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Spain's 22 best coastal restaurants -

 
1 Sa Copinya, Es Trenc beach, Mallorca

Calamari the size of Beyonc��s bangles are just one reason to walk the hot sand to Sa Copinya, a rustic wooden shack right on Es Trenc beach. Unbuyable views (curve after curve of crunchy, white sand) and the laid-back atmosphere (barefoot waitresses) are two more.

Follow signs to the beach, on the southeast side of the island, and park your car when the road stops. Turn right when you hit the sand � or just sniff for the smell of fresh sardines. Mains from �4 (no phone).


2 Can Maj�, Barcelona

The old fishing quarter of Barceloneta doesn�t want for paella restaurants, but for old-school service and reliably tasty cooking, bag a seat within the dinky sky-blue picket fence of Can Maj��s terrace overlooking the beach. Best dishes are the fideu� � a Catalan take on paella using chopped vermicelli instead of rice, and a sticky suquet � seafood stew with monkfish, hake, mussels and potatoes. Mains from �10 (Calle de Almirall Aixada 23; 00 34 93 221 5455).

3 Hurricane Hotel, Tarifa, Costa de la Luz

This hotel might be a bit too far from the action to spend your whole holiday there (try La Sacaristia in town, instead), but a meal here is a must. Candlelit tables are scattered around a mosaic pool beneath hibiscus flowers and gangly palm trees � you could almost be in Marrakech. And the food has an exotic twist, too: foie gras with tomato and mango chutney; steak with chimichurri sauce; and garlic pork chops. Mains from �8 (00 34 956 684919, www.hotelhurricane.com).

4 El Bulli, Roses, Girona

Ferran Adri��s alchemy in the kitchen and his 36-course tasting menu need no introduction, but be prepared to wait. A year�s-worth of requests from those wanting to try edible clingfilm, �virtual� ham and spun-sugar paper dotted with tiny flowers are entered into a reservation lottery every autumn; thousands are disappointed. If you�re really determined to eat here, call every morning and you might just get lucky with a cancellation. Tasting menu �182 (Cala Montjoi, Roses; 00 34 972 150457, www.elbulli.com).

5 Juan y Andrea, Formentera (off Ibiza)

Rock up either side of lunch to get a table at this sand-under-foot restaurant on Platja Illetas � Formentera�s most exclusive beach. Spangly yachts bob about offshore, their owners dining at Juan y Andrea on fist-sized scallops, crab and bottle after bottle of bubbly. Lunching with P Diddy may not be everyone�s idea of fun, but if it�s yours, go in your best cossie and think thin. Mains from �11 (Platja Illetas; 00 34 630 930913, www.juanyandrea.com).

6 Kaiku, Barcelona

Book ahead for a beachside table at this modest lunch restaurant. The look screams cheap paella (and not in a good way), but the kitchen takes the dish and reinvents it as arr�s del xef (chef�s rice), a skillet of aromatic smoked rice with shellfish, octopus, mushrooms and squid ink. The slow-cooked lamb with beetroot coulis would equally be the envy of many a linen tablecloth restaurant. Mains from �10 (Pla�a del Mar 1; 00 34 93 221 9082).

7 Ca�s Patro March, Deia, northwest Mallorca

It�s a steep, thigh-killing scramble from artists� village Dei� down to this thimble cove of pale pebbles: half an hour of spiky olive groves and red earth that can turn slippy-slidey after a sudden shower. But there�s an appealing smuggler�s-cove remoteness to Cala Deia (bottom centre left): bleached driftwood lies tossed on the shore and Ca�s Patro March, a simple wraparound restaurant, serves calamari and icy ros�, over which to laze the day away. Mains from �6 (Cala Deia; 00 34 971 639137).


8 Arroceria Duna, El Saler, near Valencia

The downside? It�ll cost you �15 in a taxi to get to El Saler, south along the shore from the city. The consolation? The tranquillity of this sandy stretch rivals that of many a Caribbean beach. And this fine paella palace, paint-blistered and casual beside the dunes (right), delights: order fideu� de senyoret (vermicelli noodles with prawns), then relax into a hot, dozy afternoon of gull song and waves coasting in over the sands. Mains from �10 (Paseo Pintor Fco. Lozano s/n, El Saler; 00 34 961 830490).

9 Coral, LA Coruna, Galicia

Galicia�s famed seafood dredges up beautifully in La Coru�a, a little peach of a town on the north Atlantic. And Coral is spot-on: ocean-facing, chandeliered, intimately atmospheric, correct but unstuffy service. Plates heaving with finger-lickin� crustacea sit happily beside hake with Albari�o wine, lobster salad like no other, and pulpo a la Gallega (octopus, never bettered). Mains from �16 (9 Callejon de la Estacada; 00 34 981 200569).

10 Mar I Vent, Aigua Blava, Costa Brava

This Parador-run cafe might not look much as you climb the concrete steps from Aigua Blava beach, but it serves up some of the freshest shellfish on the Med. Add to that lots of lemon and garlic, a bottle of Vi�a Sol chilling temptingly in an ice bucket, and a sunshiney view of a sapphire sea, full of bobbing boats and framed by piney cliffs, and you could happily linger until dinner and beyond. Mains from �10 (Platja Aigua Blava; 00 34 972 622162).

11 La Pepica, Valencia

The grande dame of paella restaurants, this one has seen �em all, from Ava Gardner to Ernest Hemingway. A cheerful cacophony resounds around its vast dining room and terrace, as the Valenciano elite rubs elbows with wide-eyed tourists while they tear into a sticky mass of rice and langoustines (bottom right). Or plump for the famous lobster paella, a house speciality that�s not for the faint of wallet. Mains from �16 (Paseo Neptuno 2, 6 & 8, Playa de la Malvarrosa; 00 34 963 710366, www.lapepica.com).

