10 Best Andalusian food you have to try
While on holiday in Spain, you have to try the food in Andalusia! With its stunning beaches, perfect climate and rich culture, Andalusia, is one of the best places to visit! Below you will find my list with the best Andalusian food.
Spain is one of the healthiest country in the world, part of which is due to the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet is an Intangible World Heritage of Unesco. In Spain, healthy doesn’t have to mean bad tasting. Each region in Spain has its own typical foods or variation of popular dishes, which means there are A LOT of Spanish foods you need to taste. However we will focus on the Andalusian food dishes
Below is our list with what we think are the best Andalusian food dishes and products:
1. Bluefin Tuna
Spain is famous for its fish and seafood, but Bluefin Tuna (Atún Rojo) is one of the best fish to try. While sightseeing Cadiz province try fresh bluefin tuna. This tuna is caught in the traditional Almadraba nets and there is a festival to celebrate the tuna. The tuna are enormous and each individual fish drives a high price!
Of course I was going to add Bluefin tuna within the 10 Best Andalusian foods. Although Bluefin Tuna can be found year round, the best time to try it is in May and June in Cadiz province, when it is in season. Some of our favourite dishes are seared ventresca (toro) and tartar de descargamento.
Ventresca is a piece of the bluefin tuna that is near the head, belly (toro in Japan). It is very juicy, soft and flavourful. If cooked correctly, it is like a tuna steak that melts in your mouth! La Juderia, in Vejer de la Frontera serves one of our favourite ventresca dishes (pictured).
Another great Bluefin Tuna dish to try in season is Tartar, made from raw tuna. There’s no better way to taste the freshness and flavour of the tuna than when it is raw.
2. Tortillita de camarones and Fried Fish
Tortillita de camarones is a typical Andalusian tapa, it is essentially a fried savoury pancake made from tiny prawns. Fried fish can be found throughout Andalusia but is especially popular in Cadiz province, specially the “tortillita de camarones” where the smallest type of prawns can be found. These prawns are so small they are cooked whole in the tortillita.
When you ask for a Pescaíto frito (Fried fish), you will get fish like Cazon (School Shark), calamares (squid), boquerones (anchovies), choco/puntillitas (small cuttlefish). This dish is a great tapa to enjoy with a beer or a Fino/Manzanilla sherry.
3. Rabo o Carne de toro / Bull meat or tail
Another dish that originated in Cordoba, this is bull tail. It is typically served as a stew and is a heartier dish. The bull meat is cooked slowly to get that melt-in-your-mouth feeling. It is very tender and gelatinous and pulls away from the bone easily.
In the photo you can see “Carne de toro”, it takes almost a day to cook. If you are lucky and you are in Vejer de la Frontera, Cádiz you can try an amazing carne de toro de lidia (the bull breed used for bull fights) in the local bar “el conejito”. It is not always available.
4. Retinto beef
Cadiz province has the highest abundance of retinto cattle in Andalusia and the second in Spain. They try to raise and improve the vision of this species, on the same level as other famous products of the area such as sherry wine or Atlantic bluefin tuna. They are free range and feed on the great variety of wild grasslands and Mediterranean forests throughout the year. This is even easier in Cadiz due to the climatic stability and the geographical situation. It is only after the cow has reached the adult weight that farmers can feed her animal feed. Together with the Iberian pig, they are symbols of sustainable production without impacting nature.
If you want to learn about the retinto festivals in the province of Cádiz and about the retinto, click here.
5. Stews such as “ajo campero” or “sopa de tomate gaditana”.
These dishes are hearty dishes that we find in Grazalema natural park and surroundings. They are very tasty dishes, quite heavy since they have a lot of bread and almost no broth.
6. Garbanzos con espinacas
Es un plato vegetariano andaluz bastante sencillo y super delicioso. Muy común en Sevilla, Jerez de la Frontera y otras partes de Andalucía. A este plato se le puede añadir otros productos como chacinas o carnes.
