May 242019
 
CASA CANTO,              BENISSA      965730629

 ★★★★★ 

Better than ever!

Casa Canto has recently reopened in the restaurant location where it started out, at Avenida Pais Valencia 217 at the top of the main street running through Benissa. The road frontage is modest and inside the door there is a narrow tapas bar leading on into the comfortable restaurant at the back.

 

This is a family owned restaurant with Ximo Ivars as Chef de cuisine and Jordi Ivars performing the role of Maître d´. The combination produces outstanding results.

The menu del dia is priced at €18 for five courses starting with an amuse bouche of foamed liver which was delicious. There followed a wonderful Waldorf salad and then a brochette of monkfish combined with a violet flavoured potato sauce.

 

For main course we selected grilled lubina served with a delicate flavoursome sauce, a rice dish of chicken, rabbit and vegetables and finally a stew of veal cheek. All perfect.

 

Our host chose Rueda Verdejo from Marqués de Riscal  and a Rioja crianza from Ramón Bilbao, both priced at €16.50 and most enjoyable.

 

The desserts included a chocolate sorbet, cheesecake and homemade flan catalan – stunning!

 

We rounded off this fabulous lunch with coffees and chopitos of brandy and the cost p.p. amounted to €31.24. Well worth it.

 

SL 82

May 102019
 
CASES-DE-SANT-JAUME,         BENISSA         691557733

 ★★☆☆☆ 

Off the beaten track

This hotel/restaurant is hidden away down a country lane several kilometers outside Benissa on the way to  Pedramala and Benimarco in an area known as Paratella. Apparently the owners are having difficulty in obtaining permission from the authorities to have signage erected on the main roads which is unfortunate.

The restaurant itself is most attractive and comfortable with great views over the surrounding countryside. We were the only customers for lunch. The menu del día costs €18.90 with supplements for some of the dishes.

 

 

There was a choice of three starters, three main courses and two desserts. The starters were mushroom soup, melon and serrano ham and shrimp cocktail (€1 +) – all quite acceptable.

 

 

These were accompanied by the house wine, a red and a white from Catalunya called Marques de la Concorda (€10.90).

Our host decided to trade up on the red and selected an interestingly named Rioja called ChitÓn (€15.55).

For main course we were served Entrecote with pepper sauce and vegetables (€3+), dorada with garlic and chips and pork fillet with mushroom sauce and vegetables. Unfortunately the plates were not heated and most of the dishes were overcooked.

Cases-de-Sant-Jaume is a delightful venue but has a real challenge in getting on the map. Our sortie there cost €35.68 p.p.

PH  65

 

Mar 082019
 
GIRÓ,                       BENISSA          965730048

 ★★★★☆ 

Busy Giró- great grub

 

Avenida Pais de Valencia is the main street running through Benissa and a lot of businesses have suffered from the constant flow of traffic. This may change when the long awaited bypass is finally operating.  In the meantime it is good to see at number 100, a restaurant called Giró, that is so busy that it has to turn away customers that have not booked.

 

The frontage of Giró is small and one could easily walk past the restaurant without noticing it. The interior is small but cosy and because the restaurant is full, it is quite noisy.

Their menu del día is priced at €13 for three courses and including a glass of house wine.

There is no printed menu so the waiter recites the course options. In our case we opted for a salad of apple, red cabbage and carrot.

 

 

This was followed by individual vegetable cocas. Both starters were most enjoyable. Our host selected  the local house white wine, Santpere and a red Monastrell called Tempus Regit which were both priced at €9.00.

For main course most of our party opted for lamb chops in garlic whereas one of our members chose secreto de cerdo (pork).

 

Our host traded up with a further bottle of local red wine called Romanico (€14).

We were all pretty full at this stage so we skipped the desserts and instead had coffees and brandy. Cost of this enjoyable, cosy lunch was a modest €16.83 p.p.

Don´t forget to book in advance!

JS 78

 

 

Dec 282018
 
CA EMILIO,      BENISSA        965733736/639110646

 ★☆☆☆☆ 

Trawling…

Ca Emilio is to be found on Calle Cami de Canor no.26, which is a corner site next to a roundabout in Benissa, with interesting neighbours nearby of a crematorium on one side and a large school on the other opposite side.

