IN their matching outfits and sparkly tops, there is a real sense of fun at Ci Vediamo.

But the real reason to visit is the wonderful creative food of chef Stevie Silva and his team of hip, young chefs.

Now in his 11th year on the slopes, this talented young chef spends his summers in Asia or south America, with girlfriend Luna, picking up new dishes to test out on his faithful clients.

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The pair deserve all the success they have had, opening just as the worst recession in Spain’s history kicked in.

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VIBRANT: Ci Vediamo’s uzukuri of turbot with yuzu

Their excellent dishes this season include a ceviche of scallops in a bloody Mary sauce and an amazing false risotto with coconut milk, kimchi and prawns.

Also look out for the amazing uzukuri of turbot with yuzu and an amazing soft crab tempura.

But let’s not forget they also have some of the best pizzas in the resort and lots of more traditional dishes to boot, not to mention a great wine list.

They also have a new Japanese inspired restaurant Shimbuya, halfway up the resort, that keeps getting better and better. 

Staying faithful to the Japanese style of minimalism, it has electric blue tiles on the wall and lots of plain wood and even a slot machine at the door.

Asian Restaurant
FRESH: New Japanese offering, Shimbuya

I particularly liked their California Roll with a king prawn, salmon and sesame seeds.

Next door, keep an eye out for the excellent local Swell next door, which is a cool place to hang out, grab a burger, salad or wok and watch the football.

Close by is another recently-opened restaurant, La Cariguela, run by the team behind the most popular bar in town Bar Ski, set up by Nichi two decades ago.

Here you will find Nichi’s partner Fatima running a classic soul kitchen concentrating on excellent quality fish and the resort’s only Moroccan dishes, including a delicious chicken tagine.

This is a classic local place, warm and friendly, where service is at a premium and where you will eat some of the resort’s best food, including my personal favourite the tartare of bluefin tuna with avocado, apple, cucumber and caviar.

Cariguela
WELCOMING: Fatima and Mohamed at La Cariguela

In particular, stop to chat to Fatima’s son Mohamed, who is a livewire of information and at 22 as ambitious as anyone I’ve met in the Sierra Nevada.

In the heart of the resort, few places come more traditional than Tito Luigi, where at least two kings of Spain have eaten.

Take a look on the walls and you’ll find evidence of the royal family’s many sojourns down to the golden slopes… and plenty more aside.

Indeed, over the last three decades, this wonderful restaurant, run by pals Javier and Luis, has also provided dinner for bullfighters, Hollywood stars and politicians.

And it’s perhaps no surprise for a joint that consistently provides for 250 covers every evening during the busy season.

La Muralla Interior
MUST-VISIT: La Muralla with its excellent steaks and wine

Specialising in good Italian fare, it serves up great pizzas, pasta dishes and my favourite squid-ink spaghetti with prawns.

The pair have another, hipper restaurant Tito Tapas just up the road and a third more formal restaurant up the hill in the middle of the resort.

Next door look out for the also well established La Muralla, run by Argentinian Gonzalo Funes, and appropriately with the best steaks in the resort, not to mention excellent wines by the glass.

The melt-in-the-mouth carrillada is a must, as is the courgette carpaccio with fig sauce and the peanut tart to finish was a surefire winner.

The ‘tostas’ are also great and come in various guises, while I loved the milhoja of foie gras.

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CHEESY: Olive Press editor Jon enjoys Nevada Suiss

He and his brother Luciano also run the brand new Muralla Burger, almost next door, which specialises in the best quality burgers on the slopes.

It’s a lovely spot and makes a great addition to what is easily the most competitive run of restaurants in the Sierra Nevada.

And don’t forget the brothers’ other bustling spot Las Gondalas, right in the heart of the town and perfect for some apres ski light bites, a hot drink or a beer.

The cool sounds playing to the terrace attract a cool crowd and you will struggle to find a seat on many days.

Just up from here, look out for the amazing Bodega Casablanca run by Jose Carlos Villanueva, who grew up on the slopes, with his father opening one of the first hostals in the 1960s.

Casablanca Bodega
AUTHENTIC: The lentils at Casablanca are legendary

The historic photos add to the atmosphere (as does a framed Olive Press article!) and the heart-warming soul food is always excellent, and includes stews, lentils as well as prawns wrapped in potato with a soya mayonnaise and lovely lamb chops with whisker-thin wild asparagus.

Looking for views, the recently-opened, Al Dente faces right onto the slopes and has a superb mix of Italian and Spanish dishes.

My tomato, mozzarella bruschetta with basil and black olives was original, while I particularly loved the Saltimbocca, which is fillet steak stuffed with ham and with a rich ricotta sauce. 

There were some delicious ‘niscalo’ mushrooms added for extra measure.

Owned by friendly Granada lawyer Antonio, his team are knowledgeable and service is crisp.

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TOP KITCHEN: At La Visera

He also co-owns the well established La Visera next door, along with chef Pepe, who is a very capable chef and always leading the charge in the kitchen.

Another excellent place overlooking the slopes is Tia Maria, which has a good mix of dishes and is a great place for breakfast.

Run by Carlos, the brother of Tito Luigi’s Javier, this is an institution and place to while away the day.

Newer and really leading the charge food-wise is La Mar Sala, where Carlos has created an ambient spot, perfect for tapas and wines by the glass.

This prime spot by the Melia hotel is normally filled to the rafters and counts on some excellent wines by the glass and the very best seafood from Motril, including boquerones, cigalas and conchas finas. A genuine find.

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FRIENDLY FACE: At Vertical

He has also just opened another place called La Mar del Bueno, which is a stylish place and promises to be a true winner this winter, with a decent, creative looking menu.

For coffee, breakfast, and in fact just about everything, Vertical is hard to be beaten and also has a great range of snacks and light bites, including hot dogs for the British clientele.

Another brilliant option, particularly for great coffee and amazing pastries, is La Croissanteria, in the heart of the main square.

Run by friendly Argentinians Cristian y Jessica, service is very much with a smile and there are even a couple of unusual south American chestnuts I had never tried before. 

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