May 112018
 
AMARE TAPAS,              JAVEA          965792602

 ★★★☆☆ 

Tapas with a sea view

This restaurant is part of a group of three similar restaurants that includes Amarre 152 which we had visited in the past. It is situated at Avenida del Mediterráneo  96, which is on the sea front a few hundred metres north of the Javea Parador. There is ample parking on the beach opposite.

 

As the name suggests, it is mainly a Tapas restaurant, but it does sport a menu del día priced at a modest €8.50 and two of group opted for this. They were served a slightly limp salad, followed by costillas, oven baked with a rich honey glaze. The ribs were deemed average, slightly on the dry side.

The remainder of the group indulged themselves in a wide variety of tapas, electing for huevos rotos with iberico ham (€7), sardinas (€4.50), garlic prawns (€6.50), croquetas of iberico ham (€4.00) and patatas bravas (€3.50). All good and no one went hungry.

 

Our host opted for a white Faustino Rivero Macabeo (€11), which was deemed thin and so we traded up to a Chardonnay (€14) also from Faustino and this was acceptable. The Faustino Tempranillo (€11) was also acceptable.

Desserts included Tiramisu, cheesecake and ice creams. Together with coffees and mistella offered by the house, our agreeable outing cost €23.07 p.p.

PD 69

May 042018
 
PREMIUM PLUS,              MORAIRA                 96 617 73 87

 ★★★★☆ 

‘Premium Plus’ means better than average

The name is not helpful: it tells you nothing about what the restaurant is trying to achieve.  Everywhere is ‘premium’, and adding a ‘plus’ to it says very little. But that minor carping comment aside, this restaurant is rather better than anticipated.

It is situated in a row of bars and restaurants, ending with the establishment called ‘Fishy Fishy’, situated close to the centre of Moraira along the road leading to Calpe. Our initial concern was with parking: Friday is market day in Moraira but we need not have worried. By two o’clock there was parking, free, right outside the restaurant, until five p.m.

We had the choice of sitting on the outside terrace but chose to dine inside, where we were further away from a large party. The interior was pleasant, if a little dark, and we  were greeted with a glass of cava each, complete with a selection of summer fruits floating (or sinking) in the glass. Not bad at all.

The menu del dia is priced at €24.20 and that gave us a choice of half a dozen starters (soup, salad with goats cheese, Caesar salad, liver parfait, seafood cocktail and gambas).     

Four of us chose the Menu (excellent  gambas – firm, tasty, and not oily – and a tasty seafood cocktail) while two of our number saved their appetites for the main course. There was a welcome little amuse bouche to start with, matched by a lovely home-made lemon sorbet between courses.

                                   

For the main course some of us had an excellent rack of ribs, beautifully cooked. One of us chose the salmon and pronounced it ‘good’ while another  chose the pork fillet. The others selected steak, in one form or another, including a rib-eye  for which he paid an extra six euros for the privilege. We could also have had chicken or duck breast, so there were no complaints about menu choice.

If there was a weak spot it was the desserts – two of us selected the chocolate mousse and ended up with an overpoweringly sweet concoction which had very little to do with chocolate and rather more to do with meringue pieces and a lot of artificial whipped cream. Maybe we should have stuck with the ubiquitous creme catalan, or the cheese tart, or even the dreaded brownie. One of us selected the cheese board – it looked varied and interesting.

After the meal we had coffees and were offered chopitos of a dark muscatel – on the house – but the lure of a decent brandy (Torres, but not on the house…) proved irresistible to some.

What made the meal was that the price included half a bottle of house wine, and especially as that house wine was not just ‘OK’ but excellent. If you judge an establishment by the quality of their house wine, this was very, very good indeed. For white wine lovers we had a sauvignon blanc, with a Finca Los Trenzones label, and for the red a 2017 Rioja roble called Cueva de Lobo (€12.10). Well received, and quickly put away!

All in all, a very decent meal which thoroughly deserved its four stars. The owner, a Turkish man from Bulgaria, is also responsible for the bar a couple of doors away called, simply, ‘Premium’ and although he seemed disappointed not to have got five stars, we think he did rather well. Cost p.p. €28.

MR   77

Apr 272018
 
MAÑET,          MORAIRA     966490181

 ★★★★★ 

Delightful experience

 

 

Located at Avenida del Portet 126, in the Portet area of Moraira,  Mañet is a guesthouse with a restaurant and a substantial outdoor area complete with bars and al fresco dining overlooking the Mediterranean.

The buildings are modern and understated.

We opted for eating indoors as the weather outside was a bit misty. The head waiter advised us that the menu del día cost €18.  For this we would each receive three starters, a main course and dessert.

