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Casa Perela Restaurant & Bar, Murcia

8 Aug

It seems a long time since I last posted something – and it is – but at this time of year there do not seem to be enough hours in the day!  The weather is sensational and it is an outdoor life from July until September!

 

Just before the start of the busy season, early in July, we went with some friends to Murcia for the weekend – we really love to visit, and now know it quite well having been around a dozen times – it amazes me the amount of people who either live here, or visit regularly, who never venture into the city- it is only an hour and a quarter away from us, and I must say we tend to go for the shopping, but even more so for the tapas bars and fantastic restaurants.

 

We did more research for our most recent trip, and in addition to going to our favourite restaurant upon arrival, sought out the best area for the best tapas bars too.  They are all pretty much centred around the old town, near the cathedral, which is great if you are not keen on driving in large Spanish cities as you can find a car park by the river, and just spend all your time walking everywhere with no need to collect the car until you leave!  All the little boutiques and shoe shops are here too (although if you want the bigger shops like Zara, you can still make a ten minute walk to the main shopping street from the Cathedral).

 

On one of our evenings, we decided to have a real tapas evening and go from place to place (having looked up the best ones!).  They really are all concentrated in one area off the Gran Via so it is made all the easier.  Some are really quite sophisticated and, therefore, a bit more pricey (but you do get sprayed with a fine mist of water overhead at regular intervals electronically!  We are a bit behind the times down in Almeria!

 

One of places we went to was one of the older bars in a tiny street with several other more traditional places called Casa Perela in Calle Ruiperez.  It was just fantastic.  There is usually a proper menu too, so you can pick and choose what you want.

 

This one was famous for its wild mushrooms and delicious they were – we had all kinds of little bites, prawns in batter, cheese, jamon and then ended up having two steaks between the four of us – our chef did a little routine of throwing sea salt into the air to season the dish – it was simply divine – great food and a great atmosphere and not expensive.  If you take 120 euros out with you for four – you will be well fed and er, well drunk, if you know what I mean.  Do take the time, or get up the courage to drive to this city – you won’t be disappointed.

Casa Perela Restaurant telephone no.968 935 198

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Murcia Food Market

13 Jul

We love Murcia and take every opportunity to go there.  Last week some friends were over from Perth (Australia, not Scotland!) and so we thought we would do a city break with them as they have visited us 3 times already in Almeria.

 

Di, my friend, booked the Rincon del Pepe in the old town, from Oz as she had a bit more time than I – it is one we have been to before (not to stay in, but for their great tapas bar), and Di said it looked the best from a central point of view.

 

Anyhow, I always like to check out the food markets in whichever Spanish city I am in (Valencia’s of course, being the most amazing).  But the one at Murcia offered some very decent looking meat, fish and the usual array of vegetables and fruit – it is one of the things I love about Spain – the availability of lovely fresh produce that has not seen polystyrene packaging or cellophane – you choose exactly what you want, the biggest freshest fish, the juiciest rib of beef (always so much cheaper bought on the bone) and the plumpest peaches and tomatoes.  As we were staying another night and day, I didn’t buy much, just some lovely “doughnut” peaches fromParaguay.

It is all so temptingly laid out in a way that just doesn’t really happen in the UK unless you take a trip to Borough Market in the city of London – but you will find the same kind of food markets in every Spanish village, town and city – they seem to take a real pride in presenting their food and also it is an opportunity to meet with neighbours and friends for coffee, drinks or tapas and make it into a social occasion too!

La Pequena Taberna Restaurant, Murica

21 Jun

I know I have blogged about Murcia before, but feel it is worth mentioning again and again.  When you live in the countryside/beach, you get a real kick out of going to a city where there are proper shops (I mean like Zara and Aldolfo Dominguez!) Murcia, though a bit further than, say,Almeria, is just a great day out and not just for shopping.  There are plenty of reasons to go – buildings, a river, yes with water in it (those of you who have been here will know what I mean), a new concert hall, and botanical gardens, not to mention the fabulous restaurants here.  One of which is La Pequena Taberno, situated in a small square called Plaza deSan Juan, near the Cathedral.

You know when you have arrived at the right square, as you will see several very classy, understated restaurants, with the most stunning displays of aubergines, tomatoes, kumquats and the like outside each one.  You can sit outside or actually at this time of year it is probably preferable to sit in the coolness of the interior.

The food is, well, classy Spanish – there are lots of different menus at different prices, with a huge range of fabulous Murcian dishes (and costing half that you would pay inLondon!) or you can have raciones (large portions of tapas) which are just as tasty and interesting.  There is something for everyone here, and if you are a fish eating vegetarian, you will also not be disappointed.  I urge you to try it, if only for a drink and rather than talk about the menu in too much detail, take a look at their website.

