"It's not much but it's ours"

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Morcilla in a bun - you've got to love a country that comes up with such a concept. Actually at Cafe Segovia they had lots of other stuff that came in buns, even a decent looking hamburgesa. What makes it remarkable was that it was a free tapa,
just like you know and love in Madrid and a few other Spanish cities. That, in a Marcona Almond nutshell is the USP of Granada. Ok, they've got some old building or other on top of a hill but this is a food blog right ?

Ok so here's the deal: you go into a bar in Granada and order a cana and the barman shouts out Primera. That's your first one. Order another drink and the barman will shout out Segunda. That's your second. And so on. In the best places the tapas will be freshly made - in one little bar I had a whole list to choos from. In some places you may find yourself eating a lot of stews especially if you don't go beyond the primera but at only a euro or so who cares ?

Since every bar operates this system there's a lot of competition. In the example of the MIAB above the bar opposite was completely empty so choosing the right one becomes a no-brainer. There's a lot of bars too - the density may be up there with Madrid - very handy when you need a cold one after negotiating some of Granada's slopes in a 30C heat.

The other thing I loved about the city was the Granadinos. Apparently, they have a reputation for unfriendliness but I found them more approachable than in many Andalucian cities. They also love to party hearty so even on a Monday evening were
still propping up the bars, yacking and drinking and eating as if it was a Friday evening.

Recommendations ? Well I don't often give them for tapas bars as the best way is to explore and find ones own favourites. But I'll make an exception here for two of the best seafood places I've tried.

Thanks to Lennie Nash, who writes the excellent Chef Sandwich (one of the few food-related blogs I read) I went to Los Diamantes, a seafood joint in the centre of town. It's a small place and even though I'm adept at making a space for myself in crowded Spanish bars there was no chance here. But, as luck would have it, a little further down I found Los Diamantes II - a newer and bigger sister restaurant (I'm assuming) to the original.

If you visit Granada make your first port of call here. I'd even go so far as to say this place is a must visit (along with that old building on a hill). Fantastically fresh seafood is cooked carefully and quickly and served up to a large and buzzy group of Granadinos. The noise level rises steadily throughout the evening but you'll be having too much fun and enjoying the food to care.

The Chipirones were the freshest and best prepared I've ever eaten. Ditto, the Gambas. The free tapas are great, the beer is cold and the service from just two guys is spot-on. I did manage to get to prop up the bar at the original Los Diamantes eventually and that's equally excellent and highly recommended too.

I also tried a place called Bar FM which is just outside the city centre. It's a Marisqueria too (interesting how in landlocked Spanish cities the appetite for seafood is so huge) and a big favourite with foodies. While the ingredients are first class I didn't think the cooking was particulary special and it has rather a staid atmosphere. Still, for those of you who have to tick the right gastronomic boxes it may just float your, er, boat. Me ? I'm shouting over and above the throng for my cana and my primera.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

those pictures make me so hungry! i think this is the true essence of simple tasty food, not messed around with. what i'd give to be there now..

Wednesday, September 09, 2009 2:35:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

You've hit the nail on the head. When you have ingredients as good as this only a true chef will let them speak for themselves.

Messing about with them is a sign, not of creativity but of insecurity. By messing about you can only take away not add.

It's no surprise that Ferran "have you tried my crisps ?" Adria's favourite things to eat are things like good jamon and seafood. He's only doing all the molecular stuff to make money off impressionable guiris. Last time I looked one of his places in Madrid had closed.


Wednesday, September 09, 2009 3:32:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will you go bonkas if you drink more than one bonka?

Thursday, September 10, 2009 11:31:00 am  
Blogger Alan said...

We went to Granada last year whilst driving about southern spain.Not being one for guidebooks I was completely unaware of all the free idea right up there with the buy back in New York bars....utterly genius!!! I shall return
And the 'old building' is pretty special

Thursday, September 10, 2009 7:30:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

Incidentally re visiting the old building on the hill I'd highly recommend getting your tickets online and booking the 0830 slot.

If you're there the day before you can collect your tickets from the cajero automatico outside the complex then on the day just go in via the Puerta de la Justica and be first in line for the Nazrid Palace.


Friday, September 11, 2009 2:38:00 pm  
Anonymous gastrogeek said...

this sounds incredible. Cannot wait to go!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010 2:26:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

Have Fun!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010 6:27:00 pm  

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