Saturday, 20 August 2016

Foodie traveller's tips to Cádiz and rest of Andalusian Sherrycountry

For a foodie traveller Andalusian Sherrycountry is a dream. Here are my favourite addresses in South Western Andalusia!

* * * 

Going hungry is something that I really didn't need to worry about during my trip to Andalusian Sherrycountry, a.k.a. tour of Cádiz, Jerez, El Puerto de Santa Marían and Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Somebody made a cautious comment going over blog's Instagram feed wondering if I managed to have time to do anything other than eat. Well, not really. But that wasn't the plan either!

Seeing how my journey took me through the South Western coast, there was also no risk of having to go through a single day without octopus. Oh, no. I kept stuffing my face with that tentacled love of mine like there was no tomorrow. Same thing with Iberico pork. Starting with my daily breakfast bocadillo. 

Oh, Andalusia. I do love you so. 

Let's start the round-up from Cádiz, where I spent most of my time. 


Most of the best tapas bars are located in the "hand bit" of Cádiz Old Town. One of the most traditional ones is Taberna Casa Manteca, which couldn't be more kitsch retro authentic.

Arrive early as it is wildly popular among the locals and fills quickly.

Another place worth checking out in the neighbourhood is tiny La Tabernita, which has only been open for a couple of years. It's a little edgier and decorated with drawings by the owner Rafa, a great guy and passionate about his wine. 

The menu is short and sweet, but everything on it is good. Like, really good. Tortillitas de camarones, a Cádiz specialty is particularly good, as are albondigas de choco, cuttle fish meatballs. The top chef in charge of the kitchen is top notch, too - she's Rafa's mama. 

You'll find my recipe for the meatballs over here and for tortillitas de camarones over here.

One of the most famous restaurants in the area is El Faro (tasting menus start at €40). Don't expect anything too innovative, but if you're after traditional Spanish treats, you're in for a treat. 

Even bigger recommendation for the bar and their tapas selection. 

Located by the sea across the town there's Balandro, with slighty more modern take on things. The menu combines Spanish traditions with Asian and Middle Eastern influences. Brioche-based French toast with Iberico Bellota, foie gras and apple compote`Every bit as sinfully delicious as it sounds. 

Points for interesting wine and sherry menu.

Another fresher and more contemporary restaurant is  Sopranis, proud owner of Bib Gourmand (tasting menus €50). 

In case you're at all passionate about Iberico, the king of all pigs, you should definitely not miss Meson Cumbres Mayores. Arrive early or better yet, make a reservation. Without one you might still luck out at the bar with a separate tapas menu. 

Not the cheapest choice (though menus start reasonably at €30), but Dios Mios, is it good!

Same street also houses several restaurants specialized in fish and seafood. One good choice is Cerveceria la Gaditana (in business for more than a century!), located just across the street. Their seafood platter (€18) is guaranteed to make any day a good one. 

Oh, and another must for a seafood lover is of course Cádiz central market, where I took you on a tour alread earlier. Pick up goodies for an impromptu al fresco feast or go crazy with the food court where there's something for everyone. 

Another equally good choice is to collect your favourites from the fish market (like those massive prawns, size of my elbow...!) and take the lot to one of the restaurants around the market, where, for a small fee, they'll cook your catch of the day to your liking. 

One of these is  Taberna La Bombilla, where I found myself venturing several times. 

The place managed to surprise me too: I actually discovered seafood I failed to fall in love with. Ortiguilla is a Southern Andalusian specialty: crunchy exterior that hides a snot-like, slimey creature. I can't believe I had to live to see this day: there's  food that isn't salvaged even by deep-frying. Oh, my.

For brutally honest reactions after the first bite, check out blog's Twitter feed...

Another Cádiz delicacy is camarones, tiny, tiny shrimps that are used for making of tortillitas de camarones. They are sold on the streets in snack-sized cones. Sometimes still alive.

The area around market is also full of cafes that, especially during the weekends, area heaing with families gathering foe a churro breakfast. 

Churros are picked up from the churro stalls in the square next to the market, which are then taken to the cafes and devoured over wonderfully rich hot chocolate. Oh. Ah. Make sure to turn up early or you'll have to go without...

Located on the Palaze Ayuntamiento square close to the railway and bus stations there's a delightful jamóneria/ deli El Chicuco, whose Iberico selection and I quickly became best of friends.

A great place to stock up on local goodies. In the evening they also open a small tapas bar next door.

 La Vaca Atada, located across the square on Calle Nueva, became another favourite of mine. They're famous for their Argentinian empanadas, but you should also save some room in your stomach for their pastries, where they haven't scrimped on dulce de leche, caramel made with condensed milk.

And seeing how Andalusians love deep-frying, keep an eye out on for freidurias, specialized in deep-fried fish and seafood. A good one is located on the flower market of Plaza de Las Flores on the square after the market.

Jerez de la Frontera:

While sampling the selection at the local sherry bodegas is a great way to spend a day, you should also make some time for solid food, too and for that there's no shortage in Jerez, either.

El Bichero is famous for their fresh fish and seafood. And extensive sherry list. Which, let's face it, is pretty much all a person needs...!

Located close to Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Arts (yep, home to those dancing horses) you'll find Israel Ramos' Restaurante Albalá, where stylish decor meets fresh and contemporary twist on the local gastronomy. Great wine list.

If you love your wines (and who doesn't?), another great recommendation is La Carboná. Tastefully built into an old sherry bodega it's also been awarded Bib Gourmand. Tasting menu specifially designed to be paired with sherry costs €32.

For tapas bar hopping, try  El Bigote or El Almacen.

El Puerto de Santa María:

In case your budget doesn't quite stretch to Michelin-starred (2 to be precise) Aponiente (tasting menus excluding wines start at €165), the owners of Cádiz's El Faro also have another restaurant here. El Faro de El Puerto is a great choice and offers incredible value for money, along with an interesting and extensive yet affordable wine list.

9-course tasting menu (with wines!) €58. For a full report on my lunch here, just see here.

Sanlúcar de Barrameda:

Casa Balbino's extensive and cheap menu makes it a great place for some serious tapas overdose. 

Another ones worth a visit are  Bar Barbiana and Mirador Doñana.

So, how about that? Anybody else feeling a little peckish right about now?

That's it for Sherrycountry- next culinary crusade takes us slightly closer to home as I'll take you on a tour of Porvoo, one of my favourite placs in Finland and an unbelievable foodie oasis!

* The trip was organized in collaboration with Cadiz Tourism *



Costa de la Luz 2   El Faro de El Puerto 5   


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