THREE of Spain's restaurants have made it into TripAdvisor's top 25 in the world – and one of them is in the top five, according to the list released last night (Wednesday). Based upon ratings, recommendations...
Gold in them there hills
A team from England converted the building from a cold property sales office into a cosy restaurant in just 10 days!
That little magic trick was played seven weeks ago and since then it has achieved a far greater marvel: the fastest restaurant is enjoying the fastest success.
New restaurants are rarely immediate hits. It takes time to gauge just the right food at just the right price, just the right atmosphere in just the right surroundings...
But Adrian and Bernadette Brown’s new restaurant was packed when we visited last weekend and everyone from the diners to the waiters and the chefs and to the bosses themselves looked as happy and pleased as punch.
"Our main wish was to create a warm, friendly atmosphere," Adrian told us. He was smiling as broadly as everyone else there.
Indeed the success of the Monte Corona is even more extraordinary because it is set far away from the coast in them there hills between Villalonga and Ador.
Villalonga is quite well known to the small but rapidly growing number of British residents of inland La Safor - the south of Valencia Province - but to most foreign residents on the Costa Blanca it lies somewhere north of a wild frontier.
Yet there is no great secret to this success, just the fortunate coincidence of good ideas and a good team to carry them through, joined by customers happy to recommend their new find to neighbours and friends.
The à-la-carte menu choice is selected to cover all tastes. "At first we tried to put on Spanish dishes - to go local - but we found that Spanish people here like to try different food. Mexican chicken, t-bone, chilli... they had never heard of any of them and they love to have a go," said Adrian. Again the theory has worked a treat, as when we were there half the diners were Spanish.
As well as the à-la-carte (with dishes ranging from less than four euros up to 14.50 euros) there is an excellent daily three-course set menu for just seven euros and special dishes every day.
We tried the specials when we went - beef curry with saffron rice and honey roast duck - and the portions were huge and delicious.
The restaurant is open all day and the staff will be pleased to rustle up anything from a sandwich to a t-bone, an omelette to a Sunday roast, although the full à-la-carte is only available after 17.00 hrs.
And this friendly professionalism is not surprising when you learn that Adrian and Bernadette, both from County Claire in the west of Ireland, have worked in the trade for 25 years. They still own the bed & breakfast they ran for 15 years in Cambridge.
The inside of Monte Corona is quite small with just 30 seats, but Adrian and Bernadette are looking forward to their first summer opening the two terraces that more than triple the capacity and offer beautiful views over the mountains.
The whole happy crew certainly deserve success at this excellent new restaurant. For readers in La Safor and Marina Alta areas, a trip to Monte Corona just inland of Gandia also offers the chance of a drive in the beautiful and little known countryside.
We highly recommend Monte Corona, in the urbanisation of the same name on the left hand side of the road between Villalonga and Ador, but please give a call to book first on 96-281-75-39.
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