Most of us need to tighten our belts financially at the moment, but every now and then, you just fancy a good blow out, so where can you go for a great meal without busting the budget?
I set myself a EUR 20 challenge – I wanted a good quality, three course meal for no more than EUR 20 and hopefully a good deal less. Half a stone later and an extra inch around the waist later, here are my recommendations for good food at great prices.
Hotspots for lunch
Meson Villa Salada
Located on the outskirts of Torrevieja on the Crevillente Road, this place serves up a fantastic buffet every lunchtime.
Overlooking the Salinas, (salt lakes) the setting is magnificent, and so is the food.
Help yourself to salads, gazpacho, various paellas, tortillas and all kinds of roast meats. If you can eat anything else, there’s a selection of ice creams, fresh fruits and cakes.
And the price for all this typically Spanish food? EUR 10 per person from Tuesday to Saturday, and EUR 12 on Sunday, with special prices for children.
If you pine for your Sunday Roast, head to the Downtown Restaurant at Quesada, where you can enjoy a 4 course carvery for the unbelievable price of 15 euros per person.
Soup and/ or salad is followed by a choice of four different types of meat – beef, pork, gammon and turkey when I went – and if you can’t choose, you can have all four!
Plenty of fresh, expertly-cooked vegetables, and homemade desserts such as apple crumble and trifle to follow.
Downtown also serve up a 3 course set meal with live entertainment on Fridays and Saturdays for EUR 20 per person. I haven’t got there myself yet, but I’m told it’s a great night out.
Recommended dinner restaurants
That’s a good start, but if it’s too hot for a big lunch, where can you eat well and cheaply in the evenings?
Baybrooks (Tel: +34966728243)
For me, it’s about 200 yards from my front door, at Baybrooks, La Finca Commercial Centre, Algorfa.
Pop by Baybrooks from Sunday to Tuesday and enjoy a three course meal for EUR 15. The cuisine is more international than Spanish, but the chefs use good quality local ingredients.
There are four of five choices for starters and main courses, and I usually start with a large prawn cocktail, followed by pan fried cod with a cream and herb sauce, or a wild mushroom sauce. I love the way Baybrooks serve their fish.
As the servings are huge, with plenty of accompanying vegetables, I can only usually manage an ice cream for dessert.
There are more choices to pick from from Wednesday to Saturday, but the price goes up to EUR 25. That’s outside our challenge, but still excellent value for that special night out.
For a great cabaret night out that doesn’t cost the earth, try The Venue at Campo de Guardamar, on the romantically-named Lemon Tree Road.
The Venue only opened in March, and had a few teething problems, but friends of ours went last week and had an excellent night out.
The three course set menu changes weekly, and, at EUR 20 a head, meets our challenge. Last week’s choices for main courses course were fish, lamb or lasagne.
With two live acts plus a disco each night, this is a great night out, although be sure to book in advance. Some have compared The Venue favourably with Benidorm Palace, but bear in mind a night at the latter will set you back EUR 45.
We’re visiting family in England at the moment, but when we return, I’ll check out The Venue and report back. Meanwhile, see ‘Round Town News’ for the week’s entertainment and contact number for bookings.
Buen Apetito, mis amigos!
The writer, Sandra Piddock, is originally from the UK. She moved from Cornwall to Costa Blanca five months ago, but says it feels like home already. She maintains a website in her spare time.
Photo credits: Meson Villa Salada
Expatica's Getting Started section will provide practical information on how you can open a bank account, exchange your driving licence, improve your Spanish, and more.
Here's a guide to an extensive list of groups and clubs in Madrid for expats, from sports groups to social and family gatherings.
A brief introduction to our Tax section for Spain, from help with inheritance tax to accounting advice.
Here's a short introduction to our Banking section for those living in Spain, from what to ask the experts to opening a Spanish bank account.