CANDE, JAVEA

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Jan 262018
 
CANDE,                JAVEA       965795990

 ★★★☆☆ 

Good food let down by house wines

Restaurante Cande is located at Cristo del Mar, 20 in the old port of Javea. The façade is modest enough but the restaurant inside, which has been run by three Spanish sisters for over 20 years, is comfortable and homely. There are some interesting photographs on the walls of the Javea coast before the area was developed.

The menus del día are featured on publicity boards outside the entrance and are priced at €12 and €15; we tried both.

 

 

 

 

For starters we chose soup, steamed mussels and entremeses – a selection of cold meats. All were enjoyable. However the accompanying house wines were decidedly disappointing. The white called Rioblanca was thin at just 11.5% and the red called El Primar was equally sad but perhaps the price of just €3.50 should have warned us. Fortunately our host traded up to a verdejo from Tierra del Castilla called Mataespesa (€12.50) and a Rioja Crianza from the Torres stable called Altos Ibéricos (€14) were much more acceptable.

 

Our main course selections were grilled sole, pork chops with a pepper sauce and stuffed loin of pork with prune sauce. All good.

Desserts were limited to sliced orange in a Cointreau sauce or flan. The cost of our lunch in Cande, including coffees and brandies, amounted to €22.33.

 

KK 68              

Jan 052018
 
GUANTANAMERA,             DENIA        966431483

 ★★★☆☆ 

Cubano or Mexicana ?

Guantamera is one of many restaurants driving north from Denia on the carretera Las Marinas and is to be found at km 2.6. It proclaims it has authentic “Cocina Cubano-Mexicana” .

One enters Guantanamera via a rather anonymous enclosed terrace where surprisingly smoking is permitted. We chose to lunch in the small restaurant inside which can only accomodate about 30 guests but is smoke free.

 

 

There is an extensive á la carte menu of both Mexican and Cuban dishes or you can opt for their menu del día which costs a modest €8.50, including a half bottle of wine.  

One of our group chose from the á la carte option and had a substantial quesadilla de gambas, a mexican style tortilla which he shared amongst the rest of us. He followed up with Mexican chicken tacos. The cost of these two tasty dishes amounted to €15.45 not including any wine.

From the menu del día our group selected cold prawns, fresh sardines and steamed mussels. These were followed by a beef broth or gazpacho.

For main course we chose lamb chops, pork chops and swordfish all served with puréed potatoes or rice.

 

The house wines were Adelum, a Sauvignon blanc from Alicante, and Senorio de Los Llanos, the well-known Tempranillo from Valdepeñas.  Together with coffees and brandy our taste of Cuba/Mexico cost just €18.87 p.p.

MH 74                    

 

Dec 152017
 
BON VENT,              SIERRA DE BERNIA       969659554

 ★★★☆☆ 

Rustic lunch in the mountains

Bon Vent is located at km11.5 on the CV-749 which is the road that climbs from Jalon towards the spectacular Sierra Bernia mountain range. The restaurant has only recently reopened after being closed for two years.

 

Bon Vent is a typical rural Spanish restaurant with a spacious interior and an exterior dining/drinking area with wonderful views of Sierra Bernia. There is plenty of parking space and during fine weather the restaurant attracts groups of walkers. It was a chilly December day when we visited and only one other table was occupied, however the dining area was kept surprisingly warm by a wood-burning stove and an open fire in the kitchen.

The price of the menu is dependent on the main course chosen, and consists of tapas, a main course, dessert and a half bottle of wine.

 

 

We chose the substantial lamb chops (€20) and grilled rabbit and garlic (€18) which would benefited from the rabbit being cooked in the garlic rather than alongside it.

The improving Marnes wine from the Jalon cooperative accompanied our meal.

 

Our honest rustic lunch in a beautiful setting, high in the mountains cost €23.66 p.p. including coffee and brandy.

JS 69                     

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                   

Nov 042017
 
RESTAURANTE BISTRO, MORAIRA.   96 574 4568

 ★★★☆☆ 

 

A bistro by any other name

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Naming your eaterie ‘Restaurant Bistro’ may seem a bit unimaginative, and it must be difficult to stand out from the crowd when you are cheek-by-jowl with a number of other restaurants crammed around the Plaza de la Sort – the square right by the seafront in the centre of Moraira, next to the Club Nautico car park. It almost seems to be part of its neighbour, D’gust, but it turned out to be a good three-star place to eat. Centrally located, it offers a good choice of dishes for the Menu del Dia, priced at a reasonable 15 euros.

