Innovative cuisine has really arrived in Jerez and it is intimately connected to its wine. The following are examples of places where one can eat things which are different, daring, but almost always full of flavour, novel interpretations of traditional everyday dishes, the cooking of other worlds adapted to products from here, or outstanding exercises in imagination. They are the perfect places to enjoy Sherry and are in Jerez itself.
1. Lu Cocina y Alma
One of the newest openings in the city but with great prospects. It was established in the Plaza Aladro by the jerez chef Juan Luis Fernández, for 10 years second in command at the 3 Michelin Star Aponiente. Juanlu, as he is known among fellow chefs, took the daring step of locating the kitchen in the middle of the dining room without separating diners, so they can watch the spectacle of live cooking barely a metre away from the stoves. The décor, which is reminiscent of the story of Alice in Wonderland, is the work of another 3 star person, but of interior design, Gaspar Sobrino. As to the food, local produce is cooked in a very different way. The principal novelty of the restaurant is the gastronomic delights which the chef prepares to the taste of the customer, exactly as they order it. There are plenty of langoustines from Sanlúcar, rockfish, or luxury products brought from other parts of the world. The wine list, which includes many Sherries and single vineyard wines, the latest exciting development in the province of Cádiz, is supervised by sommelier Fran Cordero.
Our suggestion: Rockfish cooked Juanlu style
The name derives from a grape variety once widespread in the vineyards of Jerez 200 years ago. This restaurant is the creation of another Jerez chef, Israel Ramos, trained at the Hotel and Catering School in Cádiz. It is also located in the Plaza Aladro and opened at the end of 2017. Interior decoration is minimalist so that each dish stands out even more. The idea is various tasting menus in which Ramos demonstrates his prowess and astuteness in combining flavours. The menus attach a great importance to wine, even to the point that dishes are chosen according to the selected wine. In charge of the wine list is the sommelier Jonatán Cantero, who also trained at the Hotel and Catering School in Cádiz. The list is bursting with Sherries and local single vineyard table wines. Israel Ramos also runs a gastrobar opposite the Spanish Riding School, which also features innovative and interesting cuisine. Here food is served in the form of main dishes and tapas.
Our suggestion: the full tasting menu with 16 dishes
3. La Carboná
Chef Javier Muñoz has already been baptised with the nickname “the Sherry chef”. The restaurant’s cellar, looked after for many years by Javier’s mother, Ana Soto, is one of the most complete in the area and is still growing. Here the range of wines by the glass is more than impressive. Everything revolves around the wine. The restaurant is located in an old bodega which has been elegantly restored. The bread is made using a little flor yeast from the wine and the dishes always contain a little wine or Jerez vinegar amongst the ingredients. Here, raw materials are local and cooked intelligently and harmoniously. Most food is offered in the form of dishes but there is also a tasting menu available accompanied by Sherries. The restaurant can be found in Calle San Francisco de Paula.
Our suggestion: the tasting menu with Sherries
4. Hermanos Carrasco
It all started at a small local tavern in Jerez. Now the Carrasco brothers run a large restaurant in the Avenida Caballero Bonald. The premises are divided into two spaces. The first is dedicated to the restaurant with a menu based on imaginative dishes and a large range of beef selected from various parts of Spain. Juan Manuel Carrasco is especially imaginative with tapas and his impressive offerings are rounded off with a range of desserts. The cellar, which is well stocked with Sherry, is run by his brother Miguel Ángel. Juan Manuel also runs Secuencia Nueve, established in 2017 in the Avenida de la Granja. There, along with chef Iordan Ciprian as head chef, they have developed very original cuisine on the lines of a gastro bar.
Our suggestion: the meats
This is perhaps one of the most original concepts developed in Jerez in recent years. Making the most of an old tavern in the Calle Ramón Cala opposite the statue of Lola Flores, this establishment has appealing décor in which there are elements of the old tavern alternating with elements referring to the singer as well as modern touches. The cuisine resonates with all of that and the chef, Pablo Lázaro, offers a menu which combines international street food with his own visions of other dishes. It is an informal establishment with a well thought out wine list.
