Aside from the fantastic choice of Spanish restaurants in Torrevieja, Chinese restaurants take up a large percentage of the excellent eateries one can find in the city. The fact that Torrevieja is a very popular holiday destination for families may be one of the reasons for the large number of Chinese restaurants in the area. I have yet to meet a kid that doesn’t like Chinese food and most of the restaurants here offer a good selection of tasty treats for the younger palate. With the majority offering set lunchtime and evening menus for 1-5 people at very reasonable prices, Chinese is always a good choice where everyone can try a bit of everything.
One of the most popular Chinese establishments with the Spanish locals is Nuevo Mundo that sees a constant stream of regulars through its doors from opening till closing. The restaurant doesn’t look like much from the outside, but this is often the case when your reputation proceeds you, word of mouth brings the customers in. The interior is large with ample seating and the extensive menu includes a wide selection of seafood and even casseroles. There are some interesting choices such as frogs legs, and their 4 course set lunch menu for 1 person includes a drink for under 7€. Located at the city end of Los Locos Beach on Av. de las Habaneras, Nuevo Mundo is open daily from 12.00-23.00.
The residential area of Los Balcones is home to Restaurante Gran China that is also unassuming from the outside but receives excellent reviews. Great value for money and always busy, customers are greeted with a complimentary glass of sangria to enjoy while perusing the excellent menu. The dishes are tasty and plentiful and the waiting staff friendly and attentive. Children love it here and all seem to have their favourite waiter or waitress, who do their best to keep them happy and make sure they leave with full tummies. After your meal another complimentary liqueur is served and for those that couldn’t finish the generous portions, they will pack what’s left for you to take home.
Conveniently located just outside the entrance to the marina, on Plaza Capdepont is Restaurante Chinatown that opens daily from 12.00-16.00 then 18.30-00.30. The restaurant is nicely lit in the evenings, enticing passers-by to sample what’s on offer inside. Prices are mid range with the 3 course set lunch menu and a drink costing 9.90€. Meat dishes are tender and the Peking duck with mini pancakes and all the trimmings perfectly cooked with a crisp skin. Some of the dishes seemed to have rather a lot of sauce, but then you don’t have to slurp it all down. Chinatown is kept very clean and the large windows make for great day time people watching. They serve a range of international and local drinks including Chinese beer.
Although in neighbouring Orihuela Costa, Chino Nan King is well worth a mention, and a good laugh too. The restaurant is just across the road from the popular Villamartin Plaza and when visiting Nan King you can combine your meal with a great night out. The lively plaza is home to some of the most popular bars and restaurants in Orihuela Costa, and on most weekends there is live music in the pretty central courtyard. When I first visited Nan King I was working for one of the bars in the plaza and made the mistake of walking in with a bunch of promotional flyers in my hand. Well, what ensued was reminiscent of the fortune cookie scene in Mickey Blue Eyes !! The pleasantly smiling manageress took one look at my flyers and hit the roof, promptly frog marching me out the restaurant accompanied by a tirade of what I can only assume was Chinese cursing. Managing to calm the lady down, I explained I was not trying to promote the bar I was working in and merely wanted to get a takeaway. Instantly the smile was back and I was frog marched back inside to place my takeaway order that came with a large bag of prawn crackers as way of an apology for the misunderstanding.
Well, I’m really glad I have a thick skin and didn’t take offence because the food was fantastic. I ordered duck soup and the spicy south-east Asia prawns which even when I got back to my work were still piping hot. The soup had large chunks of deliciously tender duck and the prawns were plump and succulent, with just the right amount of spiciness, although I order vindaloo in Indian restaurants so if ordering the prawns you may want to ask for them a little less spicy. Since my visit to Nan King I have heard similar funny stories about the ”crazy lady” but all taken in good humour, and high praise for the food.
An article on Chinese restaurants would not be complete without mentioning the famous Chinese Buffet. These cheap and cheerful establishments can be found throughout Torrevieja and for those with a large appetite, are the perfect place to eat. For a set price, usually around 10€, diners can return to the buffet as many times as they like. Located just across from the large Habaneras Shopping Centre, on Av. Rosa Mazón Valero is the simply named Wok Buffet. This popular restaurant is spacious and clean with an additional hall for private functions. Unlike many such restaurants where you just help yourself to what looks good, Wok Buffet has a handy suggestion menu to help you choose that includes what sauces go best with certain meats and vegetables. What I enjoy most about the restaurant is the inclusion of seafood, sadly missing from many ”eat all you can” menus due to the high cost of seafood. Aside from their wok prepared dishes, there are a selection of smaller bites such as spring rolls and sate sticks, as well as a choice of BBQ meats. My favourite fruit, lychees, are on the dessert menu so all in all a great find, and conveniently located for a bit of shopping after the meal.