 

The outside wall of the restaurant has a massive mural depicting a trawler and the message that their menu del día carries the very modest price of just €9. Ca Emilio is long established and is run by Emilio, a former trawlerman from Calpe and his daughter Rosanna.

Many of their customers stop off at the bar for a drink and tapas, but we moved into their separate, rather chilly, restaurant which was decorated with rural bric-a-brac.

 

 

 

 

We all indulged in the €9 menu and starting with a prawn soup and a moist paella-style rice dish called Arroz Señoret. The soup would have benefited from being served hotter.

 

The main courses were somewhat limited and we tried Pulpo con ajos (Octopus with garlic) and Bacalao Cruet, a sort of cod stew, which while tasty, was served warm but on a cold plate.

The menu included a third of a bottle of wine p.p. so our host had to fund some additional bottles of Salinas, a light (12%) red and white wine from Utiel-Requena at €7.50 each.

 

 

 

This is a modest but friendly restaurant which does offer great value for money. The cost p.p. was just €11.70.

MH 56

Nov 302018
 
34 de SAN NICOLAS,               BENISSA       865716345

 ★★★☆☆ 

Where in Benissa?

This recently opened restaurant is located at 34 Calle San Nicolas in Benissa in a quiet street leading up the hill from the Plaza Jaume.

 

 

 

Whilst not formally pedestrianised , the street has little passing traffic and so 34 has a number of tables on the street itself.

 

Inside 34 the décor is bright and modern, comfortable, warm and inviting.

The menu del día changes every day according to availability of fresh products and is priced at €14 for three courses and one drink. The food is typically Spanish, well cooked and presented. The service is prompt and friendly.

Although there were three or four starters all but one of us opted for the home made cocas. The cocas which are like a mini pizza bases were indeed pleasant, however the toppings were surprisingly small.

 

 

The main courses included delicious Secreto de Iberico, an enjoyable dish of rice and mussels and excellent spare ribs.

Finally the dish called Mar y Montaña which turned out to be chickpeas and squid was not rated positively by the one luncher who chose it.

Our host selected Somantano Pirineos red and white wines both priced at €11 and very acceptable.

Most of us skipped the usual desserts of flan, tarts, ice cream etc and instead had coffees accompanied by chopitos offered by the house. The 34 is a welcome addition to the stock of restaurants in Benissa and our enjoyable experience cost €19.62 p.p.

JS 72

 

 

Apr 202018
 
OCEANA CLUB,                 BENISSA COSTA       634313924

 ★★★☆☆ 

Slim pickings

Formerly known as Restaurante Timon,  Oceana Club is located at one of the most stunning sites on the Costa Blanca.

 

 

It is to be found at Les Bassetes, which is a tiny harbour on the Moraira to Calpe road, and is located on the top floor of the harbour complex with wonderful views onto the Peñon de Ifach.

We chose to lunch indoors as there was quite a strong wind blowing outside; the new owners have refurbished the restaurant in a tasteful style.

The menu del día is priced at €17.50 for three courses and a drink.

For starters the choice was mixed salad, carpaccio of tuna or courgette soup, all acceptable but not very exciting.

Our host selected Mantel Rueda Verdejo (€19) and the house red from Ribero del Duero called La Planta.

For main course we selected chicken brochettes, fresh salmon and paella. The portions were not particularly generous.

 

 

Finally for desserts we had ice cream and sliced melon and pineapple.

 

After lunch we enjoyed some live music on the terrace and including coffees, our lunch overlooking the Mediterranean cost €28.24 p.p.

PH 70    

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                                                 

Nov 252017
 
RESTAURANTE ASIA,  AVDA LAS MARINAS,   3-D,   BENISSA        96 574 82 95

 ★★★☆☆ 

A billion Chinese can’t be wrong!

Situated alongside the main road between Calpe and Moraira,  above the beautiful bay at Fustera, sits this long-established Chinese Restaurant.

Forget the fact that they take the bookings in a diary more than 2 years old, overlook the slightly dated décor inside, and remember that here you can still get a Menu del Dia for under 8 euros.

 

More to the point you can also get  a choice of  eight different set meals. We were all happy to go with one at 18.50 euros, and for that we got a non-stop succession of dishes, starting with salad (spicy onions and chopped chilies), chicken ‘balls’ (in fact a ball of meat still attached to the thigh bone), spring rolls and Pekin duck pancakes (very good).

