La Curiosidad de Mauro


Mauro Barreiro has a considerable reputation as a chef, having worked at various big name restaurants before opening his own in Puerta Real, and then recently relocating to Cádiz. This was just a brief “end-of-tapeo” stop for us, and the experience didn’t leave much of an impression. Modern style “tapas with a twist”, you can see Mauro is trying to be inventive. And it’s certainly popular enough, with plenty of people packed into the long, narrow bar space (there’s also a restaurant at the far end, but I couldn’t get through the crush to get a photo). Will have to give it another shot on our next visit to Cádiz.

Veedor 10
Cádiz
Tel 956 992 288
€ € € €

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Food 7 | Wine 7 | Service 6 | Ambiance 6

cola de toro (oxtail) bomba

presa Ibérica and aubergine with creamy cheese

pullet cannellone with truffle bechamel

chef Mauro

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Salicornia

Salicornia is owned by chef Juan Höhr, who returned to his native Cádiz to branch out on his own, and opened Salicornia in November 2016 in Calle Plocia, currently becoming fashionable as a good area of town to eat. We were taken there by our friends, Cádiz locals and serious foodies Pilar and Juan Antonio, and immediately fell in love with the place. It’s small (seating for just 22, and a small bar) and cosy, and the service very friendly. The whole experience was very enjoyable.

The menu is full and half plates, with Spanish origins and some novel twists, innovative and delicious. Among other things we shared a carpaccio of presa, some butterfish, and an off the menu salmon tataki, and all were excellent. Definitely recommended.

Plocia 2
Cádiz
Tel +34 856 661 403
€ € € €

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Food 8 | Wine 8 | Service 8 | Ambiance 8

tuna tartare with guacamole

creamy rice with Cádiz mountain mushrooms

presa Ibérica carpaccio

chef Juan Höhr

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Ultramar&Nos


Opened in the summer of 2015 by the brothers Ruibal and Pancho Jiménez, Ultramar&Nos takes its name via a play on words from the traditional Spanish ultramarinos (corner shop) that previously occupied the site. That corner position and the large windows give the premises plenty of light, and with fairly minimalist decoration that combines an element of rustic with a kind of “industrial chic”, the restaurant seems quite spacious. Service was efficient and friendly enough for a good background to the food.

The menu is of modest size, and combines traditional Spanish and international food in an interesting way. Although enticed by several of the menu descriptions, in the end we only tried two dishes, a starter of housemade beef sausages wrapped in chard instead of the usual intestine casing (very tasty), and the cachopo – a kind of big flat flamenquín with beef, cheese, aubergine and cecina (air-cured beef). The cachopo was so big, in fact, that we were left unable to try anything else. Next time!

Plaza de Mina 1
Cádiz
Tel 856 076 946
€ € € €

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Food 8 | Wine 8 | Service 8 | Ambiance 8

marinated carrots

beef sausages wrapped in chard

inside the sausage

beef and cheese cachopo

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Peña Bética de Carlos

Peña Betica de Carlos was the top find of our last visit to Sanlúcar, which we only found thanks to a tip from bodega owner José Caireles. Out in the working class neighbourhood in the northeast of town it’s one of those honest, basic fried fish bars with simple, excellent no nonsense food. Stars of the show are the whole fried cuttlefish, but also acedias, pijotas, boquerones and other staples of the genre. And as you might expect in Sanlúcar there’s Manzanilla – served by the glass or in half bottles fresh from the cask.

It’s also a place for fans of the Real Bétis football team, which helps fuel the friendly neighbourhood atmosphere fostered by owner & chef Carlos Juez and his team of two, brothers Manuel and Carmelo (Carlos was impressed when I gave him a big MANQUEPIERDA! 😉 ). All the tables were reserved when we arrived shortly after 1.00 pm, and it seems like these are standing reservations for regulars. But we found a spot at the bar and that turned out to be the best place to be as there is no table service.

Peña Bética was great fun as well as having great food – some of the photos here are of dishes ordered by the couple next to us at the bar, which they insisted on sharing with us. I’m already looking forward to going back.

