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Los Angeles Restaurant and Bar, Villaricos

13 Jun

My family are here at the moment and so there is a lot more planning for meals to be done – normally we eat late in the evening either here or at one of our favourite restaurants nearby.  But in the heat, sometimes it is nice to lunch out properly and then know that I can throw a mezze together in the evening.

So, yesterday was such a day.  I gave everyone the choice of going and sitting at a beach side restaurant, or letting me take them to a place that all of us here like to go to from time to time for the menu del dia.  Los Angeles is situated on the road to Villaricos from Puerto Rey direction (go over the roundabout, passed the Repsol Garage on the right and carry on for a minute or two, you will see the little building on the right, with cars usually parked outside.

Los Angeles cool bar terrace

True, there is no view either from the cool terrace where you can happily have a drink, or the cool, immaculate restaurant inside.  However, anyone who goes there will know not to be put off by this fact; the food is exceptional value for money, tasty, good quality and always served with a smile.  The owners are charming and nothing is too much trouble.

There is always lots of choice on the menu del dia, always including a great fish dish, stew of the day, or pasta dish among other things,  and for 10  for three courses (pudding OR coffee) including half a bottle of wine, a beer or any other kind of drink included you simply can’t go wrong.  For an additional few euros you can choose rack of pork ribs falling off the bone, or tiny delicious lamb chops – still amazing value for money.  There is an extensive a la carte menu, also good value and a special priced set menu for evenings and Sundays – I think at a cost of 12 euros per head.  Our bill for four came to 48 euros, which included a beer, water and freshly squeezed orange juice (plus the two bottles of wine!) – my father left a hefty tip!

Los Angelesis a great place to go in winter, cosy inside, with robust stews of the day and other warming goodies offered, and beautifully cool inside in the summer.  They clearly have the bums on seats theory but with the quality element uncompromised.

With times being a bit on the tough side for everyone, gone are the days of thinking nothing about spending 30 or more euros a head for a meal without it being a special occasion.  If this describes you, I urge you to try this little gem of a place.  You will not be disappointed.

Los Angeles Bar and Restaurant telephone number: 699 010 705

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Villaricos market

13 Mar

There is a market within 10 km of us every day, even Sunday.  Actually the Sunday market at Villaricos has to be my favourite.  There are hardly any shops open on Sundays, just the odd little store (although why anyone wants to go food shopping on a Sunday beats me!) and so the fruit and vegetables sold at the market are quite handy if you have forgotten something.  Anyhow, it is just a lovely thing to do on a sunny Sunday morning – the market overlooks the sparkling blue sea beyond the little marina and it is just gorgeous.

It is huge market which stretches along the narrow street and sells mainly fruit, vegetables, cheese, charcuterie, flowers, herbs and spices, lots of clothing, hardware, jewellery, pottery and lots of other knick knacks.

There is also a fantastic Chicken van – dozens of delicious grilled chicken sold hot to take home for lunch if you can’t be bothered to cook.

My friend Denise has her bookstall here, which she runs with her husband, Tony and they sell great second hand English books for a couple of euros and actually around here, English books are hard to find.  We tend to borrow them from each other, so this is a great addition for us.

Next door to Denise is the Churros van – on Sunday I had my third only taste of Churros since coming to Spain almost 8 years ago!  It is so delicious that I am frightened to have it any more often – for those of you that do not know what it is, it is like freshly made doughnuts, but cooked in long swirls and then cut into “sticks”, covered in sugar which you dip in hot chocolate – now you know why I am frightened to eat it!  It is highly addictive and just about the most delicious thing you can eat!

The market runs in and out of various restaurants and tapas bars, where we always stop for a coffee or a beer – this Sunday was scorching and so the market and the cafes were heaving with everyone enjoying being out in the sea air, and the hussle and bustle of it all.

If you are staying here, I thoroughly recommend you go down to Villaricos on a Sunday morning and soak up the atmosphere, before going off for lunch or an afternoon at the beach.  You are bound to find something you like to take home.