If you are visiting here on holiday and flying into Murcia, if you have an evening return flight, why not go via Murcia City for lunch (thus avoiding the 13 euro toll!) – you will need an hour to get to the airport of San Javier from there.

La Pequena Taberna Restaurant Telephone: 968 21 98 40

La Parranda Restuarant, Murcia

16 Mar

If you follow my blog, you will know we had a trip up to Murcia a couple of Saturdays ago.  We crammed some shopping in, but more important than shopping is of course, eating and drinking!  Murcia for us is pretty much undiscovered, and as Spain’s 10th largest city, there is quite a lot to discover both culturally and cuisine wise.  As we were in one of the familiar parts to us, i.e. around the Cathedral and old town, we went for the third time to our favourite restaurant, La Parranda.

La Parranda restaurant frontage

We first discovered it about 5 years ago when we stayed overnight on our way to Valencia for a little city break.  We could see La Parranda from our hotel bedroom window in the Plaza San Juan amongst several other rather marvellous looking places.

 

The are about 4 or 5 and I would be happy to go into any one of them – they have tables outside with patio heaters in the winter time and fabulous displays of trugs or glass vases containing  vast amounts of tomatoes or aubergines – they are quite stunning.

Outside eating area - beautiful in Spring and Summer

Anyhow, the thing about La Parranda is that when you order your first drink, you are treated to a bowl of big fat olives along with the biggest potato crisps you have ever seen in your life, and we loved this gem of extravagant bar snacks that we just feel the need to go there on every trip.  I think La Parranda comes from the verb Parrandearse, to go out on the town but I could be wrong!  Cheap it is not, but sophisticated it is, and we are not talking London prices either.

Olives and big crisps

We decided to stay at the bar, on high stools and around tall round tables, and order from the tapas and racion menu (Racion is a more substantial portion than a tapa, and often enough for two or three of you to share).  We had boquerones (anchovies) on toast, peppers stuffed with salt cod, morcilla (black pudding), grilled pork loin in tiny baguettes, meltingly tender, a huge salad of the most delicious green tomatoes that you get here, with hearts of palm – I can’t remember whether we had anything else to eat, but the menu is pretty vast just in the bar area.

One of the tempting salads

With a few drinks the bill came to 50 euros with a tip for three of us – I imagine it would be double the price in London. Each time I eat really authentic and posh Spanish food, it inspires me to get out my Spanish cook books and be a bit more inventive rather than sticking to the things I know and am confident cooking.

 

Next time we are in this area of Murcia, though, I think we have to have a drink and a snack in each of the other restaurants in Plaza Juan – they all look worthy of a peak inside.

La Parranda telephone number: 968 220 675

 

 

 

 

 

 

Murcia

6 Mar

It’s Saturday and we have decided to go a bit further afield for a change – it seems the only way to get time off properly here is to leave the house and just let all the usual weekend chores wait.

 

Murcia is only an hour and a half away and is Spain’s 10th largest city.  It is straight up the motorway so very easy to get to and so long as you leave early enough time to get an hour or two’s shopping in before the shops shut at two you don’t have to start out before 10.30 or 11 in the morning.  The other option, of course, is to get there at 2 or 3 in the afternoon, go and have loads of tapas or a proper lunch and then go shopping at 5.30 pm.  Anyhow, we like to go early, mooch around the shops, with a coffee halfway, and then go for a leisurely lunch before leaving in the late afternoon.

Shopping in Murcia

You really need four or five visits to Murcia to really acquaint yourself with the city as with any city, there is a lot to see and do and because it is quite close, rather than tire yourself out with one long exhausting day, it is better to select something in particular to see or do and then have a meal, either lunch or dinner and plan another day out to see something else.   Actually if you are used to London, then Murcia does not seem that large and therefore, is quite undaunting.  If you live where we do, then shopping is quite high on the list of priorities and so I am very happy to wander not down the main shopping street in search of Zara or Corte Ingles but rather seek out the smaller, more exclusive shops in the old town, near the cathedral.  There are a selection of gorgeous designer shops, more for girls than boys it has to be said, all hidden away in narrow little streets, punctuated with coffee shops and bars to sneak in and have drink and maybe a tapa or two knowing that lunch is a couple of hours away.

Real Casino

It is quite chilly today and so the thought of disrobing and trying stuff on is not very appealing, but I look at beautiful dresses  and imagine myself with a tan and plan to come back soon for a big trying on session.

 

Many of the interesting bits of Murcia are set quite close to the river and therefore, with a map, once you park, it is a fairly easy city to navigate.  We really only did the shopping bit, the Cathedral Square, and then headed off for a fantastic lunch of tapas in what I believe is one of the best restaurant squares in Murcia.  But we are already planning our next day out to visit the fabulous concert hall and congress centre amongst other things, situated a bit further up the river, and the botantical gardens to the west, and obviously to search out more fantastic places to eat!