What to eat in Cordoba? Food is an essential part of the Cordoba experience. Find out more about the widespread “tapas” culture, very popular in Cordoba, and get acquainted with a few types of beverages that will quench your thirst.
What to eat in Cordoba: tapas culture
Whenever you think about Spain and its gastronomy, the first idea that comes to one’s mind is tapas. Just as you would think about pasta for Italy and curry for India, tapas are a synonym for Spain.
You are probably wondering what they are. Tapas are “little dishes” or snack-size foods that can be eaten all around Spain. The combinations of ingredients are infinite and you’ll find as many tapas in Spain as you can imagine.
Eating tapas is part of Spanish culture and a way of socializing. You will come across great tapas from Galicia up in the north to the Canary Islands in Africa, opposite Morocco.
What to eat in Cordoba: de tapas
Given that tapas are such a quintessential Cordoba tradition, you should learn right away how to go de tapas – literally “bar hopping”, also known as tapear.
Tapear is a social ritual. But a very informal one. So expect bars to be busy often and people eating standing up by the bar or at small tables. Tapas bars are noisy, crowded and have a vivid atmosphere.
In addition to this, the weather generally allows lots of bars to have tables outside (what we usually call a terraza) where you can eat, watch and enjoy the hustle and bustle of life in the city. In spring, summer and fall the old town of Cordoba becomes a gathering area for both locals and tourists.
A tip for vegetarians
Vegetarians are hard to find in Spain. As a consequence, the food has not been adapted in this regard. Even those tapas that look “undoubtedly” vegetarian will have some meat or fish. To give you some examples, the classic ensaladilla (potato salad) comes with prawns and the grilled mushrooms are served with dices of jamón serrano. Not really veggie, huh?
The best solution is to ask the waiter for tapas without meat or fish. In Spanish that would be: “Soy vegetariano. ¿Qué tapas tiene sin carne ni pescado?” Or, you can always put aside the non-vegetarian stuff!
What to eat in Cordoba: breakfast time
Unlike any other region of Spain, breakfast is considered a very important meal in Andalusia. While most Spaniards have a plain coffee with maybe a toast with jam or a couple of cookies, Andalusians follow a particular breakfast ritual.
Cordobeses are not an exception – they usually have a pre-breakfast snack at 7:30, followed by a filling bar breakfast at 10:00. Breakfast is what most Cordobeses enjoy without fail, and you will soon notice it as you see people having a coffee with a typical tostada.
A tostada, toasted bread in Spanish, is much more than a piece of toasted bread with some butter and jam. Every ingredient can be carefully chosen among a wide selection and sizes go from media (half of an individual piece of bread) to entera (the whole piece).
Here’s a quick step-by-step guide on how to order the best tostada on earth.
Most bars offer several white and whole breads. The tastiest ones are the mollete, which is kind of round and soft but crunchy on the outside and the andaluza which looks like a long bread roll, but crispier.
Next, come the tomatoes. Choose among tomate triturado ground to the pulp or tomate en rodajas (sliced). And don’t forget to add a sprinkling of salt to enhance the taste.
If you are a vegetarian, you could leave it as it is. But if you are not, go for the full tostada and ask for some jamón serrano or jamón york (the traditional pink sliced ham) on top it to indulge yourself and get plenty of energy for the day ahead.
As soon as you get your tostada comes the crucial part: the aceite (oil). Don’t add just a little sprinkling, pour it generously over the bread. And if you want the bread to fully absorb the oil, drill a few holes with a knife first and pour the oil afterwards. Nothing beats bread with a vibrant green extra virgin olive oil coat. Alternatively, you can try a stronger variant – olive oil infused with garlic cloves.
This is just an example but the choices are endless – jamón york con mantequilla (pink ham with butter), queso (cheese), carne mechada (sliced pork meat), paté (pork pâté), pavo (sliced turkey), atún (tuna)…
What to eat in Cordoba: typical dishes
Besides the tapas, among the many typical dishes of Cordoba there are four delights that you should know.
- Salmorejo. A cold soup from Cordoba that is served as an entrée. It is prepared with bread crumbs, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt and tomato. It is usually served with boiled egg slices and small pieces of jamón serrano. It looks similar to the famous gazpacho, but its taste is completely different.
- Flamenquín. It consists of slices of jamón serrano wrapped in pork loin, coated with egg and bread crumbs and then deep-fried. It is usually served with french fries and mayonnaise.
- Berenjenas con miel (eggplants with honey). Eggplants sliced and battered and served with cane honey.
- Pastel cordobés. It is the best-known dessert in the city and it consists of puff pastry with a filling of citron known as cabello de ángel (angel’s hair) – a transparent threaded jam made from pumpkin pulp and white sugar. The top of the pastry is sprinkled with chopped roasted almonds, castor sugar and cinnamon.
What to eat in Cordoba: drinks
While you may have the preconceived idea that everyone in Spain drinks sangría and strong red wines, the truth is that the variety of beverages is larger and far more nuanced than you can imagine.
The following list provides information about some typical drinks that you can order while in Cordoba, all year round:
- Cerveza (beer): beer is so popular in Spain that the country is Europe’s 4th-largest producer of lager, and 10th in the world. Most Spaniards treat beer like a soft drink and consume it all year round. The most popular brand of lager in Cordoba is the Andalusian Cruzcampo. You can also try other local beers such as Califa.
- Clara: beer with some gaseosa, a mild flavored low-sugar carbonated lemonade. For a sweeter version try it with limón (lemon soft drink).
- Wine: Altough Cordoba is not very famous for its wine, it has one denomination of origin: Montilla – Moriles. However, wine is very popular and often drunk during meals or with tapas. Reds or whites, pick the one that suits you best.
- Sangría: it consists of red wine, sugar, orange juice (or orange soft drink), chopped peach, orange and lemon and plenty of ice cubes. It used to be a very popular summer drink because it’s refreshing, cheap and easy to prepare. Nowadays, it is usually ordered by tourists at bars and restaurants where it is often served in large pitchers.
- Tinto de verano: often drunk in summer, this popular beverage is softer than sangría and is made with table red wine and gaseosa, as well as plenty of ice cubes. For a sweeter version try it with limón (lemon soft drink). In Cordoba the tinto de verano is also known as vargas.
- Granizado: a semi-frozen soft drink, usually made with crushed ice and citric juice (the most popular being lemon juice). You can get one at ice-cream shops and bars during summertime.
- Arab tea: As a result of the Arab influence that you can breathe in Cordoba, tea houses are very popular. There you can drink different types of tea brewed in the mos traditional Arab style.
Do you need more information on Cordoba?
This article is part of a complete guide about Cordoba where you can read all the information you need to plan your trip to this amazing destination in Spain.
Here is a complete summary of all the guide:
1. When to visit Cordoba
2. How many days to spend in Cordoba
3. How to get to Cordoba
4. How to move around Cordoba
5. Cordoba hotels: where to stay in Cordoba
6. What to eat in Cordoba
7. What to do in Cordoba
8. Tips to visit the Mezquita in Cordoba
9. How to buy tickets to the Mezquita in Cordoba
10. Mezquita tickets sold out. What can you do?
11. Is the Mezquita night visit worth it?
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