Jun 282019
 
GRAELLES,                JAVEA        646592053

 ★★★☆☆ 

Lunch beside the seaside

Graelles is a well presented restaurant located at Avenida Mediterraneo 22, which is the stretch of coast between the Parador hotel and the port of Javea.

The menu del día is priced at €12.50 and the starters on offer were a plentiful salad, prawn cocktail and calamares. For main course we enjoyed fried bacalao (cod).

Our host selected red and white wines from the Requena area under the same brand name of Audentia and both were more than acceptable and priced at €13.50.

Dessert was a combination of cheesecakes, “iced coffees” and chocolate cake. If none of the food drew great acclaim, the general view was that it was all acceptable and very good value although our wine consumption lifted the cost p.p. to €29.90.

RH 72

Jun 212019
 
VENTA ROJA,        LLIBER           965731039

 ★★☆☆☆ 

Gastronomía inglesa

We have eaten in Venta Roja on numerous occasions, including 2016 and 2013, as it has changed hands many times over the years. It is situated in a substantial building in the Lliber vineyards on the CV750 road between Benissa and Jalon.

The new owners, John and Tina Allsopp, have operated other restaurants in the Costa Blanca and took over at Venta Roja in early May this year. The restaurant is vast and includes a large terrace for outdoor dining.

The menu del día now costs €17.95 for three courses and a drink. For starters our party selected  homemade pate and tomato soup before moving on to the main course options of fresh langostines, pork loin with pepper sauce, steak and ale pie and fish and chips. The cuisine had a definite English feel to it.

The house wines, both red and white were called Viña Martín from Rioja and priced at €8.95.

Some of our group had apple pie with ice cream or lemon meringue for dessert. The rest opted for coffee and chopitos of brandy which were provided by the house. Apart from one member, we were satisfied by our experience at Venta Roja which cost €27.25 p.p.

 

KK 61

 

 

Jun 142019
 
CAFETERIA LA CULTURAL,         TEULADA    965740002

 ★★★☆☆ 

A cultural experience?

Located on the Plaza de la Constitucion, this canteen appears to serve as the eating place for the Teulada local government.  It is vast and accordingly is a bit off-putting. However the food served and its value for money soon dispelled our early doubts.

The menu del diá is priced at just €11 including a half bottle of Los Señores wine.

There was a choice of eight starters on offer and most of us chose mussels or fried boquerones – both very satisfying.

 

For main course there were three rice dishes, three fish dishes and five meat dishes to choose from. Again most of us opted for roast chicken, lamb and fritura de pescado and we were not disappointed.

 

Our host traded up on the wine to a white Cariñena called Don Mendo (€8.50).

 

 

The dessert was a Macedonia with ice cream. Including coffees and brandies our cultural experience in Teulada cost €17.60 p.p.

 

 

PH 74

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 172019
 
BODEGA DEL PUERTO,        DENIA          96578921

 ★★★★★ 

Five star bodega

Bodega del Puerto is located at Plaza Fontanella 8, in the traditional Baix de la Mar barrio of Denia opposite the fishing port and a couple of streets away from the new tapas centre called Magazinos.

For some 35 years it was a renowned wine and spirit shop and it is only in the last seven years that it became a restaurant too. The transformation  successfully managed to retain the original character of the bodega and now in addition to selling wines, it offers traditional Spanish dishes.

There are several menus del día on offer ranging in price from €14.50 up to €22 p.p. and we chose one costing €14.90 whereas some of our group decided to go á la carte and chose gambas al ajillo which were outstanding, followed by pigs cheek, both dishes cost €8.90 each.

The menu del día started with a mixed salad with tuna, followed by mousse de foie, both tasty; thereafter we enjoyed 500 gm T bone chuleton gallego shared between two and a light dessert of caramelised French toast.

 

 

Our host selected the white house wine which was Musgo Verdejo from Rueda (€9.90) and a Rioja called Coto Mayor (€13.40) – both superb.

 

 

 

 

This most enjoyable lunch cost €25 p.p.

PM 80

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

 

May 032019
 
L´ALMASSERA,               TORMOS       653939289

 ★★★☆☆ 

Impressed in Tormos

Tormos is a small village situated on the CV 715 between Orba and Pego. At Calle San Antonio 21, in the Ayuntamiento building, the former village cooperative olive mill (Almàssera in Valenciano) has been pressed into service by the town hall as a restaurant and appears to serve as a delightfully untidy, but interesting social centre of sorts for the locals, complete with the usual high decibel ambient noise.

