This rather scruffy fishing village of Barbate along the southern coast of Spain near Cádiz, has been fishing bluefin tuna using the same methods for well over 3,000 years. This traditional tuna fishing method, known as almadraba, is famous throughout Spain for catching the country’s most popular tuna.
The almadraba season is in May and June. Small fishing boats attached to giant round nets float in an ever-widening circle in the narrow Gibraltar strait between Africa and Europe. As the circle widens, the nets become taught, drawing the tuna closer and closer to the surface. When silvery fins start flashing across the surface expert fisherman spear these giant fish, hauling them aboard.
Restaurante El Campero
This surprising restaurant is a white shiny haunt for celebrities, politicians and chefs from all over Spain, which would not look out of place in Mayfair instead of this rather rundown fishing town. It is best known for its fantastic, locally caught, bluefin tuna which they serve in almost 30 different ways.
The best cuts are morillo and ventresco, which cost around €60 kg. You can also eat the heart and eggs, which they say, are a delicacy, which comes in, at around €325 kg!.
There is a smart formal restaurant
and you can also eat at the bar,
or on the stalls or tables scattered around.
On a fine summer's lunchtime or evening, you can sit on the outside terrace.
Prices were very inexpensive, but have slightly increased lately, even so, the stunning tapas include:
There is also a small lunchtime menu.
On this occasion we only had around 40 minutes to spare, so we popped in for a couple of early lunch bites.
Pinchitos Morunos de Atún
Mini Burguer de Atún
When we came in 2018 we had the following
Croquetas Caseras de Bacalao o Jamón (salt cod & ham croquetas.
Mini Burger de Atún (tuna burger, in smart McDonalds style boxes.
Langostino en tempura con ali-oli de tomate (the lightest, crispiest tempura, you can have)
Won Ton Crocate de Atún Rojo con Salsa Teriyaki.
Brochetita de atún Rojo en Tempura.
Atún Lomo Picante (spicy tuna).
Sashimi de Ventres.
They never buy the bluefin tuna at less than 30 kilos in weight and normally around 10 years old. They are very careful from whom they buy the fish. The tuna is kept frozen at minus 60 degrees, so can be used, all year round.
This is because the almadraba, the ancient way of fishing for bluefin tuna, is limited only to May and June, when the fish migrate to the Mediterranean through the narrow Gibraltar strait between Spain and Morocco. Barbate is perfectly situated to take advantage of the annual migration.
For dessert try Tocino de Cielo (Flan)
There is an excellent wine list including plenty of local sherries.
It is best to book early if you intend to go in summer. Service was friendly and helpful.
Avenida Constitucion Local 5C, 11160 Barbate, Cádiz
+34 956 432 300
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