Tapería de Columela
Go early: this tapa place is very small and almost always busy. It cooks its speciality, tuna from the strait of Gibraltar, in a variety of ways: from traditional with a twist to a more-modern style. Tuna tartare or tuna lasaña are my favourites. The menu is long and the quality is high, though the prices remain reasonable (tapas from €2.20). Check out the wine list, too, and you’ll spot some great bottles.
• €12-€14pp, Calle Columela 4, on Facebook
Bar el Veedor
Doubling as a corner shop and a “restaurant”, Bar el Veedor does standard tapas (though the service is quick) and the chips are typically Spanish (ie, soggy), but the tortilla is good and the sherries from the wooden barrels piled at one end of the bar are great. The glory of Veedor, though, is the superlative jamón, which can be bought in vacuum-sealed packs to take away. The tapa of braised venison is a personal favourite (though it’s only available when in season).
• €8-14pp, Calle Vea Murguía, 10, no phone or website
El Tío de la Tiza
This place serves some of the best seafood in Cádiz, a fact that’s beginning to show in how popular it is. Reservations are a must, especially in high summer – even call the day before, as the seating (all outside) is limited given the demand. This is all worth it. In season, especially in August, the caballa (a grilled whole bone-in mackerel) is fantastic.
• €10-€14pp, Plaza del Tío de la Tiza, +34 956 21 20 82, no website
The Iberian pork here – the house speciality – is wonderful. Sit at the high tables in front of – or at – the bar. The tables and terrace are reserved for full meals, so avoid those if you want to take advantage of the ample tapas menu. Try the montadito (small sandwich) with secreto (a tender strip of pork hidden beneath a thick layer of belly fat) and jamón, as well as and the abanico (stewed rib meat) with Pedro Xímenez sauce.
• €8-€12pp, Calle Zorrilla 4, mesoncumbresmayores.com
This tiny tapas place is always busy… always. Double check in advance because it only opens on certain days of the week (Thursday to Sunday evenings currently, and Saturday and Sunday lunchtimes). The down-to-earth menu is limited but it doesn’t matter what you order because it’s all going be great. The quality-to-price ratio is off the chart, and the (fantastic) service is borderline unheard-of in Cádiz. The wines change with the season and availability and are always good.
• €8-€12pp, Calle Virgen de la Palma 32, on Facebook
This is one of the fancier places in Cádiz (and that shows in the prices), but for the quality of ingredients and attention to detail on presentation and flavours it is money well-spent. It calls itself a tapas bar but the size (and price) of the plates is more in keeping with a restaurant. The decor and the cuisine are modern but not pretentious. The octopus with potatoes and seaweed cream is the standout dish. Booking recommended.
• €18-€22pp, Calle Feduchy 3, lacandelatapasbar.com
Of all of the food places that I love in Cádiz, this is the one with the largest variety of food on offer – but don’t worry, there is no corresponding fall in quality. Balandro is divided into two sections: white linen-clad tables at the front and a bar area at the back. Do not be put off by the bar bit (which also has a few high stools and tables behind it) because the dishes are the same and the price is roughly half that if you were to order at one of the fancy tables. It gets busy, so while you’re waiting, look for someone who is about to pay and catch their eye to take their spot. The pasta with Pedro Xímenez wine is unforgettable.
• €13-€15pp, Alameda Apodaca 22, restaurantebalandro.com
The food isn’t flashy and the decor is pretty standard at relatively new and less well-known Recreo Chico, but the service is personalised. The two women who run it take time to explain the menu, make recommendations and suggest wine. Speak some Spanish helps, as this isn’t a touristy place (though there is a menu in English). It offers traditional, local dishes with modern and international flavours. If the salmorejo (cold tomato and bread soup/dip) is in season, it is a must.
• €12-€14pp, Calle San José, 21, on Facebook
This burger-and-sandwich joint majors on Chilean-style food, such as the Sándwich Barros Jarpa (grilled lacón, mozzarella and mayonnaise, €7.50) and Sándwich Chacarero (beefsteak, green beans, tomato, green pepper and mayonnaise, €7.90). The meat is sourced locally from free-range cattle farms, and it also offers vegetarian and vegan options for almost every item on the menu (including hot dogs, burgers and pies).
• Calle Nueva, 7, sandwichcadiz.com
Naturally, while in Spain you should eat traditional cuisine but every now and then someone in the family may want a pizza … When that happens, the place to go is Osare, with its wood-fired oven and pizzas made to order (from €4). The menu, which also features pasta dishes (€7.50), may have you pondering for a while, though, as there are 22 pizzas to choose from. It is possible to have the pizza delivered to your hotel or take it away and eat in a plaza or overlooking the sea.
• Rosario 27, pizzeriaosarecadiz.com
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