10 essential dishes of Alicante’s exquisite gastronomy

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Have you heard about how well people eat on the Costa Blanca? If you’re planning to explore this region of the Mediterranean or even considering settling here, let me tell you that gastronomy in Alicante goes beyond just eating well; it’s a sensory experience that will captivate you from the very first bite. 

The Costa Blanca offers a perfect combination of pleasant weather and stunning landscapes. In addition, it’s one of the most outstanding areas in Europe because of its culinary offering. In fact, the prestigious fashion magazine Elle has compiled a list of the 20 best restaurants in the province of Alicante, which demonstrates the quality and variety of gastronomic options that you can find here.

We at Quadratia, have prepared a selection of the 10 most emblematic dishes to try during your stay on the Costa Blanca. From famous rice dishes to delicious local desserts, we invite you to immerse yourself in the authentic flavours of this enchanting Mediterranean region.

What are the traditional dishes of the gastronomy in Alicante? Taste the Mediterranean flavours of the Costa Blanca

Immerse yourself in a unique sensory experience: Discover the 10 most emblematic dishes of Alicante’s gastronomy and delight in its local delicacies. 

Welcome to this culinary journey along the award-winning Costa Blanca and discover the richness of Alicante’s cuisine!

1. Arroz alicantino (Alicante-style rice), the dish par excellence of Alicante’s gastronomy

Rice with rabbit and snails. Another of the typical dishes of Alicante's gastronomy.

Who hasn’t dreamed of enjoying some exquisite rice while looking at the sea just steps away? Alicante-style rice is the flagship dish of Alicante’s gastronomy, a true culinary gem appreciated by both locals and visitors.

Varieties of Alicante-style rice (arroz alicantino)

Some of the varieties of Alicante-style rice dishes include:

  • Arroz a banda (fish and seafood rice): This dish is made by cooking rice in a concentrated broth of fish and seafood, which gives it a deep flavour evocative of the Mediterranean Sea. It’s often served with a generous portion of aioli (a typical Mediterranean sauce made up of the emulsion of olive oil, garlic and mayonnaise). It’s Ideal for seafood lovers and for anyone seeking a nuanced dining experience.
  • Arroz con conejo y caracoles (rice with rabbit and snails): This dish offers a unique combination of earthy flavours and soft textures. The rice is cooked along with tender pieces of rabbit and snails, creating a comforting and tasty dish. It’s ideal for people who prefer meat over fish.
  • Juicy rice with duck, mushrooms and artichokes: without a doubt, one of the city’s specialties. This variety of Alicante-style rice is a true delight of intense flavours, as it is cooked in a full-flavoured broth together with succulent pieces of duck, mushrooms and tender artichokes. It’s perfect for “spoon food” lovers.
  • Arroz negro con sepia y gambas (black rice with cuttlefish and prawns): this dish impresses in terms of both vision and taste. The rice takes on a characteristic black colour thanks to the cuttlefish ink, while the prawns provide a fresh, delicious flavour. If you have the chance, try it!

Tips: If the eatery allows it, we recommend eating it directly from the paella pan (a skillet-like metal pan used specifically for making rice dishes), and living a full and authentic Alicante experience!

2. Arroz con costra (crusty rice)

Rice dish with crust typical of Elche (Alicante).

Alternatively, another of the dishes of Alicante-style cuisine especially appreciated in Elche is arroz con costra. Unlike traditional rice dishes, this dish is prepared in a ceramic pot, which gives it a distinctive character. This variant of Alicante-style rice fuses cooked rice and pork, sausages, capsicums and tomatoes.

However, the distinctive feature of crusty rice lies in its finishing touch. Once cooked, you cover the rice with beaten egg and bake it until a golden crust forms on the top. This process gives the dish a crunchy texture on the outside and a creamy texture on the inside. Very tasty!

3. Caldereta de pescado y marisco (seafood and fish stew)

Caldereta de pescado y marisco (fish and seafood stew), a typical dish in the Costa Blanca.

Caldereta de pescado y marisco is a genuine sea-gifted delicacy rooted in the south of the Costa Blanca; it’s especially appreciated in the coastal areas of Alicante.

This delicious recipe features a combination of fish such as monkfish, hake, sea bream and sea bass, along with seafood such as langoustines, prawns, mussels and clams. Carefully cook these ingredients in a tasty sauce, which you prepare with fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, capsicums, and a splash of white wine, and enhance with aromatic Mediterranean herbs like thyme, rosemary, and parsley.

Allow yourself to be captivated by the culinary richness of the coast while enjoying every spoonful of caldereta alicantina!

4. Alicante-style grouper gazpacho

Gazpacho alicantino of grouper.

In addition to being an “Alicantinised” version of Manchego-style gazpacho, Alicante-style grouper gazpacho is an exquisite variation of this traditional dish that combines the freshness of the sea with the intense flavours of Mediterranean cuisine. 