Coated mushrooms…

Mussels…

For starters we were offered mussels, calamares, mushrooms in breadcrumbs, melon with ham and mixed salad. We tried the first three and found them good. This was followed up by a popular solomillo de cerdo, with  a tasty pimento sauce; lenguado de la plancha (described as being ‘good but would have been better with some tartare sauce’); chicken pieces on a skewer; merluza (hake) and a spag. bol. which proved to be too big for one of our number.

Lenguado a la plancha….

Solomillo de Cerdo …

 

 

 

 

 

 

The postres turned out to be the usual Spanish offering of flan, flan or flan – actually there were profiteroles as well. Nothing to write home about, but presented well by an energetic and helpful member of staff. Coffees and brandies were offered by our generous host – an offer matched by the proprietor.

The ubiquitous crème caramel

Profiteroles…

The menu del dia would have included wine but this was declined in favour of the ever-drinkable Mantel, using verdejo grapes from Rueda and priced at 17 euros a bottle. The red wine lovers opted for a bottle of Ramon Bilbao at a couple of euros more.

All in all a pleasant lunch in the November sunshine, by the seaside. Who could ask for anything more?

The cost per head came to 28.25 euros.

74 PH                 

Oct 202017
 
CA PINET, ALCALALI        96 588 42 29

 ★★★☆☆ 

Keeping the (red) flag flying!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those people who remember the original Ca Pinet at Tarbena will recall a slightly dingy bar off the square, more like a museum than a restaurant, run ‘single-handedly’ by a man who revelled in the glories of a communist past. The walls were festooned with pictures of the proprietor, alongside Che Guevara, Nikita Khrushchev and Fidel Castro. This shrine to a communist past seemed welded to the spot, so it is with some surprise to find that it has moved lock, stock and barrel to Alcalali, where it occupies a site formerly taken by an Indian restaurant, and before that, by Los Almendros.

You cannot miss it: it is painted bright red (of course) and even the business card and menu sport a hammer and sickle. Most of the menu is taken up, not with food, but with pictures of a glorious past, full of unfulfilled promise and heroic poses by long-forgotten leaders of the communist brotherhood. The walls are still festooned with newspaper clippings and photographs, and the place is dominated by pictures of the original proprietor – it is still a shrine, and a fascinating one at that.

The menu features dishes of the day, based around the usual favourites such as paella, fideuada and what is termed gazpacho. No, not the watery tomato/almond-based soup of the Andalusian South, but a full-bodied stew, made from either fish or meat, padded out with squares of pasta and floating in a tasty stock. But first we had a selection of sausages and black puddings, the morcillas and salchichones, including  delicious embutidos laced with honey and served with walnuts. Scrumptious!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was followed up by the ubiquitous tuna salad with its predictable ingredients of  a bit of tinned tuna, half a boiled egg, a few slices of onion and crisp lettuce leaves. Predictable – but good. That left us fired up for the main course…

Four of us chose the gazpacho, one pair opting for the fish gazpacho, the other for the chicken-based meat alternative, and very good indeed they turned out to be. Another diner chose the chicken, and all of us enjoyed the feast. It was followed up by the offer of different mousses – chocolate or lemon – and of course by custard cream. By then most of us had no room for puddings and opted for coffee and brandy.

The wines deserve mention: no wines were on offer other than those produced from Marnes, in the Jalon Valley, within a stone’s throw of where we were eating. The bottles had been re-labelled with the name of the restaurant, and the red was , much to our surprise, not bad at all and provided excellent value.

Overall we were all agreed: Ca Pinet is not a place to rush to with your wife or partner, but as a venue for a group outing – it was well worth a try and was considerably better than we expected. Long live the revolution!

The cost per head came to 24 euros.

MR 70   

 

 

Oct 062017
 
THE KATHMANDU,              MORAIRA        966492436

 ★★★☆☆ 

Nice Nepalese nosh

 

There are four restaurants in the Kathmandu chain and this one is located at km 1.5 on the Moraira to Calpe road, close by the long established Restaurante Gemisant. The Kathmandu is staffed by friendly and helpful Nepalese.

