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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Bespoke

Updated July 2017

Situated on the banks of the River Guadalete in the sherry town of El Puerto de Santa María, Bespoke embodies a youthful approach to the sherry culture of the region, in an atmosphere that’s relaxed and fun. It is the creation of Carmen Gutiérrez, whose family owns Bodegas Gutiérrez Colosía next door. The décor and decorations are entirely hand made by Carmen using materials recycled from the bodega (barrels and implements), with lots of colour and whimsical touches. As you would imagine, there’s a good range of sherries, and of wines from other regions of Spain, accompanied by traditional local tapas and plates.

We only stopped in for desserts and a couple of sherry cocktails, but will certainly be back to try the food on our next visit to El Puerto.

Avenida de la Bajamar 36
El Puerto de Santa María
Tel 956 106 412
Bespoke Website
€ € € €

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Food (haven’t tried yet) | Wine 10 | Service 9 | Ambiance 9

bespoke (3)

bespoke (7)

bespoke arabic dessertsarabic pastries

bespoke cocktailssherry cocktails

bespoke (2)

bespoke (5)

bespoke (4)

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Updated July 2017

Atuvera

atuvera

Atuvera opened its doors in June 2015, on the site of the former Taberna Jerezanam, which had closed in 1996 after some 40 years of operation. The name is derived from the refrain of a song by the flamenco artist Lola Flores, whose statue stands in the plaza outside. It’s a fairly small bar, with an attractive rustic chic décor that falls just short of hipster (a good thing), with one large table and three small tables, but with additional seating along one wall and at the bar itself. Traditional touches include the exposed brick wall behind the bar, and the dark painted wood doors. The food is fairly modern, rather than typically traditional, and owner Carlos is friendly and welcoming, immediately making you feel at home.

We loved the fried chicken in super-crunchy cornflake breading (though I think it needs a kickier sauce than the mayo that comes with it – recommend asking for some mojo picón). The simple tostas with smoked sardine and marinated anchovy are also delicious, as is the cod in black squid ink batter. We didn’t feel adventurous enough to try the pork ribs in chocolate and orange sauce, and found the tender pork cheeks (another house specialty) a bit underwhelming. But overall it’s a very pleasant bar that I am happy to try again.

Ramón de Cala 13
Jerez de la Frontera
Tel 684 358 394
€ € €

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Food 8 | Wine 7 | Service 9 | Ambiance 9

atuvera (2)the bar

atuvera sardina anchoasardine with beetroot cream, anchovy with carrot purée

IMG_6131secreto (pork) burgers

atuvera (4)cornflake breaded chicken

atuvera (5)cod in squid ink batter

atuvera (6)

IMG_6135pork cheeks with hoisin mayo

atuvera carlosowner Carlos

atuvera (3)

atuvera (9)Lola Flores statue in the square

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Café de Estraperlo

Updated September 2017

On the edge of the artsy Soho barrio and a stone’s throw from the Plaza Marina and Málaga Port, this hip and cosy café-bar in a charming little square couldn’t be in a better location. And since construction was completed last year on the Roommate Valeria next door, the square and terraza are more inviting than ever. Open for breakfast, and then for charcuterie snacks and drinks afternoon and evening, along with cocktails, Café de Estraperlo has that perfect neighbourhood bar feel and it’s one of my favourite places to stop in for a glass of wine and a chat. Rumour has it that tapas may soon be happening. Meanwhile you can enjoy the relaxed vibe and also the local art on the walls, which changes on a regular basis.

Plaza Poeta Alfonso Canales 4
Málaga
Tel
€ € €

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Food 7 | Wine 9 | Service 9 | Ambiance 9

estraperlo (2)

cafe estraperlo (2)Beer O’clock!

estraperlo mark joseco-owners Mark & José

estraperlo (3)

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Updated September 2017

Saint Germain

saint germain (1)

Just off the Gran Vía near the Cathedral, Saint Germain is the kind of place I might have walked right by (and probably have done on previous visits to Granada) if not for the guidance of long-time resident, composer-musician and bon vivant John @benzo8. Noteworthy for its original tapas and extensive selection of wines, Saint Germain is also the only Proust-themed bar I have ever been to. There are photos, framed texts and other memorabilia pertaining to the famed French novelist on practically every surface that isn’t occupied by wine. Which is everywhere else. Wine bottles on the bar, in buckets, inside cabinets, on wall shelves, even caged inside a “chicken coop”.

It’s a cosy dimly-lit place with two small bar sections inside and a little sidewalk terrace. We mostly stuck with the complimentary tapas, though on one occasion ordered a house speciality, their own beef mortadella, which is outstanding. Owner Juanjo is a whiz with sauces and his tapas are as interesting and innovative as they are delicious. Apparently I was a fool to turn down his offer of tripe stew on my second visit there – it won’t happen again! In fact, just go and leave yourself in the staff’s very capable hands when it comes to food and wine recommendations. You won’t be disappointed. Clearly popular with the locals, it fills up fast so try to get there early if you can. Fabulous wines, delicious tapas, wonderful ambiance – and excellent value for money. I’ll be back.

