4 Nudos Restaurant, Spain

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Category: Modern Spanish Restaurant
Cuisine:  Modern, Spanish
Price Range on Average: EUR 15- 20 for a main course and EUR 3-8 for a dessert
Ambiance: Chic and Friendly, Overlooking San Jose’s Marina Bay.
Address: Club Naútico San Jose, Calle del Puerto, s/n, 04118 San José, Almería, Spain
Tel: +33 620 93 81 60
Website: www.4nudosrestaurante.com
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 11:30am–6pm, 7:30pm–12am (closed on Mondays)
Last Visited: 2016

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Reviews:
One of the best seafood restaurants I’ve been to in Spain and in Europe. This small yet lovely restaurant is tucked away at the end corner of the San Jose’s marina bay. Most restaurants in San Jose are located in the main high street and by the sea shore. This is not a restaurant that you can just pass by and notice. This restaurant is secluded and offers a very relaxed, yet sophisticated atmosphere. The waiters are friendly and passionate about their dishes and would happily recommended dishes when asked.
With so many dishes to choose from the menu I was overwhelmed and unsure of what to order. The waiter willingly helped and brought a tray of fish and shell fish, their fresh ‘catch of the day’. He also explained which fish were caught from the sea nearby, which were wild fish, which were farmed and which ones were local to San Jose. Still unable to make a decision and wanting the gigantic scorpion fish, mussels, prawns, squid and clams, the waiter suggested that the Chef would make me a fish stew with all these wonderful seafood ingredients, which I gladly accepted. I was also keen to try their squid ink paella but the waiter informed me that it would be too big for me as my fish stew would certainly fill me up. He was right! The fish stew was more than enough for one person.

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I also experienced the same dilemma with my starter and I asked the waiter to recommend their Chef’s favourite dish. He enthusiastically explained why their octopus is famous with their patrons and why I should try it. I was convinced and once again he was right. The octopus was grilled simply to perfection, served with a slightly spiced olive oil and cold olive oil ice-cream! The combination of the hot and sweet octopus with the salty taste of the cold olive oil ice-cream is truly out this this world. It was so heavenly that I’m simply lost for the words to describe it. The waiter warned me that we did not need two starters since the octopus would be enough for two diners. He was right again. I am also glad to have come across waiters that don’t force me to keep ordering more. On the contrary the waiters at 4 Nudos are so keen for their patrons to enjoy the meal that they would happily recommend a dish and stop you from over stuffing yourself. A common occurrence in my world!

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We also wanted to try the St.Peter’s fish and the chef explained all the different ways their chef can cook it for us. We simply ask the chef to cook it the way he felt it should be cooked. Once again the fish came out wonderfully. Just slightly dusted in flour, lightly pan fried in olive oil, seasoned with salt, pepper and drizzled with lemon juice. The flesh of the fish was so succulent, it’s as if it swam from the sea straight on to our plates. I must say that my fish stew was well executed too. Every element of the dish complemented each other. The mussels, prawns, squid and octopus were cooked very lightly not over done and rubbery. The scorpion fish was meaty and the sauce was from the broth of the seafood with a hint of paprika and lovely olive oil. I’ve had many fish stews in France, in Spain and other parts of Europe but this certainly is top league.

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Finally for the grand finale – the dessert. The waiter came out and ask if I loved chocolate, I told him that I loved it so much that I have it at least once every day! He then asked me if I like the combination of a salty and bitter sweet flavour. Once again my answer was: 100% yes. He was happy to hear my response and recommended their 70% bitter sweet Jamaican Chocolate dessert, served with toast, rock salt, pepper and olive oil. This dessert does not sound as impressive as it is. It is a spectacular dessert, with simple high quality ingredients, combined to make perfection by a very highly skilled chef.

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4 Nudos offer Michelin starred quality dishes in a more relax and less formal ambiance for half of price you’d pay at Michelin starred restaurant. If you are around or passing by San Jose this is a place that should not miss if you are into excellent food.

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La Tagliatella Almería, Spain

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Cuisine: Italian
Price Range on Average: EUR 20-25 per person for 3 course meal with soft drinks
Ambiance: Busy and Lively
Address: Rambla Federico Garcia, Lorca 2, 04004, Almeria, Spain
Tel: +34 950 245 424
Website: www.latagliatella.es

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Opening Hours:
LUNCH:
13:00 – 16:30(SUNDAY-THURSDAY)
13:00 – 16:30(FRIDAY-SATURDAY)
DINNER:
20:00 – 0:00(SUNDAY-THURSDAY)
20:00 – 0:00(FRIDAY-SATURDAY)
Last Visited: summer and winter of 2014 for late lunch

Review:
The first time I visited Almeria, I arrived during the siesta hours when majority of the shops were closed. I went looking for a restaurant to eat and just stumbled across La Tagliatella restaurant located just by the port of Almeria and at the beginning of the Rambla Federico.

