I have Multiple Sclerosis, a condition I was diagnosed with in 1994. But, now, nearly 25 years hence, at the time of writing, I have real mobility issues. My wife and I have just booked our summer travel arrangements. I have a poor preconception of Benidorm, but any holiday is only a good as you make it. So, I am looking forward to discovering the Benidorm restaurants.
My wife chose Benidorm as the location for our annul holiday in 2017. She chose Benidorm after speaking with her older sister who had just returned from the Spanish resort.
You will find Benidorm, in the centre of the La Marina Baixa region, a popular Spanish resort on the Mediterranean coast.
For me, the perfect holiday includes hassle-free travel, a choice of good restaurants and access to the Internet for my blogging. A few historic sights and a nice cosmopolitan café/bar for the occasional rest breal would improve the experience considerably.
To my knowledge, Benidorm is not famed for being a great gastronomic destination. The recent visit was a real chance to establish the facts.
Built along a long, thin strip, of almost level ground, Benidorm is a bustling town of tall, apartment blocks. In a central position between the two main beaches, is old Benidorm or downtown Benidorm.
Colloquially called Mobility Scooter City, Benidorm has two main beaches. Playa Levante is the beach in front pf our apartments. Located south of old town Benidorm is the neighbouring beach of Playa Poniente.
So, getting around on my electric wheelchair presents few problems. If you are thinking of taking your disabled holiday in Benidorm, accessibility should cause you no difficulties.
You need not do as I did, and bring your own wheelchair or mobility scooter. Benidorm has many hire shops for all mobility aids at very affordable prices.
However, we flew with Jet2.com so, bringing my own electric wheelchair was easy and incurred no extra charge.
The main thoroughfare of the Levante beach end is Avenida Metiderraneo, or the Mediterranean Avenue. This avenue is flat with good access ramps at all the interchanges.
The provision of frequent light-controlled crossings aids the successful navigation of this busy dual-carriageway.
Good disabled arrangements in this relatively new town should come as no surprise.
When you venture further inland, like the road to the Benidorm Palace the land starts to rise markedly. But then, that’s why you will need to use a taxi for those occasional trips uphill and inland.
For many reasons, I don’t intend to try and review every eating establishment in Benidorm. There will be hundreds of restaurants, cafés bars and take away kiosks in this sprawling holiday resort.
I do not have the time to visit every one of them. It would certainly be impossible to eat in every one of them, just to review the service and the food.
Therefore, I will restrict my selection to the Levante Beach end of the town and concentrate on the restaurants in the vicinity of the Viña del Mar apartments.
This holiday will, by necessity, be a thrifty excursion. And, pecuniary matters aside, we don’t always enjoy eating out every night.
La Ballena Azul
As we reach the beach front, from the Viña del Mar apartments, the first of the Benidorm restaurants we encounter is La Ballena Azul, or the Blue Whale restaurant.
La Ballena Azul is typical of the beach front Benidorm restaurants. Typical also of a predominantly British holiday resort. It offers steak, pizzas, burgers and beans. That, of course, is not the only fare on the menu.
The selection will not be apparent, from the menu board I photographed outside this Benidorm restaurant. But, I hope it gives a slight indication of the type of restaurant this is.
One Beer and Grill
The next restaurant we encounter does not appeal to me for a number of reasons. “One” is a very inaccessible venue from the restricted traveller’s point of view.
Not least, the chalked advertising boards. I think that the advertised menu offerings of chicken and chips or hot dog and chips may well have contributed to this distaste. The hoarding promoting “beer and grill” immediately makes me quail.
There is only a limited seating area in the open, although there are extra tables under cover. The biggest drawback from my perspective, and any prospective disabled visitor, are the obvious stairs.
The third eating establishment along the Levante beach is Torrelevante Restaurant. This restaurant is clearly associated with the torrelevante apartments above. The translation of torrelevante is Levante Tower.
This is a pleasant, clean-looking restaurant. The menu is not especially inspiring, but I expect the name gives away its intention. A cerveceria is a stop-off for una cerveza, a beer. So it looks like a sitting place for a refreshment more than it is a place for a meal.
