It really helps if you like fish and seafood in La Vila! Many of the restaurants around the marina and seafront specialise in fish, seafood or rice dishes of one kind or another. Not really surprising as Villajoyosa has its own fishing fleet, with the catch coming in every weekday afternoon.
If you are not a fish fan, don’t despair….there are meat dishes on most menus. Vegetarians find life a little harder, but most restaurants will have a few veggie dishes, or rustle up something on request.
Here are a few of the restaurants we’ve tried and enjoyed, starting on the seafront. It’s not an exhaustive list, as we’re still happily working our way through the best places to eat. But these suggestions should keep you going for a few days!
El Pòsit: at the marina end of the seafront, Avinguda del Port. An excellent modern restaurant that does tapas with a twist. Try the “surtido de tapas”; a selection of 8 small tapas made with real imagination. They also do good rice dishes and delicious small desserts at €1 each (be bold and order a selection).
A great beach view; eat inside or outside. Closed Monday evenings and Tuesdays. Not the cheapest restaurant in town. Vegetarian dishes.
El Hogar del Pescador: probably the best known fish and seafood restaurant in La Vila. Recently moved down from the centre of town, now next to the Club Nàutic (yacht club).
High quality fish, seafood and rice dishes, beautifully served with a stunning view over the marina.
Pricier than the seafront restaurants in the old town, but well worth it. Great rice, great service and a good wine list. Link here.
Club Nàutic (yacht club), almost next door to El Hogar. You don’t have to be a member to eat here. Just turn up, though it’s a good idea to book at weekends.
The menu del dia is great value at €20 a head and you get to eat it on the terrace with a beautiful view of the harbour. Link to menu here.
Specialises in locally-supplied fish and seafood; good range of rice dishes, great selection of seafood tapas. Friendly service, decent menu and wine list. Good value for money. It has a simpler menu in the bar and outside terrace.
Not as pricey as El Hogar del Pescador though the restaurant is slightly more expensive than places on the seafront in the old town. Have a look at their online menu here
Rated top restaurant in La Vila on Trip Advisor, on Avinguda del Port opposite the marina. Changed ownership a couple of years back. Not the biggest menu you’ll find in La Vila, but there’s good cooking here. The meat dishes, especially the presa ibérica, are full of flavour and well-presented. Decent wine list. Prices mid-range. Menu here
On the seafront in the old town (Avenida Jose Maria Esquerdo). A traditional fish, seafood and rice restaurant.
No frills here, and the service can be pretty basic on busy days, but the menu del dia is great value (starter, main dish, dessert, a drink and coffee for around €17) and the paella/arroz dishes are good.
We usually go for the arroz abanda (rice cooked in fish stock, garnished with tuna and seafood). Advisable to book at weekends. No vegetarian dishes.
Also on the seafront in the old town, a little further along the beach from La Marina on the corner of Placa Sant Pere.
Good for rice dishes, seafood and fish. A little more variety on the menu than La Marina. Decent quality, reasonable prices.
OTHER OPTIONS AND COOKING STYLES: the places above are on the seafront and specialise in fish or seafood. But there are other styles of cooking within easy walking distance, including some up in the centre of town.
The only Indian restaurant in La Vila (at least, as far as we know) On Avinguda del Port, halfway along the beach.
Has a big menu, and most dishes will be familiar to British curry diners. Decent quality, Indian beers.
The best pizzas we’ve tried in La Vila and great value for money. You can also order home delivery by phone. They offer a wide selection of other Italian food, burgers etc, but the pizzas are best. Wine list very short, but good.
Near the Hotel Allon on the seafront. Friendly service. We also like them because they sponsor La Vila’s rugby team!
UP IN THE CENTRE OF TOWN
Tres14: on Calle Colón, virtually opposite the tourist office. Very good fish and rice dishes and great value for money. A small family-run place – only eight tables inside, and a couple more on the pavement outside. Good tapas also. Booking advisable. Link here
They know their fish here and offer what they call “cuina de barca“; literally ‘shipboard cooking’ in the local Valenciano language. It takes its inspiration from the days when the boat crews ate what they caught while out at sea – mostly the fish that they couldn’t sell when they got back to port.
The paelleras they use here are not the traditional shallow paella dishes; they’re quite a lot deeper. Back in the day, this would have prevented the hot caldo (fish stock) sloshing over the sides when cooking rice dishes on a moving boat – especially the more liquid arroces melosos and calderos.
They also serve pebrereta here, the typical poor man’s dish of Villajoyosa. It’s a stew made from salted sangacho (a cheap and rather bloody cut of tuna which the fishermen couldn’t usually sell in the market), pumpkin and peppers. La Vila holds a pebrereta festival every June, in Poble Nou.
Regular tapas dishes and good beer up on the main street in La Vila (Avinguda del País Valencia).
They also have a separate and more upmarket tapas place round the back in the parallel street (Carrer Colón).
Again, a nice place to go for tapas and a drink on Carrer Colón, just up the road from the tourist information office.
It has a pleasant internal patio, which is cooler and shady in the summer time.
Zerca have recently opened a bar/tapas place in the Plaza de Iglesia in the old town. It’s small inside, but there are tables outside in the square. Cool place to relax with a beer in the shade. They do a couple of sushi dishes alongside their regular menu (the sushi revolution is starting to catch on in Spain).
This pasteleria is quite something. Go there at least once!
The cakes and pastries – all made on the premises – are the best we’ve had anywhere, bar none. The ensaimadas, a sugar-coated breakfast pastry originally from Mallorca, are a marvel. Maja’s coca valenciana, the local version of empanadas, is well worth a try too.
Try going there for breakfast – ensaimadas, freshly squeezed orange juice and cafe con leche are simply the best way to start the day . Maja is in Poble Nou, the other side of the river bridge on Carrer Jaume 1. Well worth the walk though!
Valor chocolate is famous all over Spain, and it’s made here in La Vila. If you can’t make the factory tour, sample the produce at the Valor chocolateria on the main road through town (Avda del Pais Valenciana).
If you haven’t tried chocolate con churros — dough sticks fried in batter, coated with sugar and dunked in liquid chocolate — this is the place to put that right. They also sell boxes of Valor chocolate inside, or you can make your own selection.
The main daily market on Carrer Canalejas has a lively bar/cafeteria near the entrance.
Go shopping in the market and then ask them to cook your fish or seafood on the grill. Food doesn’t get much fresher than this!
This stall inside the market itself is one of our favourites. Try a few Valencian oysters with a glass of cold Valencian cava!
Barto stocks a great range of delicacies, all produced within the Comunidad Valenciana region. There’s also an excellent range of craft beers from the region, including our favourite, Althaia, from just up the road in Altea. They brew everything from pale ale and blonde beer to a winter warmer.
A LITTLE FURTHER OUT
La Teula Negra
A family run place in Malladeta, on the outskirts of La Vila, as you drive in from Alicante. The family moved down from Barcelona back in the 80s and converted the handsome building – then pretty much derelict – into a restaurant. Really nice meat dishes served on the attractive terrace, plus a range of fish and seafood. Link to menu here
© Guy Pelham 2017