After a day exploring the Alhambra – the world’s most stunning example of Islamic medieval art and architecture – you’ll be in desperate need of escaping the hot Andalusian sun and filling your belly with sustenance. The question is: Where? Find refuge in one of the best restaurants near the Alhambra in Granada!
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The Top 10 Places to Eat near the Alhambra
Parador de Granada
€€ | Formal Restaurant & Informal Garden Café | Within the Alhambra Complex
The Parador is an oasis at the heart of the Alhambra offering formal dining in its restaurant, or informal drinks, tapas and a variety of dishes to share in its garden café.
Want to dine in the restaurant of the former Nasrid palace and Franciscan convent turned state-run four-star hotel? Better book, just in case.
But, what if you rock up in cargo pants, sweaty from a day traipsing around the palatial buildings and gardens? Well, no-one will bat an eyelid when you take the weight off your feet in the vine-shaded gardens.
There, you can order a thirst-quenching “clara con limón”, that is, beer and lemon soda. Or, rather, a “tinto de verano”, red wine and lemon soda. Then, enjoy the free tapas before ordering something from the menu, which has some of the same dishes as the formal restaurant.
One that stands out is the local specialty “Remojón Granadino”, a refreshing salad made from tender salt-cod flakes, diced orange, boiled eggs and pitted olives. This is all sprinkled with extra-virgin olive oil, Andalusian sherry vinegar, and fresh chives.
My personal favorite is the “Breua de Pollo”. It’s known locally as “Pastela de Pollo”, a crisp pastry parcel containing pulled chicken infused with saffron and cinnamon, dotted with sweet raisins, and all dusted with icing sugar.
But save room for the delicately presented, exquisitely tasting desserts. Or chill in the shade for a bit, and then ask for some Arabic biscuits and green mint tea.
Lastly, before you leave, explore the garden overlooking the ramparts of the Alhambra and scented with the herbs that are grown there and used in the Parador’s own dishes. This truly ranks high on the list of the best restaurants near the Alhambra.
Address: Calle Real de la Alhambra
Hours: Monday-Sunday: 13PM–10PM
€ | Family-run Restaurant with Shaded Terrace | Local Dishes
As you queue up to enter the Alhambra, between the high walls and the Alhambra Forest, you’ll see what seems like a simple kiosk. Don’t be fooled. When you later stumble out of the monument all hot and bothered, its tree-shaded terrace or elegant air-conditioned rooms will be a godsend.
Run by the wonderful Cándida and Félix, it’s a traditional, family-run restaurant with over a hundred years of history, dozens of local dishes on the menu and a well-stocked wine cellar.
Enjoy a hearty fry-up of fresh, locally caught fish drizzled in lemon juice and adorned with blistered green peppers. Or be more adventurous and opt for the kid goat in garlic sauce, tender stewed oxtail, or codfish baked on top of a red pepper and garnished with a sumptuous tomato sauce, raisins, pine nuts and plums.
The jars of cold sangria are excellent, and can be quite dangerous if you have worked up a good thirst! Otherwise, you could play it safe with an “Alhambra Sin”. This is the superb, alcohol-free version of the local beer named after Granada’s most famous attraction. And if someone swapped it out for your usual alcoholic brew, honestly, you wouldn’t notice.
Lastly, if you don’t fancy sitting down for a meal, high stools are available along the path leading up to the Alhambra. Have a glass or two, enjoy the complimentary tapas, and watch the world go by.
Address: Paseo de la Generalife
Hours: Monday-Sunday: 10PM–5PM
€€€ | Luxury | Panoramic Views
On the far side of the Alhambra, you will find the opulent Arabic-styled Alhambra Palace Hotel. Perched on the side of the hill, its panoramic restaurant and terrace have stunning views. You’ll see the Sierra Nevada mountains, the city and plains to the south of Granada, and, best of all, the setting sun.
The hotel was built over a 100 years ago, and was Spain’s first five-star hotel, as well as Andalusia’s first iron-structured building. In terms of exteriors and interiors, it certainly wouldn’t look out of place in Damascus, Amman, or Dubai.
In fact, while the Alhambra itself is a monument, the Alhambra Palace Hotel gives you a clearer idea of how the walls would have been decorated. Its brightly colored geometric forms as well as the oriental rugs will soon have you dreaming of the Arabian Nights.
However, the restaurant offers mainly northern Mediterranean cooking, with a nod to French haute cuisine. Though you will find some Andalusian specialties, including acorn-fed “Bellota” quality cured ham and the refreshing “Gazpacho Andaluz”, or cold tomato soup.