Callejon de Guia 24
Sanlúcar de Barrameda
Tel +34 645 020 929
€ €

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Food 9 | Wine 9 | Bar Service 9 | Ambiance 9

fresh tomato salad

whole fried cuttlefish – the house speciality

calamares

salmonetes

acedias (small sole)

owner & chef Carlos Juez

Manuel with a big plate of fritos variados

tapaculos

crispy hake

big prawns

“dessert”

brothers Carmelo & Manuel

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Mini Bar

Mini Bar is one of those little hole in the wall tapas bars with a limited menu (basically fried fish) that nevertheless succeeds in exuding atmosphere and being very popular. It has a convenient location between the market and the Plaza Candelaría, so it’s great for a snack and beer stop between other activities. Owner Paco has been running the show for over thirty years and makes you feel at home as soon as you walk in the door.

Doctor Dacarrete 3
Cádiz
Tel  856 174 303
€ €

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Food 8 | Wine 6 | Service 8 | Ambiance 7

affable owner Paco

fritura variada

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Mixtúrate

Bright, modern, and yes, just a little bit “trendy”, Mixtúrate is another new Gastrobar in the up and coming Soho neighbourhood in Málaga. It bills itself as offering a Spanish-Brazilian fusion cuisine, and the food is indeed interesting and very good quality. It’s clear that young owners, Ana and chef Andrés, are working hard to bring their dream and vision to full fruit, and I wish them all the best. The staff is well-trained and the general ambiance is very pleasant and welcoming. During two visits we pretty much loved everything we tried (though I am not a fan of bao, anywhere) and I will definitely be back on my next visit to Málaga to see how they are getting on.

Casas de Campo 2
Málaga
Tel 951 330 806
€ € € €

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Food 9 | Wine 8 | Service 9 | Ambiance 8

fabulous bread basket

conchas finas with mojito foam

marinated red tuna taco with ras el hanout mayo and shichi-mi tōgarashi

buñuelos de bacalao with cilantro & lime dust

aubergine in panko, bonito flakes

Res (braised beef) bao with shiitake and spring onion

Ibérico roll with red pepper mayo and rocoto mesco

prawns in coconut sauce with dendé oil, purple yucca “cristal”

Pachamanca Guarrito Pelón, white miso parmentier, bbq sriracha sauce

grilled secreto Ibérico with grilled sweet potatoes and chimi de aji coco

desserts!

co-owner Andrés Gómez

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Taberna El Gallo

Updated May 2017

Taberna El Gallo is the only one remaining of three that were originally opened in the 1930s, with their own small bodega (still existing) supplying finos and olorosos from the DO Montilla Moriles. The atmosphere and style of that time has been preserved in the bar, which seems very much one for the locals. Normally I’d choose to hang out at the bar, but if your feet are tired you can opt to sit at a table in the back section, which are actually two small dining areas. I love the little “call buttons” above each table, which I first assumed were no longer in service. But when I asked one of the waiters he gave me a demonstration – they still work loud and clear! – though the fellow at the next table, clearly a regular, told me that the waiters hate them and prefer you to just shout PEPE!!!!! in the direction of the bar. Heh.

The first time I saw this place I knew that it was My Kind Of Bar, but we only had time to stop in for a quick fino. More recently we made sure to try the tapas – and we loved them. Nothing fancy, just simple good fritos (the stews will have to wait for a winter visit) and an excellent salmorejo. I was especially impressed by the berenjenas fritas here, which came as crispy skinny frites (rather than the more usual chunky sticks or slices) and were NOT served with gacky sweet molasses squirted all over them. Some of you may not agree with my 4-orange rating here, but for me it’s about the over-all experience, and El Gallo is a place I will always make time to visit when I’m in Córdoba.

