The first impression deceived because we entered in the upper level and there’s nothing more than a bar, but the owner told us that if we left and tried the other door, we’d find the restaurant. My perceptions chanced immediately upon entering the restaurant.
With a magical atmosphere, nicely decorated tables, peaceful, small (about 10 tables), walls made of stone, etc., it is quite a cozy place. And the food makes Villa María the best in the valley. In our case, we ordered from the 18 € menu (there’s also a 9 € menu).
I ordered the spinach and shrimp crepe for the first dish and the duck magret for the second. For desert, the cheesecake. If you’re in the area, it’s my top recommendation.
In this tavern among other features are the classic Aranese stew, powerful in winter and which helps leveling body temperature in the summer. But there are many other things to taste here such as the sturgeon of the valley or sirloin with paté de foie.
The establishment is charming and it is on a small street called Casarilh. Ideal for a long after lunch stay and where it is even possible that the waiter enjoys the conversation too, he has a great knowledge of the valley and its past.
Located in Bagergue, one of the prettiest villages in the Valley of Arán, this family restaurant has been serving up typical dishes of the region for over 30 years. The house, with mountain architecture, is decorated with lots of wood and traditional details of Aranese craftsmen.
Among their specialities is sirloin of roe deer done in the manner of the house, deer meatballs, sweet peppers with Port raisins, roast ox with wild mushrooms, stewed rabbit and leg of roe deer in mulberry sauce. The restaurant has a well nourished wine cellar with Spanish wines.
The cuisine of Er Occitan is tremendously surprising and you shouldn´t be surprised you end up asking what each thing is and the waiters will answer you explaining all the elaboration steps to cook it up.
But this does not spoil the surprise as each meal is an explosion of tastes and sensations. Very recomendable.
Slightly under a kilometer from Salardú and after the detour to Bagergue is Unha, a pretty Aranese style village with a flavor of olden times. Unha is so small that reaching it has to be done on foot. The absence of vehicles and noise, make its mountain village beauty stand out even more so.
The village has several spectacular seigneurial mansions blended in with local style houses and a few restaurants and hotels. In a cliff above the village one can see the Romanesque church of Santa Eulalia. In comparison to other Romanesque temples in the Valley of Arán, this one stands out because of its simplicity and it preserves an endearing beauty.
Next to the church there is a small cemetery that is covered in flowers during the spring and summer months. The views from here overlooking the valley are breathtaking.
As I already commented, in three areas I lived and enjoyed the Valley of Arán for some time and because of the location of my house, I went by and stopped in Eth Bot every day.
It is located in the square of Salardú, facing its famous sculpture of a boar. The outside is that of an ancient Aranese house and when crossing its threshold, offers the real sensation of being in one of them but with counters and waiters.
The food I recommend is its meats and once evening falls, the locals of the area would come together here (monitors, ski staff, etc.) and after dinner if things haven´t changed a lot, you will have a pleasant place for enjoying some drinks. Before I forget: They have wi-fi (for those who are hooked to their laptop).
This cheese makers, famous in the area and located in the picturesque village of Bagergue, is small but has many cheeses one can taste and enjoy. The best way to get to know one of the most traditional products of the valley.
Don´t miss the shops that have a glass covered floor where you can see the cheeses stacked up.
And, just like being in a cider house of the Basque region, the experience is very similar. They have a menu based on cod omelet, steaks and cheese with quince and walnuts, and above all, very important, drink all the cider you want at the shout of txotx from the kupela.
Perfect for really eating your fill.