Postigo Velutti, 4
Tel
€ € €

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Food 9 | Wine 10 | Service 9 | Ambiance 9

saint germain (7)

saint germain (8)wine on cabinet shelves

saint germain chilled wineswine on the bar

saint germain salmorejo

complimentary garlicky salmorejo

saint germain patecomplimentary housemade chunky paté

saint germain fishy piggycomplimenary delicious spicy fishy stuff on toast… and a piggy cracker

saint germain mortadellahousemade beef mortadella on warm crusty bread

saint germain tapa 1complimentary mystery tapa 1

saint germain tapa 2complimentary mystery tapa 2

saint germain winesrecommendations from our barman

saint germain tomTom!

saint germain wines (2)wine on the wall

saint germain caged wineswine in chicken-coop style cages

saint germain (6)

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Los Diamantes

los diamantes

Los Diamantes is one of Granada’s best known and popular bars, and rightly so. I’ve been coming here for years but, for one reason or another, I’m only getting it posted here now. It’s one of those ultra-typical fried fish and seafood bars with a very basic style, but the quality of the food is excellent, and the atmosphere is buzzy and friendly. It’s also one of the places I like best in Granada for the “free” tapa. If you go with 3-4 friends you won’t need to order much beyond the complimentary dishes, which are very generous.

The original Los Diamantes in Calle Navas is still my favourite (there are now several more, including a very similar one just up the street in Calle Rosario). But it can get very crowded, so best to arrive early if you want a seat or a prime place at the bar, otherwise you’ll probably end up in the street outside trying to hold your beer in one hand and eat with the other. Try balancing your plate on top of your glass to recreate the original meaning of the word tapas!

Navas 26
Granada
Tel 958 222 257
€ € €

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Food 8 | Wine 7 | Service 9 | Ambiance 8

los diamantes tables los diamantes boqueronesfried boquerones (anchovies)

los diamantes coquinasgarlicky coquinas (small wedge clams)

los diamantes breadhot buns!

los diamantes arrozseafood paella

los diamantes salmoretes

fried salmonetes (small red mullet)

los diamantes gambasbreaded prawns

los diamantes champigarlicky grilled mushrooms

los diamantes adobocazón in adobo

los diamantes mixtofritos variados

los diamantes bar los diamantes rosarioLos Diamantes in calle Rosario

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La Barra

la barra
La Barra belongs to the ever-growing Gorki chain of restaurants and is their “market kitchen” bar. It’s in a great location in central Málaga and has a nice terrace on pedestrianised calle Bolsa, as well as seating inside at the bar. There are also a couple of tables at the back which is apparently a dining area. I found this out on my third visit after sitting at a bar table near the front door and almost getting knocked out by a constantly spritzing “air freshener” (not noticable in the area directly in front of the bar). I was moved to a table at the back of the room – really right next to the bar tables – and was charged 1.80€ “table service” for the privilege. So basically, don’t sit there.

If you stop in for a quick tapita at the bar you can enjoy a nice assortment of tasty tapas, prettily presented. Service is professional and efficient, wines are good.

Bolsa 8
Tel 952 22 39 54
€ € €

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Food 6 | Wine 7 | Service 6 | Ambiance 5

la barra bar

la barra pincho pulpooctopus, olive and hot pepper gilda

la barra butter fish with seaweedbutter fish with pickled seaweed

la barra presa mostazagrilled presa Ibérica with grainy mustard sauce

la barra (4)octopus mayo salad

la barra pork potatoesgrilled pork with potatoes and padrón potatoes

la barra window

la barra tables

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La Imprenta

la imprenta[photo courtesy of the La Imprenta website]

This is more of a bookmark than a review as we only stopped here briefly for a couple of drinks and complimentary tapas (a very tasty hummus and an average sausage and pimenton) on the little terrace, so I can’t really say too much. There’s also a restaurant behind the bar inside which looks impressive on the website, but was closed when we were there. Would like to try it out properly next visit.

Plaza Doctor Quesada, 1
Úbeda
Tel 953 755 500
La Imprenta Website

la imprenta sausagegrilled sausage and pimiento (complimentary)

la imprenta hummuscreamy hummus with jamón

El Rinconcillo de Javi

rinconcito javiLoved this bar. I wandered in to have a look before heading off for lunch elsewhere and was immediately taken in by the wonderfully OTT Semana Santa ambiance. I mean, it’s something you get used to in Sevilla, but it took me by surprise in Jaén. Also, it seemed more heart-felt here, not like something they were doing to lure in tourists.

Just had time for one tapita – a super tasty seafood “meatball” stew – and chatted a bit with Javi, who runs the bar with his mother. Hence the lovely homecooking. Javi’s mum wasn’t working that day – his aunt was cooking instead. Left me wanting more. Next time.

Arco del Consuelo 4
Jaén
Tel 670 36 06 68
€ € €

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Food 7 | Wine 7 | Service 8 | Ambiance 8

rinconcito javi (3)
rinconcito javi jamico-owner Javi

rinconcito javi albondigas chocosalbóndigas de pescado & mariscos (fish & seafood meatballs)

rinconcito javi (4)counting the days…

rinconcito javi (2)dining area

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Pulpo y Aparte

pulpo aparte

I first spotted this place on a previous visit to Jerez when I was staying just up the street on calle San Miguel. It’s in a great location just off my favourite square (Arenal) and is a lean, clean, modern space (with v cute octopus logo), specialising, as you might expect, in octopus and other seafood dishes. And well, imagine my surprise when I finally got to visit and found out they also have a “branch” in Sevilla! Both are owned by the same guy, and there is no obvious “chain” atmosphere – we really liked  the ambiance.

Our first choice of fried octopus was, however, disappointing, with not much flavour at all, despite some very good fried peppers that came with it. To be fair, we were offered a replacement without dispute, and got a much better (actually superb) grilled octopus. I’ll definitely be back to try more dishes. Want to check out the Sevilla location too.

Plaza del Arenal (corner of calle San Miguel)
Tel 95 63 40 526
€ € €

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Food 7 | Wine 7 | Service 7 | Ambiance 8

pulpo aparte (2)

pulpo aparte (7)

pulpo aparte fritofried octopus with padrón peppers

pulpo aparte parillagrilled octopus with potatoes and slaw

pulpo aparte (4)CUTE!

pulpo aparte (3)

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