We decided to lunch on the suave terrace rather than in the somewhat sombre interior of the restaurant.

 

 

The menu del día is extensive and priced at €13.95 for three courses.

We had a selection of delicious starters including Onion Bhaji, Tandoori chicken and Sheek kebab and so generous were the portions that some of us struggled to finish our main course and had to ask for takeaway bags.

 

For main course we selected Madras dishes of lamb, chicken, beef or prawn accompanied with really fine naan bread and some pulau rice.

 

 

The house wines were Valencian called Acantus, both acceptable.

Together with coffees or desserts and a complimentary brandy our Nepalese experience cost just €22.96 p.p.

KK 69

 

 

Sep 292017
 
PISCINA DE ORBA,         ORBA          965583372

 ★★★☆☆ 

An Italian job in Orba

The Marina Alta offers a comprehensive panoply of ethnicities when it comes to lunching out and this time we decided to sample a slice of Italy.

Situated in Orba´s municipal sports park, this long established restaurant/pizzeria is owned and run by affable Marcelo whose culinary skills are matched by his Italian charm. The restaurant is vast and the décor pretty basic. There is a substantial terrace area for al fresco dining and that is where chose to lunch.

 

 

Although there was a limited €10 menu del da on offer our group all chose to go á la carte.

 

 

Among the appetising starters selected were mussels cooked in a piquant pepper sauce, melon with serrano ham, beef carpaccio and bresaola – a typical Italian speciality.

 

Our main course selections included spaghetti with a seafood sauce, fresh sea bass, veal escalope, Mexican style prawns, mixed grill, veal escalope and pizza carbonara.

The portions of all dishes were substantial and served simultaneously – a feat in itself and a tribute to the kitchen staff.

For wines our host selected a white called Airen and an unassuming red called Diego de Amagro, both from Valdepeñas and reasonably priced at just €4.

For desserts we enjoyed large profiteroles, cheesecake, tiramisu and chocolate and pear tart  along with other delights. The all in cost for this enjoyable lunch, just €23 p.p.

MH 70

 

 

 

Sep 222017
 
COLL DE RATES,         TARBENA           966445604

 ★★★☆☆ 

On top of the world!

Coll de Rates is located at km 30 on the CV 715 which is the road from the Vall de Pop towards Tárbena and ultimately down to the coast at Benidorm.

 

 

The views from this landmark restaurant are out of this world, taking in the towns and villages of the Vall de Pop including Parcent, Alcalali, Jalon and Llíber.

 

 

The cuisine is decidedly German/Austrian in flavour. As the weather was quite windy we chose to take lunch inside although there is a substantial terrace area to enjoy the views on more clement days.

 

There is no menu del día unfortunately so the cost of lunch can creep up, in our case to €33.47 p.p.

Some of our members selected fish for starters including delicious garlic prawns (€11.90) and mejillones  marinera (€9.90) whereas others opted for Bavarian white sausages (€8.80) or onion soup.

For main course most of our group chose from the selection of schnitzels (€13.50) as well as spare ribs and pork fillet. The portions served in the Coll de Rates are substantial and some “doggy bags” were required.

 

 

 

 

 

The wines served are from the improving Jalon cooperative under their Marnes brand (€11.90) and were quite acceptable. We concluded our enjoyable lunch in the skies with brandy and coffees.

SL 69

 

Sep 152017
 
AOI TEPPANYAKI,       MORAIRA      965743094

 ★★★☆☆ 

Authentic Japanese cuisine

Aoi Teppanyaki Japanese restaurant is located in the Andrago commercial centre at km 1.9 on the Moraira Calpe coast road, along with numerous other restaurants including the recently relocated Les Bretonnes.

 

Whilst we lunched on the patio because of the sunny weather, the interior of Aoi is very chic with a row of teppanyaki grills to sit around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our members chose primarily from a selection of Sushi dishes (€15.95) and the menu del día (€10.45).

The menu del día started with some soya bean pods, miso soup and a salad, thereafter spring rolls before the main course of delicious tempura prawns and vegetable tempura.  

 

The selection of Sushi dishes was outstanding and greatly enjoyed by our group.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The house wines both red and white, were Nuriana from Aragon (€11.50).

This genuine Japanese experience cost €25.69 p.p. and the general concensus was that Aoi Teppanyaki will require further visits….

RM 73