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

 

Nov 042016
 
CUINA DE DOS,                BENISSA      965730789

 ★★★☆☆ 

It takes two to dine… plus two.

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Situated off the square just opposite the ‘cathedral’ in Benissa, Cuina de Dos (“Cooking for Two”) is an unprepossessing bar on a pedestrian thoroughfare. We were able to park close by, and found the dining area pleasant and full of Spaniards – always a good sign!

The Menu del dia at 13.50 euros gave us a reasonable choice – three starters and three main courses.

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The starters included a creamy vegetable soup, an impressively generous (and tasty)  goats cheese salad, and a crepe filled with salmon and cheese. The latter was delicious, but requests to have it heated rather than tepid seemed to be a step too far, which was a pity because it was otherwise quite splendid.dsc01521

 

For our main course we were divided between the merluza a la plancha – an excellent and succulent hake – and a pork tenderloin with a delicious cheese sauce. The fries were overlooked on one of the dishes, but this was quickly put right, and the general view was that the meal was really very tasty.

Our host departed from the wines included in the menu, on account of the fact that he had a book published and was celebrating, so we had a very good Albarino (Mar de Frades) and a Rioja (Ramon Bilbao).

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For sweets we chose tiramisu (home made) and cheese cake (ditto) and both were considered good. The “chocolate biscuit” was certainly chocolate-y, and if the clean plate afterwards was anything to go by was well received!

Coffees and Magno brandies were included on the bill without extra charge – making for a good, solid, three-star dining experience,  much enjoyed by those present.

 

MR  74

Jul 012016
 

BAR FRAU,           BENISSA

 ★★★☆☆ 

Benissa landmark

Benissa landmark

Located at the northern entrance of Benissa, Bar Frau is a substantial building that once served as a bus terminal. Whilst you might not select Bar Frau to impress your girlfriend, it  is well supported by truck drivers, sales reps and tradesmen for the good reason that it offers good food and drink at a very competitive price.

The menu del día costs €9 including a half bottle of wine. The food was enjoyable and our lunch which included a brandy cost just €12 p.p.

WE REVISITED THIS RESTAURANT ON JUNE 19; 2020; AND IT WAS RATED 2 STARS !

PD 73

Jun 242016
 
DSC01262 DSC01270 DSC01272 DSC01274 DSC01264 DSC01261MANDALA BEACH BAR,             BENISSA        965747847

 ★★★☆☆ 

Pricey lunch on the Med

The Mandala Beach Bar is located in a small cove called Cala La Fustera on Benissa Costa between Moraira and Calpe. The setting is stunning and the food´s not bad either!

Our host had agreed a menu del día with the chef of Mandala whereby we had four starters and then we could choose a main course and a dessert. This menu was priced at €25 but did not include any drinks.

We settled into our comfortable surroundings overlooking the Mediterranean and had a beer to chill out. Our host selected an Albariño called La Caña (€21) and a Rioja called El Niño (€16) to accompany the lunch and both did so admirably.

On the food side, first up were two croquetas, the ham and cheese quite tasty, but the prawn version a bit bland. Thereafter we had a dish of Sepia or cuttlefish which was good. The fish theme continued with deep fried baby squid or chopitos, which were excellent. Finally we concluded with really fresh mussels.

For main course there was a choice of paella, grilled dorado or sea bream, or for meat lovers,  an entrecote and everyone was satisfied with their choice. There were three desserts on offer:  apple strudel, tiramisu and a nutty brownie – all good.

All in all a very enjoyable lunch in wonderful surroundings, however not by any means cheap. Together with our coffies and brandies the lunch cost a hefty €50.33 p.p.

PH 72

Apr 082016
 
CASA CANTO,            BENISSA       965730629

 ★★★★☆ 

Elegance in Benissa casa canto 012

Casa Canto is a long established elegant restaurant at 237 Avenida Pais Valencia, at the Calpe end of the main street running through Benissa. The restaurant is well appointed with wonderful views across the countryside overlooking the Mediterranean onto the landmark Peñon de Ifach.

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The menu del día costs €25 including three starters, a main course, dessert and a half bottle of house wine.

The first of the starters was a couple of cocas which are mini pizzas and very tasty they were. However they were eclipsed by the foie gras served with a delicious homemade fruit sauce. The third starter was a substantial and refreshing salad of prawns and oranges.casa canto 006

The house wines accompanying our lunch were a Ruedo Verdejo called Viña Mayor and an Alicante Monastrell called Mo, both priced at €12.

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For main course one of our party had the house rice dish of the day, whilst the rest of us chose cod with pine nuts and almonds, or beef cheek served with a Pedro Ximinez sauce. Everyone was pleased with their choice.

The selection of desserts was traditional for the region; crema catalana, flan de turron and sorbete de limón –all good. Together with coffees and brandies our elegant lunch cost €33.20 p.p. and was worth it.casa canto 015

SL 78  Casa Canti Benissa

Nov 062015
 
PA LIQUID,             BENISSA           865609950

 ★★★☆☆ 

Liquid lunch?003

Pa Liquid translates from Valencian into Liquid Bread and this restaurant appears to be so named because it has over 80 different beers on offer.

