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
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 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
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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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
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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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
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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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
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


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
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

Updated December 2017

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. I’m on a personal mission to eventually try all the artichoke dishes on the menu. Four down, two to go…

The other house specialty here is chivo (baby goat). The chivo “al ajillo” is 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). The roasted chivo leg and fried chops are also superb. Bring your appetite, and perhaps a couple of friends, to share a few plates with. There is also a bar section for tapas. Apparently we have to try the fried green tomatoes next time.

Granados 2
Tel 952 211 899
€ € €

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Food 9 | Wine 8 | Service 9 | Ambiance 8

fresh salpicón complimentary starter

garlicky clams

fried breaded artichokes

braised artichokes with jamón

fried battered artichokes

artichokes montillana

meatballs in almond sauce

stewed chivo (baby goat) al ajillo

fried goat chops with garlic

roasted chivo leg

1/2 roasted chivo

owner Mariano

orujo blanco

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Updated December 2017


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)

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bespoke arabic dessertsarabic pastries

bespoke cocktailssherry cocktails

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bespoke (5)

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Updated July 2017

Venta Esteban

esteban (1)

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
€ € € €

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Food 8 | Wine 7 | Service 6 | Ambiance 7

esteban (5)

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esteban el antojoEl Antojo: fried eggs, fried onions, chips & jamón

esteban artichokesgrilled artichokes

esteban presagrilled presa Ibérica

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esteban (3)

esteban (9)

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