Andalucia , anyone?

Those tomatoes looks incredibly delicious.
Would I be correct to assume that they would be RAF tomatoes, Maribel?

So many reports here seem to revel in the quality of tomatoes in Spain, in seasons that I would not expect them to be at their peak…

But I am going only by tomato season in the NE US, which only comes to a peak in late August.

Would a diner be disappointed in ordering tomatoes in a restaurant in, for example May?? I’ve read so many reports about the fantastic tomato salads in San Sebastián (Nestor?) and other cities throughout Spain, in seasons that are not summer.

Is there even a season any more, given the advances in tomato-culture (?) in Almeria and, maybe, in Navarra and in other vegetable hotspots??

This month, for example, would I be amiss in ordering a salad of tomatoes in Galicia? Shall I inquire as to the origin of the tomato?

I also wonder about burrata, since I see that cheese on so many Spanish menus lately. Would this be burrata shipped in from Puglia? Or would it be made in a cheese-making center In Spain? I tend to shy away from this when I see it on menus in an attempt to sample a “more local” product. I am sure some will think I am carrying this fixation with local too far… But if you tell me that there are cheesemakers in Spain who now create a great burrata, I’m all in!!! I do know that Zucca in Valladolid makes burrata…a friend whose family hails fro there is a fan…

Ziggy,enjoying to the max all of your comments, an your photos…I hope there will be much more!!

And yes, Maribel…to FM!!!

We have good quality tomatoes here year round, including the Raff tomatoes that I purchase at Sánchez Romero, but they’re especially good now and throughout the summer. Feel very free to have an *ensalada de tomates in Galicia when you arrive very soon!

Parts of the Almería province are known as la costa del plástico, given their mile to mile hot houses (invernaderos).

Burrata: Yes I’ve had delicious burrata here (can’t recall now exactly where I had it last).
I don’t know if I’ve had yet the Zucca of Valladolid burrata, maybe but just didn’t realize it, but it’s also made in Cantabria (the land of milk cows) by the Biribil Brothers. They have a shop in Bilbao.

On your next Madrid trip, you may want to hit all the great cheese shops here. Unfortunately the Poncelet shop near your hotel on Calle Argensola has closed (boo hoo), but there are several others where you would love to browse, such as Formaje. And they do sell Zucca, so I should go tomorrow and get some! And it’s within walking distance of your hotel.

Another lovely cheese shop, in addition to La Boulette in the Mercado de la Paz, is Qava at Dr. Castelo 34 in the Retiro district. One can also snack there.

And there’s Cultivo in La Latina on the Carrera de San Francisco.

and Octavio, the only remaining great food stand in the Mercado de San Antón, sells a lovely selection, including the award-winning “Quesos y Besos”.
The rest of the market has mostly been turned into a huge food court, sadly.

And on that other travel board, we talked about the Bon Fromage stand in the Mercado de Chamartín.

There. That´s my Madrid queso lesson today.

And Ziggy, I really enjoyed reading about your Andalusian dining adventures!


Thank you. Got two more cities but not a lot of meals left. I’m a little slammed today but will resume tomorrow

Looking forward to the rest!

Me, too!!!

El Lechuguita (Ronda)

And the winner for best food we experienced in Andalucia is… Ronda. Just two meals (and one winery). Both Sensational, and none named Tragatá
Starting with El Lechuguita. One of those old school institutions where locals now share with small armies of tourists lining up around the corner before opening. It seems like they haven’t changed decor and prices in 30 years. An extensive menu with most tapas costing €1.2!! Fancier like the Pate cost €5. We had a shameful feast with drinks and the cost was less than €50 total for 4 people.

We sampled much of the menu, from small sandwiches, salads, stews, and dishes I didnt order (maybe came with drinks). Not a bad dish in the house but some better than others. Winners were the Shrimp Skewers, Pate, eggs of course, and best of show, best of the trip, spiced to perfection Chickpeas with Chorizo.


Ramos-Paul winery (Ronda)

This place was a big hit with the group. No pictures, certainty not mine, will properly prepare you or give the entire Serrania de Ronda justice. Its probably the most Tuscan-like region I’ve seen. Not only the immediate area north of Ronda, but much of the drives toward Granada/Malaga is spectacular.

Us and a local couple got a tour of the property, followed by a tasting of surprisingly robust, delicious reds with tasty tapas. The wine is aged at least 10 years in the bottle, and costs well under $100 due to well, not being called Rioja. They are still working on the fame part. Husband and wife team. Wife’s family is one of the original owners of Cruzcampo, the local beer monopoly. Highly recommend this property, although I’m sure there are other good ones


Casa Mateos (Ronda)

The second sensational meal in Ronda. Flawless, good contender for best of the trip. Talented older female cook generating all sorts of magic. Someone we met at a cafe in Olvera who played chess with my friend is a regular here so he gave us some great tips on what to order.

