Anyone that follows my blog occasionally will know that there are actually a few things I like more than a tree-hugging hike through the mountains; and one of those is food! My extra kilos are a testament to my dedication to finding good tapas bars here in southen Spain.
I was disappointed when Tragaluz closed down in Marbella’s Casco Antiguo (old town); I thought it was yet another example of quality failing to succeed in Marbella, a town that sometimes seems a little too eager to dedicate itself to mediocrity when it comes to classic Spanish bar cuisine.
Friday night saw me drinking some excellent wine and enjoying great tapas once again in old town, well into the small hours. I was in a bar called Taberna la Niña del Pisto, from “casa el pisto”, the family that owns Taberna San Miguel, in Cordoba that dates back some 140 years.
You can find this relative newcomer to the old town scene, in the narrow street, calle San Lázaro, opposite a once favourite bar, the famous Bar El Estrecho (which on a separate note, I think has gone down hill).
Taberna la Niña del Pisto is in a newly renovated space in an old building, offering charm with its traditional decor, framed prints and photos and ironwork lamps – however, like so many places here, the lighting is pretty intense, not unlike eating on a floodlit football pitch, but having a few glasses of wine takes the edge of that and as soon as you order the food, you’ll have a welcome distraction.
We enjoyed classic tapas like ensaladilla rusa as well as specialities from Cordoba, including their superb salmorejo (this is a cold soup of garlic, olive oil and tomato like gazpacho, but differs in texture and flavour as amongst other things it has more bread in it – it’s topped with Iberian ham and boiled egg) as well as a fresh cod dish served with the bar’s signature pisto, a sort of ratatouille.
Service is swift and friendly, again something you don’t find everywhere here and the dishes are clearly freshly prepared in house. The wine and beer list is excellent, with a selection of the normal brands as well as artisan beers and the gran reserver of the more mainstream brand Cruzcampo that has a rich golden colour and distinctive refreshing taste that is nothing like the standard version!
(This is why my new year’s resolution of becoming a leaning version is not yet working…)
C/. San Lázaro, local 2
Tel: 633 32 00 22