Food in Alicante
My husband and I will be in the city of Alicante in February. What should we eat and where? I'd love any and all suggestions--sweets, meals, local specialties, restaurants and take-away food. Anything memorable, all price ranges. In the city is preferred, though a day-trip is possible.
So far all I have is Pasteleria Torreblanca and Monastrell
Tapas restaurant in Alicante: "El Piripi" at 30 Oscar Esplá Avenue, "El Foc" at 13 Tomás López Torregrosa St., "Nou Manolín" at 3 Villegas St.
Intimate Basque restaurant: "Egun" at 38 Jazmín St.
Paella restaurant: "La Dársena" at Muelle de Levante overviewing the marina.
Local drink: horchata (orxata in Valencian)
Where to have horchata and 'helado de turrón' (nougat ice cream): "Kiosko Peret" at Explanada de España, the boulevard close to the marina or "Heladería Espí" at 4 Alfonso el Sabio Ave.
Another vote for the Nou Manolin.
Horchata is very much a summer speciality, my favourite place, horchateria azul, will be closed at that time so the Kiosko Peret I'd agree with only because it's the best chance you'll have at a decent horchata off season.
A speciality of Alicante you may not have heard of is Coca Amb Tonyina. The Panaderia Llorens has some of the best in the city
The panederia "La Murciana" is spreading rapidly around the region. I've always liked their empanadas and this would be a good place to sample the Mucian pasteles de carne (you can compare their cocas with the Llorens panaderia also
For good traditional food and a traditional welcome that's easy on the wallet there's the venerable "La Marmita". Little has changed there in the past 20 years. It's small, intimate, and gives great value for money http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=Diaz+...
A bit more expensive is another local institution)
http://www.restaurantejumillano.com/ which specialises in foods and wines from Murcia
(my take on Alicantinian cuisine is that it leans more towards Murcia than it does Valencia, but that's my opinion.
The Torreblanca shop (very near the Corte Ingles by the rail station) is very much a must. Currently, the fabulous caramelised mi hojas are on sale on Wednesdays for just 2Euros a pop - a true bargain. Earlier this month we bought my daughter's 2nd Birthday cake from here and chose the Ceylon Tea infused milk and chocolate mouse with a Genovese sponge, it was wonderful. This (and the Chinato Oleoteca) is the ideal place to buy gifts for those back home.
I don't get to go out for rice dishes very often as my family and friends treat me to home cooked arroces in their homes and fincas. But there is a local Alicantinian who has begun a marvellous blog detailing her experiences - she's been getting some wonderful recommendations as word has got out so the blog just gets better and better. So lots of ideas here:
I'll be going to El Titi in Campello at some point this weekend based solely on her recommendation.
Arroz dishes in Alicante, their variety, and why they aren't the same thing as a Valencian paella is a HUGE subject. To try and (badly) condense to a sentence or two and horribly over generalise, Alicantinian Arroces will usually veer to a more golden reddish colour, the Valencian paella is more of a greenish yellow. One of the prime reasons for this is the nyora based Salmorreta which is of huge importance in many of the Alicante rice dishes (there is also more of a tendency to stir fry the rice before adding water - in a Valencian paella the rice is added after the water and only boiled).
You can use this coca master class (where Toni Llorens - from the Llorens panaderia I recommended - gives a master class showing how to make a few modern cocas whilst also demonstrating a 'historic' coca, based as faithfully as possible to the original Roman/Jewish/Egyptian kind. According to Mr Llorens the modern coca and the Napolitan Pizza are first cousins with the same ancient Roman grandmother) to brush up your Spanish. See if you can pick out the occasional words and phrases in the Alicantinian/Valencian dialect.
I'm not convinced about coca canapes, but then I haven't tried one...
Since you'll be in Alicante in the winter you might want to try a very, very traditional food which has a longer history in the region than the rice dishes. Gazpacho - but not the Andalucian kind, this stuff pre-dates both rice and the tomato in Europe.
It's often called 'gazpacho manchego' to differentiate it from the liquid stuff but it has a very long history which firmly links it to Alicante and Valencia. The other confusing part is that there are many, many styles of these non-liquid gazpachos.
The most famous place to eat it is Castella near Villena and it's a food perfectly suited to the winter. Many people from the region will travel to the "ruta de los gazpachos" on a Sunday in order to eat it.
Castalla, apparently, has more restaurants per head of population than anywhere else in the region. I've heard good things about Nou Trinquet http://www.restaurantenoutrinquet.com/
You can see a wiki page on this regional speciality here:
I just remembered about La Marmita - the food is traditional but NOT necessarily from the region. A lovely place, but not somewhere for Alicantinian specialities - sorry!
Thank you, so much for all the help. I'm learning so much--which will just make my trip that much better. When we went to Madrid last Spring we ate excellent food but I hadn't studied enough before the trip to understand which sorts of foods were from which regions.
My daughter is living in Alicante now. She's just arrived, but her friends suggest La Tablera, Pirpi and Los Gordos--which seconds the advice I have already.
I'm pleased this thread has been started - we are off to Alicante for a weekend trip this weekend and had done a search of the board with no joy, so will be sure to try out some of these places and report back.
This is one of the branches of the Rafael Frias C.B. panaderias/pastelerias. They have at least two locations in Alicante.
I just got back to London from Alicante yesterday and didn't see this thread whilst I was there (I arrived on Friday evening), however, I have a plastic bag in front of me which says Horno - Pasteleria Artesana - MA (with the crown over it) - Panaderia - Rafael Frias C.B. - Fabricacion Propia.
Basically, I went to the same place (but the other branch) to pick up some empanadas and rosquitos (my daughter loves the rosquitos from here).
The address your daughter wen to is Cardenal Belluga, 4, 03005, Alicante
I would have preferred to have got some cocas at Llorens but a friend was taking us to the airport and this place was local and convenient to her.
Has your daughter tried the ensaimadas yet? Although these are a speciality of Mallorca they are very popular in Alicante and you could consider them to be the home grown version of the croissant. Just like croissants, they are an artisan product which is difficult to do well, and just like croissants it can be hard to locate a decent version of them. The Rafael Frias Pastisseria would be a very good place to start.
I went to El Titi at Campello (the trip takes 30 minutes and 1.25Euros on the tram from the centre of Alicante) on Sunday for one of their 'arroces'. It cost 10.50 with two portions as a minimum order. Loved it (I had rape gon gambas-monkfsh and prawns). Note that this isn't something I would call 'paella' even though it is cooked in a paella pan. The rice was only about 4 or 5 grains deep but the grains were moist, juicy and succulent even where the minimal socarrat was, nothing like the texture I associate with a true paella. The ailoli was light and perfectly suited to the rice but for this particular dish I wouldn't recommend the lemon juice - I tried a little but it 'flattened' some of the flavours. My mother had a Red Monastrell wine with hers which she felt was well suited.
Also - HIGHLY - recommended are the bunuelos de bacalao here which are as light as a feather, best I've ever had.
Thank you again.
I sent her an email suggesting she try the ensaimadas. Will let you know how she likes them.
And I will add the tram to Campello to our list of activities for our visit. I haven't been able to find a decent guide book, so your activities suggestions are as much appreciated as your food suggestions.
Any good wineries we can access with public transportation?
I don't know of any decent wineries with one point to point easy journey, but the Enrique Mendoza cellars are amongst the best in the region and amongst the easiest to visit. I'm recommending them as the Monastrell variety of grape is particularly important to Alicante
It's in Alfaz del Pi and that's a local bus ride from Benidorm, and Benidorm is very easy to get to from Alicante.