Dixtinto Gastro - Arroceria

Jaen Restaurant ~ Dixtinto Gastro -Arroceria

Restaurant Dixtinto or to use it’s full name Dixtinto Gastro – Arroceria in the lively, downtown area of Jaen is a fun place to eat.


Light and bright, eat inside or out with a choice of Mediterranean and Traditional cuisine as well as specialising in rice dishes  means making a choice is not easy to do.

Dixtinto Gastro - Arroceria

Manuel Frutos, chef and 3rd place prize-winner in the 2015 International Competiton for Valencian Paella, is from Jaen. Weaned on local extra virgin olive oils, the base of all Jaen’s gastronomy which this days are getting better and better. Not only the oils but the presentation of them too. Frutos also did his training in Jaen, so what better qualifications could he have. For a showcase of young, avantguard Jaen cuisine by a great upcoming chef this is a great place to experience.

Dixtinto Gastro - Arroceria

Dixtinto is an Oleo Tour Jaen Restaurant, a group promoting ‘Olive Oil Tourism‘ be it restaurants, spas, olive oil mills, producers and olive oill museums. Normally there’s a display and the possibitlity to purchase of extra virgin olive oils on all these premises.

Oleo Tour Jaen


Just two of the extra virgin olive oils we got to taste, dunk lovely fresh bread into fresh and vibrant olive oils, each one different, is a perfect start to you meal. Then taster after taster of beautifully prepared, artistically designed tapas kept arriving pared with a very good couple of local red wines. When in Jaen……


I visited Jaen as part of a blog trip for the promotion for its 20 year anniversary as ‘Jaen Inland Paradise’. As I  live in the province I will be re-visiting Dixtinto, my sons too who first told me about it.

Fine Dining Chef Ruben Cabrera at Gourmet Restaurant La Cupula, Tenerife

Ruben Cabrera,  Head Chef  at the gourmet restaurant La Cupula on Tenerife, has won the ‘Best Chef in the Canary Islands’ award. Cabrera’s passion for gastronomic excellence in fine dining, which you can experience at Hotel Jardines de Nivaria, earned him the title of ‘Best Chef’  at the regional  ¡Qué Bueno! Canarias Heineken  gastronomy awards.

Chef Ruben Cabrera
Chef Ruben Cabrera

La  Cupula, located in the five-star Hotel Jardines de Nivaria, has become a must-do dining experience for all foodies and fine-diners on the island of Tenerife. Cabrera’s innovation and passion for gastronomy excellence keeps winning him awards.

As well as being the chosen  chef  to represent the Canary Islands in last month’s Madridfusion Gastronomy Summit, he has had an impressive culinary career so far. Cabrera won the ‘Best Chef’ award at the National Gastronomy Contest for the second year in a row in 2016 and he also won the first prize at the International Creative Cuisine Competition ‘Gamba Roja de Denia’ in 2015.



Cabrera, Head Chef at La Cúpula since 2007,  conjures up his delicious dishes  on the fourth floor of Hotel Jardines de Nivaria. An eclectic mix of  fusion,  French and local Canarian cuisines. Not only does the chef have several awards under his belt but the restaurant  had a full refurbishment in 2016 and you can dine with floor-to-ceiling windows giving panoramic views over the Atlantic Ocean.

The Hotel Jardines de Nivaria is part of the Adrian Hotels group  which has another two hotels on Tenerife:

5* Roca Nivaria Gran Hotel

4*Hotel Colón Guanahani


Tenerife calls!



Restaurante Patanegra 57 in Nerja

On a recent visit to Nerja we had the pleasure of discovering a great restaurant that we may not have found otherwise, so thanks to Nerja Tourist Board our host and Patanegra 57 or should I say Sergio Paloma for our gastronomic treats.


Sergio, a native of Nerja, worked under the famous Basque chef Martin Berasategui for a year or so. Berasategui is a holder of numerous Michelin Stars and Sergio hopes to follow in his footsteps bringing Michelin fame to his door and to the town of Nerja.

Sergio Paloma, Patanegra 57

You can find Patanegra 57 in one of the lovely back streets very near the famous Balcon de Europa jutting out into the Mediterranean Sea between lots of lovely little sandy coves.

Restaurant Patanegra 57

I not only love discovering great new restaurants but this one had another of my great likes, old tiles. Cement-made, hand-coloured tiles, the decadence of a former era decorate the bar and window sills in Patanegra 57.

We ate at high tables near the bar, the back restaurant had another passion of mine – a vertical green wall which frequent customers and fellow diners also like.

Restaurante Patanegra 57, Nerja

We were served a selection of dishes from the very reasonable tapas menu and each one was very good indeed, from presentation to tasting to each plate very satisfyingly emptied.

My favourites were, even though all were excellent, the Octopus with Creamed Potatoes …

Restaurante Patenegra 57

… and the Oxtail Ravioli with Cauliflower Puree and  a Port Wine Sauce.

Oxtail Ravioli with Cauliflower Puree and a Port Wine Sauce.

And the finale was…..