The restaurant is to be found at 2, Calle Joan de Joanes at the top of Benissa just off the Avenida de Valencia.011
The façade is modest and the interior much like a pub, with the food offering written in chalk on two large blackboards on the wall.

There is a menu del día priced at €12 but only from Monday to Thursday, so we opted for a selection of six tapas which were provided for the menu price.
First up was a salad of lettuce with pieces of cheese and bacon. We moved onto some delicious mussels and thereafter very fresh calamares à la plancha.

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Although there were 80 different beers available we chose to stay with wine to accompany our lunch –a Rueda Verdejo called Carrasviñas and the red called Quinta del Obispo from Castilla y León.006
Our fourth tapa course was fried eggs, potatoes and jamon iberico served with shavings of foie gras – wonderful!

The final courses were freshly made meatballs and really tasty grilled cerdo iberico secreto.

Pa Liquid produces simple, unpretentious cuisine served by attentive, friendly staff and deserves to do well. Our enjoyable tapas lunch, including coffees and brandies, cost €21.90 p.p.pa liquid 001
MR 73

May 082015
 
LA BUENA VIDA,            BENISSA            966499900

 ★★★★☆ 

The good life on Benissa costa002

Although most people associate the name Benissa with the hilltop capital of the Marina Alta, the Benissa hinterland includes an area that is heavily populated with villas along the coast between Moraira and Calpe and, at 93 Avenida de las Marinas, the comfortable restaurant La Buena Vida is to be found.

 

La Buena Vida has an elegant modern décor inside and a substantial covered terrace outside. 014005

The menu del día is priced at €15.90 for three courses and a glass of wine.
There was a choice of three starters and we selected rather chewy calamares à la romana and an uninspiring salad. These were accompanied by a pleasant Rueda Verdejo called Colagón (€12.90).
The lunch improved however when the main courses were presented. A tender cod steak, a chicken korma and an absolutely delicious secreto de cerdo steak that was sliced into pieces of pork that melted in the mouth. 008

We were encouraged by the owner, who is clearly passionate about wines, to try the house red which was a vino de finca called Dominio de Fontana (€13.50), and very good it was too.012
For desserts we all selected the chocolate mousse and were not disappointed. With coffees and brandies our lunch in this seaside suburbia cost €27.60 p.p.

 

MH 75  buscard1 001  buscard2 001

Mar 202015
 
LA CULTURAL DE BENISSA,     BENISSA      965731949

 ★★★★☆ 

Not enough of the right noise 012

This grandly named restaurant is run by the same family who used to have the Bon Gust establishment, also in Benissa. Their new venture is located in the Casa Cultural in the mediaeval quarter at 28 Calle Purisima and consists of a partitioned off section of a substantial bar and separate cafeteria in Benissa´s Cultural Centre.

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We were their only customers, although they were apparently fully booked the day before, on the feast of San José. The menu del día costs €15 and includes a half bottle of house wine, in this case a Rueda Verdejo with the bizarre name of K-naia.

For starters we had calamares á la romana, croquetas of cod, albondigas (meatballs) in an almond sauce and pelotas which are cabbage leaves stuffed with mince and pine nuts, all tasty.005

For main course we tried the arroz á banda and deliciously sweet pigs cheek. Our host splashed out on the reliable Rioja Muga which was on special offer of €28 for a magnum or the equivalent of €14 for a standard bottle compared with their house wine at €11.

The desserts were all made on the premises and included brownies, tarta de chocolata and flan. 010
The meal would have been more atmospheric if there had been other customers to drown out the sound of some noisy wine fridges. Nonetheless an enjoyable lunch that cost €21.17 p.p. coffee and brandy included.
LdD 76                          Buscard 001 (2)

Jun 202014
 
DSC00561CASA EL PEON,    PINOS,  BENISSA                    629655035

 ★★★☆☆ 

Rural treat

Pinos is a small village some 7 kms from Benissa on the CV 749 which is the road leading to the spectacular Sierra Bernia. There are wonderful views of this mountain range from Casa el Peón as well as of Calpe and the Peñon de Ifach.

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The restaurant which also operates as a B & B, has a pleasant shaded terrace area which was mainly populated by French lunchers when we arrived. The menu is an extensive folder of photographs of tapas and main courses which would suggest that most of their guests are foreigners rather than Spanish.

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The food however, from the alioli to the Paella, was very Spanish, homemade and freshly prepared. We selected six tapas dishes to share and all of them were delicious; calamares à la romana, mixed salad, Russian salad, broad beans, grilled gambas and embutidos – a selection of grilled sausages and black pudding.DSC00567
We had the house white wine a Viura called Don Darias (€8) and our host generously traded up to a Rioja Reserva called Campillo priced at €23.

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For our main courses we had a meat and vegetable Paella, a mixed grill and fried eggs with grilled vegetables. Together with coffees and brandies our agreeable rural lunch in the hills cost €26.80 p.p.

LdD  72