Eating Out on the Costa Blanca
The most famous dish along the entire Costa Blanca (and maybe in Spain) is paella. Usually this will either be “con carne” (meat) “con pesca” (fish) or “mixta” (mixed) along with a variety of local vegetables and pulses. Valencia is the rice growing heart of Spain and the arroz bomba also features in a number of other dishes including baked rice (arroz al horno) and rice soup. Other popular local dishes include fideua, a paella style dish substituting rice for small pasta pieces, stuffed peppers and cocas, small open flatbreads topped with items such as tuna and boiled eggs.
As you would expect with a big city, Valencia has some of the best eating in Spain. Some of this can be found close to the principal tourist centre, around the Town Hall and Cathedral area. This is generally good quality and English will be widely spoken, but if you wander off the beaten track you will usually find similar food at much more reasonable prices. If you enjoy Asian food, there is a good sized “China Town” alongside the main station. Many places here cater for the large resident Chinese population but are happy to serve anyone and can be extremely good value and very authentic. Many people think the best place in all of Spain to get a paella is one of the restaurants on the edge of the huge Albufera marsh system lake just outside the city. Try a long lunch in the spring or summer when you can sit on the terrace. Alicante and Elche, which sit just outside the southern Costa Blanca, also have a good choice of places to eat and drink. Alicante’s port area is lined with bars and restaurants serving good food aimed at locals and visitors alike. Head further into the city if you want a slightly cheaper version of similar food – but don’t expect to get the same views.
In large resorts such as Torrevieja you may struggle to find traditional cuisine, although if you look hard enough there is always somewhere. Try and watch out for where the local workmen are heading at lunchtime for the best value. Things soon change when you go inland, where you are most likely to find proper traditional cooking, using local ingredients and changing with the seasons as all good cuisine should. Another thing to look out for is almuerzo, a mid-morning meal aimed at workers who started the day early but available to all customers. This could be a bocadillo (baguette), salad, tostada (toasted bread, with oil etc) served with a drink, juice or coffee but also beer or wine if you prefer. When eating out please be aware that most Spanish eat at lunchtimes so, especially in smaller towns or villages, many eateries do not open in the evenings. Those that do may not open their kitchens until 8pm, maybe even later in the summer.
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