Ortiguillas are anemones, and are a relatively modern food in Andalusia and in Spain. It originated in the Bahía de Cádiz (Bay of Cádiz) following the Spanish civil war in the 1930s. At this time poverty was high and people began trying new types of food to fill the hunger.
Yet ortiguillas are still popular today and are a unique and tasty dish to try. You usually find it as a fried food, which demonstrates the best flavour of the ortiguillas. Not everyone likes it because of its texture, but it is a must try wile sightseeing Cadiz province.
8. Iberian Secreto and Pluma
In Spain there are so many different cuts of Iberian pork that can be found and it can be difficult to know what you are eating at times. You can see some of the various cuts here. However, two of our favourite cuts of Iberian pork are secreto and pluma.
Secreto is a piece of meat that has more fat, hidden between the leg/ cruceta and the ribs, underneath the pluma (hence the name Secreto, or secret). Due to the high fat content it is incredibly juicy. When cooked properly, the outside of the pork almost caramelises and it is amazingly delicious.
Alternatively, pluma has a bit less fat than secreto but has a fine texture that is still very soft and juicy. It is a small cut of meat from the Iberian pig next to the lomo (loins).
You can find both, secreto and pluma, throughout much of Spain. You can generally order it as a racion (shared dish) with bread or fried potatoes.
9. Iberian Ham
Even though Iberian ham is not only from Andalusia, I had to add it to this best Andalusian food list. One of the best known and famous things to try while in Spain is Iberian ham or jamon iberico. Within Andalusia they can age it in two places within Huelva, and another place in Cordoba. However some Iberian pigs produced in Cadiz and Malaga can have the Designation of origin label if the Iberian hams age in either of these two places. Huelva has the Denominacion de Origen Jabugo – certification of origin of production.
The cured Iberico ham comes from the black Iberian pigs, which are a breed of pig unique to Spain and Portugal. The acorn-fed jamon iberico is the best type. Bellota means acorn and the free-roaming pigs eat mostly acorns from a couple of subspecies of Oak tree found in the Iberian Peninsula. The acorns give the Iberian ham a nutty type of flavour.
The only type of pork considered red meat is Iberian pork. This is because of the high level of fat infiltration in the meat.
Iberian hams labels tells a lot about the quality. Each label even denotes the percentage of pure Iberian ancestry of the pig. Being a professional jamon cutter is also a serious career. People study to learn the art of ham cutting and fancy restaurants and weddings will have someone just to cut the ham.
You can read and learn all about Iberian ham, the labels, and the history of Iberian pigs by clicking here.
10. Salmorejo, Gazpacho and Ajo blanco.
I can’t finish the list of the best Andalusian food without naming these famous Andalusian summer dishes. These super known Andalusian cold soups are one of our favorite Andalusian dishes to eat in summer.
Salmorejo is one of our favourite Andalusian dishes. It is a thick creamy tomato soup. It is much thicker than the well-known Gazpacho and is so flavourful. Traditionally, Salmorejo is from Cordoba province. It is usually served as an appetizer.
Often, it is topped with jamon iberico (Iberian ham) and boiled egg in a bowl. Or sometimes, it is served on top of toast.
Gazpacho is another cold tomato soup, although better known than Salmorejo internationally. Although it sounds similar to Salmorejo the taste and tecture is quite different, more like a soup. Unlike Salmorejo, it is also made with vinegar and cucumber, which gives it a more acidic, refreshing and punchy flavour. It is perfect in the heat of summer.
There are some more modern variations of gazpacho that can be found now as well. Although it is not common place, you can find gazpacho made with Piel de sapo (Toadskin melon) or watermelon.
Ajo Blanco is another cold soup. Although some countries may find cold soup a weird concept, it is very refreshing, in the hot weather in Spain, as well as very light and tasty. Ajo Blanco (translates to White Garlic) is made from almonds, garlic and bread. It is also often served with green grapes or raisins on top.
Some believe that Ajo Blanco likely originates from the Romans or Greeks. However, it has developed to its current form in Extremadura and Andalusia regions.
