I'm basically taking a day to check out La Rioja on the way from Madrid to San Sebastian by car. Which doesn't give us a lot of time to really absorb the area. I've been doing some research, and while there are a few temples of high-brow cuisine around the bodegas (wineries), I'm inclined more for good quality Riojan cuisine, for the best value. We're driving up from Madrid in the morning and eventually staying at Hospederia Monasterio de San Millan (a hotel converted from a monastary) in San Millan de Cogolla in the Rioja Alta area, which seems just a little out of the way of what most people consider the epicenter of La Rioja in that area between Haro and Logroño. While I could be happy simply eating at the hotel restaurant (though I've come up with nothing with an internet search), I wonder how long it would take to drive from San Millan de Cogolla to, say, Haro or Elciego for wider choices of eating. So far, my top couple choices include Dinastia Vivanco in Briones since it looks like a one-stop place for a bodega, museum, and restaurant. Here's their restaurant website: http://www.dinastiavivanco.com/museo/...
I'm also considering Vieja Bodega in Casalarreina since it looks like a good place to stop for lunch on the way to the heart of La Rioja. It seems they have an inexpensive lunch menu (though it's not mentioned on their website): http://www.viejabodega.com/#
Santo Domingo de la Calzada seems like it's a short trip from the hotel, so I may just take my chances at a restaurant there, but I haven't found any descriptive information about anything there. I've also read some glowing comments on Echaurren in Ezcaray, which, according to their website (http://www.echaurren.com/ ) is the first restaurant in La Rioja to get a Michelin star. But that start belongs to the modern cuisine restaurant; I'm more inclined to visit the traditional wing, headed by the mother of the chef of the modern wing. So, my choices are still wide open. I wonder if anyone has some comments about these restaurants or comments on places in the towns nearby. Or just some practical suggestions about driving distances and what to expect in late March. Thanks.
I should note that I've gotten a lot of good info through Maribel's Guide: http://maribelsguides.com/
This was referenced in another post on the Spain board.
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