Heading to Cadiz-Jerez for 4 days in November and looking for advice on a tuna focused tasting and tapas in Cadiz itself. I’ve seen Maribel and others discuss El Campero and Antonio south of Cadiz. Wondering which one to go for or if there is a better alternative. Also would appreciate advice on tapas bars in Cadiz.
In Jerez we are planning to dine at Lu and Mantua. Any thoughts on either of those would be appreciated as well.
For tapas and/or sit down dining in Cádiz, capital, I would head first to EL FARO in the Barrio de la Viña.
Here you can enjoy a seafood feast in the dining room or simply have their famous shrimp fritters, tortillitas de camarones, at the bar (for me these are even better than those served at Balbino in Sanlúcar).
On your walk to El Faro, I would make sure to stop at CASA MANTECA for their iconic chicharrones (their version: cold, very thin slithers of slightly fried pork belly, sprinkled with sea salt and drizzled with lemon) for which this atmospheric “time warp” tavern bar is famous. Alberto Adrià loves this dish.
MANTECA is always nominated for the ¨best traditional bar in the city¨award. It’s been going strong since 1953.
I’ve read solid reviews from professional critics about the new CICLO, whose chef, Luis Callealta, was nominated last year for the “best chef in the province” award as well as “best new restaurant of the year” along with the other nominated chefs of CÓDIGO DE BARRA (in its new location) and LA CURIOSIDAD DE MAURO, so there are 3 others you might want to try in Cádiz. I wouldn’t miss Ciclo.
Speaking of MANTÚA in Jerez, its chef, Israel Ramos, was also nominated for “best chef of the year” by Gurmé Cádiz, along with his sommelier for “best sommelier of the year” (and LÚ’s as well). So your Jerez choices are solid. I like Ramos’ informal place, ALBALÁ near the Real Escuela del Arte Ecuestre. It will be interesting to hear which of these Michelin stars you liked best.
If you’re staying at the Hotel Casa Palacio María Luisa in Jerez, its restaurant. T22, is also on the gourmet critics radar.
In Jerez, for casual tapas and several different versions of atún de almadraba, we like ALBORES and its seafood-centric sister around the corner, A MAR. We ask for Julian Olivares’ best dishes at both.
The chef is known as the city’s almadraba expert.
I forgot to answer your question about El Campero vs Antonio—go to both!
Do as we have and do a lunch “doublete”—start with El Campero at the bar and have the very knowledgeable waiter serve you the best almadraba creations of the day, then have your sit down lunch at Antonio with views of the Med.
It’s a short drive from Barbara to Zahara.
Antonio sits outside of town, on the road to the Atlanterra urbanization. This way, you get to enjoy the best of both worlds. Erica of Chowhound taught me this! José Andrés stays and dines at Antonio with his family when on vacation in the Cádiz province (his wife is from Algeciras).
Thanks, Maribel. Super helpful and I think we are now all set for Cádiz.
A couple follow ups: our attempts at doubletes haven’t turned out too well. For Antonio as a follow on, do you recommend requesting a limited selection of tuna dishes or can you go with the tasting (is either better from a food standpoint?)
Second, have you tried or heard about Cataria in Chiclana, the southern sister of Elkano? The concept seems very interesting and most negatives seem to be from people expecting a full restaurant offering while they offer primarily just a selection of fish and seafood.
Based just on the sherry list by glass alone, may need to plan for a snack or two at night at Ramos’s casual place.
For Antonio I recommend requesting a limited selection of tuna dishes so as to taste only his top almadraba hits.
Yes, I know about CATARIA and also Angel León’s ALEVANTE (of Michelin star Aponiente in El Puerto) , both in Novo Sancti Petri (luxury urbanization outside of Chiclana), close to each other, both housed in 5-star hotels on the beach.
I haven’t been to either because Novo Sancti Petri is a detour from my usual route. NSP is kind of the Cádiz province’s version of Marbella.
Since Cádiz is only a very short catamaran ride away from El Puerto de Santa Maria (the 3rd town in the sherry triangle), you might want to go to El Puerto instead. There I would try the new TOHQA, getting a lot of gourmet critic reviews, or to Angel León’s APONIENTE, if you can snag a reservation.
Thanks, Maribel. We’ll go for the doublete at El Campero and Antonio.
I have been looking at Toqha, and the online customer reviews have been very polarized. do you have any links for Spanish gastro critics reviews? I’d like to get a sense of which group (high praise vs ver disaapointed) we identify with.
We went to Aponiente in 2018 and while we enjoyed it, we probably won’t be back at the current price point.
I didn’t remember that you had already dined at Aponiente, which makes that catamaran ride over to El Puerto not necessary unless you want to do some sherry sampling at the (fairly) newly renovated Bodegas Osborne or another there.
Here are a few professional reviews of TOHQA, including 2 by the gastro critics that I most consistently follow, Maribona and Capel-
El Faro de Cádiz opens Sunday evenings at 8:30 for tortillitas de camarones at the bar. I think they’re slightly better here than at Casa Balbino in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. And try their barriga de atún envuelta en alga and their parpatana de atún.
