Great place, I knew I would not be disappointed. Located in the lovely old part of the town of Briones, in an emblematic building of the 17th century, this restaurant, also a rural cottage, is picturesque and welcoming.
Actually, the name of the restaurant comes from the "calaos" of the building. The "calaos" are the places formerly used for the aging and ripening of wine, some kind of natural or artificial cave used to stock and preserve wine. The "calaos" of the restaurant date back to a wine cellar of the 17th century and have been rebuilt in a great way.
As you can see, the place is charming and has history. You realize it as soon as you enter through one of the two doors. You could say there are three areas with two dining rooms. There is an independent round table on the right of the entrance in San Juan Street. The larger dining room is behind curtains. It is the largest room of the restaurant, an authentic "calao"; and finally, in the back of this large room, on the right side, going down stairs that seem full of mystery, you arrive to another very quiet dining room, without a doubt a very special one.
The good part about the place is that apart from the great location and authentic decoration, they have an excellent cuisine: traditional but with an innovative touch, a long list of good wines and good service, very warm, something we appreciate.
I recommend the mild cod salad, the "croquetas de la casa" (some stuffed with blood sausage, others with chorizo, delicious), and artichokes with clams, great clams. Instead of ordering a classic Rioja wine, we chose a signature wine of Briones, "Orizabal Vendimia Seleccionada", a wine with great personality that will not leave anyone indifferent. We had a good surprise with this wine and we loved it. I must say we like the special signature wines.
To sum up: a very welcoming restaurant, in an authentic location full of history with an exceptional cuisine, traditional but of high quality and with good quantities and portions. The price is moderate. It is one of these restaurants that you leave satisfied and you want to recommend to good friends, both to the ones in minube and to other mortals.
While this old building in Ezcaray was founded in 1698 and functioned as a communal food hall and notice board, today it has all the comforts of a modern hotel and two incredible restaurants: El Restaurante Echaurren and El Portal del Echaurren.
The former is headed by the great Marisa who, with over five generations of expertise, makes excellent traditional cuisine.
In El Portal del Echaurren, the menu is based on the creative concoctions of Francis Peniego, the son of Marisa.
Eating in El Portal is an incredible experience. The haute-cuisine has won many accolades over the years, including the La Rioja food championships and the finals for Spain as a whole. It also has a Michelin star.
This old building in Ezcaray, which already worked as a tavern back in 1698, has now the comfort of a modern hotel with two incredible restaurants: the Echaurren and El Portal del Echaurren. The first one is brilliantly run by Marisa, who, following the tradition of five generations of chefs, cooks excellent traditional dishes. In El Portal del Echaurren, the suggestion is based on the creative culinary ideas of Francis Paniego, Marisa's son. His signature cuisine has triumphed in the recent years, with the championship of the chefs of La Rioja and the sub-championship of the chefs of Spain. Moreover it has a Michelin star.
Right on the famous tapas street you will find this grill-restaurant where you can sit down and eat some typical dishes of La Rioja. Nice place. Adolfo, the waiter, is very nice and makes the waiting time seem lighter. Ideal to go with your family or to enjoy something more than the tapas on Laurel Street.
Oh Tio Agus…even though the Logroñians can be a bit fickle when recommending a bar in specific (“it just that…I mean….they’re all good!”, they've rightly said to me on more than one occasion), I saw a lot of positive reviews online about the Bar Lorenzo, more commonly known as Tío Agus, which said it was a must on any tapas crawl. So I went. And Mama mia!
The house specialty is its namesake: the Tío Agus, a little sandwich of spicy grilled meat and a mysterious green sauce (attributed to Granny Damiana and of unknown providence, but I can say it involves oil, parsley, paprika, and various other spices) which makes everything it touches delicious. I don’t like to exaggerate, but I think incredible doesn't even begin to describe it. Wow! So you’ll get an idea, the sandwich has its own Facebook page with over 2000 fans and comments like “this is one of the few things on Facebook worth liking.” Agus is a culinary god, the Ayatolla of Tapas, the Big Kahuna of Laurel Street!!!
Now the details: the place is big, painted in red, and has a big black and white photo which gives it a more modern feel that a lot of the other taverns. A drink and a tapa go for €2.20. I’d say it’s the best place to begin your tapas route since it’s at the beginning of Laurel but in any case, it’s a must to get to know the true pintxos culture in Logroño.
In Logroño, right in the historic center, lies one of the most famous restaurants in the city. Run in an excellent way, the place strikes you as soon as you enter and see the bar counter built in the lower floor.
But it is when you start going up that you realize how well it is made. Most impressive are the magnificent windows, with the best views of the city.
And what can I say about the food? It is a perfect mix of tradition and modernity, which makes the food excellent. Everything was good and well-prepared, but the best memory I have of the dinner has to do with the fried eggs, something very simple. A delicious place.
Although more than 100 years of tradition are behind the vegetable plate, you have to admit that the lamb is what brings the people back. In fact, the second you enter you can see the wood-fire oven where the lambs are prepared and you get anxious to try one.
