My wife and I have eaten here many times, we live a 4 hour drive from La Herradurra and have previously made the trip on a Sunday specifically to eat here, and specifically to enjoy the paella.
Most recently we were there in June 2014 for a 4 night stay at the nearby Los Fenicios Hotel.
We ate every lunchtime at El Chambao De Joaquin and made use of their sunbeds and beach umbrellas which can be hired for about 10 euros for the day.
Its a good idea to book your table early in the day ready for a sit down at about 1pm which is when the paella will have been freshly made and ready to be served.
In the summertime we sit on the outside patio area which is right on the beach with fantastic views all along the beautiful bay.
Everyone will have their own idea of what a great paella should be like, some us might well like the crunchy bits you get from if being near the bottom or edge of the pan, others prefer the smoother portions from the middle, incidentally the pan is about 5 feet in diameter and is cooked outside along with an outside BBQ.
We can assure you all that each paella is made fresh on the day and made on a continual basis as the demand is so high for this dish, it's the restaurants signature dish after all, many celebrities as well as the king of Spain have eaten there so it has an excellent client base, there are pictures on the walls inside the restaurant to back up this fact.
We have tried other dishes there but we have invariably ended up going back to the paella.
They do a special offer from time to time, one being the 6.50 euro paella meal deal with an inclusive glass of wine, another being a free bottle of house wine when you order 2 paellas together but you have to specifically ask for this or you will simply get the paella and be charged normal rates for wine separately, in this respect they fall down a bit on customer service which when we discovered this left a bad impression as depending on if you have seen the offer advertised anywhere or not and tell them when ordering will depend on how much you end up paying.
When we raised this point with them the following day the response was a bit surly rather than apologetic for not making us aware of this.
This place gets incredibly busy from the end of June right through to September when the Spanish holiday season is in full swing, particularly in August as Spanish factories and businesses close and they are are on holiday.
The Spanish tend to start having their lunchtime around 2.30 onwards so get in earlier if you want to have bit of relaxed meal, the staff will be run off their feet otherwise and this will have an impact on how quickly any requests for service will be met.
In general the menu is extensive but expensive as are the drinks, so in this respect its a bit disappointing, its not a 5 star restaurant its a quaint 'cherringito' on the beach.
So in summary, overall great food if a bit pricey, and pick your time of day as well as the time of year you visit carefully to avoid a sense of being crowded out.
La Herradura in general is a beautiful place with a fantastic beach, watersports such as scuba diving, snorkelling, sailing and canoeing, as well as mountains to explore, the seawater temperature is just right and the water crystal clear (when we've been there), there are lots of other bars and restaurants to choose from all along the bay so you will never be lost for somewhere to go or eat.
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