We hit the Cartagena tapas trail in 2011, eating at eight bars, all in one night!
We started with Pastelería Kuss on Calle Carmen, 8. It was supposed to be a surprise of chicken with orange sauce and crunchy sesame, the surprise was it wasn’t crunchy nor orangey! The cakes looked nice though. We’d certainly go back to try a cake and a coffee.
On to Bodega Nicolás on Calle Carmen, 70. We’ve eaten here plenty of times as it’s close to the theatre and their tapas is usually great, so our expectations were high. However, the beans with chorizo and morcilla were nothing special, though it had a hint of fenugreek or something similar and the red wine was awful.
Next we had a very messy tapas at Mesón del Descanso del Ícue, Calle Sagasta, 9. Toast with ham and a minty tomatoey sauce was spilled all down my shirt. It was well worth the mess though!
La Trola Tapas on Plaza Juan XXIII is a good place to bring kids. They have an extensive burger, chips and pizza type menu and are in a lovely location and the prices are good. All the tapas out on the bar looked tasty, however, the pork sarnie wasn’t anything to write home about.
On to Plaza Alcolea and the Restaurante la Marquesita for a cod pastry. Well this was more like it, crunchy pastry, fishy fish, great service, nice decor and a menu that looks reassuringly expensive. We’ll be coming back here!
Over to the Sexy Shop to Restaurante D’Almansa on Calle Jabonerías, 53. It’s not really much of a tapas bar, more a restaurant, though when we visited the decor could have done with a bit of an overhaul. They tried hard with their tapas, but it didn’t really come off. A small measure of wine in a dirty glass didn’t really come up to standard.
We bravely ventured out of the main shopping area and over towards the El Corte Inglés side of town for our final two choices. Restaurante Pincho de Castilla on Calle Jimenez de la Espada, 53 offered a cod in sauce tapas, which was excellent. In fact all the tapas on display looked excellent, and quite unusual, with puff pastry concoctions and filo pastry surprises. It’s mainly frequented by locals who know a good bar when they see one. We’ll be back here in a hurry.
Finally, down a backstreet, to a bar you would never have spotted if you didn’t know it was there. And you really should know about this one. La Racleta on Calle San Martín de Porres is a trendy, busy bar, with large glass windows and a restaurant out the back. Their little Spanish tower with cheese sauce and spicy salsa was delicious. All the tapas looked great. Another one well worth a second visit. They even poured the wine from a bottle!
For more information on Cartagena and its restaurants buy the Cartagena City Guide.