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In my travels I would always prefer to try something new, try the local regional food and eat at family ran restaurants.
But after having Spanish food for 5 consecutive days, the thought of a nice pizza for a change was just so tempting to refuse and so I went into this restaurant expecting simple, basic pizza food. But I was surprised and impressed with the extensive menu and the quality of the food they served. Although La Tagliatella is a chain restaurant, it certainly didn’t feel like it is. In fact I didn’t know that it is until I came back into the UK and did some research on them. The service was friendly and accommodating and the pizza were crispy thin and packed full of flavour. Upon arrival, the waitress came over with a nice ricotta puff with a sweet sauce and balsamic dressing, which may sound like a strange combination but it did taste good.

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For mains I had the aubergine pizza, perhaps, it is common to have an aubergine pizza but I have not tried it before nor have I seen it in any Italian menus. It was certainly a pleasant surprise to try the Melanzana pizza, made with thinly sliced caramelised aubergine, balsamic vinegar and honey.

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The Pepperoni piccante pizza came with humble slices of spicy salami from Calabria with a simple tomato based sauce.

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The cream of zucchini soup was rich and comforting.

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The cheesecake de La Tagliatella dessert had a lovely spanish twist to it, it was a cheese cake with a ‘Tocino de cielo’ botttom a Spanish egg flan dessert, drizzled with rich caramel sauce.

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The two times I’ve visited this place the service and the old have been equally good that I would certainly go back to this restaurant again. It is a restaurant worth a detour and deserve a good review. The value for money was excellent. The atmosphere of the restaurant is also welcoming. On my last two visits the restaurant was packed with local families and I cannot help noticing that people just keep coming into the restaurant. There’s always a queue which is always a good sign for a restaurant.

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The Stone Grill, Alicante, Spain

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Cuisine: Steak House, Authentic Argentinian Steak
Price Range on Average: EUR 20-25 per person for 3 course meal with a glass of good wine
Ambiance: Modern and Fun 
Address: 03189 Campoamor Valencia, Alicante, Spain
Tel: +34 656 61 33 56
Website: http://www.thestonegrill.es/
Last Visited: 2014 for late lunch 

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Review:
If you are looking for an authentic Argentinian steak in Spain, there is no better place to go than “The Hot Stone Grill” restaurant in Alicante.  The steak has been carefully sourced and flown directly from Argentina’s finest beef producers.  The steak in this restaurant truly is remarkable. It is served on an hot stone that is heated to between 280-350 degrees celsius and remains sizzling hot for 50 minutes. There is no way your steak can be over cooked or under done since it is up to you, the diner, to decide how long you’d like your steak to be cooked on your very own “hot lava stone”. It is a fun restaurant visit, as the cooking of the steak lies with the diner, it is an interactive fun night out with your  families and friends. It is a family friendly restaurant, perfect for parties.

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For those of you who are not keen on beef, they also serve amazing prawns fresh from the coast of Spain and other seafood. They also offer vegetarian dishes that you can also cooked on the ‘hot stone’. If you ever get the chance to visit this restaurant don’t miss out on the steak and the onions cooked with honey on a hot stone. For the finale there is nothing better than ending your night with a lovely sweet home made crema catalan.

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Mercado de San Agustin, Granada, Spain

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Address:
MERCADO SAN AGUSTÍN
Plaza de San Agustín, 0
18001 Granada
Spain
(located in between Calle San Jeronimo and Calle Gran Via de Colon, near Cathedral de Granada)
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Telephone Number: +34 958 27 82 79

Opening Hours: Mon-Sat: 8:00am-2:00pm Sun: Closed
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Information:
Site to the old Convento de San Agustín or Saint Augustine’s Covent until the 19th century this place is now home to Spain’s amazing local produce. As in many Spanish cities you will find an indoor market right at the heart of the city centre, Madrid’s Mercado de San Miguel is not just famous for the locals but it is where both locals and tourists buy local produce, snacks and have tapas, raciones or drinks. Mercado de San Agustin offers just that, although it is only open until 2pm from Mondays to Saturdays.

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At Mercado de San Agustin you can find fantastic butchers, fishmongers, specialise shops that sells super tasty ham, cheese, olive oil, patisserie and vegetables. You can stop by at this market even just for a nice cup of cortado (coffee) and patisserie and some lovely tapas before you carry on with your food shopping. This market is right at the centre of town, surrounded by restaurants and shops.