12 La Penyora, Girona

Don�t be fooled by the old-world romantic ambience of this restaurant tucked down a cobbled sidestreet � the roughly whitewashed walls, dripping candles and dimmed lights are at odds with the new-Spanish menu. And, as you munch on perfectly cooked rabbit with rosemary or pepper stuffed with salted cod, you�ll be really glad it didn�t go the minimal route of some of its Catalan counterparts. Mains from �7 (Carrer Nou del Teatre; 00 34 972 218948).

13 El Bigote, Ibiza

There�s no phone, no menu, only one 2.30pm sitting, and you arrive via a quick scramble over rocks. But in summer, you�ll need to reserve for Ibiza�s most popular no-frills lunch in person, up to a week in advance. El Bigote, named after the proprietor�s Tom Selleck-like moustache, serves fish stew so fresh you�ll want to prod it first, serenaded by the slosh of the sea. Tables are crammed onto a ledge in a cove in the northeast, next door to Cala Mastella. Lunch �14.


14 Casa Nun, Cadaqu�s

Long-time Cadaqu�s resident Salvador Dal� once said that sitting in this idyllic fishing village he was �quenched by light and colour� � and if the snow-white houses and cornflower-blue shutters reflected in the limpid waters don�t inspire you to pick up a paintbrush, then nothing will. A plate of rabbit with fiery all i oli and a bottle of crisp Albari�o at pretty Casa Nun should get your moustache a-twirling. Mains from �9 (Pla�a de Portix� 6; 00 34 972 258856).

15 El Tintero II, El Palo, near Malaga

El Tintero is a vast, open-sided hangar on the beach, traversed by a multitude of waiters holding trays above their heads. bellowing their wares. Gambas! Chocos! Almejas! (Prawns! Squid! Clams!). Just discreetly motion with your hand to play the game. It doesn�t matter what you end up with � it�s all fresh and cheap, and with a pitcher of sangria, all you need from a Spanish meal. Mains from �4 (Carretera de Almer�a 99, east of M�laga; 00 34 952 204464).

16 Calima, Marbella

Make like the Marbella glitterati and recline on one of Calima�s Philippe Starck chairs, overlooking the Med. Wunderkind chef Dani Garc�a has even eased the strain of deciding what to order, with a men� degustaci�n that, if you�re lucky, will include foie gras layered with caramelised apple and goats� cheese, or a playful tin of shellfish with �popcorn� made from foamed olive oil frozen in liquid nitrogen. Mains from �20 (Hotel Gran Melia Don Pepe, Avda Jos� Melia; 00 34 952 764252, www.restaurantecalima.com).

17 Kaia, Getaria

Kaia is a paean to hearty, traditional Basque cooking, found in the fishing town of Getaria and looking out to the Bay of Biscay. It�s at its most satisfying as waves churn up the Atlantic, storm clouds brew and nothing but a steaming marmitako � casserole of tuna and peppers � will hit the spot. On balmier nights, dine outside, next to an open grill where you can watch your scorpion fish seared to flaky perfection. Mains from �11 (Calle de General Arnao 4; 00 34 943 140500, www.kaia-kaipe.com


18 Akelarre, San SebastiAn

San Sebasti�n has a gastronomic cachet Paris can only envy, but of its many world-class restaurants, only Akelarre overlooks the sea. That said, the view is all but eclipsed by spectacularly avant-garde cooking. Creations such as an oyster in a false �shell� made with cocoa butter, toasted onion, black breadcrumbs and lemon powder, that explodes in the mouth with flavours of the deep, have recently won chef Pedro Subijana a long-overdue third Michelin star. Mains from �24 (Paseo Padre Orcolaga 56; 00 34 943 311209, www.akelarre.net).

19 La Escollera, Estepona

Pick your way through nets and upturned boats to La Escollera, Estepona�s juiciest secret. Pass on the strip lighting and shiny tiles of the functional dining room, and head outside to a shaded terrace, overlooking the docks, where portions arrive fisherman-sized. Come hungry to tackle a towering heap of navajas (razor clams), a glistening pile of sardines and a golden mountain of calamari. Mains from �6 (Puerto Pesquero de Estepona; 00 34 952 806354).


20 Aires de DoNana, El RocIo, Almonte

Though the sea is a short drive away, this one merits inclusion for its lakeside terrace in the picture-postcard town of El Roc�o, where the usual means of transport is the horse. From here you can watch the flamingos and tern, and nibble on dishes made with local ingredients � shellfish croquetas with seaweed, or homemade goose p�t�. Mains from �8 (Avda de la Canaliega 1; 00 34 959 442719).

21 Los Troncos, Bolonia, Costa de la Luz

A chilled-out chiringuito (beach bar) perched on an island of grass amid the dunes. Take a book and be prepared to share the view with wild horses and the occasional surfer as you work through the list of tapas: soft-shelled shrimp, glistening petals of jam�n serrano, spicy patatas bravas and their like. If the heat gets too much, take the edge off with a bottle of ice-cold Antonio Barbadillo. Mains from �7 (Playa de Bolonia; 00 34 956 688533).

22 Jockey Club, Salinas, Ibiza

The kaftans are designer, the decor �boho-beach� and the DJs shipped in from global super-clubs. And to be honest, the food at this shamelessly fashionable beach cafe is the least of anybody�s priorities. People tend to order the gambas a la plancha, then pick like under-fed sparrows. Throw calories to the wind and order the paella for two and a carafe of Rioja. Mains from �8 (Platja Salinas; 00 34 971 395788).

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