The choice of bars and restaurants in Torrevieja is excellent and one of my favourite night’s out is to enjoy a drink in one or two of the city’s traditional tapas bars. As is the case in most coastal cities, Torrevieja’s beach promenade is the most popular area for wining & dining. Here you will find restaurants to suit all tastes, with the emphasis on wonderfully fresh fish and seafood cooked in a range of ways. Along the entire promenade I have only found one tapas bar called El Faro which is located next to the pretty little Koala Bay Boutique. They tempt customers with a selection of tapas ranging from 1.50€ upwards and a choice of local and international drinks and cocktails.
The reason for this distinct lack in beach front tapas bars is the fact that the area is targeted towards the tourist trade and most of the bars and restaurants come with tourist prices. Head a few blocks up from the beach and you enter a whole new world just waiting to be discovered. Aside from tapas bars, the city centre is where you can find a good selection of takeaways such as pizza and kebabs. Let me start by mentioning some of the reasons the vast majority of holidaymakers never venture into a traditional tapas bar.
Firstly they are not located along the beach front but rather dotted throughout the city. They are not large and brightly lit and tend to have the bar and some seating areas inside with further seating areas on the pavement. The bars are mostly frequented by locals and not many bar staff speak English. This being said, tapas bars can be found on practically every street corner in Torrevieja and their prices are excellent. Some will give you a free tapas with your drink and others advertise great deals like a small beer or glass of wine and a tapa for as little as 1€. Others offer a more substantial tapa with your drink such as grilled sardines or a plate of chicken wings for around 3€ Bear in mind this is still cheaper than a drink on its own in the more tourist orientated places. For example I recently had a coffee on the beach front that cost 2.50€ A few blocks up from the beach on Calle Ramon Gallud, I often frequent a fantastic establishment called Euro Mania where you get a coffee & 2 tostadas, one with tomato and olive oil, the other with Serrano ham for 1.80€ Call me a skinflint but coffee is coffee and I can always go and enjoy the sea views after my tummy is full !!
It is surprising how much more receptive the Spanish can be if you learn just one or two useful words, and a handy hint when engaging someone in conversation is to start by saying, excuse me my Spanish is very small (perdone mi Espanol es poquito) This simple sentence can really open doors, and coupled with a few words such as water (aqua) beer (cerveza) wine (vino) food (comida) please (por favor) and thank you (gracias) you will be accepted as a local in no time !!
Some of my favourite haunts include the above mentioned Euro Mania which is a chain of tapas restaurants that serve an amazing selection of super fresh and tasty treats from just 1€. Located on Calle Ramon Gallud between Dial a Pizza and Dominoes, you will surely return to this little gem a few times. A few blocks further up from the beach is Avenida de las Habaneras which is the main road through the city that runs parallel to the beach. Here is where you find the real Torrevieja and some great little bars. Just off the avenue, a half block up Calle Fragata is Bar Aroa that serve the tastiest Calamari Romana I have ever eaten. Tender and just lightly battered, they come in a tapas size for 2.50€ or large for 5.00€ They also do a steak and sides for under 7.00€ A bit further on towards Los Locos Beach is Sobor Y Ante Andaluz, which really pulls in the locals with their generous portions of free tapas, included with your drinks order. Two blocks further, the aroma of freshly grilled sardines will entice you into Raco del Mar, a bright and welcoming restaurant with a selection of fresh daily specials and superb fish and seafood. Easy on the pocket, 6 perfectly grilled sardines and a small beer (cana) will only set you back 3.50€
If you are visiting the popular Los Locos Beach which is at the end of Avenida de las Habaneras, there is a selection of bars serving tapas at reasonable prices considering their beach front location. A block up Calle del Palangre is Bar Copa Llena where a plate of chicken wings and a bottle of beer go down great after a day on the beach, especially at just 3.50€. There are many other tapas bars throughout the city and its outer lying residential areas, and some real treasures can be found just by walking around, checking the tapas menus and what other customers are having. The Spanish are very family orientated and well behaved kids are welcome in most establishments. For those that would rather not wonder around looking for places to try, there are Tapas Tours around the city with a set route and a guide to talk you through the various tapas and drinks on offer.