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There are plenty of things to get excited about in the Costa Blanca. This Spanish region is home to beautiful beaches, ancient ports and historic towns.
One of the biggest draws for many travellers is the food and drink, and from dining out in local tapas restaurants to exploring the fish and meat counters at the nearest supermarket, there is no shortage of places to sample delicacies on the east coast.
We know that the foodies among you love to try different flavours, so we asked some seasoned travel bloggers to give us their recommendations for the best traditional Spanish food and drink in the Costa Blanca.
What did we find out? Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, we discovered that the Costa Blanca is one of the best places on the globe to try paella.
Almost every one of the travel enthusiasts we contacted mentioned this classic Spanish dish, and they also gave us some insight into the best restaurants to order this delicacy.
They encouraged our travellers to look for the freshest local produce on offer, which could mean getting a little off the beaten track to find some nice restaurants.
“Do as the locals do” was a motto many of our contacts recommended too – if you see a lot of Spanish people dining there you should be onto a good thing. Keep in mind that the culture involves eating evening meals much later over there.
So, without further ado, here are some expert recommendations on the best places to try traditional Spanish food in the Costa Blanca.
Cala de Finestrat
‘The Costa Blanca has many places to enjoy fresh fish. One of my favourites is Cala de Finestrat, a resort just along the coast from Benidorm. I love to head to El Arenal.‘
This restaurant is on the seafront with views to the beach. It is a typically Spanish restaurant and as a result it is popular with the locals. Choose a plate of fresh fish or a paella.
‘I also enjoy visiting local markets. The biggest one in the area for food is the Mercado Central de Alicante.
It’s worth a daytrip into town to visit the Castillo de Santa Barbara [a Spanish castle] and to see the fresh fish at the market too (weekdays in the morning is the best time).
Don´t forget to taste the local horchata drink while visiting the Costa Blanca.’
Molly Piccavey, piccavey.com
Cabo de Palos
‘After a busy morning walking on the beach and exploring the towns along the Mediterranean Sea, there is nothing better than savouring the local cuisine with a glass of Sangria.
Our friends have lived in the Costa Blanca for years and they took us to a traditional restaurant in Cabo de Palos to try the famous ‘’. This is a traditional fisherman’s recipe made with rice, fish and peppers.
The colour of the dish and the delicious scent brought me to life. All the tiredness of travelling was gone and we were ready to dive into the local culture.’
Nat and Rob loveandroad.com
Try the roasted vegetables
‘In the Costa Blanca, like most places by the seaside, you can always enjoy very nicely prepared fish and seafood.
The one must-eat in this region of Spain is paella; a dish prepared with seafood and rice, although sometimes a pasta called fideuà is used in place of rice.
The locally grown vegetables are also of note — with an exquisite local specialty of roasted vegetables.’
Erik Rasmussen, erikras.com
‘Spain is a rising star on the culinary scene, so enjoying the local food is a must-do on your next trip to the Costa Blanca.
To find the best places to eat, simply get out of your hotel and wander the streets until you find a restaurant off the beaten path. This is how I have found all my favourites!
‘You would be crazy not to sample the seafood that Costa Blanca has to offer. Some of the region’s specialties include Denia prawns, salazones (salted fish dishes), and esgarrat (a cod and red pepper dish).
Valencia is just up the coast and is the capital of paella. You can’t go wrong with this traditional favourite when visiting the Costa Blanca.’
Kirstie Jeffries, vengavalevamos.com
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Mediterranean crab cakes
‘If you ever get a chance to visit the Costa Blanca, be sure try out some of their local dishes. I recommend sampling the crab cakes with sweet chili sauce and the fish in Mediterranean sauce.
I love shrimp, so when prawns are on the menu, I tend to go for those too! Don’t overlook the artichokes — which are fantastic in this region.”
Dr. Cacinda Maloney, pointsandtravel.com
Paradox Art & Culture Café
‘The Costa Blanca has a choice of resort towns, each with its own vibe. Some, like Benidorm, combine a quaint Old Town, complete with cobblestone streets, and a New Town with tall buildings and a spirited night life.
After a few days of relaxation, I’d recommend hiring a car to be able to explore the impressive nature reserves and historical sites of the Costa Blanca.
‘If you stay in Alicante for a night and you’ve had enough tapas, try Paradox Art and Culture Cafe, a French Lebanese bistro with reasonable prices, tasty food and a laidback vibe.‘
If you feel that if you never look at another piece of Serrano ham again it will be too soon, you will enjoy the vegan options here. The restaurant is located at Calle Belando 6, 03004 Alicante, Spain’
Suzanne Fluhr, boomeresque.com
‘Just look for the chiringuito [small bar or restaurant] anywhere on this coast that’s packed with Spanish families enjoying their seafood and paella! That’s all the recommendation you need.’
Heather Cowper, heatheronhertravels.com
The Costa Blanca is a friendly, lively destination and in many places travellers will find a non-stop holiday atmosphere.
While this won’t suit everybody, there are plenty of quiet places in the Costa Blanca to relax, enjoy a historical day trip or appreciate a peaceful nature walk and some Spanish food.
For an insight into Saga’s range of holidays in the Costa Blanca and the chance to savour the taste of Spanish food — and you’ll see that Spain loves its olive oil — take a look at Three Days in Spain’s Costa Blanca, just one of Spain’s marvellous costas.
Maybe you can even learn a few recipes while you’re there!