Traveling in Andalusia is a pleasure, thanks to the food and the historic, well-priced accommodations. Reservations are recommended for most restaurants; be sure to ask which days places are closed. (Prices include tax and tip but no drinks.)
Málaga and Costa del Sol
Parador de Málaga-Gibralfaro Castillo de Gibralfaro, Málaga; 34-5/238-1255, fax 34-5/238-2141; doubles from $165. Tastefully refurbished, with great views and good food.
Orellana 5 Calle Moreno Monroy; 34-5/222-3012; dinner for two $24.
Lo Güeno 9 Calle Marín García; 34-5/222-3048; dinner for two $28.
El Roqueo Calle Carmen, La Carihuela, Torremolinos; 34-5/238-4946; dinner for two $38.
Palacio de Santa Inés 9 Cuesta de Santa Inés Granada; 34-58/222-362, fax 34-58/222-465; doubles from $117. A miniature palace in Albaicín—and a good alternative to the obvious Alhambra choices.
Mirador de Morayma Restaurant 2 Calle Pianista Ga. Carillo; 34-58/228-290; lunch for two $42.
Úbeda and Baeza
Palacio de la Rambla 1 Plaza de Marqués, Úbeda; 34-53/750-196, fax 34-53/750-267; doubles from $115. An eerily romantic family palacio, run by a pair of aristocratic young sisters.
Juanito Paso del Arca del Agua, Baeza; 34-53/740-040; dinner for two $45.
Parador de la Arruzafa 33 Avenida de la Arruzafa, Córdoba; 34-57/275-900, fax 34-57/280-409; doubles from $155. A very amenable if unexciting choice, and the best in town.
El Churrasco Restaurant 16 Calle Romero; 34-57/ 290-819; lunch for two $52.
Hotel Alfonso XIII 2 Calle San Fernando; 34-5/ 422-2850, fax 34-5/421-6033; doubles from $370; ask about weekend rates. A luxurious (if slightly stuffy) cross between an Edwardian grand hotel and a classic Moorish palace.
Egaña Oriza Restaurant 41 San Fernando; 34-5/422-7211; dinner for two $80.
Cádiz, Sanlúcar, Jerez area
Hotel Monasterio San Miguel 27 Calle Larga, El Puerto de Santa María; 34-56/540-440; fax 34-56/542-604; doubles from $155. A former monastery in the lively resort town of Puerto de Santa María.
El Faro 15 Calle San Félix, Cádiz; 34-56/211-068; lunch for two $58.
Parador de Ronda Plaza de España, Ronda; 34-5/287-7500, fax 34-5/287-8188; doubles from $165. A modern hotel with a historic façade and excellent food.
Restaurante Pedro Romero 18 Virgen de la Paz; 34-5/287-1110; dinner for two $45.
The tradition of tapas originated in Andalusian bars, where glasses of sherry came covered with plates to protect the contents from flies and dust. Seville is the grazing capital of Spain; expect to spend about $30 for a light meal for two with a round of drinks. With food historian Juan Carlos Alonso as our guide, we hit two popular areas: central Seville and Triana.
Casa Robles 58 Calle Álvarez Quintero; 34-5/421-3150. Seville's most venerable eating establishment. We loved the mojama (smoked tuna "ham"), chanquetes (tiny fried fish), and swordfish with garlic.
Becerrita Centro 1 Hernando Colón; 34-5/456-4230. The ultimate neighborhood tasca. Best bets: vegetable terrines and choricarne (chorizo-stuffed patties).
Bodeguita Romero 10 Calle Harinas; 34-5/421-4178. Gorgeous tiles, pretty crowd. Salt-cod dishes and pringa (a meat sandwich) are the ticket.
El Noli 79 Pagés del Corro; 34-5/433-0740. The owner is the attraction here. His tapas recitations, all in one breath with funny asides, are more Andalusian than flamenco.
Restaurante Los Cuevas 1 Virgen de las Huertas; 34-5/427-8042. Vegetable cuisine—fried eggplant, spinach with chickpeas—that draws famous toreros and the duchess of Alba.
On the Shelf:
Delicioso! The Regional Cooking of Spain by Penelope Casas, a leading expert on Spanish food.