Other great foods in Andalusia
There are so many great Andalusian foods but we couldn’t fit them all in this list of the best Andalusian food! Other great foods in Andalusia are Carrillada (pork cheek), or Gambas al Ajillos (Prawns in garlic). As well, there different variations of Croquetas, a type of breaded deep fried snack. Our favourite and one of the most classic variations are croquetas de puchero.
Toast with olive oil, garlic and tomato, which is incredibly refreshing, rich and flavourful, depending where you are in Spain has a different name Andalusian breakfast, catalana toast in Extremadura, Pa amb Tomàquet in Cataluña. Hard to say where it originated, some people say that it originated in Jaén, but most people say that in Cataluña.
Another great tapa to try in Andalusia is Boquerones en vinagre. These are just anchovies in vinegar. This way to conserve food comes from the brine, which was brought to Spain from the Moors when they conquered Spain. Although they used it mostly on meat.
Although found throughout Spain, it is a great tapa to enjoy near the sea. A Manzanilla sherry pairs perfectly with boquerones en vinagre. This dish is a favourite food in Andalusia!
Try Churros or Porras (a thicker version of churros) with coffee or hot chocolate, if you have a sweet tooth. Most cities and villages have a churrería where you can find these tasty treats!
Private full day tours through Cadiz province and Andalusia
If you are looking for best Andalusian food, maybe you are interested in taking an Andalusian culinary food, cultural or Sherry wine experiences through Andalusia (like Iberian ham tour). I will now take advantage to show off to you the great food tours throughout Cadiz province and Andalusia that we do. Officially, Vejer de la Frontera is one of the most beautiful villages of Spain in Cadiz, you should come and meet us!
Cultural and culinary food tours
We do an Iberian ham tour from Seville and Cadiz, You will enjoy a tour visiting the Mediterranean forest and the museum to learn the traditional methods for curing meat products, and then the current curing process of chorizos, loins and Iberian ham. At the end we will have an extensive tasting of a wide variety of cured meats. If you decide to do the full day tour we will head to the local caves where we will be astounded by the beauty and the size of it, a total of 2130 subterranean meters divided in three levels. You will visit 2 levels in a circular route of around 1km.
If you are in Cadiz and you are interested in learning about the Almadraba and visit it in a private boat ride, go to the local food market and finally enjoy an extensive tasting then join us in our Bluefin tuna tour. You will learn the history of Bluefin tuna in the area since Phoenician times. You will go in a private boat ride to visit the Almadraba (if you are lucky it may be active); visit a local food market; and taste different parts of bluefin tuna in all ways, salt-dried, grilled, raw.
Our latest addition is our become an artisan for one day tour, learn about local traditions. Make your own cheese and your own leather souvenir in Ubrique and enjoy its great history and panoramic views. This white village is famous worldwide for its importance for the international leather companies.
Sherry wine tours
Would you like to learn more about Sherry wine and immerse yourself in the local culture and traditions? If you want to learn and experience it with the company of a local guide and turn your visit to Cadiz into an exciting culinary adventure, book with us. Sherry wine love is very contagious, surely you will also become one!
If you have your own transport we can accompany you while learning about Sherry. Enjoy the best Sherry wine bodega tours, local culture and traditions and the local gastronomy. In case you do not have a car we can arrange transport, restaurant and the rest of your trip for you.
If you would like to learn all about Jerez-Sherry-Xeres D.O. then join us for our Ultimate Sherry wine Tasting tour. We can design a private tour just for you and your family.
If you are staying within Cadiz province we can organize a private Sherry wine tasting with local gourmet tapas for your group. We will go to your place and do a Sherry wine or Andalusian wine tasting for you privately. We can focus on premium Sherries; VORS and premium Sherries; or Andalusian wines in case you do not like Sherry wine.
If you are looking for what gourmet food of Andalusia, traditional and Sherry experiences in Cadiz, then keep reading. I will now take advantage to show off to you the great food tours in Vejer de la Frontera and throughout Cadiz province that we do.