The Hotel Atalaya breakfast cafe was not too busy when we checked out on Sunday morning - with George doing the honours behind the bar as he prepared the meals. Ours was included in the room rate, so we got the standard Spanish fare of a toasted baguette with butter and jam along with a drink. Sue chose her usual hot water (for her Lipton's Blueberry & Pomegranate tea bags) while I had the local coffee 'con leche' - black with milk added along with a bit of sugar.
After saying our good-byes to George, we were off.
Due to our 'tourist' time schedule, we had not had much luck having late meals in Spain, because they tend to get started much later than we would like after a busy day taking in the sights. However, on this Saturday evening, we decided to give it our best shot by killing time in our room until about 9 PM when things are supposed to come alive - we thought.
First, we took a walk around the entire downtown area to see what was happening - nothing, except for one disco bar that was really in gear and even had people standing around outside. Finally, we retreated to the pizzeria opposite our hotel which we noticed had been doing a brisk business in the afternoon when we arrived and again as we started out on our evening exploration.
Favorite Dish: Although the Paolino was quite busy, we had no problem finding ourselves a table. Christmas seems to carry on quite a bit longer in Spain than in Canada, so it was still decorated even though this was now January 3rd. There were also a few families there with their children enjoying themselves (3rd photo).
We quickly settled on a large bacon, mushroom and cheese pizza (9 Euros) along with our usual beer and white wine. It was a very enjoyable meal as we also did some people watching while we ate, since actually finding company during a meal had been a rare event during this trip. A pleasant way to end our meal was provided when our waiter brought a bottle of ice-cold Limoncello and two glasses of this strong drink to our table for a toast 'on the house' (4th photo). This is an after-dinner drink intended to aid digestion, made from lemon rinds, sugar and pure alcohol (~20%). We really enjoyed our first taste of this stuff! The total cost of our evening out including three drinks of our own was 16 Euros. It was a pleasant finish to our 'official' explorations on the Costa del Sol - because the next day we were flying out from Alicante to Madrid.
We had started the day's drive about 200-km away in Nerja so we would be in position to drop our rental car off in Alicante on the following day. After first exploring the western side of Cabo de Gata we then had to backtrack through an inland mountain pass to reach the eastern side of the cape (the road does not continue past the lighthouse at the tip of the cape).
As a result, by the time we had reached San José and checked into our hotel, I was starting to think that the Spanish custom of a drink and tapas was a very good idea. Directly across the street was Restaurant Azulon, and it did not seem too busy, as a light rain began to fall for the first time. I went up to the bar and ordered a white wine for Sue and a cold Mahou beer for me (the lady running the bar spoke English very well) and then retired outside to a table under a canopy.
Favorite Dish: While in Spain, I never really knew when tapas might suddenly appear, so was pleasantly surprised when our drinks were accompanied by a nice plate of old cheese slices, tomatoes, olive oil and pepper (2nd photo). While we were enjoying our little respite, a couple from Germany entered and took the table in front of ours. It had begun to rain a bit more seriously by then and it was not long before a dribble came through a hole in the canopy and landed on his head. We all had a good laugh and talked briefly with each other. Sue and I were soon finished so they were more than happy to move into our old spot as we bid farewell.
Doesn't sound very promising does it? But the Senior Citizens centre in La Isleta del Moro is a great place to eat. Ok, you are in a type of tent tacked onto the centre, but just stroll outside and you have a magnificent view over the bay and down the coast to Los Escullos.
Favorite Dish: The reason you might go there is for their cuajadera. This is a very typical dish from Cabo de Gata and is basically a fish and potato stew. The fish is whatever they have caught in the village and is supplemented with shellfish and squid. This is all then cooked with potatoes in a fish stock and the result is truly delicious.
You won't need a starter, just a salad perhaps and a pitcher of ice cold beer to wash it down.
The name, cuajadera, comes from the dish in which it is cooked - literally "curdling pan".
It has to be said that good restaurants are few and far between in Cabo de gata. La Ola is still a restaurant run by a fishing family and long may it remain so.
The restaurant is perched on the cliff edge in La Isleta de Moro. You can take a beer and tapa (typically in Andalucia you order a beer and the tapa comes with it) in the little patio outside. Upstairs in the restaurant, well you need to order fish. The fishes of the day, normally run to half a dozen varieties of which you will probably not recognise any given the usage of the local names.
This place is spit and sawdust, but with their prime product fresh off the boat, who needs trimmings. A fish and a nice bottle of wine should do it.
Favorite Dish: Fish of the day.
We've spent this weekend in San Jose. We were quite disspointed with that particular restaurant, because despite its cheap oily paella (15€ for two), the rest of the things you may order make your bill go quite high (for such an average meal).
We ordered a tomato salad for 2 (6€), a glass of beer each (1,80€),a 1/2 litre jars of beer each (4€!!), a paella (15€) and two coffees, i think,.. well, final amount: 37€. We didn't find a good relation price-quality.
To sum up, the typical tourist style restaurant...
We went to San José some time ago, and we were told to check an Italian restaurant that was quite reasonable and then have a relaxed/chill-out coffee at a coffee place nearly opposite. A shame we don't remember their names. We only know both are in the same street, ... it might be Calle de la Plaza... it was opposite the supermarket... Apologies for the lack of info.
Don't miss the opportunity to try the huge and wonderful ice-creams (2,20-3€) you can get at an ice-cream shop we found in the central square (where the kids playground).
If you like fresh fish, then San Jose is for you either to buy and cook yourself or eat at any of the numerous restaurants in the village. I can recommend the one in the square to the left of the news/tourist shop (sorry can't remember the name) or any of the 4 or 5 by the harbour
Favorite Dish: Fresh fish (sardines, bream, swordfish to name but 3) caught the same day and simply prepared and presented at a reasonable price
In the middle of the park a clasic, they also have accomodation (they are hostel as well), is a very lively place in summer and very quiet in winter.
Recomended to go to this beach and have lunch here.