typical rural Spanish restaurant with a spacious interior and an exterior dining/drinking area with wonderful views of Sierra Bernia. There is plenty of parking space and during fine weather the restaurant attracts groups of walkers. It was a chilly December day when we visited and only one other table was occupied, however the dining area was kept surprisingly warm by a wood-burning stove and an open fire in the kitchen.

The price of the menu is dependent on the main course chosen, and consists of tapas, a main course, dessert and a half bottle of wine.

 

 

We chose the substantial lamb chops (€20) and grilled rabbit and garlic (€18) which would benefited from the rabbit being cooked in the garlic rather than alongside it.

The improving Marnes wine from the Jalon cooperative accompanied our meal.

 

Our honest rustic lunch in a beautiful setting, high in the mountains cost €23.66 p.p. including coffee and brandy.

JS 69                     

Dec 082017
 
VOLTA I VOLTA,          JAVEA       96504823

 ★★★★☆ 

Subtle tastes and smiling faces

Our club previously visited this restaurant in 2011 when it was called La Musa and run by a Ukrainian family. It scored four stars then and achieved the same rating on this occasion. Volta i Volta is located in the rabbit warren of streets in the old town district of Javea, at Calle Santa Teresa 5, a lovely stone building. It has been redecorated very tastefully and is now under the ownership of Carlos and Marguerita.

As our lunch fell on a public holiday the menu del día was priced at €18, but the restaurant was full so we were happy to proceed. The starters were shitake (mushroom) soup and tagliatelli with guinea fowl, both subtly tasty.

Our generous host selected a Verdejo from Castilla Leon called CuCu (€19) and a Rioja called Siena de Tolono (€17) to accompany our dishes.

For main course we opted for lamb: part grilled leg, part braised skirt. Both delicious, although in common with many Spanish restaurants, somewhat lacking in vegetables.

Dessert was a homemade cheesecake and tasted as such.

Our fun day out in old town Javea, including the usual coffees and brandies cost €29.91 p.p.

RH 75                                                

AL FORN, DENIA

 Denia  No Responses »  Tagged with:
Dec 012017
 
AL FORN,                 DENIA         966111555

 ★★★★☆ 

A big hit

Al Forn, or to give the restaurant its full name, Al Forn dels Deveses, is located in Plaza Mariana Pineda which is in the emblematic fishing quarter of Denia.

The restored antique wood burning oven, measuring 4 square metres, was originally used for baking bread and gives the interior of the restaurant a warm and welcoming environment.

Restaurant Al Forn is mainly known for its tapas, Spanish dishes and pizzas all of which are cooked in the huge oven and so there is constant activity around this unique feature.

 

The menu del día is priced at €16 and consists of pan/alioli, followed by five starters: salad, croquetas, pescaditos, mussels, and gambas.

 

 

 

The choices for main course were arroz al horno, arroz meloso, pizzas and cocas. We tried all of the dishes and were not disappointed.

There were six desserts “de la casa”.

Our host chose a Ribero del Duero red called  Hito  (€19) to accompany our excellent and atmospheric lunch. Hito was a big hit with our members and as a consequence the cost of lunch,  including coffees and brandies, edged up to almost €30 p.p.

PM 76                                              

 

Nov 172017
 
EL NOU CAVALL VERD,  FLEIX        645527300

 ★★★★★ 

Stunning in every way

Inland from Orba lies the beautiful Val de Laguar and the villages of Campbell, Fleix and Benimaurell. Overlooking Campbell and on the edge of Fleix is the restaurant known for years as Cavall Verd or Green Horse, but since it was taken over by a traiteur from Pego called El Bollit it has been renamed El Nou Cavall Verd. El Bollit´s owner is Evarist Miralles, a top Valencian chef and his influence on the cuisine in his new restaurant is outstanding.

 

The menu del día costs €23.20 excluding bread and drinks. We got off to a good start when we were served a tasty croquette with a puchero filling on the house.

We enjoyed our freshly baked bread with slices of black pudding and lard.

 

For starters we were able to select three courses to share. These were artichoke tortilla with shrimps and pancetta iberica, vegetable cocas and a papillotte filled with herbs, ham and little sausages. Wonderful!

Our host selected a José Pariente Verdejo from Rueda (€15.40) and Bobal en Calma from Utiel Requena (€12.40) and these supported our courses perfectly.

Our main course selections included baby ribs lacquered in honey, meloso of lamb with eggplant and carrillera de ternera melosa with its sauce and vegetables. All excellent.

The chef decided on our desserts and they were terrific. Apfelstrudel with vanilla, a pear confit, and creamy chocolate with strawberries in a chocolate pot.

Our wonderful lunch served in a stunning setting looking down to the Mediterranean coast cost €40.50 p.p. including coffees and brandies and was worth every cent.

LdD 84    

 

Nov 102017
 
CASA LILI,        TEULADA          965744568

 ★★★★★ 

Oriental delights in a sophisticated setting.

Casa Lili is technically in Teulada although it is actually closer to Moriara.  It is to be found at the bottom of the hill from Teulada just off the final roundabout in the direction of Benitachell. It was formally Asador el Andaluz, but in the meantime the new Chinese owners have completely redecorated the restaurant and when we arrived for our lunch the car park was already full.

The menu del día is priced at just €9.95 for four courses and a glass of wine and there is a Japanese menu at €13.95. Most of us opted for the former menu whilst some decided to go à la carte.

 

 

The menu del día selection included sweet & sour soup or salad for the starter. Thereafter we moved on to a spring roll or a Mongolian pincho –both delicious.

 

 

For main course we chose Thai beef which was also excellent although the lemongrass was a little tough.

The house wines accompanying our lunch were a white Rioja called Marques de Vitoria and a red Ribero del Duero called Vegazar – both very much in tune with the cuisine and priced at €8.95.

Our off piste members selected dumplings and a typically Spanish dish of garlic prawns for their starters, following these up with two different curries. The main courses were all served with fried rice.

One of our group opted for ice cream for dessert, but the rest of us were already replete and settled for coffees and brandies. The cost of this oriental delight in sophisticated surroundings was a modest €23 p.p..

SL 81