Some of the top vegetable canneries--such as Camporel in Cintruenigo
(see slide show below)--in Spain are located in this region.
Slide show of top restaurants in La Ribera Baja region of Navarra.
Nabor Jiménez, Chef-owner of El Crucero, Corella.
I have had the good luck to have had lunch at El Crucero, twice this year, once with Carlos Fernández Aliaga, English wine merchant Anthony Sargeant and Basilio Izquierdo. Izquierdo was the winemaker at CVNE for thirty years (until 2006) and now the winemaker owner of the tiny Rioja Alavesa bodega, Aguila Real, where he makes B. de Basilio wines (a garnacha blanca-based white that is one of the best Rioja whites I have ever tasted and a spectacular red that is reminiscent of the great CVNE Viña Real Oro wines of years past.
English wine merchant-importer Anthony Sargeant, lunch at El Crucero.
Slide show of Navarran vegetable dishes.
Cardos con semillas de granada.
Nabor Jiménez with his own Condado de Martinega aceite de oliva virgen.
Pimientos de cristal.
El Crucero's Snail dish.
Helado de turrón de Jijona.
Maher Restaurante-Hotel, Ribera 19, 31592 Cintruénigo (Navarra)
Tel. 948 81 11 50 . Fax 948 81 27 76 firstname.lastname@example.org
The one-star Michelin restaurant of maestro Enrique Martínez and his brothers, Martínez Hermanos, thus Maher. Offers a fine combination of modern Spanish dishes and beautifully prepared Navarrese classics, including vegetable dishes from La Ribera de Navarra. Reasonably priced for the quality of the dishes served. (Located in the same town as Bodegas Julián Chivite.)
Casa García, Mayor 93, 31521 Murchante (Navarra). 948 838 052
An underground legend of great vegetable cooking in Navarra, frequented by Juan Mari Arzak, Juan Suárez and other food luminaries, in Cascante (Navarra). Not expensive.
Tubal, Plaza de Navarra 2, Tafalla. 948 79 08 52 70 12 96. email@example.com
Owned and run by Atxen Jiménez, a woman with the highest standards for cuisine and service, and her son, Chef Nicolas, Michelin one-star Tubal is one of the top-ranked and most elegant restaurants in Navarra. It offers first-rate, sophisticated nueva cocina and artfully prepared renditions of Navarrese classics, always based on the best, freshest ingredients. Tubal has an excellent wine list. Expensive.
Restaurante Hotel Casa Zanito, Rua Mayor 16, Olite. 948 74.00.02
This restaurant serves nueva cocina dishes such as hake-filled crêpes with clam sauce and classics such as brick oven-roasted shoulder of goat. Moderately expensive. Has two lovely hotels in Olite.
Mesón El Chapitel, Mirapies 8, 31390 Olite (Navarra); Tel.: 948 71 22 50
This is a fun restaurante on an interior street in the old village of Olite. For those who want a break for all those veggies in southern Navarra (all the restaurants have fish and meat dishes on their menus), you can really get off the wagon here. El Chapitel serves excellent steaks of a wood-fired grill (my friend Michael Whiteman, the ex-jefe of Windows on the World and President of the Joseph Baum & Michael Whiteman Company, says Chapitel's steak was "one of the best I have ever eaten." Chapitel also serves grilled rabbit, lamb and veggies, including good salads, for which you would be wise to tell them to hold the balsamic vinegar, and you can even get a good pizza here.
The title alone gives you the idea. This hotel-restaurante-winery is crowned by a glaring white faux castle keep of very recent construction. It is the property of film magnate Iñaki Nuñez’s and looks like what a film maker magnate might imagine a castle-winery to be. The hotel is comfortable and the restaurant is good. I did not like the wines.
Recommended lodging in La Ribera Baja region of Southern Navarra (and nearby La Rioja Baja):
Hotel-Restaurante Palacios, Ctra Zaragoza s/n 26540 Alfaro (La Rioja). 866-538-0187 (reservations).A good restaurante and wine museum in a hotel owned by the family of internationally renowned winemaker, Alvaro Palacios of Priorat L'Ermita, Clos Dofi, Les Terrasses fame. The family winery, located in Alfaro is Bodegas Palacios Remondo.
Parador de Turismo Principe de Viana, Plaza Teobaldos 2, 31390 Olite (Navarra). Tel: 34 948 74 00 00; Fax: 00 34 948 74 02 01; firstname.lastname@example.org
A storybook parador alongside a XVth century castle in the magical village of Olite.
Gerry Dawes can be reached at email@example.com; Alternate e-mail (use only if your e-mail to AOL is rejected): firstname.lastname@example.org