Prepare this unique recipe by cooking the grouper with a mixture of onion, garlic, capsicums, and tomatoes, seasoned with spices like sweet paprika and black pepper. This cooking process yields a comforting stew that combines the juicy pieces of grouper with the softness of the vegetables and gazpacho cakes (a traditional flatbread), creating an unforgettable culinary experience.

We recommend having a sofa nearby, because it’s tradition to eat this dish and then have a nice siesta!

5. Olleta: the most common stew of the gastronomy in Alicante

Olleta, a common stew in Alicante's gastronomy.

This dish not only delights the palate but also recounts a culinary story passed down from one generation to the next. Alicante-style olleta embodies the spirit of home cooking and is a vivid reflection of the cultural richness of Alicante, inviting diners to immerse themselves in an authentic and memorable gastronomic experience.

To prepare olleta, ingredients that are emblematic of the region – such as chickpeas – are carefully combine in a way that provides a comforting texture and a good source of nutrients. The inclusion of pork, black pudding and bacon adds a unique depth of flavour, while potatoes, spinach and ñora capsicums contribute to enrich the palette of flavours with their distinctive nuances.

Are you a fan of hot soups and stews? You’ll love this traditional dish!

6. Pericana (fish and capsicum sauce)

Similarly, pericana is another of those dishes that transcend. Each bite is a journey through the fields and coastline of Alicante, capturing the very essence of local cuisine.

To prepare it, combine ñora capsicums with flaked cod, garlic, olive oil, and salt, creating a soft and nuanced paste. Then, spread this paste on toasted bread to further enhance its flavor and texture.

Looking for a tasty, local and easy-to-make tapa? Here it is!

7. Esgarrat (red pepper and cod salad)

Close-up of an esgarrat from Alicante: roasted peppers, crumbled cod, black olives, garlic and olive oil.

Esgarrat is one of the quintessential salads in the gastronomy of Alicante and of much of the Costa Blanca. Mainly, one makes it with roasted capsicums, flaked cod, black olives, garlic, and olive oil.

The main characteristic of esgarrat involves preparing the capsicums by grilling or baking them until their skin comes off easily. This results in a tender and smoky texture. They’re then peeled and cut into strips and combined with flaked cod, black olives and garlic. The final touch: an olive oil dressing.

Do you want something to go with a tasty rice dish? Have some esgarrat!

8. Cocas alicantinas (Alicante-style sweet or savoury pastries): a popular snack from Alicante’s gastronomy during the Hogueras de San Juan festivities

A person cutting a typical Alicante coca during the Hogueras de San Juan.

In fact, cocas alicantinas are an emblematic snack with a certain special connection to the Hogueras de San Juan (Bonfires of Saint John) festivities in Alicante, since they tend to be popular during the “nit de la plan” (festival figure-burning night).

Among the most outstanding variations of Alicante-style cocas are:

  • Coca de tomate y atún (tomato and tuna coca): a savoury option with a base of tomato, roasted red and green peppers and – perhaps – tuna or olives, all on crusty bread.
  • Coca amb tonyina (coca with tuna): A kind of thin-crusted pie covered with tomato, pepper, onion and tuna, and sometimes also olives and hard-boiled eggs. 
  • Coca de mollitas (crumb coca): a chef or baker stuffs a kind of pie with salty breadcrumbs and, for a sweet touch, might cover them with chocolate.

9. Langostinos de Santa Pola (Santa Pola-style langoustines)

Prawn dish.

Whether as an appetiser or main dish, langostinos de Santa Pola are renowned for their exceptional quality and exquisite flavour. If you’re in the area, don’t miss the opportunity to sample these fresh langoustines at one of the local restaurants.

You can enjoy these langoustines in various ways: by boiling them or serving them with a delicate, creamy aioli sauce.

If you like seafood, you’ve got to go!

10. Turrón de Jijona (Jijona-style nougat)

Turrón de Jijona, a typical Alicante dessert.

Finally, Turrón de Jijona is the sweet with the deepest roots in Alicante’s gastronomy. Most homes enjoy an emblematic sweet during the Christmas holidays, and its consumption is increasing throughout the year.

The Jijona nougat bar recipe combines high quality ground almonds with honey and sugar, creating a smooth, aromatic dough that is pressed and left to rest until the desired consistency is achieved. The result is a nougat with a delicate texture, intense flavour and unmistakable aroma.

Besides its classic version, Jijona nougat comes in a variety of flavours, such as chocolate nougat or toasted egg yolk nougat. This increases the options of this internationally known Alicante-style sweet even further.

Homes for sale in Alicante

To sum up, the extraordinary gastronomic offer, together with the impressive beaches and the fantastic Mediterranean climate, make the province of Alicante an idyllic destination for anyone looking to change their usual place of residence. 

 Newly built properties on the Costa Blanca, located in the most exclusive coastal areas, offer residents the opportunity to enjoy an exceptional gastronomic experience near their own home. What’s more, the proximity to renowned golf courses and other recreational activities complements this luxurious and sophisticated lifestyle.

However, if Alicante does not convince you, explore other interesting options such as the Costa del Sol or the Costa Cálida and discover the best cities to live in Spain.

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