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
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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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

Tabanco Las Banderillas

las banderillas (1)

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.

Caballeros 12
Jerez de la Frontera
Tel 619 006 988
€ € €

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Food 9 | Wine 9 | Service 9 | Ambiance 9

las banderillas (13)

las banderillas (7)

las banderillas (6)queso payoyo

las banderillas auberginesfried aubergine (eggplant) with salmorejo

las banderillas calamarcalamares a la romana

las banderillas gambas ajillosizzling garlic al ajillo

las banderillas croquetas spinach roqueforte, bulltailcroquetas: spinach & pinenut and oxtail

las banderillas fried goat cheese with bacon leek saucefried goat cheese with bacon & leek sauce

las banderillas prawns auberginesprawns wrapped in aubergine (eggplant)

las banderillas hakebreaded hake

las banderillas riñoneskidneys in sherry sauce

las banderillas albondigaspork meatballs

las banderillas presagrilled presa Ibérica

las banderillas rabo torocola de toro – braised oxtail

las banderillas (2)

las banderillas (10)

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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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Tabanco El Pasaje

el pasaje

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.

Santa María, 8
Jerez de la Frontera
Tel 956 333 359
€ €

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Food 7 | Wine 9 | Service 7 | Ambiance 9

el pasaje barrels

el pasaje quesocheese and beer

el pasaje mojamaamontillado with mojama (cured tuna)

el pasaje front roomthe front room

el pasaje variadastapas variadas

el pasaje sherry flightsherry flight

el pasaje chicharrones cadizchicharrones de Cádiz

el pasaje lomolomo in PX sauce

el pasaje chicharronesoloroso and chicharrones

el pasaje impromptuimpromptu afternoon performance

el pasaje back roomthe back room with stage

el pasaje showscheduled evening show

spontaneous Sevillanos

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Bodega José María

jose maria (1)
This is a fun little neighbourhood sherry and tapas bar just outside the market in Carmona, and very pleasant to sit outside in the “plazueleta” in the cool of the evening. It was a bit of a quick stop so we asked our friendly waiter for recommendations. We skipped the snails (house speciality), but enjoyed an excellent carrillada with rosemary (seriously good), a generous and tasty grilled swordfish, and finished with chanquetas and chips (just okay). Cheap and cheerful, and I’d come here again.

You can also buy the house wines, and manzanilla, by the litre to take home. And apologies for blurry night pics, but it was night time.

Dominguez de la Haza 1
Tel 637 557 571
€ €

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Food 7 | Wine 6 | Service 7 | Ambiance 7

jose maria (7)

jose maria

jose maria chanqueteschanquetes with fried egg and chips

jose maria swordfishgrilled swordfish with roasted peppers

jose maria carrilladatender rosemary carrillada (pork cheeks)

jose maria (6)

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Taberna Der Guerrita

Taberna Guerrita came highly recommended as one of *the* bars to check out in Sanlúcar. The bar was actually rather nice, pleasantly rustic without overdoing it, and with a local neighbourhood feel. We had been told that the food was original and varied, but the tapas menu turned out to be modest in size. Favourite tapa was the mojama, some of the best I’ve had anywhere. And as you might imagine, there was a very good wine list with many good by-the-glass options at very reasonable prices.

Guerrita is well known for its “sacristy” (in the sherry world a section of a bodega used for special wines), a room/shop adjacent to the bar used for holding catas (wine tastings). The evening we were there there was a cata in progress, hosted by owner Armando Guerra, despite the fact that we had been told only a couple of hours earlier that there was no cata that night, and Armando would be free to meet with us. So we missed out on two of our reasons for being there. Next time!

Calle San Salvador, 34
Sanlúcar de Barrameda
Tel 697 826 096
€ € €

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Food 6 | Wine 8 | Service 6 | Ambiance 7

guerrita bar

guerrita mojamamojama (cured tuna)

guerrita carne salsameat in sauce

guerrita champis jamonmushrooms filled with bacon

guerrita wine tasting

guerrita nook

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Taberna La Manzanilla

Updated January 2017

la manzanilla

Taberna La Manzanilla is a sherry bar, pure and simple, dedicated to the promotion of these local Cádiz wines, with a range of manzanillas, amontillados and olorosos poured straight from the barrel. Founded in the early twentieth century as both a wholesale and retail operation, the taberna is now run by Pepe, the third generation of the García family, and still retains many of its original furnishings, maintained in perfect condition. Wonderful ambiance and a great place to start your tapeo.

Feduchy 19
Tel 956 28 54 01
€ € €
La Manzanilla Website

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Wine 9 | Service 8| Ambiance 8

la manzanilla bar

la manzanilla amontillado manzanillaamontillado and manzanilla fina

la manzanilla olorososolorosos

la manzanilla back room (1)

la manzanilla back room (2)

la manzanilla barrels

la manzanilla bottles

amontillado fino

la manzanilla 1744

owner Pepe

la manzanilla venenciadorvenenciador

la manzanilla delgado zuleta

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Updated January 2017

La Sorpresa

la sorpresa
La Sorpresa, a few minutes away from the central market, is a small abacería (a shop selling mainly traditional specialties) and tapas bar, with the emphasis on jamón Ibérico, tuna almadraba (the eco-friendly sustainable seasonal catch off the coast of Cádiz) and sherry, here supplied by Bodegas Delgado Zuleta, with the casks making a “wall” between the bar and the back room. A nice unpretentious local to stop in for a few starters at the beginning of your tapeo.

Arbolí 4
Tel 956 221 232
€ € €

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Food 7 | Wine 9 | Service 7| Ambiance 8

la sorpresa abaceria
la sorpresa oloroso

Delgado Zuleta oloroso

la sorpresa jamon anchoaCantabrian anchovy and jamón Iberico

la sorpresa menuchalkboard menu

la sorpresa window

la sorpresa barrels

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