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Olive Oil Review:

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Los Albardinales (Oro del Desierto)
Category: Olive Oil Review
Cuisine: Spanish (well it was in Spain)
Price Range on Average: EUR 7.50-16.00 (per bottle)
Ambiance: Rustic Museum and Restaurant
Address: Oro del Desierto- Ctra. Nacional 340, Km. 474. 04200 Tabernas (Almería), Spain
Tel: +34 950 611 707
Website: www.orodeldesierto.com and www.losalbardinales.com
Last Visited: 2014

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Ancient Greeks believed that Olive Trees were gifts from the goddess Athena on the beautiful Greek Island of Crete.  Archeological evidence shows that Olive tree cultivation and the production of olive oil dates back to 5000 BC  and was used for religious ceremonies, for health improvement purpose, for beauty and of course for food. This wonderful, golden, oil has captivated the senses and the palettes of the Ancient Greeks, the Egyptian Pharaohs, the Roman Conquerors, and the Canaanites and now our homes. Thanks to Rafael and his forefathers for continuing to produce olive oil  we can still smell, taste and appreciate olive oil in our homes today. I recently visited Los Albardinales, one of the olive oil producers from the Tabernas Desert of Spain, there I met the wonderful owner Rafael Alonso, whose father and forefathers have long been cultivating the Tabernas desert’s olive trees and producing award winning olive oils. 

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He was incredibly enthusiastic and passionate about ’olive oil’ that I felt like a young student again learning about something that is so out of the ordinary. He explained in perfect English how they cultivate the land and how they product the oil. He then went on to tell us about ancient Egyptians and Greeks using olive oil and how he now markets and sells their olive oil in Singapore and UK.

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Apparently to my surprise Spain is by far the largest producers of olive oil, producing around 45% of the world olive supply. Italy is however better known for their olive oil as they are simply better at marketing their oil. He did however mention that Italian olive oil is also of excellent quality.

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He then generously offered to show us the art of olive oil appreciation – consuming it. Being in love with food, I didn’t need a lot of convincing to try the four different olive oils he presented to us along with nice warm crusty bread. He first asked us to smell each olive oil in a glass and to describe the aromas we can pick up from the glass. The Arbequina oil has an almond and fresh fruit aroma, while Picual has a wonderful scent of a freshly trimmed grass or some may say fresh lettuce aroma.

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According to Rafael the level of acidity is also a key factor in choosing a fine olive oil. The lower the acidity levels, the finer the oil with a fruitier taste. He was right in a sense that the olive oil with the least acidity level we tried has the fruitiest aroma and taste.  We then looked at the different colours of the oils, from the lightest to the darkest coloured oil. The lightest oil shows hints of amber the darkest oil had a intensely deep green colour. Finally the taste test: having grown up in Macau where we cook with olive oil on a daily basis, after tasting Rafael’s olive oil I felt as if I had never before tasted olive oil. His olive oil is heavenly. You have not tasted olive oil, until you’ve tried Rafael’s oil. The different oils presented different tastes to the palette; each has its own character, some linger on your pallet longer, other gives a sweeter after taste, while others are more delicate in flavour – perfect for grilled fish.  

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They offer five different bottles of olive oil for sale. The first day’s harvest is known as their ‘Limited Edition Oil’, they also sell their award winning Hojiblanca olive oil, my favourite, which has been selected for the Flos Olei in 2013, obtaining 94 out of 100 points. Hojiblanca has an intense fruity apple note aroma and a spicy after taste, perfect with just a loaf of bread.  They also have three other varieties of olive oil with less intense in colour, aroma and flavour but are all of excellent quality. Finally they also sell blended oils from Arbequina, Hojiblanca and Picual varieties, which is good as well. I bought a bottle of each of the olive oils and have been enjoying them one by one since.        

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If you are fascinated by a desert landscape and in need of some peace and quiet, yet also want to enjoy an excellent bottle of olive oil, then Los Albardinales is the place for you. If you are anywhere near Almeria, I highly recommend that you visit Los Albardinales. The hospitality and knowledge of the owner is second to none. You’ll not only enjoy the learning experience and the ambiance of his place but you will also have a once in a life time experience tasting one of the world’s finest olive oil.  

Another point to note is that apart from producing and selling olive oil, they also have a B&B and a restaurant. I did not try their restaurant as I was simply too busy with the olive oil. For this reason I’m afraid I can only provide a review of the experience and of the olive oils.

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