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Spain report, Part 4 - Malaga, Benalmadena, Granada

rrems | Nov 20, 201411:02 AM

We arrived in Benalmadena at noon, after driving from Cadiz, and settled in at the home of our friend Cathy, where we would be staying overnight. We then drove into Malaga for the afternoon, including a tapas lunch.

A full report on our Spain trip, with photos, is on my blog:

http://robertrems.com

After touring the cathedral, we looked for the tapas bar we had been to when we were in Malaga in 2010, which was then called La Moraga, and had subsequently been Manzanilla, which Cathy thought it still was. As it turned out it had changed again and was now KGB. It looked interesting though, so we gave it a try, and it turned out to be excellent. We had langoustine tempura with salad, a tripe stew Thai style, and another stew with artichokes, egg, and foie gras, Flamenquines, and a hamburger with gorgonzola. With a bottle of a local red, the total was 53 euros.

Back in Benalmadena, we had dinner at Sollo, a favorite of Cathy’s, which serves only a tasting menu for 50 euros, consisting of countless courses, all based on sturgeon and all incredibly imaginative and delightful. The chef, Diego Gallegos, is well-grounded and knows how to find his way in the often tumultuous world of the restaurant business. Make a note of his name. The food was very innovative, delicious, and plentiful. We had a nice bottle of red from the Malaga region, and the total for the three of us was 185 euros, unbelievable for food of this quality.

We arrived in Granada the next day, and after checking into the Hotel Plaza Nueva, went across the street for a tapas lunch standing at the bar at Los Diamantes, which is known for seafood, mostly fried. With each round of wine we were given a double portion of tapas, first shrimp and then mushrooms. We also ordered 2 half-raciones, razor clams and chicken nuggets. It’s good food, the place is very crowded, and service is fast. I would not choose it for dinner as it is chaotic, but for lunch it works out nicely.

Dinner was at Damasqueros, on the street of the same name, and not to be confused with the bar of the same name at the other end of the street. It’s a fairly new place that had not been mentioned on CH, but was recommended by Michelin and Tripadvisor. The food here was a modern take on traditional dishes, and only a tasting menu is served, for 39 euros. The dishes are too intricate to describe, but ingredients included anchovies, chicken, cod, pork cheeks, and a clafouti-like dessert with quince, vanilla ice cream, and quince cream. With a bottle of a red from the Granada region, the bill was just over 100 euros. We enjoyed it very much.

For lunch the next day, we found our way to La Criolla Gatrobar for tapas. This was another highly recommended venue on Tripadvisor, and it was both superb and dirt cheap. We ordered a bottle of Rey Sagal 2011, a local red, for 15 euros. With that we received 6 tapas, served in 3 double portions. First was a house-made ravioli, second a fried fish with aioli and sauteed cabbage, and last a perfect paella. We could have stopped with that but wanted to try a couple more items, so we ordered a half racion of seared tuna, and then a tiramisu for dessert. The total bill was 28,50 euros.

For dinner, we ended up at Puerta del Carmen, which has been mentioned on CH and also on Tripadvisor. The restaurant was busy and lively, with a charming atmosphere, the food, though fairly traditional, was delicious, and the menu quite varied. We had burrata with sardines and tomato salsa, grilled octopus, baby lamb chops and presa Iberica, all prepared with skill and care. For dessert we had a “special cake” that I can only describe as a Spanish version of Martha Washington cake. With a bottle of Fontenei tinto 2010 and water, the total was 113 euros.

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