The restaurant boasts a south facing covered terrace which affords great views of the countryside. The unpretentious décor indoors includes bric á brac of the former olive press business.

 

Whether you eat inside or out, there is an extensive and reasonably priced menu and a wide selection of tapas.

The menu del día ranges from €8.50 to €15, depending on your choice of main course. The menu includes a half bottle of wine or a beer, as well as dessert or coffee.

Our group chose cocktail de gambas, grilled goat´s cheese, wild mushroom cocktail and a home-made chicken soup. All good.

 

 

For main course we had a very generous portion of liver and onions, grilled sole and grilled pork. The approval level was reflected by the empty plates.

Our host decided to go with the house wines – both called Alcanta so unsurprisingly from Alicante. The red was 12.5% and the white 11% and acceptable for house wine.

We concluded our enjoyable, unpretentious lunch with coffees and copas or chopitas of brandy resulting in a modest cost of just €14.21 p.p.

MH 70

 

 

Apr 262019
 
CAL XIXONERO,                 JALON      966482041

 ★★★☆☆ 

Could do better

Cal Xixonero is located at Avenida Juan Carlos I, no. 23 which is in the same street as the Jalon post office. We last visited this restaurant in 2016 when it was Dracula´s Memories and run under different management; in fact the chef and staff of Dracula recently moved back to Rte. Pedramala where we had lunch on April 12 2019.

The new restaurant in Jalon had been open for a couple of weeks when we had lunch there. It had been thoroughly renovated and is spacious with soft colours, although perhaps lacking in wall decoration.

 

There were two menus, one priced at €15 and the other at €16.50, neither including wine and we all opted for the latter.

 

 

 

We nearly all chose the croquettas de gambas with cauliflower mayonnaise and crunchy seaweed which was enjoyable but somewhat lacking in prawns.

Our loner went for Espuma de Boniata, a sweet potato foam with crispy eggs, sobrasada and asparagus which he enjoyed.

 

Our host selected a white Alberiño called Marieta (€15) and Beronia Rioja 2015 crianza (€18), both enjoyable.

 

For main course most of us went for solomillo de cerdo and the others for chicken breast. Unfortunately both main courses were served on cold plates and were sent back to be warmed up. The chicken was very good but the pork undercooked and lacking in a bit of colour on the plate.

We completed our lively lunch with chocolate flan, ice cream and lavacake followed by coffees and chopitos of brandy. The service in this new restaurant can only improve.

 

Cost p.p. €29.60

 

LdD 69

Apr 122019
 
RTE. PEDRAMALA,          PEDRAMALA          642014515

 ★★★★★ 

Stunning!

This restaurant is in a stunning location overlooking the Peñon de Ifach on the Carretera la Fustera between Benissa and Calpe.

 

 

It recently closed for several months but thankfully has reopened under some of the former team who had been operating a restaurant in Jalon and it is better than ever!

Although the patio area has wonderful views we chose to eat inside in the very comfortable dining room.

There is a menu del día priced at €22 and we started with individual portions of pan alioli & tomate. This was followed by pate or beef consommé.

 

 

The house wines were a red from Toledo called Acantus and a Verdejo from the Felix Solis stable called Orquestra, both pleasant and priced at €9.90.

 

 

The main courses included lamb shank, pork tenderloin and a fish called Corvina (or Croaker in English) all beautifully presented and delicious.

 

Desserts included chocolate brownie, ice cream and pannacota. A convivial time was had by all and this restaurant is highly recommended.

 

Cost p.p. €31.40.

PH 80

Apr 052019
 
BUDDHA EYES TANDOORI,          PEGO        965088159

 ★★★★☆ 

The eyes have it!

This is the first time the club has visited Pego, a very Spanish town, largely untainted by foreign tourists. The Buddha Eyes Tandoori restaurant is located at C/San Rafael 12.

The owners of Buddha Eyes are from Nepal and we were warmly welcomed by mother and daughter.

Whilst studying the extensive menu we were served popadoms with delicious chutneys which we washed down with beers.

 

There is a menu del día  priced at €25.90 (including wine) for two people, but we all went á la carte starting with onion bhajis and meat samosas with salad. Really fresh and delicious.

 

 

The main course included lamb madras, chicken karahi and chicken tikka jalfre,  a mixed grill along with several side dishes including rice and two types of naan bread.

By this stage we switched to wine, a Ribero del Duero called Portia (€15).

 

All in all a delicious lunch which cost €27.34

BL 75