The starters were Carpaccio, baked potato with goats cheese and a lamb pasta envelope. All delicious and stylishly presented.

 

 

 

Our host selected Marques de Griñon Rueda Verdejo (€18) and Viña Salceda 2015 Crianza from Rioja (€14.50) and they certainly complemented the dishes.

We were served an orange and cava sorbet before continuing on to our main course. The choices were Bonito, rice with noodles or Cerdo Iberico and we all chose this latter dish which was tasty and most enjoyable.

 

 

 

Finally our dessert was chocolate cake with ice cream and served with a glass of Pedro Ximénez sherry. Together with coffees our elegant lunch by the seaside in Moraira cost €31.56 p.p.

 

SL 84  

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    

YAHO, DENIA

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Apr 132018
 
YAHO,               DENIA          966432665

 ★★★★★ 

Outstanding!

This restaurant opened at the beginning of March 2018 in the building that once housed the Tourist Office on Calle Dr Manuel Lattur no.1 near the waterfront in Denia. It is close by the railway station which means there is ample parking nearby.

The owners have clearly invested in the transformation of the interior which is divided up into well designed elegant areas.

 

 

 

We were advised that there are other Yaho restaurants down the coast in Murcia  and in common with this one offer a mixture of Chinese, Thai and Japanese dishes.

The Monday to Friday menu del día costs a remarkable €10. There is an à la carte menu for evening diners which offers a menu for two persons at €36. Our lunch started with a delicious crispy salad served with a Thai sauce.

 

There followed a choice of spring roll, skewer of pork with Mongolian marinade or deep-fried cheese all of which were outstanding.

 

There were 8 dishes on offer for the main course and we chose spicy chicken Gon-bao, duck à la orange, fillet of tuna and tempura vegetable.

 

Accompanying the main course were delicious Chinese noodles, rice or potatoes.

Our host selected wines from the Tarragona region, the red called Armonica Reserva and the white Verdejo Faustino Rivera were both priced at a modest €6.95.

Finally for dessert we all had vanilla ice cream deep fried in batter. This outstanding four course lunch, including coffees and brandy cost just €15.60 p.p.

PM 84  

 

Apr 062018
 
PEPA PIZZA,         JAVEA      965792572

 ★★★☆☆ 

Much more than pizza

Pizzeria Pepa is one of the longest established (1983) restaurants on the Arenal in Javea and is under the same ownership as El Gaucho, also of Javea. Always busy, it is characterized by a wide selection of quality dishes, not just pizza, and a friendly, efficient service.

 

The menu del día ranges in price from €16 to €22 according to the main course selected.

The starters selected included baked camembert with a delicious cranberry salsa, beef carpaccio, albondigas and chicken salad, all well appreciated.

 

For main course most of our table chose spare ribs (€17) whereas some of our party opted for hamburger (€16) and Tagliatelle (€17.50).  The ribs though tasty were found to be a bit on the  chewy side and this undoubtedly affected the overall evaluation. The hamburger was excellent and the pasta though good, was excessive in quantity.

The meal was accompanied by, in the first place a house white from Jalon, but our host decided to trade up with a Rueda Verdejo (€12.50) called Centrum. The house red, also from Jalon was the well known Marnes brand.

For desserts the choice was three chocolates cake or tiramisu – both enjoyable.

We completed our pleasant lunch on the seafront with coffees and brandy and there is no reason to suppose that Pepa will not be around for another 45 years. Cost p.p. €24.80.

RH 71                                                                              

 

 

Mar 232018
 
BAR L´ ESTUFA              PARCENT      966405236

 ★★★☆☆ 

Hunger staved at the Stove Bar

 

A welcome port of call on a rather unsettled March day, Bar L´Estufa is situated at Avenida de Alicante 13, which is on the corner opposite the renowned Restaurante L´Era in Parcent at the western end of the Vall del Pop. Bar L´Estufa is an unassuming Spanish restaurant with a substantial outdoor patio area in a courtyard at the rear.

They offer a tapas menu at €9.90 or three menus del día priced at €10, €12 or €14. Most of us opted for the €12 menu but we also experienced the tapas offer and the highest priced menu. The menus included bread, a half bottle of wine and dessert.

For starters we had a chicken salad that was more than enough for two. Other starters chosen were stuffed aubergines, mussels and a substantial fish soup.

 

Main courses selected were pork fillet cooked à la plancha and which was tender and succulent, and a generous entrecote. The house wines were from Utiel-Requena both branded Monumento and whilst a bit light were palatable.

