WITH an incredible range of local produce it is no surprise you can eat well in the Guadalhorce Valley.
Casa Paco attracts diners from far and wide and understandably so, with not just an amazing range of fresh fish and seafood, but for its stylish interior.
It has also been running since 1985 with current owner Juan starting to work there at the ripe old age of 16.
A charming livewire with a young family, he works extremely hard to make sure the offering is continually fresh and of the season and it is not for nothing this is one of the genuine ‘dining secrets’ of Andalucia.
The hot conchas finas are incredible, while the razor shells are as fresh as could be and the grilled langoustines unforgettable. A stuffed tomato with tuna, egg mayonnaise and prawns was superb.
La Mota on the outskirts of Alhaurin, in its own secret valley, is another extremely popular rural option.
Run by a Dutch family, you dine on a candle-lit terrace at night surrounded by mature pine, orange and avocado trees.
A classic rural idyll, the diners are spoilt with a great mix of international dishes, with a slant on the oriental, Moroccan and Thai.
Its latest offering is an amazing starter or main course of red king crab, which is as succulent as lobster and comes care of owner Kees’ new company Norcrab.
Meanwhile you must try herring on brown bread, the chicken satay and a splendid ‘zarzuela’, which has a top mix of shellfish, rosada and langoustines.
The Thai prawn and chicken curry came in red, green or yellow depending on your preference for spice and was delicious. The apple strudel was a sure fire winner to end the meal.
If you are looking for Gallic flair (and let’s face it which foodies aren’t?), then look out for stalwart El Postillon, where you eat on a fantastic terrace overlooking a leafy garden and with views into the nearby Sierra de Mijas.
You will be spoilt by the cooking from Xavier Sierra, who after working in his parents’ restaurant in France and studying at the best cooking school in Bordeaux, Ecole Hoteliere de Talence, packed up his kitchen utensils and headed to Spain 20 years ago.
“I am passionate about cooking and I want to share that passion,” he says.
“Cooking is my life. My parents owned a restaurant and I was all but born in a kitchen.”
After running a restaurant in Fuengirola for the best part of a decade, Xavier made the move inland to spend more time with his family.
As one would expect his foie gras is excellent, as is his lovely seafood ‘gratin’ with prawns and scallops, not to mention a fresh sea bream.
Finally over in Coin, you must look out for the adventurous and highly romantic, Bohemia restaurant.
The owner Pedro Trillo has incredible talent both for his interior design, food and original tapestries which line the walls.
His food is classic soul food with a heavy emphasis on vegetables and, in particular, I loved the aubergines layered with salmon, parmesan, chives, caviar and cherry tomatoes.
The courgettes stuffed with goat’s cheese were amazing too and the portions are of an excellent size.