Threatening sky today.  Even the gulls were restless.  We didn’t worry, though.  Instead, we went out to eat.

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La Viña is where the Phoenicians planted their vinyards.  Now, it’s the neighborhood to find good bars and restaurants.  Go right for good food.

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So far, we’ve found three restaurants we love.  They’re all different in style and flavor.  Today we discovered a traditional Spanish place.  The menu had some English, but I don’t think anyone there spoke much.  It was also popular with lots of folks who appeared to be Cadiz natives, a good sign.

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We’ve never been able to adapt to the Spanish schedule for eating lunch after 2, and dinner at 10.  Instead, we wander in at about 1, starving, and ask if the kitchen is open this early.  The gal at the counter in Tino’s replied that it’s always a good time to eat.  Seemed sensible to me, so we took a table inside.

 

In case you’re curious about what’s on a traditional menu in Cadiz, here it is.

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What would you order?

We started with prawns and potato salad.

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One bite and we knew we were in the right place.  Just delicious.  I thought maybe they used a little fresh lemon juice on top.  Really, really, good start.

Next, we had the “tortillitas de camarones” (traditional omelettes of fried crunchy shrimp).

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No surprise here.  We already knew these were tasty because we’ve had them at the market.  As you can see, before I could get a picture, we had already attacked them.

Next, they brought the chicken in wine sauce.

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Sort of a wine flavored take on chicken wings.  Tasty and different.

Next plate…

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Prawns with chickpeas.  I’m not that crazy about chickpeas, so, while Mary enjoyed, I waited for the final plate.

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Tuna in Almadraba style.  I asked our waitress what that meant, and she tried, she really did, but it looked to me like she was miming grave-digging, not exactly an attractive way to describe a dish.  It was roasted tuna that was shredded with cooking juices ladled over it.  Very good.

So, what was the tab?  All that, plus a glass of wine and two beers cost 35 euro.  Now you lose some value because of the exchange rate, but you gain it right back in a restaurant because a tip is not expected.  However, when we get an unexpectedly good meal, we do tip, and that applied today.

Our other favorite restaurants are Mama Lillia and La Isleta.  Like Tino’s, we found Mama Lillia while just wandering around the city.

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I’d call it eclectic Italian.  The music is classic American jazz, and they have pulled pork and cubano sandwiches on the menu.  They also feature what they call “Italian tapas.”   We’ve visited twice, and still have tried only about half of the things we want to try.  Each has been excellent.  The lasagna is delicate and light, much different than I’ve had before.  The bruschetta is the best I’ve ever had.  The waitress (we’ve only seen one), is fun and friendly, and it’s just a treat to have a meal at Mama’s.

 

Our airbnb host pointed us at La Isletta, which is more of a Spanish gourmet place.  The presentation of the dishes is elegant and beautiful, but it’s very relaxed, comfortable and informal.

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Pretty food, for sure.  Mary’s plate is scallops with cauliflower, and mine is pork cheeks, which doesn’t sound too appetizing, but in fact is very tender and delicious pork.  Here’s how good it was.

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I love places where the staff really care about your meal and your experience of their restaurant.  After our amazing meal, the chef came out of the kitchen to introduce herself.

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And before we left, the owner also joined us for a little after-dinner treat.

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He mixed a chocolate liquor with a vodka flavored with hot peppers, and we each had a shooter for dessert.  Now that’s a happy ending!