If you want to avoid the jet-set in the restaurant, take a seat on the terrace and order a selection of Iberian cheeses and hams, or the excellent assortment of tapas to share. This last plate overflows with toasts topped with Iberian pork, marinated sardines, herring roe, duck and the unmissable cured ham.
The full wine and cocktail list will have you staring off into the distance or staring into one another’s eyes. Either way, it’s a magical moment.
Hours: Monday-Sunday: 13PM–10PM
Carmen San Miguel
€€ | New Andalusian Cuisine | Panoramic Views
The Alhambra and the City of Granada are a meeting place of cultures, traditions and religions. On the hill-top of the fortress complex, overlooking the Jewish quarter, the Carmen San Miguel aims to find the sweet spot between old and “New Andalusian Cuisine”.
This means strictly locally sourced fresh ingredients and handed-down family recipes. But it also means dishes reinterpreted and presented with innovative flair by a team of young, aspiring chefs.
So, let me give you a couple of examples just to whet your appetite. You’ve probably already had gazpacho, right? But have ever you tried strawberry gazpacho? With a side of low-temperature cooked monkfish peppered with paprika? How about stuffed rabbit with pickled shrimps and mussel and pineapple ice? I didn’t think so!
Whatever you end up ordering, know that it has been prepared with proud passion and playful inventiveness. Not only that but the finest quality produce available in Granada and the surrounding province. And everything very affordably priced.
If that isn’t enough, what else has the Carmen San Miguel to offer? Well, spacious terraces and red-brick, wood-paneled rooms with spectacular views of the city. Then, to digest it all, wander down the steep steps of the Jewish quarter and get lost in its meandering black and white cobbled streets.
Address: Plaza Torrres Bermejas, 3
Hours: Monday-Sunday: 12:30PM–11PM
€€ | Attention to Detail | Roof-top Terrace
Head down into town through the lush Alhambra Forest, and out through the magnificent Gate of the Pomegranates. On your left, you’ll see a restaurant whose cuisine is just as clean and colorful as its décor.
Situated at the entrance to a boutique hotel, one of the best tables is right in the window. There, glass in hand, you can watch the tourists stumble down the steep hill from the Alhambra.
However, I’d recommended taking the lift up to the roof-top terrace. Then, you can admire the Alhambra’s watchtower rising above the green forest and the old terracotta-tiled roofs.
The 19th century building has only recently been renovated, and there is a sense that hotel and restaurant are just beginning to find their feet. Though the menu has just a few dishes for now, all come beautifully presented and the restaurant has all the promise of a rising star.
Matching the chef’s care for the finest details is the fact that there always seems to be a trained sommelier on hand. So, you needn’t worry about pairing your wine to your food by randomly picking one from the list. Just sit back and enjoy the ambiance and the company of whoever you are with.
Address: Cuesta de Gomérez, 14
Hours: Monday-Sunday: 1:30PM–12AM
Planning a trip to Spain? Check out our list for where to stay in Granada, plus our top things to do!
€€ | Almost Secret Bar | Cold Cuts & Cheeses
During the Spanish dictatorship, which lasted until Franco’s death in 1974, many cultural activities were completely suppressed or heavily censored. That’s why the Spanish equivalent of the Prohibition era speakeasies sprung up in towns all across Spain.
These “trastiendas”, literally meaning “behind the shop”, were rooms concealed behind a serving counter. In short, you would enter the shop, pretending you were going to buy a few slices of ham and some cheese. You would wink at the server, utter a passphrase, and be ushered behind a curtain for a poetry reading, political debate or sing-song.
The Trastienda in Plaza de Cuchilleros, just below and around the corner to the Alhambra Forest is an original “trastienda”. Now, there are a few tables out the front in the little square to give the game away. But, if you poke your head in for a moment, you would be forgiven for thinking the shop ends at the counter and the “curtain” of hung whole hams.
Take courage and smile at the personnel as you duck round the counter and find yourself a seat at the low-slung tables. Order a selection of some the finest hams, cold cuts and cheeses, and ask them to pair it all with just the right wine.
Or opt for some cocktails and invoke the liberal spirit of Granada’s most famous poet and playwright Federico García Lorca. Then count your blessings for the freedom you have today, to live exactly how you want, without hiding from anybody.
Address: Plaza de Cuchilleros, 11
Hours: Monday-Saturday: 7:30PM–1AM
€ | Lunch Only | Intimate Ambiance
In the Alhambra complex, right next to the 14th century Nasrid Palaces and the Renaissance Palace of Charles V is the quintessential boutique hotel, from well before the term “boutique” become trendy.
