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

 

 

Mar 292019
 
LA XERNA DEL MAR,                    DENIA          966488822

 ★★★☆☆ 

Modern Mediterranean

Calle Sandunga is one of the many streets in Denia´s old fishing village which has been renovated with traditional cobblestones. La Xerna del Mar is to be found at no.50 amongst numerous other restaurants in this old part of the town.

 

La Xerna only opened in September 2018 and has a very modern but Mediterranean feel about it with its blue, white and gold decoration and an open air terrace.

The menu del día is priced at €19.50 for three courses and includes pan y alioli, but no drinks, and this what we all opted for. We shared the first course of mixed salad, cocas and an octopus dish with sobrasada which is a spicy Majorcan sausage, and vegetables. Delicious.

We continued with all three main dishes on offer – arroz meloso, one with mariscos and the other with duck which turned out to be rather disappointing. There was a separate duck dish without rice.

Our host selected Marques de Cáceres Verdejo (€15.50) and a Ribero del Duero, Prado Rey (€18) both most enjoyable.

For dessert we opted for crème caramel and a Manchego cheesecake.

 

Coffees and chopitos offered by the house, completed our pleasant lunch in relaxing surrounding, Cost p.p. €32.87

PM 73

Mar 222019
 
LA COCINA,                     JAVEA      965795140

 ★★★★★ 

World class kitchen

Nestled not far from the port of Javea, but far enough to deter the bucket & spade brigade, La Cocina or, to give it its full title, La Cocino del Mundo, is truly a wonderous kitchen from which comestible delights spring.

 

The décor of La Cocina is gentle and soothing.

The owners, who run the restaurant themselves, are proud of their menu from many parts of the world and are extremely careful to advise diners of the constituent elements of each dish, lest someone is intolerant of or dislikes a specific food.

Our party was presented with a two course menu, within which the first course offerings were all gluten free. In fact each dish was labelled with a list of fourteen potential allergic causes, from peanuts to seafood. Whilst waiting for our choices to be served we nibbled on pan rustica with alioli, reminiscent of the French cheese Boursin.

The items selected were an onion bhaji with salad leaves, a coca with mushrooms in a creamy sauce, baked Camembert, a goat´s cheese salad with onion from Amsterdam and beetroot relish and a dish of tacos with prawns. Each was consumed with delight.

The second course selections included a beef pie, a fish gratin that had a parmesan topping and a prawn curry that incurred a €1 surcharge on the fixed price of €16.50.

Comments ranged from “substantial” (prawn curry), “lovely and moist” (cajun chicken) and “delicious” (fish gratin). One diner was disappointed that the pastry for the beef pie was balanced on top of the beef rather than as a proper pie.

Our host selected the house wines: the white called Ocean, a monovarietal Montilla-Moriles 2017 and a red Tempranillo from Navarra called Castillo Monjardin. Both wines were pleasant and cost €11.

One member opted for dessert at an extra €5 for apple crumble with ice cream which he reported as not having too much cinnamon – so that´s alright!

With coffees and post-prandial liqueur of choice this elegant lunch cost €27.74 p.p.

PD 80

Mar 152019
 
CASA ROLANDO,          CALPE        965831052

 ★★★★☆ 

No Misteaks at Casa Rolando

Located at no.3 C/ Dr. Fleming, a shady street in downtown Calpe, Casa Rolando is a small intimate Argentinian restaurant.

 

Efficiently run by a well known Argentinian husband and wife team, it is very popular with both Spanish and Expats alike as it offers really good value menus del día, which particularly appeal to staunch canivores.

Priced at just €9.90, the two course menu del día includes bread, a drink, and dessert or coffee. The starters on offer were cod stew, casseroled eggs or mixed salad.

Thereafter the choice was a sea-food noodle dish called fideuá de mariscos, oven-baked pork lomo or fried whiting.

 

Three of our group upgraded to the €19 menu which included an Argentinian style pasty, or salad, followed by beef fillet or a Galician entrecote.

Both were excellent and were accompanied by the very acceptable house wine from La Mancha called Ramon Corta.

Desserts were the usual flan, ice cream or profiterolls.

 

Casa Rolando is a cosy atmospheric restaurant and it is important to book your table as it fills up early, both at lunchtime and in the evening.

Cost p.p. €18.98

MH 75