Anyone looking for an authentic taste of Spain in the popular tourist resort of Benidorm should head to the maze of narrow streets that run down from the 18th century Church of San Jaime and the Castillo and which form the area known as the old town.
Here you’ll find a never-ending choice of tapas menus outside charismatic restaurants whose tables and chairs spill onto the streets, their customers mingling with the hordes of late night shoppers in the clothes, crafts and souvenir shops. Many of the restaurants here are run by Basque chefs who specialise in their own variation of standard tapas dishes and delicious pinchos. In high summer season, choosing which restaurant you want to eat at is more a matter of finding anywhere you can get a seat than determining which menu you like best, particularly if, like me, you leave it until prime Spanish tapas time of 10pm to decide to eat.
In the long run, I found an empty table outside Taberna Elizondo in Calle Santo Domingo in the heart of the old town and ordered a fairly standard selection of dishes – croquetas (breaded and fried croquettes filled with ham or cod and mashed potato), boquerones (filleted anchovies in oil), tortilla (the traditional Spanish, chunky potato omelette), chopitos (deep fired baby squid), queso (Manchego cheese) and jamon (cured Serrano ham) – along with some vino del país country wine.
All the dishes arrived quickly, were generously sized, hot and tasty and the wine was extremely quaffable. At around €15 per person, the bill was about what I would expect to pay and I was pleasantly surprised to find that prices were not inflated because of their prime, old town location.
Feeling nicely satisfied, I opted to skip their postre menu in favour of trying one of Benidorm’s Llaollao frozen yoghurt outlets, a sweet tooth-asserting experience that was love at first bite and sent me home from Benidorm with an extremely pleasant taste in my mouth.
Andrea (Andy) Montgomery is a freelance travel writer and co-owner of Buzz Trips and The Real Tenerife series of travel websites. Published in The Telegraph, The Independent, Wexas Traveller, Thomas Cook Travel Magazine, EasyJet Traveller Magazine, you can read her latest content on Google+