The Best Restaurants in Alicante, Spain

Lobster paella is a house speciality at Nou Manolin
Lobster paella is a house speciality at Nou Manolin | © Album / Alamy
Culture Trip Travel Team

Alicante is quietly making a name for itself as one of Spain’s culinary hotspots, although this southeastern region has always been gastronomically gifted. Paella comes from the area just north of Alicante, near Valencia, while the Mediterranean, with all its culinary riches, laps at the shores of this Costa Blanca port city. The historic streets are filled with tapas bars, ritzy restaurants and plenty of upscale dining spots for that special evening meal.

1. Manero

Restaurant, Tapas

From the moment you see the elaborate floral mosaic floors, the glass display case filled with locally caught seafood on ice, the collection of vintage wines and the neatly presented fresh produce, you’ll be forming a favourable opinion of Manero. Although there’s a lot for the senses to take in, it’s hard to imagine anyone coming away unimpressed. Manero saves the best for the tastebuds, though. All the tapas classics come with a gourmet twist, such as the truffled Spanish omelette. Or, go all-out on the Manero caviar with a nice glass of verdejo wine.

2. Piripi

Restaurant, Tapas

SPAIN - Valencia autonomous region - LAlacanti (district) - Alicante. Alicante (capital); Bar / Restaurante Piripi y su gran barra de tapeo.
© Album / Alamy

Although technically a tapas bar, this isn’t your average “hams on the wall, tapas from the countertop” kind of place. There’s a decidedly gourmet approach to the food here, where the ingredients are carefully sourced and paired. Seafood is the speciality, with Galician cockles and oysters among the highlights. The seafood paella (paella de mariscos) includes clams and chorizo, a perfect and unexpected surf-and-turf combination. The presentation of the dishes, particularly the baby cuttlefish platter, is particularly impressive.

3. Restaurante La Ereta

Restaurant, Spanish

La Ereta restaurant in Alicante Costa Blanca Valencia region Spain
© Michael Jenner / Alamy

Alicante’s Santa Bárbara Castle overlooks the city. Leading up the hill towards it are steps that pass by pretty whitewashed buildings. Among them, the glass-fronted modernist Restaurant La Ereta enjoys a commanding view across the city. To accompany the view is some of the finest dining in Alicante. These days, the emphasis is on set menus, where you’ll receive around a variety of nine or ten different dishes, each its own work of art. For example, spicy fish stew with summer truffle and fried egg.

4. El Portal

Restaurant, Spanish

Nightime Exterior view of El Portal restaurant and cocktail bar in Alicante City, Spain, Europe, a couple smokes and the staff wave
© Gareth Sewell / Alamy

On stepping into El Portal, you’ll be transported to an ethereal, glamorous interior, complete with quirky decor that goes one step beyond over-the-top (think large metallic stars and amorphous glass light fittings crowding the ceiling). And yet there’s an elegance here too, brought about by the unpretentious, high-quality dishes, from small plates such as acorn-fed Iberian ham and the Kobe beef mini-burger to the steak tartare served with smoked sardine and sardine roe.

5. Terre

Restaurant, Spanish

Fronting the palm tree-lined Esplanada d’Espanya promenade is the pristine, modern Terre restaurant, with its open kitchen where you can keep an eye on your meal’s progress. In true Alicante style, menu items that would be considered upscale in any other city are common features: oysters, foie gras and caviar all feature without ceremony. However, Terre’s speciality is also one of the best value items on the menu: ensaladilla de atún rojo (the red tuna salad).

6. Nou Manolín

Restaurant, Spanish

SPAIN - Valencia autonomous region - LAlacanti (district) - Alicante. Alicante (capital); Restaurante Nou Manolin; gastronomia mediterranea de alta calidad en ambiente selecto.
© Album / Alamy

Are you looking for a unique Mediterranean fine dining experience? Nou Manolín has been serving it up since 1971, proving that Alicante is anything but the new kid on the culinary block in Spain. Focusing on seasonal produce, the chefs uphold this restaurant’s prestige with dishes like octopus with scallops and lemon sole tataki with seasonal mushrooms. The restaurant’s ceiling design is reminiscent of cloisters in an old Andalusian cathedral.

7. La Taberna del Gourmet

Restaurant, Spanish

Nothing says traditional Spanish dining quite like hams hanging from the ceiling and a display case full of shellfish at the entrance. La Taberna del Gourmet does this all without losing a laid-back, informal feel. Alicante’s restaurants are adept at adding seafood to lots of unusual dishes, but the artichokes with prawns and cuttlefish seem particularly inventive. The grilled goat cheese with herbs and medlar honey is one of the better vegetarian options, to accompany the range of salads on offer.

8. Monastrell

Restaurant, Spanish

Paella cooking Alicante Spain
© Tim E White / Alamy

A number of Alicante’s restaurants have been awarded Michelin stars down the years. Monastrell is the proud holder of one such award, thanks to the creative influence of top chef Maria José San Román. For a sense of her unusual representations of Alicante’s traditional cuisine, try the smoked tuna flank with fig sauce and pericana, a typical Alicante salsa of dried peppers, olive oil and salted fish.

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