… Semi-cold yoghurt with Crunchy Pistachios and Raspberries.

A fabulous range of plates, recommended and one to return to, hopefully more than once. If in Nerja……

I’d like to thank Sergio Paloma and Nerja Tourist Board for hosting us in December.



Best Restaurants in San Sebastian

San Sebastian has a long held reputation for fine dining and excellent restaurants. Situated in the Basque Country on  Spain’s northern coast partly tucked away in the Bay of Biscay. San  Sebastian’s  location on the sea shore and on the edge of fertile growing area gives it a head start in producing fabulous local produce.


Two of San Sebastian’s restaurants are in the World’s Best 50 Restaurants list for 2016  and they are Mugaritz and Arzak.

Arzak is run by Juan Mari Arzak and Elena Arzak Espina and they serve Modern Basque cuisine. One of the their signature dishes is Pigeon with Potato Feathers.


The restaurant, located on the top of a hill, has been in the family for generations. It was Juan Mari, now 74 years old, who made it into what it is today. It offers Tasting or A la Carte menus which display their skills and flair. If you want to try some different wines you won’t be disappointed, their wine cellar is said to hold over 100,000 bottles!

Mugaritz prides itself on a Techo-emotional style of food cooked by Chefs Andoni Luis Aduriz and Juan Vargas. Andoni follows in the footsteps of the pioneering chef Ferran Adria.


In their elegant restaurant why not try the 20-course tasting meal with elements chosen from the mountains and the sea.

Photos and Source: World’s 50 Best  and Mugaritz

Repsol Restaurant Guide – Sun-ratings

The Repsol Guide in Spain has been giving out sun-ratings to great restaurants for over 35 years. Nowhere near as well-known worldwide as  Michelin Stars but within Spain they are highly rated and sought after.

For 2016 a total of 476 Spanish restaurants were listed –

36 with Three Suns
147 with Two Suns
293 with One Sun

That’s a lot of fabulous restaurants to try, so where ever you head to around Spain be sure to consult the Repsol Guide to for excellent restaurants. I’ve listed all the three sun  restaurants throughout Spain and then all the sun rated, one, two and three stars ones in Andalucia. Why all of them in Andalucia? That’s where I live and the ones I’ll probably get to first!


Tres Soles or 3 Sun Repsol Restaurants in Spain

ABaC –  Barcelona
Akelarre  – Donostia/San Sebastián, Gipuzkoa
Aponiente – El Puerto de Santa María, Cádiz
Arzak  – Donostia/San Sebastián, Gipuzkoa
Atrio –  Caceres
Azurmendi  – Larrabetzu, Bizkaia
Cabaña Buenavista – El Palmar, Murcia
Can Jubany  – Calldetenes, Barcelona
Sant Pau – Sant Pol de Mar, Barcelona
Casa Gerardo  – Prendes, Asturias
Cenador de Amós  – Villaverde de Pontones, Cantabria
Coque  – Humanes de Madrid, Madrid
Dani García – Marbella, Málaga
DiverXo – Madrid
Dos Cielos – Barcelona
El Celler de Can Roca – Girona
El Portal – Ezcaray, La Rioja
Etxebarri  – Atxondo, Bizkaia
Hispania  – Arenys de Mar, Barcelona
Kabuki Wellington – Madrid
L’Escaleta – Cocentaina, Alicante
La Terraza del Casino – Madrid
Martín Berasategui – Lasarte-Oria, Gipuzkoa
Mugaritz –  Errentería, Gipuzkoa
Nerua  – Bilbao, Bizkaia
O’Pazo – Madrid
Quique Dacosta Restaurante – Dénia, Alicante
Ramón Freixa – Madrid,
Ricard Camarena – Valencia
Rodero – Pamplona, Navarra
Santceloni – Madrid
Solla – San Salvador de Poio, Pontevedra
Vía Veneto – Barcelona
Zalacain – Madrid
Zuberoa –  Oiartzun, Gipuzkoa


Repsol  Restaurants In Andalucia

Three Suns 
Aponiente – Cadiz
Dani García – Málaga
Two Suns
Abantal – Sevilla
Choco – Cordoba
El Campero – Cadiz
El Faro del Puerto – Cadiz
El Lago – Malaga
Jose Carlos Garcia – Malaga
Kabuki Raw – Malaga
La Costa – Almeria
One Sun
Acanthum – Huelva
Alejandro – Almeria
Alhucemas – Sevilla 
Antonio – Cadiz
Arriaga – Granada
Cantina La Estacion – Jaen
Casa Antonio – Jaen
Casa Bigote – Cadiz
Castilleria – Cadiz
Don Giovanni – Malaga
Egaña – Santo –Sevilla
El Faro de Cadiz – Cadiz
El Churrasco – Cordoba
El Jardín – Hacienda El Rosalejo – Cadiz 
El Jardín de Lutz – Malaga
Jaylu – Sevilla
Juanito – Jaen
La Catedral – Almeria
La Curiosidad de Mauro Barreiro – Cadiz
La Fabula – Granada
La Plazuela – Huelva
Los Marinos Jose – Malaga
Los Sentidos – Jaen
Marbella Club Grill – Malaga
Don Giovanni Finca Cortesin – Malaga

Bib Gourmand Restaurants in Spain 2016

Having recently visited the lovely small white town of Cazalla de la Sierra to stay in the very charming and unique El Palacio de San Benito we arrived early to explore the town and have lunch before checking in.  To our very pleasant surprise we stumbled across  Restaurant Agustina and both hubby and I immediately knew we’d found our lunch spot, even before we’d noticed the Bib Gourmand seal of approval.

