SANDWICHED between the mountains and the sea, Javea has the best of both worlds when it comes to ingredients.
A small slice of paradise, there are literally dozens of great places to eat around the resort.
Split between its three distinct areas, you have everything from fish restaurants to tapas joints and Michelin-starred marvels to simple chiringuitos.
You just need to know where to look.
Easily my favourite place to eat is at BonAmb, a stunning architectural masterpiece, created around sculpted grounds on the main Carrer Benitachell out of town.
Creative, inspiring and never standing still, this is a must-visit for anyone who considers themselves a foodie on the Costa Blanca.
Well deserving of its two Michelin stars, its head chef Alberto does the region proud with as much local KM0 slow food as he can get away with.
This means loads of local fish, plenty of local fruit and veg and flavours that, quite frankly, have a stamp of their own. Why it hasn’t got three stars yet is anyone’s guess (see review overleaf).
Another joint easily worthy of accolades, but fiercely against receiving them, is El Campo, another charming garden restaurant on the way out of town towards Moraira.
This Dutch-run place was set up just before the pandemic and has finally come of age, thanks to its recent acquisition of experienced local chef Amanda Trenco, 39, from nearby Benissa.
As well as having trained for five years at Denia’s cooking school, she is steeped in the restaurant trade, with both her mother having worked as a cook in Paris and her father as one in Switzerland.
“My mother is a classic-style chef, while dad was more vanguard,” she explains. “I like to think I combine a bit of both of them, with my own touches, particularly from Thai food.”
So ultimately, this means a lovely mix of everything here with Asiatic twists and a solid a la carte menu, with such joys as shrimp gyozas with spinach, green curry and coconut milk and roast suckling pig with apple and red berries.
I was most interested in trying Amanda’s regularly changing menu del dia which was extremely good value at just 19 euros.
It included a medley of wonderful vegetarian starters; cauliflower fritters with black garlic mayonnaise, couscous salad with goats cheese and mint and a delicious beetroot gazpacho with blueberries and cottage cheese.
Then you have a choice of mains, which included a skillfully handled duck breast with sweet potato mash and cep mushrooms in a chive and teriyaki sauce. The strawberry pudding with yoghurt and almond crumble was light and fruity.
This place will keep getting better and better, particularly as manager Bram is enthusiastic and attentive, while the owners Brenda and Hans used to run no less than 15 restaurants back in Holland and have a great eye for detail.
And to top it all, the place couldn’t be more charming with its rustic backdrop and feel, all set around half a dozen ancient milenio olive trees.
Heading into Javea port you have a number of great options to choose from.
Skipping the obvious, look out for popular tapas bar Andares Ibericos, opposite the cinema that specialises in excellent ham and cheeses and great light bites.
A friendly, family-run place it has real charm and an excellent selection of wines by the glass.
Another amazing place to enjoy wine is at the Bonapata, which describes itself as a ‘boutique bar of grapes and acorns’ just up the road, also in the port.
This is definitely THE place to drink vino with no less than 70 different wines by the glass, not to mention an amazing selection of pates, cheeses and, best of all, the best Jamon Iberico, from the Val de Pedroches, in Cordoba.
The lovely Spanish couple that run it have travelled the world, lived in Newquay in the UK, and owned restaurants in other parts of Spain.
They have run this place for a few years now and regularly hold wine tastings and pairings with food. They are also soon to open a new place up on the busy tourist drag, the Arenal.
Arenal is the next part of the Javea dining jigsaw, a seafront paseo full of restaurants near the historic Parador hotel.
There is quite a bit of variety, but I particularly like English-owned Salt, which has the best views of the bay, often full of surfers when the tide is right.
Another great spot, always busy, and an excellent spot for burgers and light snacks is Geographic, which always has all sporting events on a huge range of televisions.
Nearby in the busy Cabo de la Nau Pla area you will find plenty of places to eat, including the recently-opened Sharpey’s Bar, run by former Manchester United striker Lee Sharpe and his wife Lucy.
And make sure you drop into the excellent Lancashire Bruja, just opposite the tennis club, where well established local expats Stephen and Christina serve up all your British favourites including sausage rolls, fish and chips and the classic English fry up, of course.
Up in the old town of Javea, apart from all its charm, there is a decent range of nice restaurants, including my favourite, La Sucreria, right by the main church.
Also look out for the recently opened Carniceria tapas bar, on the outskirts of the centre.
And finally down on the beach look out for popular chiringuito La Siesta that really gets going in the late spring and summer when it is THE place to hang out and be seen.
And, last but not least, a brand new place just open and well worth seeking out is Thalassa, which sits halfway along the road from Arenal to Caleta de Dins.
Named after the Greek word for ‘sea’ it is exactly that, dominated by the ocean, and with a seafood style menu to match.
Come and have a splendid lunch or just a few beers and tapas at sunset.
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