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.
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.
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!
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.
Founded in 1983 by the five Ballesteros brothers, Venta Estevan moved to its present location just outside Jerez in 2002. It is located in a large chalet-style building with ample parking (if you don’t have a car it’s about a 9€ taxi ride from Jerez). I’d been hearing about this place for years from various foodie friends and so finally did the taxi thing on a recent visit to Jerez, to try it out.
As you walk into the bar area there are displays of jamón, fish and seafood and local wines. There’s also a large terrace and several light, spacious dining rooms. The menu offers classic dishes, with just a few tapas in the bar, so best to go with a group of friends so you can share big plates (raciones). We sat in the bar, which felt a bit less stuffy than the dining area. Of course we had to try the house speciality El Antojo (The Craving) which was a huge plate of chips and fried onions, fried eggs and jamón. Then we tried the breaded artichokes and finished with grilled presa Ibérica (pork shoulder). Everything was very good quality, but perhaps another visit with more people would make it feel more special. And perhaps with someone who knows the staff, because although the service was okay, we felt a bit like we were being given the “tourist treatment”.
Colonia Caulina (Seville-Cádiz motorway)
Jerez de la Frontera
Tel 956 316 067 € € € €
Food 8 | Wine 7 | Service 6 | Ambiance 7
El Antojo: fried eggs, fried onions, chips & jamón
Opened in 2012 by Fernando Lobato and Lucas Soto, Las Bandarillas replaced an existing bar-restaurant of the same name. As well as sherry and vermouth from the barrel there are preserves and delicatessen products to eat on the premises or take away, and a good selection of hot tapas. In fact, it has more of a tapas bar than tabanco feel to it. It’s a fun and lively place to stop and is also excellent value for money. Don’t miss the house speciality rabo de toro (slow braised oxtail) and the sizzling gambas al ajillo (garlic prawns). Service is a bit frenetic, but friendly. My favourite place for traditional tapas in Jerez.
El Bichero (The Boathook) is a relatively new restaurant just off Jerez’s main Arenal Plaza, opened in 2011 by Fermín Anguita. There’s a pleasant outside terrace, a restaurant upstairs and – my favourite spot – a small bar downstairs for tapas (though you can also order from the restaurant menu at the bar). Specialities are local fish and seafood, but there are some good meat options too. Good wine list, nice staff… a must-visit whenever I’m in Jerez.
Tabancos are a combination of tavern and wine shop that is typical of Jerez de la Frontera. Wines (sherries) are sold either by the bottle (to take away or consume on the premises), or direct from small casks. Tapas are also sold, and there is a close association between tabancos and the culture of flamenco.
El Pasaje is probably the oldest still existing tabanco in Jerez, dating officially to its founding by Don José González Navarro in 1925, though prior to that it had been first a food shop and then a peña (flamenco club) for local waiters. It’s name (the passage) derives from the fact that it has two entrances in parallel streets. Under the current management a small side room that had been blocked off has been reopened.
There are regular flamenco events (times vary depending on time of year), and often impromptu performances, with a great atmosphere. The wines (sherry) are by Maestro Sierra, and there’s a very nice range of cheese and meat tapas, montaditos, and a few hot dishes. Bar service only.
Óleo is the popular sushi and tapas fusion restaurant attached to the Contemporary Arts Centre in Málaga. The décor is light, open and modern, and includes “bench” seating for some of the tables, as well as an outside terrace. The tapas menu (also available as media raciones) is modest, but includes a good mix of traditional and more innovative dishes, and there are also salads, and meat and fish dishes in larger plates, as well as a range of sushi options, all of excellent quality. Our favourite dish was the jurel ceviche served with lime – a spectacular bite. Service was efficient and friendly, and it’s well worth stopping here as part of your visit to CAC.
Contemporary Arts Centre
Tel 952 219 062 € € € €
Food 9 | Wine 9 | Service 9 | Ambiance 8
patatas bravas with spicy foam
jurel ceviche with lime
crispy soy-marinated prawn rolls
tempura tuna maki
goat pinchito with ras el hanout and onion chutney
A stylish modern restaurant with a small tapas bar area and covered terrace (the latter not ideal due to its location on a busy street, just down the road from the Royal Andalucian School of Equestrian Art). Chef Israel Ramos has created a pleasant menu of contemporary tapas and raciones – some favourites include the asparagus in tempura, confit pork jowl with grilled octopus, and the secreto meatballs. Service is professional but could be a bit friendlier. Good wine list.