Jerez is the home of sherry and the home of some of the most laid back and friendly people I've encountered in Spain. It's also the home of some wonderful food.
Albores Bar and Restaurante is likely one of the best restaurants in Jerez. It seems to be a mix of classic and nuevo Spanish cooking. We enjoyed our dinner here so much that we returned for lunch later in the week. We returned specifically for the outrageously good clams in marinara. They didn't disappoint the second time, either.
Here's a rundown...
I forget what kind of croquettes these were, but they were excellent. We really fell in love with croquettes during this trip, and ordered them quite often. About halfway through the trip, though, we were ordering them less and less, probably to make room for more variety.
This was described as "wild mushroom lasagne, rocket and bacon crisps with foie gras cream." Aw, yeah.
The star of the show, as I alluded to above, was the clams in marinara. I've had this dish at other places in Spain, but for some reason this version really made an impression on us. It was simply outrageous. Clean, fresh flavors, sweet, tender clams, some bread to sop it all up. Like the best of Italy and Spain mashed together.
Our lunch a few days later kicked off with a super fresh seafood salad. I could eat this every day and never get sick of it. I think it was about 2.50 euro, to give you an idea of the value here.
Shrimp fritters were up next. What I thought was black pepper turned out to be eyes. Lots of little eyes on lots of little shrimp.
Black rice with cuttlefish tasted much better than it photographed. We had this at a nearby restaurant a few days before, and were just blown away by this dish. Such deep, rich, seafood flavors. Big, tender chunks of cuttlefish. Wow.
And, of course, those clams. Those wonderful clams.
Holy Week was just starting to kick off, and the town was jumping. Barriers/spectator stands lined every major street, in preparation for the daily, non-stop processions of religious displays, and people in hoods. Indeed, we had no idea what we were getting into when we booked a trip during Holy Week in one of the most religious areas of Europe. Indeed, we had never even heard of Holy Week. But boy did we learn a lot about it during this trip. Starting after the above dinner, when we just wanted to go back to the hotel and retire early. Once I saw what was going on in the streets, though, I knew I was going to stay up for a while to take it all in.
I've never seen anything quite like it. Thousands of people. Floats. The constant drone of drums and horns. Incense in the air. A crowd of mostly solemn, respectful people.
The bars across the street from the hotel were packed. It was about 11pm on a Wednesday night. Packed with revelers and families alike. Little kids running around with toy drums and horns. Adults really really enjoying beer. It was simply wild, and a scene we'd see every night for the remainder of the trip.
I finally tore myself away from the festivities and went to bed. This was probably midnight. I awoke at 1am to the sound of drums and horns. These processions were still, going, on. It seemed never-ending.
Holy Week is pretty cool.
Bar & Restaurant Albores : Calle Consistorio, 12, 11403 Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz, Spain