Mini hamburgers with oxtail, dont look like much but bursting with flavor. Goat cheese salad with nuts, fruits, greens and slightly fried cheese, absolutely brilliant for a simple goat cheese salad (Our new Olvera friend best tip). Silky smooth Partridge pate. I was still thinking about it next day on our spectacular Caminito del Rey hike. When the guide asked the group if anyone can recognize a bird, I said “partridge?”

Huevos Trufados - Supremely flavorful. Probably truffle oil but it works well here. Superb Chicken with Fideos. Expertly cooked Lomo de Vaca had more flavor than the steak specialist in Granada. Cheesecake with peach uptstaged chocolate Torrija, but both solid. Go!


Wow, Ziggy, what 2 great finds you made in Ronda. The setting of the winery is just beautiful.
And Casa Mateos is a recommendation of Benito Gómez, of the Michelin-starred Bardal.
I’m putting it on my list of must dos.


La Cosmopolita (Malaga)

Finished (prematurely, more on that) with a bang. Great meal, not flawless, but probably the most memorable meal for various reasons. The hits more than made up for the dud(s). My favorite kind of staff. Not the overly professional, robotic, but the goofy kind. One of them (the goofiest) told me the chef used to own a place in NYC called Da Andrea, which I’m all too familiar with. There was a time when I was young when Da Andrea was my favorite restaurant in NYC. I spent birthdays and other events there. It changed the way I looked at Italian food and even wine. But I never met the owner who was always in the kitchen. So if you can imagine the thrill of meeting him in Malaga out of all places. He wasn’t there the day we went, so I had to come back the next day. We had quite the a lengthy discussion surprisingly.

As for the food, the Mollete de Atún, one of their specialties is like the best raw tuna sandwich you’ll ever find. Mollete translates to a muffin (like an English Muffin I suppose), but its actually IGP protected buns from Antequera. Another big hit was the steak tartare. I dont recall eating tartare this good even in Paris recently. The big dud for me was the Crab Omelette. Love eggs and crab, but another reminder that not together. Another Tuna Cadiz style, a special, was nice, but a slight preference to the one we had in Granada surprisingly. And absolutely loved, loved the Payoya cheesecake here, albeit I liked that Payoya funkiness more than her. Already blogged about it here


Now I have to chose between La Cosmo and La Cosmopolita :sob: :sob: :sob:

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Choose La Cosmopolita!.
Dani’s bone marrow filled with shrimp tartare, that Payoyo cheesecake and his ensaladilla rusa are 3 of my favorite dishes.
And the service there has never failed me.

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That concludes my eating adventure. At La Cosmopolita it was just my wife and I as my friend got sick (his wife stayed with him). The next day, our last, my wife got the same bug, and I was left alone wondering the streets. They believe the sickness came from a milkshake they got from one of the booths at the end of the Caminito del Rey hike.

I cancelled our last dinner plans at Uvedoble Taberna, and I went to check out the Soho area to try getting into Mesón Ibérico. But it was just too busy so ended up at the weirdest, most romantic pizza place I’ve ever seen, Unica Pizzeria Contemporanea. The pizza was not bad, but the environment was just too weird for solo diners seeking quick pizza.

Thanks again to Maribel, Erica and everyone else. If anyone has any itinerary questions, I’ll be happy to answer


I think you’re right, La Cosmo looks a bit too bright and shiny, La Cosmopolita is more my vibe. I’m still deciding on Kaleja for my one “splurge” dinner(or lunch).

Hi Ziggy,
Was the chef you met at La Cosmopolita Dani Carnero, owner of all 3, Kaleja, La Cosmo & La Cosmopolita or what it his chef de cuisine at La Cosmopolita? Just curious.

Did you enjoy your stay in Olvera? It appears that you stayed there rather than in Ronda? correct?

Thanks, and I’ve really enjoyed reading about your experiences.

Thanks so much for the reviews, very helpful :slight_smile: Well done.

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You might consider Cávala as well for your splurge. One Repsol sun.

It just recently changed chefs, though, and has added meat dishes. The former chef, Juanjo Carmona launched his own restaurant in Benalmádena.
Miguel Angel Mayor is now the chef, who received a Michelin star when he was at Sucede in Valencia. He´s a barcelonés with Andalusian roots.

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Hi Maribel, no it wasnt Dani. I gathered it was the chef in charge.

We actually stayed in Ronda, and visited Olvera on a day trip. Interesting little town but a bit sleepy and too much construction. We found a little cafe owned by a Ukrainian woman where we spent much of the time playing chess and meeting new friends. All Brits

Thanks, Ziggy. I didn’t think that Dani Carnero had been in NY.
I don´t know why I thought you had chosen Olvera. It is a sleepy little place.

Did you enjoy your lodging choices?

Looks great! Adding to my impossibly long list, I still have time to cull some of it. :smiley: Thanks.