In its favour is the fact that it is on ground level, albeit with a very small step to enter. An obstacle to a powered-wheelchair, but fine for the limited mobility traveller like myself.
I hope you are not getting tired with this trip along the Benidorm seafront. It can be exhausting to walk this far in the afternoon heat of a costa blanca late-summer. Even in my electric wheelchair, the heat can be wearing.
However, we must press on. I still have a few of these Spanish restaurants to introduce you to and entice you with.
Again, a restaurant with stair entry, which would make it inaccessible to wheelchair diners. I include this eating venue because they are advertising 5 tapas for €6. A bargain and a delicacy in my book. I love the whole eating experience of tapas.
My wife was a little hesitant as elsewhere on the menu were mentions of squid, clams and other shellfish fears. I love fish, including shellfish, so I do not share her fears.
My penultimate food offering comes in the shape of La Bahia. This looks like a very good, clean eating house with a very varied menu.
I’m not sure that it has any real significance, La Bahia calls itself a cafeteria rather than a restaurant. It looks like a very attractive, seafront restaurant and the menu would more suggest a restaurant rather than a cafeteria which I equate with afternoon teas.
The advertised menu looked reasonably varied and appealing. The only criticism I could find with it was the fact that it looked very poorly patronised at the time of my visit. This may not be a negative comment as it might be popular with the Spaniards who tend to dine later in the day.
Disabled access looks to be excellent with everything on ground level and no entry step.
My final offering in the Benidorm restaurants summery, will be Cayman Pizza.
As one of the first of the Benidorm restaurants we tried during this visit lends special significance to this pizzeria.
This is a more than passable pizza eatery. We stumbled across it early in our holiday when we became overly tired trying to reach central Benidorm.
It has wheelchair access, although this may not be immediately apparent. There is a small path with a ramp adjacent to the pizzeria.
Adjacent to the Cayman pizzeria is a small path with a handy ramp for the wheelchair-bound traveller.
While we were enjoying a coffee on a subsequent visit, a delivery man used the ramp and footpath to bring the soft drinks to the restaurant loaded onto a sack barrow. Revealing that this useful disabled access was perhaps not by design.
Concluding our Benidorm Restaurants
You will find there is more for the restricted traveller to consider than just places at which to dine. Disabled people have just as many interests as able-bodied people and none of us should be prepared to settle for anything less.
The relatively flat layout of Benidorm, along with many ramps at road crossings means that the wheelchair-bound and mobility scooter riding holiday-makers are well catered for.
But, does Benidorm have anything specifically designed for the disabled traveller? The answer is a resounding yes!
Perhaps, not surprisingly, I didn’t expect to see good accessibility options for the beach-loving, sun-worshipping water-babies amongst us.
Accessibility to the Levante Beach is first-rate. A wooden ramp leads down over the sand to the high tide mark. It was a surprise to see a tented, floored area for disabled travellers allowing them to hide from exposure to the sun. Available at the accessibility area are special beach scooters. The beach scooters are transportable into the sea.
I have never been the beach-loving, sun-worshipping holiday maker, but in my years before multiple sclerosis, I was a keen water-baby.
I loved everything to do with water and the sea. From sailing, windsurfing, swimming, water skiing, even scuba diving at one point. You wouldn’t keep me out of the water.
There are many bars playing music in the evening. The free entertainment in the local bars are tribute acts. You wouldn’t really expect anything else with free entry.
The dinner show at the Benidorm Palace offers something far more professional.
The time for the meal and anticipated show arrived. The concierge told us the taxi rank was at the far end of the street. So, off we tottered to get the taxi to the Benidorm Palace.
The show was spectacular. Benidorm Palace is a very impressive venue and the staff were excellent. The only possible problem for the restricted traveller was that the main auditorium is downstairs.
Although we had not stipulated specific seating. We had a very good table, with a perfect view close to the toilets. An essential factor for the chronically ill.
The show was absolutely breathtaking. The stage, the dancers, the sound system all combined to produce the most impressive show we have ever seen.
If you visit Benidorm, I can heartily recommend you include the Benidorm Palace in your itinerary. The cost was not inconsiderable but the expense was easily justified.