From Sevilla we traveled by train to the beautiful coastal city of Cadiz. Some believe Cadiz to be the oldest European city, established by the Phoenicians in 1100 BC. We adore it not only for its history, but also because it has a laid back beachy vibe.
We checked into a top floor room of the Hotel Patagonia Sur. A bit more than we’d spent on other lodging, but very worth it for the lovely room, amazing shower AND full-size tub, large terrace, and wonderful view of the cathedral. (On our trip back to Cadiz in 2016, we rented an AirBnB and I would HIGHLY recommend that apartment to anyone going.)
Staying in the “old city” allowed us to walk everywhere we wanted. So, after watching the jaw dropping sunset, we meandered to Mesón Cumbres Mayores for dinner. While sitting at the marble bar sipping some local crianza, we gazed around the restaurant taking in the dozens of hanging jamón.
We enjoyed some classic Spanish tapas including Carrillada (braised pork cheeks…pictured below), Albondigas (meatballs) in a pepper sauce, Flamenquin (pork, jamón, & cheese wrapped together and fried…also pictured below), Iberico pork, and mini Chorizo.
The next morning we woke up ready to explore the city and its food. First things first…coffee. We leisurely sipped our coffee at a table across from the cathedral while a tiny little dog watched over us from his terrace above.
We strolled over to Mercado Central de Abastos, the popular open air market. This delightful spot is filled with meat, fish, and vegetable vendors and dotted with a few food vendors. (As a side note, we visited again in 2016 and the number of food vendors had increased exponentially. It is now the place to be on Saturday afternoon. Filled with people, amazing smells, and even better drink and food!)
We stopped for some cheese and wine at 360 Queso. Our two glasses of wine and cheese set us back a super reasonable 5,50 Euro.
Our bellies happy for the moment, we sauntered toward the coast. The beach is empty during winter months, so us being there in January meant we had it entirely to ourselves. Too cold to swim, but ideal for scouring the sand for shells and sea glass while also taking in a little sand art. Christmas is a really important holiday in Spain, so sand art celebrating the season is fairly common. Each sand creation generally has a “tip” jar located near the front where you can toss in a euro or two.
Ready for lunch, we headed back into the heart of the old city to La Nueva del Puerto. We didn’t know it at the time, but this meal would include two items we covet to this day. Along with our beer and complimentary olives, we ordered shrimp and octopus ceviche and their daily feature, Carrillada con Garbanzos. It was a bright, old school bar of sorts. While we devoured the citrus soaked ceviche, we watched fishermen sell their daily catch to the bartender through a little pass-through window. The carrillada was incredible. Unbelievably tender pork cheeks stewed with garbanzo beans to create a thick, rich sauce. Out of this world. (Another side note…we went back in 2016. I was a little nervous, wondering if it could be as good as the first time. We’ll never know because in 2015 it was sold and reopened by another person. The food is still darn good, just different.)
To get us through the day, we took a little siesta after lunch. By early evening we were ready for our last stroll along the ocean and final dinner in Cadiz.
Our last dinner in Cadiz was spent at Meson de Las Americas, a darkly lit space with brick walls and a large wooden bar. My favorite was the grilled provolone cheese, but we also enjoyed Mollejas (calf sweetbreads), duck, empanadas, hake salsa verde, and grilled squid. After a bottle of 2006 Ribera, we drifted slowly back to our hotel for a short night’s sleep before catching an early train back to Malaga. Don’t worry, Cadiz, we will be back.