Tasting Spain's Costa del Sol: A Food Tour of the Costa del Sol (2023)

basques have juan mari and elenaArzak, CatalanFerran Adria, Andalusia is home to "el Chef del Mar" Ángel León, who have put their region's cuisine on the world food map.

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Leon, 46, is a celebrity in Spain. His obsession with shrimp and fish scales and his restaurantplacePuerto Santa Maria's Costa del Sol attracts attention. It's the only restaurant in Andalusia to earn three Michelin stars, prompting rethinking in a city on the coast of Cadiz that until recently was best described as "fade".

Maybeangel lion effectis the reason for the recent surge of competitive quality restaurants and beach clubs. Whatever the reason, the northern half of the Costa del Sol – a 50-mile stretch of traditional coastal towns that stretches south from Sanlúcar de Barrameda to Cadiz to Chiclana de la Frontera and Conil - very popularmodel

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“Since Aponiente opened, the cuisine here has become more international,” says León. "There's ceviche, tartaki, tartare...although innovative new restaurants have kept the essence of traditional seafood classics." renewed interest.

With a wide, light-colored sandy beach as the backdropthink(Spanish fir) forests, this stretch of coast has long been a popular holiday destination for Spanish families. From Sanlúcar to Conil there are 26 more blue flags than anywhere else in Andalusia. However, it remains under the radar for foreign tourists who visit Sanlúcar and Cadiz and then travel onwards - usually to Vejer and Tarifa and further south to the dunes and cosmopolitan communities. Or the Costa del Sol.

In Chipiona, a 15-minute drive south of Sanlúcar, stands a white box made of wood and glass,AwaLocated at the foot of the tallest lighthouse in Spain, Playa de Regla is an example of the new style of the areabeach bar(beach bar). Further along the beach, the 19th-century Sanatorium of Santa Clara is a reminder that poor children were once brought here for the health benefits of iodine-rich water. Now, people love awa anemones with guacamole, turmeric, and refried beans. When Borja Ramos opened in 2018, he said: "A revolution has come to my city, bringing more innovations...the rest will be forced to improve."

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In a way, they have: there is hardly a rickety table, a plastic chair or a €2.50 plate of dogfish on this coast these days; The bar features Balinese beds and serves Asian-inspired seafood beautifully presented.

Still varied: Chipiona's Playa de las Tres Piedras offers everything from cool cocktails to Hawaiian surf-inspired food. the best option isLa Manuela Kitchen Mug, known for its superb seaside food (lobster dumplings, copious amounts of tuna) and cheerful blue-and-white buildings with natural wood and thatched roofs.

The same goes for Aponiente, a coastal area on the outskirts of El Puerto. Set against a swampy backdrop that looks like a movie set, this 19th-century tide mill attracts food critics and top chefs from around the world.

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When Alain Ducasse came to this coast, he ate thereDie Chef del Mar Tavern, owned by León and run by his wife, Marta Girón. It's an homage to the Aponiente theme, but scaled down to suit the tastes and budgets of the average person. The menu includes some classics - plankton risotto (€27) and sea sausage (€24) - as well as some gourmet quips -spicy potatoesThose are really red shrimpHamThis is actually dried tuna. Tucked away on a side street (Calle Puerto Escondido, 6), it looks chic and fun from the outside, with simple tables and black skull and fishbone signs, but is subtly refined inside—like the food.

The restaurant is directly opposite a 17th-century house and courtyard run by chef Pablo Terrón Easy and versatile fashionhidden port. The menu is full of exciting surprises, with plenty raw, fresh and spicy, such as half a lime kipper (€3.50).

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Just around the corner from the beautiful Calle Ribera del MariscoWeb portals, a historic restaurant offering formal dining in a rich and elegant interiorHavanese,Opened last year by local chef Fran Oliva, who returned from Jerez. thisRed Shrimp Tartare with Sea UrchinMore(€10.50) Not to be missed.

10-minute walk along the Guadalete RiverTohka(Calle Los Moros, 4), run by the Perez brothers. Their former convent, with its tree-lined courtyard and punk street art murals, offers two interesting tasting menus (€55 and €80), ending with the signature onion mousse.

There's another one a little farther, above Vistahermosa Beachspotlight, founded by three friends in their 20s (including chef Javi Navarro, who previously worked at Akelarre and Can Roca), who were stranded here due to the pandemic.

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“There is no doubt that there is an Angel León effect,” Terrón said, “but there are several factors behind the increase in the number and quality of restaurants and more people discovering the coast and its great climate and produce.”

he was one of many boysGaditanoChefs come home with skills honed working outside the kitchen. "I'm from El Puerto Rico. I worked for 12 years in Madrid, Peru, Mexico, France...then I came home. I wanted to contribute to the prosperity of my city."

As the city’s mayor, Germán Beardo, put it: “Port is back!” (El Puerto Rico is back!).

Across the bay, the pretty city of Cadiz is experiencing its own gastronomic renaissance: Código de Barra has won its first Michelin star. But the ultimate beach food is further south.

On the outskirts of Chiclana, Poblado de Sancti Petri has several bars, a small beach with kayak rentals, a boat to the castle in front, a huge nude statue of Hercules, Rod Stewart (Rod Stewart) recently performed a small stage, and a restaurant,lighthouse keeper's home. The menu features local fish, scallops and prawns, and the patio tables are almost right on the water.

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Chiclan has one of the most spectacular beaches in Spain: La Barossa, a five-mile stretch of white sand. restaurant attracts attentiontapas tree, it's not written on it, but it's nearby and easy to find due to the queue. Bright and airy, its Costa de la Luz – Asian fusion tapas andmealDesigned for summer, the price is suitable for local customers. they are excellentTogetherAnemone in oyster sauce (€2.80), crispy langoustine strips with basil dipping sauce (€5.60) and calamari bunsoctopus(3.90 euros).

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La Barossa is also full of beach clubsMojama Beachto Instagram favorite Nova Sunset Club andWawa Beach. Halfway, at the Hotel Gran Melia Sancti Petri,Alevante Restaurantby Ángel León offers a third chance to try El Chef del Mar, with tasting menus starting at €145.

A local's guide to Cadiz, Spain: ancient ruins, beach bars and delicious tapas Read more

On the outskirts of Chiclana, the town gives way to fields and wild beachessea ​​barracks. Nestled in scrubby dunes, it's an old military base that's been transformed into a fantastic place to stay by the design team behind Madrid's Azotea del Círculo and Picalagartos Sky Bar. It's a surreal find on a pristine beach with a contemporary art gallery, a rooftop terrace for yoga and/or champagne, and a restaurant. You can have fun wiggling your toes in the sandWhite Garlic with Smoked Sardines(€14) andtuna tarantula(26 euros).

In Playa La Fontanilla, near the town of Conil, the family business is separated by a few meters of sand and a kiosk selling buckets and shovelsFontanelleRestaurant established in the 1960s with a modern feelFeduchy Playa (sister to Feduchy Concil, a few streets from the beach),Founded by three young friends. Both are very popular.

There's talk of a food revolution on the Sunshine Coast, but nothing is lost: it just gets better.


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