Linares de la Sierra - Meson Arrieros

Meson Arriero - Linares de la Sierra

Meson Arrieo Comida Serrana ©Michelle Chaplow
Meson Arrieros in Linares de la Sierra

Linares de la Sierra may only have 300 inhabitants, but it has a restaurant cited in the New York Times, The Times of London and the Michelin Spain and Portugal Guide. Oscar-winning film director Pedro Almodóvar and celebrity chef José Pizarro are known to love the signature tomato and fig soup from Meson Arrieros.

The word arriero means the man who transports goods to villages using livestock - in remote Andalucian villages, by donkey. This is a one-horse town, with an exquisite restaurant run by chef Luis Miguel López, or "Luismi" for short, and his charming wife and front of house manager, Adela Ortiz. Meson Arrieros in Linares serves comida serrana (mountain fare).

The decoration is austere, yet fashionably minimalist, with rustic chairs and traditional artifacts from the sierra. In winter they have a roaring log fire, with two low handmade cork stools. In summer you can dine al fresco on their terrace.

Liver dressed with onions, olive oil and corriander ©Michelle Chaplow
Liver with onions, olive oil and coriander.
Olives from Andalucia with a melody of organic root vegetables and free range scrambled egg ©Michelle Chaplow
Olives from Andalucia; revuleto of organic root vegetables made with free-range eggs.
Toasted village bread with local goat´s cheese and aromatic herbs ©Michelle Chaplow
Toasted village bread with local goat´s cheese, honey and aromatic herbs
Chef Luis Miguel López or "Luismi" Arrieros Restaurant terrace © Michelle Chaplow ©Michelle Chaplow
Chef Luis Miguel López or "Luismi"; Arrieros Restaurant terrace © Michelle Chaplow

The menu is based around seasonal mountain produce, from wild mushrooms picked that very morning in autumn, to the iconic homemade tomato soup, a recipe that coincidentally Luismi first prepared as a guest in the home of friends in London.

Tomato soup with a secret selection of spices, garnished with fresh figs from the Sierra de Aracena ©Michelle Chaplow
Tomato soup with a secret blend of spices, garnished with fresh figs from the Sierra de Aracena. Served by the open fire.

Luismi and Adela keep their own kitchen garden, where they cultivate fruit, vegetables and herbs. They pride themselves on offering little-known boutique wines from southern Spain - a merlot from Granda, Pedro Ximenz from Montilla-Moriles (Cordoba) - and the list goes on.

Poleá con azúcar moreno. A traditional village recipe made with, milk, lemon grass, aniseed, brown sugar and sweet acorn flour ©Michelle Chaplow
Poleá con azúcar moreno. A traditional village pudding made with milk, lemongrass, aniseed, brown sugar and sweet acorn flour.

Arrieros also specializes in local Iberian pork, including the finest hams from the Sierra de Aracena, and fish and seafood from the Huelva coast.

Adela explains the dishes beautifully and Luismi, a shy unassuming man, pops out of the kitchen every now and then to give a personal greeting. The restaurant has a very homely atmosphere and leaves you with a desire to come back again - to this hidden location at the end of a cobbled street in a tiny mountain village.

Note that the restaurant closes from 15 June to 15 July; reservations are highly recommended.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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