Jan 192018
 
BAR VARETES,            LLIBER          659243832/640788329

 ★★★★☆ 

Tapas under the False Pepper tree

 

The village of Lliber in the Vall de Pop, otherwise known as the Jalon Valley, must rank as one of the prettiest in the Marina Alta.

Many of the streets have had the tarmac stripped off to reveal to the original stone base and one street has a wonderful display of flowers outside each house.

 

 

 

 

There is a set of steps that is often used for wedding photographs and Lliber´s  imposing church overlooks the Plaza Mayor.

 

In fact when our group of lunchers are not heading to the coast we often meet for a pre-lunch drink in the Plaza Mayor under the False Pepper tree just outside Bar Varetes, one of three bar/restaurants in the village square. The tree has become a bit of a legend for freeing up the tongues of those sitting under it.

Bar Varetes changed hands in late 2017 and the new enthusiastic young team have developed the food offering, with a substantial tapas menu. There are almost 30 tapas dishes to choose from as well as other meat and fish plates but we selected a total of seven different tapas to share between us.

 

Our selection included a wonderful Pate del Hierro, Pelotas, Calamar á la romana, Gambas á la plancha, mini burgers called Figatelles and nicely spicey Patatas bravas.

The only tapa that did not meet with universal approval was the Aspencat, a dish of two grilled vegetables served cold.

The wines accompanying our delicious array of tapas were Dársena, a verdejo from Rueda (€9.50) and Montelciego from Rioja (€8.00).

We completed our lunch under the False Pepper tree with the usual coffees, but the brandies were very generously offered by the casa. The cost of this delightful, relaxed repast in the interior of the Marina Alta was a modest €17.17 p.p.

SL 79

 

 

Dec 082017
 
VOLTA I VOLTA,          JAVEA       96504823

 ★★★★☆ 

Subtle tastes and smiling faces

Our club previously visited this restaurant in 2011 when it was called La Musa and run by a Ukrainian family. It scored four stars then and achieved the same rating on this occasion. Volta i Volta is located in the rabbit warren of streets in the old town district of Javea, at Calle Santa Teresa 5, a lovely stone building. It has been redecorated very tastefully and is now under the ownership of Carlos and Marguerita.

As our lunch fell on a public holiday the menu del día was priced at €18, but the restaurant was full so we were happy to proceed. The starters were shitake (mushroom) soup and tagliatelli with guinea fowl, both subtly tasty.

Our generous host selected a Verdejo from Castilla Leon called CuCu (€19) and a Rioja called Siena de Tolono (€17) to accompany our dishes.

For main course we opted for lamb: part grilled leg, part braised skirt. Both delicious, although in common with many Spanish restaurants, somewhat lacking in vegetables.

Dessert was a homemade cheesecake and tasted as such.

Our fun day out in old town Javea, including the usual coffees and brandies cost €29.91 p.p.

RH 75                                                

AL FORN, DENIA

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Dec 012017
 
AL FORN,                 DENIA         966111555

 ★★★★☆ 

A big hit

Al Forn, or to give the restaurant its full name, Al Forn dels Deveses, is located in Plaza Mariana Pineda which is in the emblematic fishing quarter of Denia.

The restored antique wood burning oven, measuring 4 square metres, was originally used for baking bread and gives the interior of the restaurant a warm and welcoming environment.

Restaurant Al Forn is mainly known for its tapas, Spanish dishes and pizzas all of which are cooked in the huge oven and so there is constant activity around this unique feature.

 

The menu del día is priced at €16 and consists of pan/alioli, followed by five starters: salad, croquetas, pescaditos, mussels, and gambas.

 

 

 

The choices for main course were arroz al horno, arroz meloso, pizzas and cocas. We tried all of the dishes and were not disappointed.

There were six desserts “de la casa”.

Our host chose a Ribero del Duero red called  Hito  (€19) to accompany our excellent and atmospheric lunch. Hito was a big hit with our members and as a consequence the cost of lunch,  including coffees and brandies, edged up to almost €30 p.p.

