IT is sometimes suggested in gentle criticism that there is more to eat in Mojacar than ajo colorado, gachas, pelotas and migas.
But now the town has its own ‘Tapas Guide’ and a promotional event ‘Eat Mojacar: Gastronomic Events’ taking place between June 28 and July 8.
The area, including Cabo de Gata, Garrucha and Vera, actually has a lot of good places to eat.
As the sun slips behind the hills, where better to sit than on the roof terrace of the Aires del Sur, in Mojacar pueblo, ordering cous cous and a fabulous bottle of chilled rose.
Formerly known as Elizabeth’s this friendly joint, owned by Miguel from Melilla, is a true family affair with his wife and daughter all helping out.
Also in his family is the equally stunning Pulcinella, just across the square, where Abel’s pizzas featured recently in the European Pizza Championships for two years running.
On the beach, there are various restaurants, including, in particular, the simple and honest food at the Beachcomber. The owner, John, a personable chap, has been serving good food in Spain at a great price for 25 years, formerly in Ibiza, and he is the perfect person to ask about fishing trips.
The most famous beach-style chiringuito is Tito’s beach bar, which is located down towards the southern end of the playa. It’s a fun place, famous for its Sunday lunch, which also puts on Thai food evenings and plenty of live music.
Over in the fishing port of Garrucha, famous for its fresh red gambas, you should head to Sean’s fantastic Hotel Tikar for one of the coast’s best restaurants.
Long recommended in the Michelin guide, the food is extremely good value and changes by the season. Afterwards, (or during the meal for a small corkage fee) make sure to buy a bottle of wine from his new wine store… and if you have got any sense stay in a room upstairs.
Over in Cabo de Gata there are plenty of good places to eat but – without a doubt- the best place must be La Gallineta, in El Pozo de los Frailes, a stylish place, with an enticing, original menu.
A long time haunt for celebrities and film stars, it was Clash lead singer Joe Strummer’s favourite restaurant before his untimely death.
Last, but certainly not least, the fabulous inland restaurant of Venta el Museo, in Lucainena de las Torres, has one of Almeria’s top chefs Stephan Streifinger at the helm.
This talented German has travelled around the province for a decade and knows a lot about food. Make sure to come and spend a night at the attached hotel and get blown away by his fresh and exciting tapas dishes.
Finally, just up the road is an excellent olive oil factory Oro del Desierto, where you can try some of southern Spain’s best award-winning olive oil and also conveniently sit down for lunch.
Where to stay
THE Mojacar region has a wealth of decent places to stay from the top end Parador to the charming hostel Arco Plaza in the heart of the old town.
This brilliant, good value spot, can be as cheap as €35, and you are literally right in the heart of town in pole position for exploring.
Up the coast in Garrucha, you will be treated like a King at Spain’s ‘smallest hotel’ Hotel Tikar, which has just six suites, and one of the best restaurants in the region (see Where to eat).
Inland you must certainly look out for the fantastic Cortijo el Saltador in Lucainena de las Torres.
This beautiful hideout sits in the most stunning valley with amazing views and space.
Perfect for a slow holiday, you will love the sound of silence, apart from when on various weekends the place comes alive with flamenco shows.
There are also a string of different courses taking place throughout the year, including yoga, cookery and art.
And for the next few months the main part of the cortijo is full of original art from a string of celebrated artists from around the region.
Nearby you can also stay at Venta el Museo, which boasts perfectly comfortable rooms and the added attraction of having a great restaurant.
Over in Cabo de Gata you should definitely consider the stunning, carbon neutral retreat Cortijo la Tenada.
Run by a charming architect/designer couple from Italy and Spain, they have worked hard to make this eco-retreat both stylish and with a low impact on sustainability terms.
Using hemp bricks, solar panels and a clever system of rainwater run-off, the place is worth a poke about even if you are not staying.
Finally for campers, you should pitch your tent or bring your caravan to Los Gallardos campsite, which has been open for more than 20 years and now counts a fully-functioning restaurant and shop, seven days a week, as well as its very own bowling club.