Monday in Cádiz for lunch:
That’s a harder choice as many places are closed Mondays, such as Taberna la Sorpresa that specializes in tuna–it’s their forte.
Bodeguita el Adobo is also closed on Mondays.
Taberna Casa Manteca is unmissable in the city for chicarrrones–best I’ve had and very different from other versions. Here it’s very thinly sliced pork belly drizzled in olive oil. Casa Manteca is a much loved, time-worn classic, on the way to El Faro. Open on Mondays. But the specialties are chacinas not tuna. https://www.instagram.com/taberna_casamanteca/
La Curiosidad de Mauro is open on Mondays for lunch.
We will definitely try el faro on Sunday night and check out your Monday lunch options. Any places with a good selection of sherry wines by the glass?
Yesterday we ate at Cabana Buenavista in Murcia for the first time. Fabulous all the way around. Dining at 5 stations throughout but didn’t seem gimmicky. Great value for the price given the very high level of cooking. Murcia city, however, was not very impressive.
Glad you found a nice place to dine in Murcia capital. It’s the one province I’ve spent very little time in, as it just doesn’t call out to me.
In Cádiz, since you’re so close to the sherry triangle, virtually any bar will have a good selection of sherries by the glass, especially the bar at El Faro and the neighboring Bar Manteca with excellent finos and olorosos (and those really delicious chicharrones, very thinly sliced pork belly with lemon, served on a square of waxed paper—yum).
And there’s Taberna la Manzanilla, at Feduchy 19, an 18th century atmospheric bodega, serving manzanilla from huge wine casks. The owner keeps classic vintages in his cellar.
Short report on Cadiz province and seville-cordoba
Tuna experience at El Campero was far beyond our expectations. We did the tasting menu because it offered 12 different cuts of tuna. The quality was at a level we have only ever experienced in Japan. We didn’t try Antonio as my wife dislikes 2 meals in one day but will have to try next time.
Loved Cadiz tapas at El Faro and Taberna Manteca. Aside from the tortilla de camarones we recommend the seasonal dishes as the most interesting. The pork belly at Taberna is really fantastic. Both have decent sherry wines by the glass.
Contrasena in Cadiz was great value. High quality seafood cooked in creative ways. Bacalao with black rice, super fresh cigalas and quisiquillas. Would return and also want to try the sister restaurant Codigo de Barra.
In Jerez, we liked both Mantua and the low key Albala from Israel Ramos. Wines were excellent at both. Lu was less exciting given the price point and we would not return.
In Seville we continue to be disappointed by non-tapas bars. Sobretablas this time just didn’t deliver even if the service and setting were very nice. On the other hand, Salsamento and Lama la Uva near the “mushrooms” were fabulous. Salsamento had 5 homeade guisos including meatballs, beef cheeks, chickpeas with cod, a good selection of sherries and house vermouth. So many new and interesting places like this to try in addition to old favorites. As always, Azahar’s tapas website on Seville is a key resource. Will skip proper restaurants next time. Canabota is still good but prices have climbed super high and there is better seafood in other cities.
Forgot to mention that Taberna de Manzanilla was also excellent. I’d highly recommend anyone interested in sherry wines to visit as for 1.50-2 euro small pours you will get a short education in sherry wines from the owner.
Really enjoyed your report, tigerjohn, and so glad that you had so many great dining experiences, especially at El Campero.
I’ll be in Cádiz this winter and will certainly try Contraseña (and maybe Ciclo), as well as Salsamento and Lama la Uva in Sevilla while staying near Las Setas.
There are several other new places to whom Azahar has given her top award, 5 oranges, that are on my list–
La Atrayana and La Lola Taberna in Triana
El Pantera (from the boys of Casa Tigre)
I agree that Cañabota, with its newly bestowed Michelin star, has really upped its prices. I now go to the Barra de Cañabota instead.
Maribona just praised Sobretablas this week, but since he’s who is is, I’m sure that Robert and Camila pulled out all the stops for him. It is a very pretty setting, though, in that Porvenir mansion.
How was Cávala in Málaga? I have it on my list, but I’ll be a solo diner there and don’t want to commit to a tasting menu. Is there an a la carte option?
Cavala was very good, similar in quality and price to Contrasena. We enjoyed a range of shared dishes a la carte: cigala, shrimp tartare, 3 different fish dishes. They said no media racion so I am not sure how easy it will be as a solo diner. We will go back.
So sorry I missed this thread until now! Cannot agree more about the tuna at ElCampero; I had only the tuna “sashimi,” I think that is their name for the slices of raw tuna. Had to skip more dishes because I was booked at Antonio for lunch. Will certainly plan to return to both of those spots when I am in the area, soon.
I’d love to hear more about the Jerez portion of your trip, as I plan to have 3 nights there in March, before heading to the Vejer area, my base for a return to el Campero and Bar Antonio…
I had a good meal at Codigo de Barra…I remember a prawn dish that was pretty spectacular, both visually and taste wise.