There was a large choice of desserts to choose from and together with coffees and brandy our hearty lunch cost €15.26 p.p.

MH 70    

 

Mar 162018
 
CA DORA,            GATA DE GORGOS          965757405/636225894

 ★★★☆☆ 

Simple cuisine, exceptional value

This family run restaurant is located at 97 Avenida Marina Alta, which is the main street running through Gata de Gorgos.

The dining area is notable for its high ceiling and simple furnishing; there is a patio courtyard which would be a pleasant option for dining in summer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The menu del dia is priced at just €10 including a half bottle of wine. We started off with a salad with chicken and bacon, macaroni with tomato and cheese and entremesas which turned out to be a rather disappointing plate of mixed cold meats straight from the packet.

 

 

 

 

 

The wines, both red and white, were from Alicante and branded Plaza de la Reina and priced at €6.

For main course we enjoyed grilled liver served with vegetables and roast chicken. One of our number had a homemade flan whilst the rest of us opted for coffees with either brandy or Baileys.

Cost per person for this simple lunch was a modest €13.12

RM 68

 

Mar 092018
 
MONROES CARVERY,             MORAIRA      965744114

 ★★★☆☆ 

Comfort food for ex pats

Monroes Carvery has been in the business of feeding an expatriate clientele for many years, and is currently run by a daughter of the founder. Pictures and photographs of the famous Marilyn abound, although the connection with the film star would appear to be tenuous.

There are three restaurants in this group, two called Munroes Cavery, one in Pedreguer and the other in Moraira and the Nags Head in Benidorm makes up the chain. We visited Munroes Carvery at 7 Calle Mar Negro which is just off the main road leading into the centre of Moraira. Ample shaded parking was available.

Munroes clearly catered for many patrons at a time, given the volume of tables and place settings, many of them outdoors. It would appear that it was geared more to the self- service cavery model rather waiter service. At summertime Monroes would probably come into its own with visiting expatriates from the U.K. seeking a refuge from Spanish cuisine.

The menu is slightly overwhelming because of its sheer size. There are two menus del día priced at €9.95 and €12.50, the latter includes a half bottle of wine.

For starters many of our group selected prawn cocktail and found it to be innocuous. Smoked mackerel accompanied by brown bread and the Caesar salad were both pronounced good.

 

The main course selection was a lot more varied. Two of our group opted for steak strips, one was tender the other less so.  

The traditional cod and chips were acceptable but the bacon burger was dry and required added sauce. A homemade steak and kidney pudding looked suspiciously like it had come from a tin, but tasted fine.

 

 

Our host selected an agreeable Verdejo Viura from Rioja called Azabache (€7.95) and a red from Cariñina called Monasterio de las Vinas (€9.95). This was found to be wanting so we switched to a Rioja red called 1000 Mojas (€7.95) and it was a definite improvement.

Desserts included a delicious meringue dish and our lunch concluded with the usual coffees and brandies and our bill worked out at just €18.74 p.p.

PD 69    

 

Feb 232018
 
THE BLACK APPLE,              JALON        966480324 & 610298190

 ★★★☆☆ 

What a buzz!

The Black Apple opened its doors just three weeks before our visit and is a welcome culinary addition to Jalon. It is located in the back of the landmark shop, Heidi´s Flowers, at the bottom of Avenida San Domenec where it meets Avenida Ray Juan Carlos.

After passing through the flower shop one enters the restaurant area which is tastefully decorated and there is an outside patio that will become a useful overflow area after the winter is over.

The owner and chef, Tom Francis has put together an innovative concept that is neither tapas or menu del día, but gives one the opportunity of going solo or sharing. There is a large blackboard displaying some six starter options ranging in price from €4.50 to €6.95 and three main courses at €9.95 each.

We selected two hearty vegetable soups, and shared baked Camembert with garlic, delicious fish cakes and potatoes stuffed with tuna, sun dried tomatoes and spring onions, but which were found to be on the heavy side.

Four of party selected a traditional ploughman´s lunch which was presented on a large wooden platter and included Scotch egg, cheddar cheese, ham, pickle and chutney.

 

The remainder of our group shared beautifully presented fisherman´s platters which were comprised of chilli prawns, shredded crab, mackerel pate, tuna, salmon and mussels.  Not knowing the size in advance most found both dishes too plentiful, but next time we will know better.

Our host chose the house wines (€8.50) to accompany our food, the white was a Rueda called Monasterio de Palazuelos and the red was a Navarra called Torrecilla – both enjoyable.

 

Despite having only recently opened its doors, The Black Apple was full of customers and was really buzzing; it should do very well. Total cost  €23.12 p.p.

RH  72