Our suggestion: ribs with chocolate and Oloroso
6. Cuchara de Palo
This restaurant is situated on the ground floor of the NH Hotel in Avenida Domecq, and here chef Carlos Herrero creates innovative cuisine which is constantly changing as he fine tunes all his dishes, even a simple tortilla. It is fusion cuisine with oriental and Latin American influences. It is decorated using elements of industrial architecture and there is an attractive terrace. Food is served on the basis of shared dishes, and the wine list includes plenty of Sherries.
Our suggestion: scallops with kimchi
Albornía is situated in a large interior patio in the crafts market in the Plaza Peones not far from the cathedral. Here a dozen tables are arranged round a fountain and the patio is covered with a large awning should it rain or be very hot. The premises are also very agreeable at night. There is also a small tapas bar just next to the kitchen. Gastronomically speaking, the menu is not long, with some fifteen dishes on offer. The cuisine is a blend of Arabic and Andalusian with an added creative touch by chef Adelina Pandelet, who has a degree in Art and later trained as a chef at the Hotel and Catering School in Jerez.
Our suggestion: lightly spiced chicken tagine and apricots with cous cous
8. La Cruz Blanca
Located in Calle Consistorio, this classic establishment is one of the protagonists of the gastronomic boom in the centre of Jerez. Here there is an excellent list of Sherries and classic dishes are alternated with innovative offerings from chef Alejandro Sáchez who trained at the Hotel and Catering School in Jerez. This menu which is full of innovative dishes changes every week and features what is in season such as almadraba red tuna or mushrooms. Dishes are served with the idea of sharing. There is a terrace outside the restaurant and one can also enjoy tapas at the bar.
Our suggestion: dishes with almadraba red tuna
9. La Espartería
The menu suggestions of chef Javier Parra are written in chalk on a blackboard every day. He got the idea from the Plaza de Abastos market in Jerez where he used to buy his raw materials. Parra knows the classic cuisine of the city like nobody, and so when he decides to innovate he knows just how to do it. Rather than go in for fancy juggling tricks, he just creates meaningful dishes, which are served with the idea of sharing. The restaurant, which is quite small but rather charming, is in Calle Paraíso, in one of the areas which is emerging as a gastronomic hotspot in the city.
Our suggestion: toasted noodles in soy sauce with garlic langoustines
Chef Julián Olivares has managed to capture the spirit of Jerez cuisine like no one else. His clams with Jerez vinegar is one of the dishes which made him famous and is now an established classic. He now has his own restaurant in Calle Consistorio, to which he added another in 2017: A Mar, situated a few metres away in Calle Latorre. The menu is wide ranging and offers tapas as well as full dishes and there are plenty of Sherries on offer. Here they have it all: from classics like salad to more daring salads, red tuna presented in various ways, rice, meat and fish all well-cooked. One should pay special attention to the suggestions menu where Olivares displays hid more creative side.
Our suggestion: clams sautéed in Jerez vinegar
11. Hermanos Grimaldi
Their new premises, brightly lit with plenty of windows, are in Avenida Voltaire, opposite Hipercor. Sherry is featured in the décor and amply so in the wine list. Gonzalo looks after the front of house while his brother Jesús has created an innovative menu based on tapas and dishes for sharing. Both used to be teachers at the Hotel and Catering School in Jerez and have developed a cuisine with novel techniques and appealing presentations.
Our suggestion: the dessert menu
12. La Condesa
This restaurant is located in the Palacio Garvey Hotel in Calle Tornería, right in the centre of the city. With innovative and immaculate décor, the establishment offers modern cuisine at the hands of chef David Porras, who trained at the Hotel and Catering School in Cádiz. Food is served as dishes or half portions all designed for sharing. The menu changes seasonally, and this is the ideal spot for a romantic dinner. At the end of each section of the menu suitable Sherries to accompany the dishes are recommended.
Our suggestion: confit of cod on a bed of vegetable pâté with cauliflower
Written by Pepe Monforte
Pepe Monforte Ariza was born in the Bay of Cádiz on 2nd May 1965. A journalist by profession and vocation, he has specialised in gastronomy for almost 20 years. He has worked for Radio Cádiz, part of Cadena Ser, and the newspaper and website La Voz de Cádiz. He is currently working for the gastronomic section of the newspaper Diario de Cádiz and runs the online magazine www.cosasdecome.es dedicated to the province of Cádiz. He has received various prizes like that for tourism promotion from the Diputación de Cádiz or one from the Andalusian Academy of Gastronomy and Tourism.