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Southern Spain is famous for it's casual yet stylish beach lifestyle and delicious paella -pronounced pay yay ya- of which if presented authentically is truly an unbelievable tomato based, baked rice dish, bursting with -fresh caught- mussels, prawns, clams, and squid.
Restaurant Francisco Fontanilla, is a family-run restaurant situated on the beautiful golden sands of Playa de la Fontanilla in Conil, an easy forty-minute drive from the base -Naval Station Rota Spain- and has a long history of serving up extraordinary fresh-caught seafood with paella being the specialty.
We went on a Sunday afternoon -Fathers Day- with a 2:00 p.m reservation and it was bustling, so we were seated at the bar with refreshing beverages, delicious marinated octopus and bread nibblets.
After fifteen minutes of buzzing people-watching and salivating over the endless plates of fresh seafood that passed by, our hurried yet friendly waiter seated us at an outside table -covered dining area- facing the ocean.
The menu is predominantly seafood-based with appetizers average price €8-€10, mains €16-€25, and market value seafood up to €100, -lobster- but of course the main reason for our visit was the seafood paella. The paella, based on a per person price -€16- was presented in the actual baked pan with the size dependent upon the number of guests.
When the paella arrived, we were both in awe at it's beauty. Rich red, giant prawns adorned the surface, perfectly, just-opened mussels tipped the edge, and the aroma was incredible.
As for the taste...out of this world! The rice was cooked to tender perfection, the seafood exquisite, and -my, 'this is great paella sign'- the bottom rice layer was crispy infused with the flavors of the seafood and tomato base.
We all agreed, including Michael, who scoffed down all the mussels, that this paella was without question the most delicious that we had ever eaten.
Exquisite seafood, cool beverages combined with the golden sands of Playa de la Fontanilla made for a perfect way to spend a glorious summer Sunday afternoon.
Reservations can be made until 2:00 p.m with walk-in's are available from 2:00 p.m until 5:00 p.m close, but the wait time without a reservation can exceed one hour on weekends. Open during the winter although please call to confirm hours.
Please note that there is another restaurant attached -'La Fontanilla'- of which is not owned by the same family, and although has received good reviews, the restaurant itself appears more dated and uninviting.