Restaurante Agustina

A quick glance and the menu and we sat ourselves down opposite the restaurant on a charming plaza with a road between us, if there’s a choice of sitting outside (in the shade) we do. I didn’t even go inside the restaurant, not even for a nose, very unlike and remiss of me.

Restaurante Agustina

It was to be a light lunch as it was early for us which made the mouth-watering menu choosing quite tricky and not very speedy. Into our second beer I’d narrowed it down to two starters and hubby chose a non-written choice of Pork Loin with a touch of Mustard.

Restaurante Agustina

I only photographed mine! The top photo a starter – Atun Marinada en ‘Algo Picantito’ con ensalada de alga ‘wacame’ y sesame and the second  a dish to share – Ensalada de Codorniz en Escabeche con Vinagreta de jinibre.

A very edible lunch with some interesting dishes, it got me thinking about how many and where the other Bib Gourmand restaurants are in  Andalucia and so here is the Bib Gourmand list  and I’ll definitely be looking out for some of these on my travels, and adding a comment as I tick them off!

Bib Gourmand Restaurants in Andalucia

Agua  Amarga-  Asador La Chumbera

Almodovar del Rio – La Taberna

Almuñecar – El Chaleco

Cadiz – Sopranis

Cazalla de la Sierra – Agustina  – Very good, indeed. Loved the little plaza we sat on.

Cazorla – Meson Leandro

Cordoba – El Envero

Cordoba – La Lonja

Fuengirola – Girol

Jerez de la Frontera – La Carbona

Linares – Canela en Rama

Linares – Los Sentidos

Linares de la Sierra – Arrieros

Malaga – Café de Paris

Malaga – Figón de Juan

Marbella – Bibo

Medina sidonia-  El Duque

Medina Sidonia – Venta La Duquesa

Monachil – La Cantina de Diego

Montellano – Deli

Los Palacios y Villafranca – Manolo Mayo

Priego de Cordoba – Balcon del Adarve

Puente Genil – Casa Pedro

Puerto Real – La Curiosidad de Mauro Barreiro

Sanlucar de Barrameda – Casa Bigote

Sevilla-  AzcZait

Sevilla – El Gallinero de Sandra

Ubeda – Amaranto

Ubeda – Cantina La Estacion – Very good, loved the train carriage decor and olive oil tasting.

Ubeda – Zeitum

Vera – Juan Moreno




Two Great Castle Hotels in Spain

These two lovely castle hotels are in Malaga province, Andalucia one overlooking Malaga town and port with the Mediterranean Sea as its backdrop. The other in the mountain town of  Monda not far inland from the coast of Marbella.

Hotel Castillo de Santa Catalina

Wind up from the coast, through a now residential area, and you’ll discover this old summer palace/mansion built on the site of a castle with some romantic ruins within the grounds.

Hotel Castillo de Santa Catalina, Malaga

Hotel Castillo de Santa Catalina was built by King Phillip IV in 1624 as part of the city’s defences but it didn’t survive long and by the early 20th century the fortress was in ruins. Manuel Loring, Count of Mieres and local of Malaga  had a summer residence built next to it to catch those cooling sea breezes in the heat of July and August.

Hotel Castillo de Santa Catalina, Malaga

French architects Levard and Lahalle designed the neo-Arabian style palace which now sits overlooking the bay of Malaga. It was named Castillo de Santa Catalina and is now a 4* star hotel maintaining many original aspects, now shabby-chic decor and of course those fabulous views from its heyday.

With only eight rooms you really do feel like the king of the castle here, we barely saw another guest on our stay.

Hotel Castillo de Monda

Climb up from the coast into the mountains and you’ll find lots of small towns but the most impressive is the town of Monda with its castle atop and town almost surrounding it. The castle with its origins in the IX century was conquered by the Catholic Kings and ordered to be pulled down in 1485 but it wasn’t until an uprising in 1568 that it was practically raised to the ground.

Hotel Castillo de Monda, Malaga

These days there is very  little of the original structure to be seen but the Castle today was designed in a traditional style. The hotel entrance is accessed by a high entry gate and pretty patio, all 25 rooms have lovely views and the salt pool, bar and restaurant on the top floor even better ones.

Hotel Castillo de Monda, Malaga

This is a privately managed hotel and offers relaxation, spa treatments, we had the salt pool to ourselves and it has a very good restaurant so there’s no need to leave your castle at all.


Read my review of Hotel Castillo de Santa Catalina

See Hotel Castillo de Monda on my Only Spain ~ Boutique Hotels site