The choice of restaurants in Torrevieja is fantastic, and visitors to the city don’t need to go far to enjoy a meal. The most popular area of the city is the picturesque promenade that runs along Playa del Cura Beach and is lined with great eateries including a choice of Spanish restaurants. These mainly cater to the tourist trade and will feature the more well known Spanish dishes such as grilled sardines, patatas bravas, Spanish omelette and paella. However, not wanting to miss out on any passing trade, most of these beach front restaurants will have vast menus that also include British, Irish, German and Scandinavian meals as well as a good selection of seafood and snack meals such as burgers, pizza and baguettes. This can be beneficial for visitors who don’t have the time to look for authentic Spanish restaurants, but with so much on the menu, I doubt the time and effort needed to produce specialist Spanish dishes is taken, and they may not be the ideal choice for traditional Spanish cooking.
Established in 1981 and winners of several prestigious awards, Restaurante El Pescador is located on Calle Torrevejenses Ausentes, a few blocks up from the promenade. This family run restaurant is a favourite with both tourists and locals, and boasts lovely decor and a large terrace serviced by well trained and friendly staff. The emphasise here is on fish and seafood although their menu includes delicious meat dishes an bubbling cauldrons of stew from the Levant region of Valencia. Their paella’s are memorable and the Pulpo a la Gallega (octopus stew) wonderfully tender. This is Spanish cooking at its best, and bookings are recommended.
Spanish restaurants don’t come more quirky than Las Cuevas, located in nearby San Miguel and set in a cave, the restaurant is run by two sisters and their brother who welcome their guests as family and endeavour to make your dining experience as enchanting as the setting. The menu offers just the right choice to ensure each dish receives the care and attention deserved of such delicious cuisine. Their paellas are for a minimum of 2 persons and must be ordered in advance (usually an indication of a good paella) The selection of starters include sweet clams in sherry sauce and tasty filled crepes, and the main course of Castilian baked shoulder of lamb will have you coming back time after time. The cave seating area is not large but very romantic and there is a pleasantly lit outdoor terrace.
For an unforgettable evening of everything Spanish, the lovely Villa Salada is a must. Located just 5 kilometres from the city centre, this beautiful traditional villa is set in large tropical gardens offering panoramic views of the salt lakes and comfortable outdoor terraces set around a central stage and performing arena. The whole family will love this place, as aside from their restaurant, there are a variety of spectacular shows that combine traditional Flamenco dancing and dressage performed by magnificent Andalusian horses. Diners can choose from a terrace buffet or a la carte menu, and there is a selection of entertainment packages with meals and shows all included.
In the short time I have lived in Torrevieja, some of the best Spanish restaurants I have come across are not modern, glitzy affairs with bright signs, but rather smaller rustic places, sometimes with no sign at all. At some of these you won’t even find a menu but will be offered a small choice of what they have decided to cook for that day. This ensures everything is cooked fresh with a minimum of waste. Rustic stews are my favourite in these little restaurants and some I have tried include rabbit, oxtail and tripe, all delicious and prepared from centuries old recipes. A good rule of thumb is, if you want to eat Spanish, go to where the Spanish are eating. If you are here on holiday and want to try as much of the local cuisine as possible, stroll around the city centre and make regular stops in the hundreds of tapas bars where you will get to sample a good selection of these tasty treats, much of the time served free with your drink order.