LifestylePersona July, 3rd 2012 by

Spoilt For Choice - Eating Out Locally

by AJ Linn

Originally published in Diario Sur in Spanish, 9 June 2012

If anyone tells you they don’t like Spanish food, they may have spent their holiday eating at those awful restaurants that have photographs of platos combinados displayed outside them, often illustrating the most amazing mixtures like fried calamares with Russian salad and sausages. When I see people actually eating this stuff I have to force myself to walk by without making a comment like, ‘Are you crazy? There is a superb restaurant just one street away.  Half the price and real Spanish cooking.’
The big attraction in the Marbella/Málaga area is the variety on offer, and my eating experiences of the past week prove that it is truly outstanding.
For classical Spanish food with subtle touches of modernity Alborada in Arroyo de la Miel is terrific. Hidden away between the railway station and Tivoli Amusement Park, it has been a reference for good cooking for a decade. Elisa and Juan are modest hosts, which is why you can eat well for around 30 euros (wine apart), and they have successfully managed to maintain the classic dishes (their bacalao in several forms is one of the best you will eat anywhere) with touches of modernity that would not be out of place at some of the new wave restaurants. Alborada has signed up for Benalmadena’s Cookery Course for Foreigners, with classes every Tuesday followed by dinner with wine;
There are some excellent catering colleges on the Coast, like La Cónsula in Málaga and Les Roches in Marbella, and the Escuela de Hosteleria de Benahavis is so small as to pass almost unnoticed. It only has 14 students at a time (all find immediate employment when they leave even in these tough times), and apart from the sheer pleasure of lunching in a delightful first-floor dining room in one of the Coast’s most attractive villages, the food is outstanding and the wines carefully selected. The menu changes each week, and although you may find dishes that you have not seen before, owing to the continual experimentation being carried on in the kitchen, I have never been disappointed. Only open to the public on Wednesdays, €28 wine apart.
Last but never remotely least, Dani Garcia won Andalucía’s second Michelin star at Tragabuches in Ronda, and now has two stars at Calima in the Meliá Don Pepe (Marbella). For sheer fun however, not to mention amazing value for money, Dani’s Milmilagros on the Golden Mile takes some beating. Whether you consider it a gastrobar or a tapa experience, you can eat oysters, fried fish and tortillitas de camarones ‘in a box’, mini-hamburgers of oxtail, crispy fried prawns, and loads of what would otherwise be called aperitivos at prices that are frankly amazing. Even the wine is a bargain;


AJ Linn

Andrew Linn left England 40 years ago to relocate to Spain, having been involved in businesses such as wine shipping and publishing. He currently writes regularly and professionally on wine, food, flamenco, and the Spanish way of life for various publications, and has a regular column in a Spanish newspaper. Andrew is involved in charity work relating to abandoned and mistreated animals.

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