 

 

This was not the end by any means – we then had dim sum followed by prawns, then by a sizzling beef platter and then by lamb in a spicy sauce. Oh, and spare ribs!

 

All of which were accompanied by fried rice and noodles. Small wonder that one of our number was forced to remark: “This is one substantial meal.”

 

For wines we had an ever-reliable Faustino V (white) and a “very drinkable” Torro de Torres (red). Coffees and  brandies completed a very pleasant meal. It was never going to be the best, nor the cheapest at €31.40 p.p., but it was a good, tasty, meal in a restaurant offering value for money. Maybe next time our party of eight will not be the only diners….

MR  71                   

May 262017
 
NOU TAPES VIZCAINO,               BENISSA        965734083

 ★★★☆☆ 

Hectors´ hidden gem

Tucked away on Calle Calp 1, a little back street just off the Avenida Pais Valencia in Benissa, at the southern end, it is easy to miss this hidden gem which is owned and ably managed by a father and son team, both of whom are named Hector.

There are two menus del día on offer priced at €11 and €18. Both share the same choice of starters: salad, Iberico entremeses, and scrambled wild mushrooms (setas).

As to the main course, the cheaper menu offered calamares a la romana (battered squid rings) or pork fillet. The €18 menu boasted Sea Bass, Swordfish, Entrecote or a special cut of pork called Abanico or Pluma which was very similar to Secreto de Cerdo.

Most of our group opted for the scrambled mushroom starter which was very tasty indeed. Two of our members chose the calamares and many of the others enjoyed the generous portion of succulent Abanico de cerdo. All dishes were served with French fries.

Desserts on offer were fresh cherries, currently in season, or brownies or whiskey tart. The menus included a half bottle of house wine – a very acceptable white Verdejo/Airén blend and a Tempranillo/Cabernet Sauvignon both branded Soca. Including some extra bottles of wine, coffees and brandy the total cost p.p. amounted to €19.40. Good value for good food.

 

 

 

MH 73   

 

Apr 142017
 
MASIA SANT JAUME ,         BENISSA,  9652702 36/ 625297629

 ★★★☆☆ 

Heading for the top…

Situated high above Moraira looking towards the spectacular Peñon de Ifach  is this newly opened restaurant run by the same family which runs the ever-popular El Chamizo in Moraira. Pedants will point to the fact that the restaurant is technically not in Moraira – it is in the coastal section of Benissa – and so that is the category in which we must place it.

The setting is marvellous, with a choice of seating either indoors or on the really spacious terrace area outside, with great views.

The eight of us failed to bring our swimming trunks, so missed out on the chance to have a dip in the pool. Those who tried the washrooms announced that they were definitely  five star, but as we do not have a separate category for loos, we will leave that to one side…

The menu del dia, priced at €18, turned out to be a less-than-perfect way to showcase this lovely venue. The choice  – from 3 starters and 3 mains, was limited and really did not do justice to what will surely turn into a very popular dining attraction. The food started with an amuse bouche of spinach croquettes – uninspiring but pleasant.

For starters we were split between those selecting a tasty and nourishing codfish casserole (potage de vigilia) and those who opted for the excellent Mozarella and tomato salad (ensalada caprese). 

 

No-one chose the gazpacho, but the bread rolls were especially worthy of note, served with the usual choice of allioli or tomato concasse.

For mains (one meat course, one fish course and one vegetarian) most of us selected the grilled chicken – really tasty, and with the vegetables just on the right side of being al dente. Two of us chose the salmon plancha  and pronounced it to be excellent. No-one ventured  to try the espaguetti con calabacin

For postres there were the usual choices including ice cream, fresh fruit and so on. As it was Good Friday most of us opted for the torrijas – A Spanish Easter treat similar to French toast and made with honey, served with cream rich in cinnamon.

There was a good wine selection on offer and our host chose the verdejo known as Cyatho at €12.50 a bottle, and a rather pleasant red – Marques de Griňon at €19.50. Service throughout reflected the fact that this was a very busy time of the year, and no doubt things are still settling in after having opened as recently as the end of March. In other words, service was a bit slow, resulting in meals not being as hot and fresh as they might have been. We would expect this sort of wrinkle to be ironed out as the weeks go by, and the general consensus was that this was exactly the sort of place we would happily come back to with our partners, on a fine summer’s evening.

Cost p.p. €31.85

MR  72                                                                                                                               Visit the website for the restaurant here