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Courtesy Encarni Novillo
Courtesy Encarni Novillo
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The Best Rooftop Restaurants in Granada

Picture of Mark Nayler
Updated: 9 February 2017
Because of their location on the hillside facing the Alhambra, the old Arabic and gypsy quarters of Granada are home to some stunning rooftop restaurants and bars offering unforgettable views. From these exclusive spots, you can gaze out over the valley at the thousand-year-old fort while enjoying some of the best traditional Spanish cooking in the city. Here are the only places to head if you want to combine gastronomic with aesthetic pleasure.

Estrellas de San Nicolás

Restaurant, European, $$$
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Situated on the corner of Albaicin’s best square, ‘The Stars of San Nicolás’ occupies what must be one of the most coveted commercial spaces in Granada. Right at the heart of the old Arabic quarter and boasting, from its top dining terrace, cinematic views of the Alhambra, Estrellas would probably even seduce A. A. Gill, The Sunday Times’ grumpy, verbose food critic. Their menu offers a French, pan-European take on traditional Andalucian fare and the prices reflect the restaurant’s location. You won’t begrudge that, though, as you enjoy an excellent meal overlooking the Alhambra, the walls and towers of which are subtly illuminated by orange footlights at night. As if all this wasn’t romantic enough, a flamenco guitarist – wedged into one corner of the intimate upper terrace – serenades you as you dine.

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The terrace at Estrellas San Nicolás, Granada

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Sun - Mon:
7:30 pm - 12:00 am
Wed - Mon:
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

El Balcon de San Nicolás

Restaurant, European, $$$
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On a warm summer evening in Granada, the only place to be is the ultra-chic ‘Balcony of San Nicolás’. Hiding behind a battered old wall opposite Plaza San Nicolas itself, squeezed in amongst the scruffy rooftops of Albaicin, is the best outside seating area in the quarter. Its premium spots are the classy white sofas that offer a staggering perspective on the Darro valley and the Alhambra. So unspoilt and direct is the view that the mighty Arabic fort seems to have been erected on the hillside opposite solely for the benefit of El Balcon’s clients. It’s the kind of setting – vast, humbling, unchanged in centuries – that makes profound conversations about life and love almost compulsory. The outside terrace is ideal for chilled cocktails and tapas (on the white sofas, of course) whilst a more formal dining experience is available on the lower level inside.

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The rooftop terrace of ‘The Balcony of San Nicolás’ | courtesy Encarni Novillo

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Hotel Alhambra Palace Restaurant And Bar

Restaurant, European, $$$
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From the outside, this hotel is a monstrosity, a big orange blight on the hillside – but it gets much, much better inside. Because it’s already at the same elevation as the Alhambra itself – whose exterior, you sense, the hotel’s designers tried to emulate – the ground-floor restaurant and bar boast incredible views of the southern half of Granada and the mountainous landscape beyond. The restaurant serves a well-cooked traditional menu in an elegant, formal atmosphere, while the outside balcony is a great place for lunch or early evening drinks. It’s not cheap – €12 for a sandwich that would be free in any of the tapas bars down in the centre – but again, the views justify the prices.

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One of the stunning terraces at the Alhambra Palace Hotel’s restaurant | courtesy Encarni Novillo

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Mon - Sun:
1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
Mon - Sun:
8:00 pm - 10:30 pm

Venta El Gallo, Flamenco Restaurant

Restaurant, European, $$$
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Translated literally, Venta El Gallo means a place where roosters are for sale. Sacromonte, it must be remembered, is and always has been a very rustic part of town – a fact which goes some way to explaining this lovely restaurant’s bizarre name. Located just off the main street in the gypsy quarter of Granada, El Gallo has everything Sacromonte is known for – namely, jaw-dropping views of the Darro valley and the Alhambra and superb nightly flamenco shows. What’s more, it also offers a range of home-cooked Andalucian classics (croquetas, stewed bull’s tail, fried squid) that are surprisingly easy on the wallet, given the upper terrace’s stunning views over the white and blue rooftops of Sacromonte towards the Alhambra. For a complete evening in one impossibly romantic location, Venta El Gallo takes some beating: you can catch a flamenco show in a typical cave-setting then simply head up to the open-air terrace and enjoy the views over an excellent meal.

Venta El Gallo, Sacromonte | © pixabay

Venta El Gallo, Sacromonte | © pixabay

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