The fact of the matter is that sometimes the food isn't the only important thing.
Case in point: La Concha I (not II) in Jerez, Spain. (Please note, I'm not sure this is the name of the place. I know where it is, and I could bring you there if we were both in the neighborhood, but figuring out the name has been a challenge)
We had left Sevilla that morning, picked up our rental car, drove the quick hour to Jerez, had a hard time finding our hotel because roads were closed due to Holy Week (more on Holy Week later), found our hotel, dragged our bags up two flights of stairs, brushed our teeth (as you should), found the nearest plaza for a cold Cruzcampo (which this article claims is the "worst beer in the world"--note to writers: if you're from the US and you find yourself in southern Spain, you'll enjoy it, unless you're an ungrateful heathen), and made our way over to Gonzalez Byass, the sherry producer, for an (interesting) hour tour. After the tour, we were dead hungry, and hadn't done any research on Jerez. I even had no idea how large or small the town is (it's quite small), which is odd for me, since I typically, but not this time, study maps incessantly before visiting a strange place.
We sat down outside and looked at the menu. Lots of fried fish, we saw, which is fine by me. I'm all about fried seafood.
We ordered a glass of vino blanco, after some discussion with the waiter, where we both pretended to be communicating with each other. The wine comes out and it's sweet beyond believe. We're not going to drink that, that's for sure. It's never been our experience in Spain that you order vino blanco and it comes out sweet. Live and learn.
After some additional analysis, I determined that the menu had some sort of 20 Euro special that included a bunch of fried seafood for two, and a jarra of cerveza. A jug of cerveza beats a glass of sweet wine any day, so I pointed at the menu, confidently, and we were off to the races. But not before the server tried to communicate to me that a jarra is a large pitcher. "Si," you magnificent son-of-a-bitch. "We'll have dos."
Much to my delight, the seafood was a combination of fishes that I had likely never tried before. Some flat ones, some small ones, whose bones required navigation with the oral dexterity of a cartoon cat. All quite good, I thought. And the cold beer hit the spot.
A new server, a nice young lady, came over and did her best to speak English, which was very considerate. And she was lovely, going as far as to compliment me on my Espanol. We had a nice time talking about where we were from, and other things, and she really couldn't have been more pleasant and cheery. The whole staff was cheery. Cheery beats English-speakers any day. We had conversations that went on for minutes at a time, with very little information actually being exchanged. I love that shit. We counted them among our new friends that we'd never see again.
The place seems to do little more than fry fish. There's no seating inside, I don't think at least. Nothing in there but a counter with fish in it, and a few fryers in the connected room that I suppose is the kitchen.
With all of the excellent food in Spain it's hard to say if La Concha 1 is exceptional. But it's easy to say that it was enjoyable.
La Concha 1 : Plaza del Arenal, 7, 11403 Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz, Spain