13 Jul, 2014 @ 17:30
2 mins read

Where to eat on the Costa de la Luz

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LIKE Joe 90 from Thunderbirds, Victor grafts away in his kitchen with trademark scientist-style glasses.

A former architect, this tastemeister today designs plates as he would have once laid out floor plans.

But there is nothing about la Pescaderia, in Tarifa, that does not stand up. Over a decade old he is easily running the best fish restaurant in town.

A massive tuna fan, boss Victor goes out of his way to prize the very best specimens out of the clutches of the Japanese… and this year bought an impressive 216 kilo fish straight after it was cut up at an event in Marbella by celebrity chef Dani Garcia.

“It is vital as our clients absolutely love it,” explains the friendly Argentinian.

Enjoy the separate tuna menu including a great carpaccio, sashimi and best of all tartare, all washed down by some excellent wines, including Guitian at just €16.

Next door look out for the recently re-opened Trattoria, a fabulous Italian just taken over by local business magnate Luciano from Naples.

While keeping true to the popular menu of previous owner Paolo, there is a little more seafood and some more organic and better quality vegetables, delivered each day by Alberto, thanks to Luciano’s fondness for his country’s Slow Food Movement.

Also on Calle Alameda you will find a great French restaurant Petit Bistro, as well as the excellent father-and-son Daniel and Javier’s restaurants La Ternera Mimosa and Lola Mora.

Open for 11 years, both have a Mediterranean flavour, while La Ternera Mimosa now has its own charcoal grill and some amazing artisan pizzas and grilled fish.

Lola Mora is better known for fish and has the prestige of having won the first best tuna tapa competition (a tuna tartare in puff pastry with a beetroot salmorejo) at last year’s event. Coincidentally Javier’s brother Rodrigo (and wife Patricia) also own a brilliant Argentinian joint Patagonia, with some of the town’s best steaks.

If it is beach dining you are harking for then a true chestnut is Bien Estar, right on the beach. It is open all year and claims to be the southernmost restaurant in Europe. It was set up by three friends with over 50 years of combined catering experience.

Outside of Tarifa en route to Bolonia you will find one of the region’s most alluring restaurants.

Overlooking rows of vines and a sea of undulating umbrella pines, ‘Tesoro’ – or Treasure – is one pot of gold that really is worth seeking out.

Aside from the fabulous food – including fresh langoustines and a classic ‘retinto’ steak typical of the region – the views over the Gibraltar straits to Africa are impossible to improve.

Heading up the coast if it is Atlantic blue fin tuna you are after, Andalucia’s best place to eat it must surely be El Campero in the workaday fishing town of Barbate.

Here, Jose ‘Pepe’ Melero has catered for celebrities, politicians and fellow chefs for two decades and runs the restaurant with military precision, often serving well over 300 people for lunch alone.

Pepe coincidentally also has another restaurant Taberna de Campero in the charming village of Zahara.

One place that really must be visited in Zahara is Antonio’s, one of the best established hotels on the coast. Sitting on a fantastic white sandy beach, this restaurant is amazing and run with completely professional aplomb, its fish some of the best in Spain.

Over in Vejer you have one of Andalucia’s top culinary towns, with stunning places to eat, including El Jardin de Califa, which sits in an atmospheric candlelit patio, as well as Brasa de Sancho.

Nearby look for Castilleria, where dynamo Juan Valdes serves up some of the best meat dishes in Cadiz province, while his neighbour La Tajea and authentic Venta el Toro, are also worth looking out for.

Nearby, try to visit Restaurant Patria, where Thomas and wife Ase are fast garnering a reputation as having some of the best food in the area, and nearby Peperoncino, at Hotel Sindhura, where you have easily one of the coast’s best Italians.


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