Conductor, Musicologist, Keyboard player

Granada - February 2007

February 28, 2007


Since I was rather pointedly asked by a Spanish journalist how it was that, despite having a food column, I had never yet mentioned a single restaurant in Granada, it seems polite to revive the Food Counter this month [February 2007] to mention good eating around the Alhambra (where the concert hall of the Granada Orchestra is also situated).

Parador de Granada
Real de la Alhambra S/N
Granada 18009

So I can pass on recommendations for three eating places all within very easy walking distance of the Alhambra itself — one actually inside it. This is the restaurant of the Parador, the hotel within the walled Moorish palace, which is open to all (no need to buy the ticket which entitles you to see round the historical site) and serves a wide range of good, and sometimes very local, food. Much recommended is the almond and garlic soup (if everyone agrees) known as Ajo blanco, which comes with ‘croutons’ of apple; there are also several local solutions of how to cook goat, and many fish dishes. There can also, if you ask, be no muzak.

Alhambra Palace Hotel
Pena Partida 2–4
18009 Granada
Tel: +34 958 221468

Inside the alternative establishment, the grandiose Alhambra Palace Hotel, is also another fine traditional style restaurant for lunches and dinners (both starting and ending late) with a terrace overlooking the modern town and with a view of the snow-topped Sierra Nevada (but, alas, also of the cloud of smog sometimes blanketing the city). Good wine list, including several actually from Granada itself. The décor of the hotel is all copied from the historical palace (apparently so that tour guides could demonstrate details to the 19th-century travellers without leaving the comfort of the hotel).

Specially recommended, and only a stone throw’s walk from the Alhambra Palace (and again just outside the walls of the castle) is the Restaurante Carmen de San Miguel (Plaza Torres Bermejas 3, Alhambra, tel. 958 226 723, Claiming with some justification (the locals assure me) to offer the best cooking of Andalusia, it takes a slightly more nouvelle approach to traditional dishes, and makes some refreshing variants on over-exhibited Spanish staples like gazpacho, imaginative combinations of sea-food with fruits (fresh and preserved) and some impressive cod cooked in a complete casing of salt, which is tapped to crack it at the table and the fish extracted (not tasting over-salted at all). Again, the music can be made to disappear on request.

If it sounds as though I hardly had to leave the Alhambra hill during my concert week in Granada, that is about correct.


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