Dining in Granada, Spain

Puerto del Carmen in Granada, Spain
Puerto del Carmen in Granada, Spain

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.

Luciano Pavarotti

Jay fell in love with Puerto del Carmen in Granada, Spain… imagining a whole evening spent puffing on a good cigar, indulging in their mediterranean inspired dishes, sipping wine, people watching… As it is, we enjoy two meals there during our day and a half in Granada. A common gesture in Spain is to bring a free tapa after you order drinks, and here our gift was a small plate of shrimp with delicate tempura vegetables on top. First class. Then came the entrees…

Salad of smoked salmon, hearts of palm and tomatoes at Puerta del Carmen.
Salad of smoked salmon, hearts of palm and tomatoes at Puerta del Carmen.
Puerta del Carmen Pork Shoulder
Puerta del Carmen Pork Shoulder

For simpler fare the young woman at Hotel Casa 1800 Granada  suggested a lovely little cafe – Carmela. Open all day, a blessing for weary travelers, we find our way there late afternoon and enjoy the potato prawn salad and a sublime vegetable moussaka.

Carmela Restaurante, Granada, Spain
Carmela Restaurante, Granada, Spain
Deliciously delicate vegetable moussaka at Carmela's.
Deliciously delicate vegetable moussaka at Carmela’s.

Taken with the local wine and olive oil served at Carmela, the waitress gives us a tip on where to find them, which leads us to Jamoneria Casa Diego. An old world charcuterie not far from the restaurante with hams, meats, cheeses… and the Muñana Rojo from Sierra Neveda we sipped with lunch, as well as the olive oil! We leave with two bottles of wine and olive oil to bring home… and stock up on our favorite snacks – dark chocolate, marcona almonds and fresh walnuts.

Granada has an edge, maybe due to its large student population (70,000), and is delightfully cosmopolitan for a city of its size. Ethnic restaurants are more plentiful than in other Andalusian cities, and its Islamic past is still present with Muslim North Africans making up about 10% of the population. Much to explore in addition to the Alhambra.

Read about our visit to the Alhambra, and see the photos and video:
Granada, Spain – The Alhambra

Granada, Spain – The Alhambra

Alhambra

The Royal City of Alhambra sits proudly on a hill above Granada. It is known as one of the most important architectural structures of the Middle Ages in Spain and the finest example of Islamic architecture left in the western world. Visiting on a cool, rainy day at the end of January it held our attention for the entire afternoon.

Water, rare and precious in most of the Islamic world, was the purest symbol of life to the Moors. Coming from the deserts of the south, the Moors celebrated water and its abundance in their new home.

Alhambra walls

The Alhambra was once a city of a thousand people and covers an area of over 32 acres. Its enclosed by more than a mile of walls reinforced by thirty towers, many of which are in ruins.

Gardens in the Alhambra.

Alhambra fruit tree

The Generalife was a retreat where the monarchs of Granada could relax, away from the bustle of the court. Yet close enough to the palace to attend to any urgent matters that might arise.

View of Generalife in the distance.
View of Generalife in the distance.
Generalife and its gardens.
Generalife and its gardens.
Courtyard in the Generalife .
Courtyard in the Generalife .

The Alhambra’s Palacios Nazaries, the Moorish royal palace, was built mostly in the 14th century.

Alhambra - palace

I read that space in the Alhambra is open, like in the desert. The Courtyard of the Lions isn’t a house with a garden, but a garden containing a house. Refreshing water flows from the mouths of the twelve white marble lions.

Alhambra - palace courtyard
Courtyard of the Lions.
Ceiling detail in the Palace.
Ceiling detail in the Palace.
Palace door surrounded by intricate plaster design.
Palace door surrounded by intricate plaster design.
The Tree of Life
The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life crowns the line of inscriptions written around the wall. This type of plasterwork motif spreading downward from an apex is an allusion to the inverted tree that sustains the celestial bodies in the heavens and buries its roots in paradise.

Alhambra - The Hall of the Kings
The Hall of the Kings.
Window with a view.
Window with a view.

After an amazing afternoon at the Alhambra, our brains totally saturated with history, our bodies damp and chilled, we return to our slice of history – Hotel Casa 1800 Granada. Located at the foot of the Alhambra, in a charming Old Granadian house from the XVII Century, we are ready for a siesta.

Hotel Casa 1800 Granada
Hotel Casa 1800 Granada

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Dining in Granada, Spain