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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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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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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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)

esteban (4)

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

esteban artichokesgrilled artichokes

esteban presagrilled presa Ibérica

esteban (2)

esteban (3)

esteban (9)

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Tabanco Las Banderillas

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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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Vinería Cervantes

vineria cervantes
Just one door over from the “mothership” El Tapeo de Cervantes, the new Vinería is pleasantly light and spacious, with large windows that open onto outdoor seating, and a small dining area at the back. The menu is pretty much the same as at El Tapeo, and there is the same great selection of wines too. The kitchen is open all day from 15.30 – midnight (basically it takes over when El Tapeo closes after lunch and then keeps going), which is especially good for visitors. Looking forward to visiting again soon.

Carcer 10
Tel 951 43 97 09
€ € €

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Food 7 | Wine 8 | Service 7 | Ambiance 8

vineria cervantes (3)

vineria cervantes (10)cured ham rolls with arugula and sheep cheese

vineria cervantes boqueronesboquerones al vinagre with salmorejo and guacamole

vineria cervantes gambasbattered prawns with cilantro alioli

vineria cervantes empanadasoxtail empanada with sofrito

vineria cervantes (2)

vineria cervantes (4)

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La Barra del Soho

la barra soho (1)
I actually hate writing negative reviews, but here we go. Stopped in at this brand new bar in Málaga’s Soho barrio. Inside there are only four tables and three were pushed together with a reserved sign on it. The other had two women sitting at it. So I sat at the “bar” (actually a ledge running along the wall) and asked if I could move to the single table when the women left, and was told I could. I ordered a drink and a tapa from the surly barman and a few minutes later when the table became free I was told I couldn’t sit there because suddenly it was reserved too (though it stayed empty for the whole time I was there). Whatever.  I had a couple more tapas and went to the bar to pay. Surly barman turned out to be the owner, and when I told him it cost nothing to smile he got even surlier. Then when I told him the “service” at this establishment made me feel like not coming back he said… “then don’t come back”.  WTF?

So okay, I won’t go back. And I suggest you don’t bother either. Lots of other great places to eat in Málaga where the owners actually care about their clientelle.

Food was standard gastro-bar fare, by the way. Nothing special.

Tomás Heredia, 4
Málaga
Tel 656 42 02 55
€ € €

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Food 5 | Wine 6 | Service 1 | Ambiance 2

la barra soho (3)where I sat

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la barra soho (8)

la barra soho (9)where I didn’t sit

la barra soho (2)

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Casa Curro Montoya

curro montoya
I first came here a couple of years ago for a quick couple of tapas and quite liked it; enough to come back and try it again when I was back in Carmona recently, and I’m glad I did. It is in many ways a fairly typical neighbourhood bar, with a little terrace outside, a cosy bar area inside, and a dining room upstairs in a kind of split-level arrangement, with lots of dark wood, deep reds and photos on every available wall surface. But two things really made it stand out from the crowd.

First was the genuinely warm welcome from owners Germán and Bernardi, ably assisted by barman Rafael. Germán, whose grandfather (Curro Montoya) was a famous flamenco singer, moved to Carmona from his home town of Lora del Rio thirteen years to wed Bernardi (born in Carmona) and open the bar. As Bernardi told us with pride, this bar is a story of love. All this contributed to a fun and friendly atmosphere that had us chatting to our hosts, as well as with other customers at the bar.

Second (of course) was the food. That we stayed for six tapas shared between two (we don’t usually eat that much at one sitting) is a tribute in itself, but a couple of tapas deserve special mention. The grilled artichokes with jamón and olive oil were one of the best bites I’ve had in recent memory, and the morcilla de Burgos (black pudding with rice) on little toasts, topped with tomato jam, was superb. Fab grilled meats too. I loved everything about this bar and hope to be back soon.

Santa Maria de Gracia 11
Carmona
Tel 954 196 027
€ € €

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Food 9 | Wine 8 | Service 9 | Ambiance 9

curro montoya (5)

curro montoya artichokes jamongrilled artichokes topped with jamón and drizzled with evoo

curro montoya mojamamojama (cured tuna) and manchego cheese on toast

curro montoya chocossuper crispy and tender chocos (cuttlefish)

curro montoya morcillagrilled morcilla de Burgos with goat cheese and tomato jam

curro montoya presagrilled presa Ibérica

curro montoya secretogrilled secreto Ibérico

curro montoya (16)co-owners Bernardi and Germán, and barman Rafael
(photo of Curro Montoya in the background)

curro montoya (3)

curro montoya (4)

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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
Carmona
Tel 637 557 571
€ €

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Food 7 | Wine 6 | Service 7 | Ambiance 7

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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 Mingalario

mingalario (1)
Mingalario came well-recommended, but turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. The setting of the outside patio along the wall of the old El Salvador church was very pleasant on a balmy summer evening, and there was a nice atmosphere with plenty of diners and children playing in the street. You could tell it was a local favourite.

The food, however, was not so good, although we only had three tapas, and I wouldn’t want to pass judgement prematurely. Both the spinach and chickpeas, and the fried ribs, were hugely oversalted, which was a shame as they seemed otherwise perfectly good. But the spinach was actually inedible (and I like salt!). The solomillo al whisky was adequate, but nothing special. Might give it another try next time I’m in Carmona in case the chef was having a bad night.

El Salvador 1
Tel 954 143 893
€ € €

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Food 4 | Wine 6 | Service 5 | Ambiance 6

mingalario (2)fried pork ribs

mingalario (3)espinacas con garbanzos

mingalario (4)solomillo al whisky

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