Spanish Restaurants in Cádiz: El Faro
El Faro – Cádiz
El Faro is a typical Spanish restaurant in Cádiz in the North-West corner of the city. This traditional Spanish restaurant specialises in the serving and creation of typical dishes, in particular fish and seafood dishes, from Cádiz and has done since the day it opened in this Southern Spanish city.
El Faro is located in the old district of Cádiz that is called 'La Viña' or 'The Vineyard'. This district takes its name from when the Iglesia de la Palma (Palm Church) was built on top of the grounds of an existing vineyard. La Viña is also known as being the heart of the carnivals and parties in Cádiz.
El Faro restaurant is situated in a picturesque yet rugged area, near to the playa de La Caleta (La Caleta Beach) and the two fortresses of Santa Catalina and San Sebastian, which were built to protect the Western shores of the city of Cádiz. It is thanks to the fortress of San Sebastian that this Spanish restaurant gets its name. The fortress of San Sebastian is set out on a jutting headland and as such it has a lighthouse to warn ships of the nearing coastline – those of you who learn Spanish in Spain or abroad will know therefore that the restaurant's name, 'el faro', means 'the lighthouse' in the Spanish language.
El Faro was first opened by Gonzalo Córdoba as a tavern serving a few drinks and some Spanish tapas. However after a few years doing this, Gonzalo Córdoba decided to expand his tavern into a fully fledged restaurant that would do justice to the cuisine of Cádiz. Since then, El Faro has always been dedicated to proper, home-made, dishes originating from the Cádiz area.
El Faro in Cádiz is now being run by Gonzalo Córdoba's daughter, Mayte Córdoba, who originally began working in the restaurant when she was fourteen, filling in for other employees that were on holiday. Mayte Córdoba then studied Tourism in Jerez before beginning to work in the hospitality sector. In 1999, Gonzalo Córdoba had reached retirement age and so Mayte Córdoba and her siblings decided to take over the running of El Faro. Mayte Córdoba follows in her father's footsteps when it comes to her dedication to fine Spanish food from Cádiz and her influence has helped keep El Faro in the Cádiz city guide books.
As this Spanish restaurant is close to the sea and is so entwined with the maritime history of the city of Cádiz, it comes as no surprise that it is decorated in a nautical and traditional theme. All of the rooms vary slightly. One of the smaller dining rooms is decorated like a ship's cabin, with wood clad walls and lamps in the shape of a ship's helm. The majority of the other rooms are decorated in a more traditional Andalusian style with decoratively tiled floors and walls.
El Faro has been devoted to producing the best home-made, traditional Spanish food from Cádiz for many years, and its chefs have therefore become experts in their field. They specialise in particular in fish and seafood recipes using produce which is freshly caught off the coast of Cádiz.
The Main Menu is therefore filled with numerous fish based dishes but there are also some meat dishs too. Some of the highlights include 'Fritura de pescado a la gaditana' (Fish fritter Cádiz style), 'Merluza a su clásica salsa verde con almejas y gambas' (Hake in a classic green sauce with clams and prawns), and 'cordero relleno al estilo andalusí' (Stuffed lamb Andalusian style). Alongside the main menu, El Faro also offers a selection of set menus for groups of over 12 people.
El Faro conforms to the stereotype of a great Spanish restaurant in Spain by having an excellent collection of wines, sparkling wines and ports in its cellars. Definitely worth checking out is the list of cavas, the Spanish equivalent to champagne, which is extremely extensive. But don't worry if you don't have a clue about wine because the restaurant staff members are always happy to give advice with choosing the best wine to suit your dish.