Where to Eat in Cordoba: My Top 5 Tapas BarsAug 07, 2019
Let’s face it: you’re probably in Cordoba to visit the mosque. And visit the mosque you must. It’s breathtaking. A true wonder of the world. But while you’re there, you need to eat well, right? Right!
When I first visited Cordoba with Yoly in 2012 (I think), I didn’t expect the food to be so good. This is the home of the famous bull tail stew, delicious salmorejo, and a cheeky little sherry drink called a fitifiti.
So, if you’re not sure where to eat in Cordoba, this video (which Yoly and I shot while there for Katie Stearns wedding) and the list below will set you on the right road. From traditional tapas to the modern fusion, you’re sure to find something you’ll love at these five tapas bars.
Where to Eat in Cordoba: Top 5 Tapas Bars
1. Bodega Guzman
If you know anything about Andalusian wine, you’ve likely heard of sherry. In Cordoba, you’ll often find locals sipping its lesser-known cousin, Montilla-Moriles, produced exclusively in the surrounding province.
A place like Bodega Guzman is the real deal when it comes to Montilla-Moriles. With wine straight from the barrel in a space filled with local abuelos and bullfighting memorabilia, it’s as old-school as you can get.
We ordered a fino, one of the driest varieties of the wine. It paired perfectly with our simple yet delicious tapas: garlicky boquerones en vinagre (vinegar-marinated anchovies) and berenjenas de almagro (pickled eggplants flavored with cumin).
(And if you’re feeling local, order a fitifiti (the local way of saying FiftyFifty – a drink made of half dry white wine, half sweet wine. It’s VERY cordobés.)
MONTILLA-MORILES WINES ARE PRODUCED IN NEARLY THE EXACT SAME WAY AS SHERRIES, BUT ARE NOT FORTIFIED AND USE THE PEDRO XIMENEZ GRAPE RATHER THAN THE PALOMINO VARIETY COMMONLY USED IN SHERRY.
2. Taberna Salinas
Next up was a traditional cordobés tavern that, on our visit, was packed with local families eating lunch—a good indicator of its authenticity. Home-cooked regional dishes are what Taberna Salinas does best. We ordered three of them to go with our fino and oloroso wines.
First up: salmorejo. Though it’s not as well-known as gazpacho, I actually prefer this thicker, creamier chilled tomato and garlic purée from Cordoba. It’s healthy, refreshing, and always hits the spot on a brutally hot Andalusian summer day.
We also enjoyed a dish of rabo de toro, or bull’s tail stew. This delicacy has roots back in the heyday of bullfighting in Cordoba. In the late 19th century, the seemingly undesirable parts of the bull—including the tail—got distributed to the city’s poorest residents waiting outside the arena after bullfights. Savvy cooks soon realised that the tail actually made quite a delicious meal when cooked properly—slowly and carefully in a rich red wine sauce.
Finally, we had berenjenas con miel de caña, or fried eggplants drizzled with cane honey. If that sounds like a strange combination to you, you’re not alone. However, the savoury-sweet blend of flavours works like magic in this typical cordobés dish.
SALMOREJO IS CORDOBA’S MOST EMBLEMATIC DISH.
After two traditional tapas bars, it was time to shake things up with a more avant-garde spot. Luckily for us, Cuatromanos fit the bill perfectly.
Run by brothers Adrián and Sergio, Cuatromanos takes the Spanish cuisine we all know and love and gives it a contemporary twist. Both dishes we tried—presa ibérica served over potato purée with mojo picón sauce, and an octopus bao with spicy peppers—exemplified that perfectly.
If you’re in town for a few days, I recommend you sit down for a full meal here. It’s actually better suited to that than as a stop on a tapas crawl. Yoly and I had dinner with Lauren and Ale (my Devour Tours partners) the next evening, and it was fantastic.
Bonus Stop #1: Bar Santos
While not an official stop on our tour of where to eat in Cordoba, we couldn’t resist the chance to try Spain’s largest tortilla. This massive monstrosity comes courtesy of Bar Santos, a nondescript local tavern tucked between two souvenir shops just outside the Mezquita.
The tortilla is far from Spain’s best—it’s dense and a little dry—but it’s not bad, and makes for a decent and filling snack after visiting Cordoba’s most famous monument. Part of the fun also comes from the experience of eating your slice with a small caña of draught beer on the steps of the mosque itself (a little sacrilegious perhaps, but a favourite local pastime).
4. Taberna Góngora
At our next stop, it was time to dig into yet another one of Cordoba’s most famous dishes: the flamenquín.
The flamenquín isn’t pretty. And is more than a little phallic. It’s essentially a roll of pork loin and cured ham that gets breaded and fried. It’s the kind of homestyle dish your mom would make—if your mom were Spanish, that is.
Taberna Góngora serves up one of the best flamenquines in town. A local favourite tucked away in Cordoba’s picturesque historic centre, this place does Spanish comfort food at its best.
Bonus Stop #2: Caracoles Los Patos
Visit Cordoba in the springtime, and you’ll find a snail stand on nearly every corner.
These critters are a seasonal delicacy in Cordoba, and they’re worth stepping out of your comfort zone to try. This award-winning stand, named after the little duck pond nearby, was our pick.
First up, we had caracoles chicos in a spearmint and cumin broth. These small snails are a good starting point if you’re new to this particular dish and still feel a bit squeamish.
Next up were the cabrillas, or medium-sized snails in a spicy tomato sauce. The largest snails, gordos, came in a similar sauce. We slurped our caracoles with white wine served straight from the cask behind the bar.
THE BEST PART ABOUT CARACOLES: THE WONDERFULLY FLAVOURFUL SAUCES AND BROTHS THEY’RE COOKED IN.
5. La Sastrería
By this point, we were getting pretty full, but had to squeeze in one more stop. La Sastrería is a newcomer on the Cordoba culinary scene, but has quickly become a favourite among locals.
In a similar vein to Cuatromanos, this place specialises in Spanish food with a modern twist. We ordered rabo de toro again—but this time, it came served in a taco as a sort of cordobés-Mexican fusion.
What really amazed us was the fact that the meat was just as rich and tender as in traditional rabo de toro. Well-done modern tapas, like those at La Sastrería, prove that you don’t have to sacrifice taste for innovation’s sake.
Get my FREE tapas mini-guide
If you’re travelling to Spain, remember to download my free guide to my favourite tapas bars in Madrid, Barcelona, Seville and San Sebastian! It’s a free PDF with my top 5 favourite tapas bars in each of those cities, plus other tips and tricks and recommendations. Salud!