Maria Cristina 6
Córdoba
Tel 957 471 780
€ €

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Food 8 | Wine 8 | Service 8 | Ambiance 9


call buttons

“un medio” of fino, or half of a quarter of a litre “un cuartillo”

battered prawns

japuta en adobo

battered cod

breaded prawns

salmorejo with jamón and quail egg

berenjenas fritas (aubergine frites)

flamenquín cordobés with chips



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Updated May 2017

La Cuchara de San Lorenzo

If you are looking for a great place to eat who better to ask than a great local chef? So on a recent visit to Córdoba I asked chef Adrian at La Regadera for his top recommendation, and this was it. Turned out to be something of a twofer, since the San Lorenzo neighbourhood is outside the main tourist area, and getting there involved a walk through a new (for me), and very pleasant, part of town to a picturesque square by the San Lorenzo church.

The restaurant itself is quite small, with about ten tables inside, but also a terrace outside in the square, which looked a nice spot for when the weather gets a little warmer (I was there in January). The décor is in mostly neutral and wood tones that are easy on the eye. Co-owner Narciso (brother Paco is the chef) helped us with recommendations, and the service was excellent throughout.

Most importantly, the food was really good. The beef croquettes were among the best I’ve ever tasted, and were followed by an excellent fried dorada and grilled presa with a pastel of bacon and potato. We finished with a fresh créme brulée.

This is certainly worth making the extra effort to go to, and I’m sure I’ll be back next time I’m in Cordoba.

Arroyo de San Lorenzo, 2
Tel 957 477 850
€ € € €

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Food 9 | Wine 9 | Service 9 | Ambiance 8

amuse and fresh house-made bread

beef croquetas, microgreens salad, alioli

whole fried dorada (gilt-head bream)

grilled presa Ibérica with bacon & potato pastel, grilled veg

creme brûlée with hazelnut dust and peta zeta

brothers and co-owners Narciso & chef Paco

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Mesón Mariano

Mesón Mariano is an unpretentious, friendly, family-run place, nicely kept up by Mariano and his family and staff, with efficient and helpful service. And the food is excellent, too. “La Reina de la Casa” (queen of the house) is the artichoke, which is expertly prepared several ways. We tried them fried and braised and loved both.

The other house specialty here is chivo (baby goat), which we tried “al ajillo”, a big plateful of tender stewed garlicky meat served with chips, that left us wanting more (but not wanting more, if you know what I mean). Bring your appetite, and perhaps a couple of friends, to share a few plates with. There is also a bar section for tapas.

Granados 2
Málaga
Tel 952 211 899
€ € €

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Food 8 | Wine 8 | Service 9 | Ambiance 8

fried artichokes

braised artichokes with jamón

chivo (baby goat) al ajillo

owner Mariano

orujo blanco

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Eboka

After years of working in the family business and attending the prestigious La Cónsula catering school, in 2012 Antonio Fernández opened the excellent wine bar and gourmet food shop Dom Vinos just up the road from his family’s popular Bar Nerva. Fast forward to December 2016 and we find Antonio has not only moved to the centre of Málaga, just a stone’s throw from the Cathedral, but, with the help of new partners, he has expanded his enterprise in both size and scope. Eboka is an attractive and comfortable wine bar and restaurant, the staff are well-trained (I’d expect no less) and, as Antonio joked, the kitchen is the same size as the whole of his beloved Dom Vinos. There is also a nice sidewalk terrace.

We stopped in twice during a quick visit to Málaga. Once just for a drink and a snack at the bar, the other time for a proper meal with friends. On both occasions it was very pleasant. The wine list is crazy, and if you are lucky enough to find Antonio at the helm, he will take you through a fabulous wine-pairing journey that is hard to beat. Favourite dishes included the mixed croquetas (all of them were delicious) and the tartare of Málaga sausage – outstanding. The presa Ibérica salad is also something I will go back for.

Delightful desserts are by local pastry chef María García ( Candy’s) and crazy good cocktails are creatively prepared by Jesús García Recaj.

Pedro de Toledo, 4
Málaga
Tel 952 12 46 71
€ € € €

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Food 9 | Wine 10 | Service 9 | Ambiance 8

bar snack

mixed croquetas: garbanzos, ropa vieja and lomo Ibérico

salchichón de Málaga tartare

presa Ibérica salad with mango and fried cashews

rocket, avocado,octopus salad with emulsion of mustard & sea urchin

baby goat shoulder confit, cream of pumpkin, couscous

Antonio (second from right) with my friends

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