It has an old world vibe, with just seventeen rooms arranged around a central typically Andalusian patio. Here, you can enjoy a bit of peace and quiet in the shade of vines, listening only to the bubbling of the various fountains and the murmur of hushed conversations at other tables.
Sit on a wicker chair and admire the brightly colored tables made from glazed ceramic tiles, or “azulejos”, bearing colorful geometric patterns taken from the Alhambra itself. Appreciate the flat red bricks, wooden beams and intricate ironwork. Then order up a few drinks, snacks or dishes with authentic local flavors that have all the taste of homemade.
It’s an intimate setting, surprisingly so, given that the hotel is along the main thoroughfare between the main highlights of the Alhambra and the Generalife summer palace and gardens. So, please, don’t tell everyone, keep it a secret between you and me!
Address: Calle Real de la Alhambra, 53
Hours: Monday-Sunday: 11AM–6PM
La Cueva de 1900
€€ | Cold Cuts and More | Excellent Placement
La Cueva de 1900 is a chain of bars and restaurants that made its name in Granada for the quality of its selection of cured hams and cold cuts. There are now successful branches right across Andalusia, but they have just opened a new flagship restaurant and terrace in Granada’s Plaza Nueva, right at the base of the Alhambra.
Beyond an unrivaled selection of cold cuts, La Cueva has an extremely varied menu. There’s really something for everything, making the perfect place to enjoy authentic Andalusian cuisine for all tastes, little ones included.
They’ll go mad for the croquettes and burgers, as much as the jamón serrano ham, while you try local dishes such as “Migas al Estilo Granadino”, that is, fried breadcrumbs with bacon, chorizo, green pepper and melon.
Everything is excellently prepared. However, best of all, this flagship restaurant is excellently placed. That means it’s on the corner of the elegant square of Plaza de Santa Ana, in front of the imposing 16th century Andalusian High Court of Justice.
Under the shade of the trees there, at various times of day, you’ll see street performers dance, sing, strum, beat and clap the authentic sound of flamenco. On the restaurant’s terrace you’ll have front-row seats to the show. Nothing could be more “Granaino”, ¡Olé!
Address: Plaza de Santa Ana, 1
Hours: Monday-Sunday: 9AM–10.30PM
€ | Fried fish | Popular with the Locals
On your way back into town from a visit to the Alhambra, stop at this bar where they serve ice-cold beer in frozen glasses, fried battered fish and almost battered everything. It’s extremely popular with the locals, and you may have to queue up on the street or stand at a table, but it’s well worth it.
Under the bright, white LEDS of “The Diamonds”, elbow your way through to an empty table on the far side, and order a few beers to get the tapas coming. Then, work your way through the menu like there’s no tomorrow.
What will it be? Fried anchovies, fried squid, fried dogfish, fried beef brains? Yes, you read it right! Everything deep fat fried, or almost. Try the excellent razor clams, more-some saffron rice and juicy lamp chops. And order half-rations each time, just so you can try it all!
Eat as the locals do, drink as the locals do, and soak up all the ambiance of the vibrant city and its social scene. Then head out and enjoy the night.
Address: Plaza Nueva, 13
Hours: Monday-Sunday: 12PM–2AM
Ruta del Azafarán
€€ | North African Influenced Dishes | Great Reputation
With the Alhambra towering above to one side, the Moorish quarter up the hill to the other, the uneven cobblestones, the series of high-arched bridges, and the gentle burbling of the Darro River below, this street has been often described as the world’s most beautiful.
The river’s name originally meant “gives gold”, but the restaurant’s name translates as “The Saffron Road”, denoting its southern Mediterranean and North African influences. So, here, along with some local and national dishes, you’ll find Harira soup and lamb, chicken and vegetarian couscous.
There are other vegetarian options too, which certainly cannot be taken for granted in Spain in general and Granada in particular. And the wine list is well-stocked and well-selected, if you don’t feel the urge to sip on a mint tea.
It’s important not to forget that Granada was the very last Islamic State in Western Europe, and it’s great that this restaurant has chosen to pay particular homage to the Arabic influences that can be found everywhere in Granada, in its cuisine as much as its culture.
It’s a popular restaurant, so booking in advance is recommended. Ask for the tables near the window with the wonderful view of the Alhambra, or on the terrace where you may end up being serenaded by a passing flamenco guitarist.
Address: Paseo del Padre Manjón, 1
Hours: Monday-Sunday: 1PM–10PM