Archive for spain – valencia

El Poblet (Denia, Spain) – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

(Note: El Poblet has been re-named to Quique DaCosta)

Every year, one restaurant captures my attention like no other. In 2004, Manresa began what has been tremendous run of meals. Ludo Lefebvre’s Bastide of 2005 awoke my palette to the wonders that might lie across the sea and, no doubt, provided inspiration for my 2006 European adventure. In 2006, it was Ideas in Food’s two stellar meals at their former Keyah Grande restaurant. For 2007?

El Poblet, Denia, Spain

From top to bottom, there may not be a restaurant with greater attention to detail and production values than El Poblet. The restaurant is quite modern with a huge open kitchen as you walk in. The menus nearly qualify as works of art. In the technique/ingredient matrix, you would be hard-pressed to find a restaurant that uses such high-quality ingredients for their experiments. And in the realm of dining as experience, despite the crass commercialization of the beach ghetto Denia, El Poblet (the restaurant and food) has a Shakespearian quality – poetic and magical.

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Paco Gandia (Pinoso, Spain) – Perfect Paella

The drive from Madrid to Denia looked rather barren until I chanced upon an article mentioning Casa Paco – the best of the paellas in Alicante. It would require a 2 hour detour but I suspected Denia would be a beach ghetto (it was) without much to do. Given that it was in the middle of nowhere, where speed limits are mere suggestions, it only added an extra hour and a half to the trip. I considered that a small tax for eating what is rumored to be one of, if not, the best paellas in the world.

Paco Gandia (Pinoso, Spain) - Beginnings

After I dug more, I saw that Gastroville had also given it their new 5/5 rating for spectacular dishes. Dan Philips, of Grateful Palette, also called it the finest paella. In Praise of Sardines desperately wanted to go there but couldn’t make it. Enough votes were cast that I didn’t feel so bad about waking up early (for me) and racing out for lunch.

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