Villaricos

10 Jun

Last night was the most beautiful evening and so Mick and I decided to go for an “after work drink” down near the beach at Villaricos as we didn’t feel like spending more than 10 minutes in the car.  I have blogged about Villaricos before, we love Las Brisas, the chiringuito that I have reviewed already, but if you drive a little further along, there is a steep slope opposite El Mar la Mar (another of our favourites), and if you head down there, you will find a lovely little bay tucked away, next to a tiny marina (there is a much larger one further along).  This is a lovely quiet and unspoilt beach and at this time of year is sensational for the mere fact that it is empty – mostly unknown by tourists and not holiday time for locals.  You can wander down to where the few boats are moored and have a coffee, drink or lunch at the restaurant there.

We take a little walk and then head back up to El Mar la Mar for a drink.  We really love this place – we usually go for dinner here, but you can go for the most amazing menu del dia (menu of the day, every day I think except Tuesdays) – you can have 3 courses and wine for 12 euros – just fantastic value and a wonderful view of the sea, even though it is just across the road from the beach.

So next time you are down here, plan a morning relaxing on the beach and then if you are feeling like a lunch that is a bit more posh, but at just brilliant value,  then try El Mar la Mar.  I guarantee you will enjoy it.

El Mar La Mar Restaurant and bar, Villaricos

23 Oct

El Mar La Mar The sea, the sea – what an evocative name.  It is a restaurant and one of our favourites and is indeed on the sea at a small fishing village near us.  We go there often, sometimes just the two of us (it’s very romantic!) but more often with friends (it is good fun!).  The owner and chef used to be a big cheese in the kitchen at Desert Springs golf club, but has owned his own restaurant for some years now.  It does very well, thanks to the delicious food, the great front of house staff, the location, and so important in this economic climate, the value for money.

El Mar la Mar dining room

 

Very cleverly, Richard (Shepherd) introduced a “Friends of Mar de Mar” menu a couple of autumns ago when the hoards of holiday makers were no longer around and so this was very much aimed at us locals, both Spanish and English.  If you order before 8 pm you are treated to a two course dinner with wine for 30 euros per couple – brilliant.  Even if you don’t eat from this menu, prices are good and the menu choices go on forever.  It is very much an international menu, with some Spanish specialities too, and always interesting and tempting.

We have never had a bad experience here and there is something for every taste, even the most fussy child.  The surroundings and atmosphere are really charming too and I never get fed up of going there.  And no, they’re not paying me.

El Mar La Mar telephone number: 950 467 030

Las Brisas – Villaricos Playa

16 Aug

Placido Domingo or Lazy Sunday to you!  We went down to our nearest beach at Villaricos to meet some friends for lunch at one of our favourite restaurants, Las Brisas.  It is a charming chiringuito that serves fantastic food at lunchtimes.  6 or 8 choices of fresh fish, prawns, salads, and a decent choice of meat, steaks, lamb chops and pork dishes.

Lovely Sunday lunch

If you want the traditional lunch of Paella, you need to telephone the day before (apparently it is naff to have paella at any other time of day though goodness knows why!).

Paella - order the day before!

After a two hour lunch (pathetically short) it is down to the sea 10 yards away for a refreshing dip – the waves knock us off our feet and all hope of looking like Ursula Andress emerging from the surf goes out the window!  We don’t care – we have the rest of the afternoon ahead of us.  The beach here is under 15 minutes drive from the Cortijo so even if you just want a swim and a beer for an hour during the day it is no hassle.

Villaricos Playa

It is a lovely natural beach, with no umbrellas or beds – you take your own.  There is a natural lagoon so the water is always really warm at this time of year and the shore is flanked by lots of local Spanish families coming down to enjoy their regular family day out.  They bring everything but the kitchen sink with them and sit right on top of the water’s edge so nipping in and out of the waves is not too much effort!  They won’t leave untl sundown, but I have to get back to cook dinner for my guests but luckily I have prepared most it in the morning, so only a bit of last minute cooking to do.  I won’t get to bed before midnight as the kids have requested ‘The Hangover’ in the outdoor cinema after dinner.  There will be plenty of time for early nights in the autumn and if I am lucky I will get a short siesta in on Monday afternoon.

Las Brisas telephone number: 639 600 949