The Gaucin and nearby white village restaurant scene is improving by the month, writes Dining Secrets of Andalucia editor Jon Clarke
IT is never a bad thing when superstars like Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver drop into your village.
And if you have a restaurant, it’s even better.
So Gaucin is very much in the foodies spotlight at present, having been recently visited by celebrity chef Ramsay for his TV show Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.
Centering on new restaurant La Granada Divino, he spent over a week filming the restaurant get up and running and doing his usual ‘rip-it-up-and-start-again-routine’.
Whether it needed it was another matter with the place being actually rather good. Chef Neil Brown has decades of experience, including Scott’s and Harvey Nichols’ Fifth Floor Bar in London, and it’s certainly one of the most charming spots in Andalucia to eat.
But the Gaucin and Serrania de Ronda area in general is full of fantastic places to dine.
Known for its excellent ingredients – including chestnuts and mushrooms – the best include Meson la Molienda, in Benalauria, El Muelle, in Arriate (currently voted Best Restaurant in Andalucia by TripAdvisor) and Molino del Santo, in Benaojan, which is not just a great restaurant, but also one of Spain’s leading rural hotels.
A new contender in the quality stakes is Restaurante Pizzeria La Casita, in Montejaque, where Carolina and Max have sculpted the most charming spot to dine.
Voted as having the best Italian food in Andalucia, the pair have created a wonderful spot sitting in a leafy garden with amazing views of the surrounding mountains.
A classic white village, 20 minutes from Ronda and 25 minutes to Gaucin, Montejaque is one splendid place to visit, particularly for anyone who fancies a country hike before lunch or supper.
Sardinian Max, a long time talent in the area, creates a range of original dishes and, of course, pizzas, hence the name.
Another brilliant place to dine on the way up to Gaucin is at Arroyo Hondo in the nearby village of Casares.
This amazing spot is the home of one of Andalucia’s best foreign chefs Christian Robson-Burrell, a well travelled chap who has cooked in half a dozen countries.
He and his Japanese wife Noriko, run a tight ship, and you will definitely need to book, particularly at weekends.
A true dining secret, the key to their success is consistency and you never have a bad meal here.
There is an emphasis on quality, with a twist and expect to find a mix of European dishes with a few Japanese and Thai chestnuts thrown into the mix.
These could include a brandade of cod Scotch egg, a king prawn tempura with a Wakame salad and Ponzu dressing, or parmesan gnocchi with white truffle oil.
Its attractive terrace, great value menu del dia, a Sunday roast and consistently good quality keeps customers coming back for more.