Eating In Cadiz: 'The speciality is fish baked in a salt crust'

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The Independent Travel

The evening's entertainment in Cadiz begins with the "paseo", when seemingly the whole population goes out for a stroll. In the summer, this usually happens along Playa Victoria, a lively beach area.

As well as influencing the lifestyle, Cadiz's maritime location has had an affect on the cuisine of the city, and fish, landed every day and sold at the daily market in the centre of the old town, is an important feature of any Cadiz menu. It often features in the local tapas bars, too, the best of which is the award-winning Aurelio in Calle Zorrilla (00 34 956 221 031), a street with more than an average share of bars and cafés. A drink and one tapa will cost €2.20 (£1.60).

Fried fish is a speciality in Cadiz, and there are plenty of local freidurias -- the Spanish equivalent of a chippie - which sell it. The most central of these is Las Flores in Plaza de las Flores. The chunks of fish are coated in either flour or egg and breadcrumbs, sold by weight and served in a paper cone for eating in the street, although most places have a café area, too.

For a more formal meal, Cadiz has several excellent restaurants. These include El Aljibe at Calle Plocia 25 (00 34 956 266 656); the family-owned Bar Terraza in Plaza de la Catedral (00 34 956 282 605); and La Marea, a popular spot on Playa Victoria at Paseo Maritimo 1 (00 34 956 280 347). But the finest of all is El Faro de Cadiz.

Here the speciality is fish - usually sea bass or bream - baked "a la sal", in a crust of salt, using crystals from one of the many local salt flats. The fish is brought to the table still in its crust, which is then removed by the waiter to reveal the succulent flesh underneath.

El Faro de Cadiz (Calle San Felix 15; 00 34 956 211 068; opens 1pm-2pm and 8.30pm-11.30pm daily


'Sherry is the only wine that matters in Jerez'

At 10.30pm in Jerez's Taberna Flamenca, the proceedings are about to get under way. All the diners in the restaurant have come here to enjoy a performance of music and dance, an important cultural tradition in a city that is one of the main centres of Andalucian flamenco.

Earlier than this there are plenty of other things to do in Jerez. Among the city's many tapas bars, Juanito's has won awards for the excellence of its dishes. Artichokes, prepared with garlic, sherry and olive oil, served hot, are a speciality, as are the huevas alinadas, or slices of roe, served with a tomato and green pepper salad. To order a sherry to accompany them, it is enough here to order "un vino" - there is no other wine that matters in Jerez.

The inland location of Jerez has affected its cuisine, and the most typical dishes are meat-based: mountain hams, kidneys cooked in sherry, or oxtail - rabo del toro - which is on the menu at El Bosque (00 34 956 313 100). There are a number of other good restaurants in the city known for their regional dishes. These include La Carbona (00 34 956 347 475; and El Gaitan (00 34 956 345 859).

The food at Taberna Flamenca is less exotic: soup or salad to start, fish or meat to follow. But the flamenco show is the reason people come. There are several flamenco clubs in Jerez, concentrated around Plaza de Santiago, of which Pena Tio Jose de Paula is most popular (00 34 956 303 267).

Taberna Flamenca (00 34 956 323 693; opens 10pm-midnight daily in summer, Tuesday to Saturday in winter. The show begins at 10.30pm and lasts for an hour