Cities, towns and villages in Andalucía abound with restaurants and tapas bars, providing a huge variety of
dishes and prices. While many genres of food are available, including Chinese, Italian and Indian, tapas bars tend to have similar ranges of local foods, based especially on seafoods and pork, salads and olives.
During my days as an impoverished student I learned the delights of wild game, usually picked up from roads as the unfortunate animals had been hit by traffic (sometimes damaging the unfortunate cars!). Pheasants (mainly the naive ones that had been reared in captivity and then released so they could be shot, but large numbers of which are killed close to release sites long before they have a chance of being shot!) figured prominently in my diet but rabbits and even the occasional hare and deer ended up on my plate. Although hunting is widespread in Spain (as elsewhere in Europe), I had experienced difficulty in finding game animals, and even domestic goats, on restaurant menus. Hostal Sierra de las Nieves in El Burgo, near Ronda, however, used to produce a wonderful conejo al ajillo – rabbit stew, heavily laced with garlic and herbs.
In the mid-2000s some English birdwatchers invited me to a meeting at a game restaurant in Villanueva del Rosario, where I ate Jabali (Wild Boar) for the first time. I enjoyed it so much that I took my family there on further occasions. During our October 2016 visit to Spain Christine and I have explored the menu a little further and report satisfaction with everything we have tried.
The restaurant is Venta Las Delicias and can be found on the right hand side of the road into Villanueva del Rosario from exit 20 of the Malaga to Granada road, A-92-M. The building houses a hotel as well as the restaurant. The restaurant is open from 1330h at lunchtime but, as in many country areas, it does not open in the evening until 2030h, which is sometimes deemed late for northern Europeans, while Spaniards and their families often arrive much later.
The dining room is L-shaped, with a huge fireplace at the apex – on a cold winter evening proximity to this fire can be overpowering! The room has a country feel to it, with wall decorations of preserved specimens of some of the animals whose meat is served, along with other country artefacts. This includes many wildlife features, including wall tiles illustrating several of Andalucía’s birds beneath the bar.
Importantly, it feels welcoming, as does the bar, which is inhabited mainly by local people, and through which diners access the restaurant. On our recent visit we were enjoying a pre-dinner drink in the bar when a local man walked in with a huge bunch of grapes; he broke off a section and put it on to our table to accompany our aperitif! A variety of local produce can be bought in the bar, currently including a selection of local honeys.
The menu is extensive, including starters and suggested first, second and third courses, plus desserts, but the restaurant’s speciality is game including wild boar (jabali), wild venison (ciervo) wild rabbit (conejo), wild partridge (perdices), wild pheasant (faisanes), quail (codornices), goat (cabra), and trout (trucha), along with more traditional Spanish dishes. During our two meals at the restaurant Christine and I sampled the seasoned Wild Boar, wild rabbit with garlic and goat with garlic; all came with chips and crusty bread in Spanish fashion. With a salad starter and a light ice cream dessert, both of which we shared, our stomachs and palates were fully satisfied. How a human body can cope with all the courses leaves us mystified!
Prices are remarkably low, some comparable with tapas down by the coast. Altogether an affordable, wholesome rural meal in a comfortable, homely venue. It’s popularity with Spanish families attests to its quality and value. And we shall undoubtedly return!
Tel. +34 952 742432