De tapeo in Montejaque… a guide to the bars and restaurants

De tapeo in Montejaque… a guide to the bars and restaurants

As you drive up towards the tiny village of Montejaque, nestling in the shelter of El Hacho, the mountain that dominates the top end of the Guadiaro valley, little do you imagine that this pueblo blanco of a mere 1000 inhabitants, boasts 13 bars and restaurants distributed around its narrow streets.

Approaching Montejaque up the Avenida de Knittlingen, named after the German partner town of Montejaque and nearby Benaoján, you first come across Bar 31, which is open most of the day. It is  popular with younger locals and has a good reputation for wholesome, home-cooked tapas and meals.

Further along the main street, Avenida de Andalucía, which leads up to the original Arab settlement, you find Restaurante El Altillo on the right. Juan and his wife offer tapas and full meals.

For me, however, the best bars for tapear (sounds much nicer than pub crawl, its approximate meaning, doesn’t it?) are concentrated in and around the village square, Plaza de la Constitución, and the narrow alleys of the old village.

Just before the square, on C/ Nueva, is one of the best, El Patio de Frasquito Pedro. With its spacious internal terrace, this place, owned and run by Pepe and Eli, offers the lot: drinks, tapas, raciones and an à la carte menu at sensible prices. El Patio is popular with foreigners and locals alike.

Dive down the hill opposite and you will come across the delightfully located Restaurante La Casita. It is run these days by Max, an Italian who has “cheffed” all over the world. His speciality is Home-made pizzas and at the weekends some very tasty gourmet tapas.

Next stop, up an alley by the La Caixa bank, is Bar Bodeguita Don Adrián, owned by Alonso, who also supplies embutidos (sausages, cold meats, etc) to the trade. Decorated with flamenco and bullfighting memorabilia, this little bodega offers quality tapas using the afore-mentioned embutidos, tasty cheeses and other local products. Only open from Friday to Sunday.

In the pretty square are three establishments, each quite different from the other. The aptly named Bar El Rincón, nestling in one corner, is run by Antonio and Anita, who offer tapas and raciones. Fluent German is spoken here, since the couple lived and worked in Knittlingen for many years.

Next door is the Hotel Palacete de Mañara and its adjacent bar and restaurant Entre Ascuas. Run by married locals Álvaro and Ana, the drinks and eats are high quality and very good value. Specialitiess are carnes a la brasa, paella and a range of excellent gourmet tapas.

On the south side is Bar Melli, run by Pepi and her son Dani. Open all day, the breakfasts are especially good, as are the tapas available for the rest of the day.

Tucked in just off the square to the left is a bar with no name, Bar Perujo officially, run by Andrés and his wife Paqui. This is a real locals bar, but one of my favourites. This is the place to share a drink and a natter with the plumber, the electrician or even the local policía municipal. The drinks and tapas are cheap and, an added bonus, they have the Spanish papers to read.

Just off the square, sort of behind the church is the late night bar, Bar Nazarí. Mainly used by local youngsters who want to stay up till 4.00 am.

Finally, my favourite bar of all, which also has no name outside. Known locally as Bar Armando, the licensee is Pepa, who took over from her father 30 years ago. She runs the kitchen, while husband Armando, a builder by day, runs the bar. Armando is a big Real Madrid fan, but when they lose, he is quite happy to acknowledge that the other team was better. Take the two Champions League games with Liverpool in 2008, when the crack Spanish side were taken apart by the Merseysiders (5-1 on aggregate). He could tell us exactly where the Madrid coach had got his tactics wrong. With cheap drinks, and tapas at only 20 céntimos, you simply can’t go wrong here.

Newly-opened just outside the village near the old municipal swimming pool is La Terraza. This is a chill-out bar serving drinks, tapas and raciones till late. Using a couple of old shipping containers as bar and kitchen, the décor recycles dozens of old pallets.  On two levels with a bar-restaurant area and a dance floor the view of the mountains is spectacular. Just be aware that because of COVID-19 you must book a table in advance.

So, that’s my round-up of the bar scene in Montejaque. Whether you go on a pub crawl or prefer to call it de tapeo, you’ll have a great time! ¡Salud!

Paul Whitelock

About Paul Whitelock

Paul Whitelock, a retired former languages teacher, school inspector and translator, who emigrated to Andalucía in 2008