The preparation couldn't be simpler. Slice the lamb, at a small amount of water, and into the oven. Exquisite.
The restaurant has its own wine cellar (ask if you can visit, it’s worth it) and private dining rooms with their own oven and chimney for events.
That’s how the locals call the famous Laurel St. Since it’s where Logroñians go for tapas, after a couple of glass of wine it’s joked that they might walk a bit wobbly like a baby elephant!
And at #1 is Taberna del Tio Blas, where we had a smoked meat plate with bread and wine, and tried one of the famous Rioja slushies, a refreshing alcoholic drink which tastes almost like a soft drink so be careful not to enjoy too much!
It is amazing. Taking into account the exceptional gastronomical level of the region, I must say I will remember Mesón Chuchi as one of the best meals I had there. And this is a huge compliment, since I went to a few great restaurants. You should see the pictures of the meat to understand what I mean... The restaurant, huge, is very welcoming and there is nothing like seeing how they cook the meat on the grill... The quality of the food, excellent. And moreover the dishes are so big that it is hard to finish them.
This is an itty-bitty bar (I’d even venture to call it a dive) but what it does have is a little window to the street where you can try the specialty: famous mushroom tapas
The price is even better: wine and tapa for only 1.70€. If you’re on Laurel street, don’t miss these finger-lickingly good mushrooms on your tapas crawl.
When looking above all for taste, looking through the market for the best produce of each day, it is clear that the result will be awesome. This small restaurant, with a cozy atmosphere, has amazing cuisine, traditional Rioja with a modern spin. We tried a tasting menu, which varies depending on what is on the market, but that included several dishes with mushrooms, anchovies, tuna, pears with ice cream ... and all perfectly paired with appropriate wines. If you want to sit and enjoy a bit of a change from the famous Laurel Street tapas, be sure to try here, and you may see Ramon, and his passion firsthand.
The restaurant is divided into both a restaurant and a tapas bar which, according to a lot of locals, is the best Haro has to offer.
The food is great and we had a decadent meal. We started with some mixed appetizers to try a little bit of everything, and finished with Galician beef sirloin with foie gras and a Camero cheese cream sauce and some homemade desserts. The waiters ooze good humor and warmth and their recommendations were spot on.
Yes, Laurel Street is great for tapas and for hopping from one place to another to sample all the local delicacies, but if you want a sit-down meal of traditional home-made food, this is the place!
The quality is very high; especially if you opt for the seasonal vegetables (I’d suggest the asparagus and the artichokes with Spanish ham). As far as entrées go, they have a wide variety of meat and fish dishes. To finish things off, we went with the torrijas (Spanish-style French toast), one of the house specialties.
It is one of the new additions to Laurel Street (it turned one year in February 2012) but more and more people enjoy its plates: the house specialty is the sirloin, but what is remarkable are the “evolved Spanish omelets”. What? They are served in a glass and the evolution consists in a yolk base covered with egg white foam. I had the normal one, but they also serve them with chorizo, cheese and another series of pinchos served with foam: octopus with potato foam or delicious fresh boletus with codfish foam. Sounds good right? This is a place for everyone that loves something different.
The decoration is also untraditional: very spacious, minimalist, black and white, amber lighting and a vinotheque integrated to the wall. The pincho costs between two and three euros. It is nice if you are looking for a more modern atmosphere or if you go with a large group.
This gastro-bar is divided into three distinct spaces. At street level, there is a great bar with an excellent display of pintxos. You can notice right away by the modern, friendly decoration that the place is relatively new.
The middle floor is one of the most interesting parts of the restaurant, and comprises a wine-bar with a great selection that encapsulates the best of La Rioja. You can also get the wine you want and take it to the third floor where the restaurant is. The food is very fresh and varied, as all food accompanying good wine should be.
I also found this restaurant jumping from recommendation to recommendation while surfing the net: its Spanish ham and cheese sandwich is served hot, the ham is crispy and the cheese melted (don’t you get hungry just by reading this?) is usually the second stop or third stop for locals in the pincho route. It is not the cheapest place of the area.
The place is spacious and with a large menu that you can see in the photograph. It is a good option for large groups and different tastes. It has good music and service. I recommend it.
Do you remember the prawn and pineapple cocktail? The one they used to serve in weddings and other celebrations? “Old food” as my favorite food critic, Mikel Iturriaga, would say but that, “if it’s well done, it wasn’t so bad”. It is true: like melon and ham, the prawn and pineapple are also flavors that go well together.
In Juan y Pinchamé, a small tavern in Laurel Street, they have given a twist to the combination and the prawn and pineapple brochette has been marked as a house specialty, and it’s delicious: with a little bit of salt and some drops of olive oil, it is amazing.
It isn’t a traditional tapa or one of the new inventions that are being served everywhere these days, it’s simply a good idea that is well served. Well done!
The pincho costs 2,30€. The place is small, non-pretentious, and with good service. It is perfect for those looking for something different. In my opinion, it is one of the best of the area.