100 Favorite Restaurants: Spanish Fry

  • David Lyon

Australian winemaker Chris Ringland never had tasted paella until a business partner took him to lunch at the Paco Gandia restaurant in the Alicante hillside village of Pinoso, Spain. His meal was unforgettable. Instead of serving the familiar Valencian seafood paella, Paco Gandia specializes in arroz alicantiño—a recipe that includes sautéed chunks of wild rabbit as well as snails collected at local vineyards. The restaurant’s namesake owner/chef prepares the dish in the open-hearth kitchen in a huge, shallow frying pan (also called a paella) over a smoky fire of vineyard cuttings. He seasons locally grown Calasparra rice with a saffron-laden broth and covers the pan with a thin layer of grains to ensure that the rice develops the crusty edges, or socorrat, prized by paella connoisseurs.

“I thought [the dish] would be a superb way to entertain friends at lunch,” says Ringland, who now owns three paella pans. He has adapted the recipe to Australian ingredients such as Barossa rabbit, and he fuels his cooking fire with vine cuttings from his 100-year-old Shiraz vineyard. “Unfortunately, I don’t have edible vineyard snails,” he says, “but yabbies [crayfish] from my vineyard dam make a good alternative.”

Paco Gandia, Pinoso, Spain, +34.965.478.023, www.pacogandia.com

Chris Ringland of Ringland Vintners in Angaston, South Australia, recommends: Bodegas El Nido “Clio” 2005. “An easy-drinking young red, it’s a perfect complement to the juicy pieces of rabbit and the aromatic saffron in the rice." rel="nofollow"

Read Next Article >>
Photo by Noah Fecks + Paul Wagtouicz
This era of the butcher-as-artist has produced a new masterpiece: the tomahawk cut. This monumental...
Photo by Lila Photo
The eighth annual festival will include dinners, cocktail parties, tastings, and more…
The winner of the competition is given the opportunity to study under a master chef…
Photo by John Farrell
The high-end restaurant chain has opened its 11th location, providing surf-and-turf fine dining...
The winner will be announced in the January 2015 issue, which hits newsstands December 30…
The food and hospitality staple of California wine country is hosting 12 holiday charity dinners in...
Dining tables are overtaking gambling tables as Sin City’s hottest spots…
Photo by Ted Morrison
In the Piedmont region of Italy, where Cristiano Cremi­nelli’s family has been curing artisanal...
Photo by Deborah Jones
Chef Thomas Keller and a coterie of fans toast the legendary restaurant’s 20th anniversary…
The experience take places from July 30 through August 30 and joins together the visual and...