PM 76                                              

 

Oct 132017
 
THE HOUSE AT TORMOS,      TORMOS      965587136

 ★★★★☆ 

Hidden gem

 

This a boutique hotel that also operates as a restaurant. It is located at 17 Calle San Luis Bertran in the town of Tormos but curiously there is no signage on the building to indicate what lies behind the large door at number 17.

 

On entering there is a delightful hall with a long refectory type table.

 

 

 

Further on there  is a walled garden where we enjoyed pre-lunch drinks.

 

 

The menu was priced at €25 and provided a choice of four dishes for each course. For starters the choice was tandoori chicken, Greek salad, and garlic or chilli prawns. All delicious.

 

 

The main course options were chicken à la king, baked fish, spinach and ricotta pasta or pan fried steak. Again all excellent.

 

Desserts ranged from Eton mess, orange cake with ice cream or cherry fool.

 

Included in the price of the meal was a glass of cava and a carafe of wine between two people. This is a great venue run by British owners and you have to book in advance as the lunches are only served to pre booked clients rather than passing trade.

JS 79

 

Jun 302017
 
RESTAURANTE AZAHAR, BALCÓN AL MAR, JAVEA  965770047

 ★★★★☆ 

Lunch under the rubber tree

Balcón al Mar is a residential district of Javea to the south of Arenal between Cap Negre and Cap de la Nao. At number 3 Calle Cap Negre is to be found Restaurante Azahar, with its huge Ficus or Rubber tree. We chose to have lunch under this tree which provided a relaxing, comfortable ambience.

The menu del día is priced at €12.90 for three courses and includes a half bottle of acceptable house wine, bread and alioli.

The Thai mussels were the popular choice for the first course and the lenguado and lamb dishes were the dominant main courses.

 

 

 

 

Some of the main courses incurred a price surcharge and one of our party chose to go off piste to savour Caesar salad and Cordon Bleu.

 

 

Our host decided to trade up for white wine with a very enjoyable Alberiño called Lagar de Indra (€16).  

The only negative about eating under the Rubber tree were the flies, but this was a small price to pay for such a great outing.

The overall cost p.p. for this lunch including desserts, brandies and coffees amounted to €28.67.

JB 78

May 192017
 

NEW INDIA GATE,  ORBA,         965 584 399    (e-mail: newindiagate03790@gmail.com )

 ★★★★☆ 

It’s not just the petrol that’s four star!

 

On the winding road down into Orba from the Jalon Valley there is a petrol station on the outskirts of the town. Not an auspicious place to have a rather impressive Indian restaurant – but don’t let looks deceive you. The un-prepossessing exterior gives way to a pleasant, airy restaurant where you will be greeted with enthusiasm and served with excellent food.

 

 

 

 

 

You can, if you are counting your centimos, have a basic Menu del Dia for just under ten euros, but if you want unrestricted access to the meat courses on offer, head for the €13.95  version. We opted for a €15 Menu del Dia which included half a bottle of wine per person. The wine turned out to be a very pleasant Bach – available in red and white. On a hot day we declined the soup and all chose poppadoms, with an interesting assortment of hot chilli, onion, mango and mint chutneys.

We then had a starter course consisting of a number of tasters, mostly in batter, and although these were not especially striking (and tended towards being dry) they set us up nicely for the main course. We each chose our own type of curry, based on either chicken, lamb or beef, and in each case we found the curry a delight. Those who wanted their curry hot, hot, hot were not disappointed.

 

 

Those who did not want to venture beyond a korma were left equally happy. The meal really was very good, and the waiter was quite splendid – whoever said that you cannot learn good English from watching TV shows?!

We generally dispensed with the pudding course in favour of coffee – supplemented by a small brandy, supplied on the house on account of the fact that there were eight of us in the party.

All in all a really pleasant meal. And when you realize that the restaurant will even come and get you and take you home afterwards (as long as you live within a 10k radius, and as long as they’re not fully booked already) you will appreciate how helpful they are. There is only one downside – the setting is next to a petrol station. But even that did not prevent one of our number noting that a nightingale was singing its heart out, loud enough to drown the sound of Indian music…..

The cost per head came to a not unreasonable €17.80

MR  76                                                    

 

 

May 122017
 
LA FONTANA,                  JAVEA             965790417

 ★★★★☆ 

Life´s a beach

A first welcome to the Arenal district of Javea for the 2017 season and to La Fontana, a family owned and recently renovated restaurant, in business since 1963.

