Authentic Spanish Tavern features local ingredients and Spanish imports: La Taberna Española in Tijuana.
La Taberna Española is an authentic Spanish tavern that has been open in Tijuana for 25 years now. They moved to their current location just about 2 years ago, but Chef Mario Araujo has been with them for 22 of those years. The owners of the restaurant hail from Galicia, Spain, bringing the authentic culture and cuisine with them to Tijuana. The interiors of the dimly lit space, are inviting, and the sounds of the Spanish guitar just about transported me back to when I lived in Spain myself.
Video : Interview with Chef Mario Araujo
The menu is extensive, and 100 percent authentic Spanish dishes. After speaking with Chef Mario we learned that some of the items are directly imported from Spain, but he uses most of the abundant produce and proteins that Baja California have to offer. Speaking of imports, one in particular is the Pata Negra Jamon Serrano. We watched Chef Mario slice off pieces from both the Pata Negra, and the “conventional” Jamon Serrano. The difference is not only in the taste between the two, but obviously the cost, as well as its appearance. The Pata Negra Jamon will still have the foot intact on the leg, where as the other remains without it. Jamon Serrano is not only one of my all time favorite Tapas, but one of my most fond memories of Spain as well. It was a more than pleasant way to start off the evening.
Chef Mario prepared a few of their different dishes for us. Each and every one was full of color, and the aromas were just mouth watering. Along with the food, the bartender showed us how their Sangria and Porron con Garabato cocktails are made. For the Porron con Garabato, the traditional Spanish wine carafe is filled with beer, white wine, and lemon-lime soda. This was a new experience for me all on its own. I may have been the one to exemplify how you really are supposed to drink out of it. Actually it was more like the table and manager of the restaurant volunteered me. So there I was head tilted back, and before I knew it a stream of this cocktail was flowing into my mouth. Quite the tasty cocktail might I add. If you have yet to experience this on your own, please add that to your bucket list.
Back to the dishes that filled the center of the table. The waiter served us our portions from each of the dishes, making sure that after finishing one, we had a clean plate in front of us ready for the next. I loved this attention to detail, and the flavors and sauces from one dish, didn’t have the chance to interfere with the following one. We began with Pulpitos con Gambas (octopus and shrimp) They were cooked to perfection, and I couldn’t help myself from dragging each piece of seafood through the rich sauce, nearly covering it completely.
Following that was a roasted red pepper stuffed with Ternera. This came in close second as my favorite of the evening. I just loved how each element was perfectly seasoned, which allowed them to really shine on that plate. The final dish of the evening was the Solomillo Cabrales. Tender beef with melted Cabrales cheese on top. I had never tried Cabrales cheese, prior to this evening, but I am sure glad that I did. It may be a bit strong to some, but to me the more mold and the smellier it is, the better. It has the similar flavors of both Gorgonzola and Roquefort, but is traditionally from the north of Spain.
With authentic Spanish cuisine and cocktails, La Taberna Española is a wonderful setting for a romantic evening out, or even just a temporary getaway to Spain.
Address: Blvd. Agua Caliente No. 9916
(In front of the Big-Boy) Tijuana, BC, México
The flavors of Spain and Mexico at this authentic Spanish tavern are beguiling. Want to find out more about dining in Tijuana?
Kristin and Antonio blog at Life & Food and you can follow them on Twitter at @lifefoodblog and Facebook.
Video : Gerardo.Cornejo@sandiegored.com
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