All but one of our members opted for the €16 menu del día, the odd man out chose the €21 version, the difference being in the price of the main course.

 

The wines selected by our host were a Rueda Verdejo called Cyatho (€13) and a Rioja called Carramimbre (€13.50); judging by consumption, both well appreciated.

 

 

The starters chosen were a combo of three tapas, chiperones (squid) and garlic prawns, all tasty, although the prawns were slightly overcooked.

 

 

The main course was an excellent paella con marisco, lamb and from the premium menu a slightly overcooked beef tenderloin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our desserts were crema catalan and mousse de coco, providing a pleasant conclusion to our enjoyable lunch. Chopitos were graciously offered by the establishment. Cost p.p. €25.22. Good value for a front line Javea restaurant.

RH 75    

Apr 072017
 
LA VENTA DEL COLLAO,         BENIMAURELL,   649590538

 ★★★★☆ 

On top of the world

This establishment rewards those who have made the effort to drive deep into the mountains above Orba. Those lucky enough might also be rewarded by the sight of cherry orchards in bloom in April.

The restaurant itself is a renovated staging post and has plenty of charm and character. The large outside space accommodates al fresco dining as well as ample car parking just over the road. The location and views are quite remarkable.

The menu del día is priced at €14 which suits the country location with a selection of hearty dishes. Our party of seven chose from a range of starters including: salad, traditional sausage with a meat, spice and honey filling, cocas, chicken livers and a delicious homemade tomato soup.

Six main courses were on offer and we selected three; oven cooked lamb, confit of duck and wild boar stew.

 

 

For pudding the usual flan and tart were on offer but most of us opted for a delicious chocolate brownie.

 

Wines were not included in the price of lunch but the house wines, both priced at a reasonable €8, were most acceptable – a red Marnes and a white Verdejo.

A word of warning regarding payment; there are no facilities for cards so bring cash! Our adventure in the mountains cost €21.92 p.p.

 

JS 77     

 

Mar 242017
 
LES ARCADES,              ORBA     965088445

 ★★★★☆ 

Outstanding value

It sometimes pays off to go down a backstreet to find a restaurant offering great value food and drink. This was certainly the case in Orba where our host brought us to No. 2 Calle Canonge Sendra which runs parallel to the main street.

From the outside Les Arcades looks like a modest local bar and curiously it does not display its name, but inside there is a small restaurant with a cosy atmosphere and given the cold weather, a welcoming log fire.

Les Arcades offers a menu del día for just €10 and this includes an amuse bouche, pan y alioli, three courses, a half bottle of house wine and coffee.

There are five options for each course. The amuse bouche was a plate of delicious fried mushrooms. Our host decided against the house wine and instead selected a Rueda Verdejo called Castillo de Aza and a Ribero del Duero called Lelón both priced at just €7!

For our first course we selected entremeses, onion soup and a rustic pate. All good.

The main courses selected were roast pork, roast chicken and merluza à la romana. All really fresh and tasty.

Desserts were apple strudel with cream, profiteroles and strudel with ice cream. Delicious.

 

Our pleasant lunch was completed with coffees and brandy, all for a remarkable €17.33 p.p.

LdD 77

 

 

 

 

Feb 172017
 
TAVERNA LLORENÇ-BOTERO ,      SENIJA  965730996

 ★★★★☆ 

Genuine article

Taverna llorenç-botero is located in the heart of the village of Senija at Plaza Ayuntamiento 13.

The restaurant is small in size and the walls are decorated with paintings, plates and other bric-a-brac which create a great atmosphere.

The menu del día costs €10 and consists of six courses of tapas, a main course and a glass of wine. Our tapas courses included Russian salad, followed by a homemade Tortilla, hard boiled egg with anchovy, patatas bravas, baby broad beans and fresh salad. All delicious.

For main course we had pelota, meat wrapped in cabbage accompanied by stock. Again very tasty. The house wines were both from Utiel Requena and called Capellana, priced at €6.

 

 

All in all, a very pleasant lunch, in authentic surroundings. Cost p.p. €16.87

SL 78