San Bartolomé is on the lower east side of the Casco Antiguo. It’s an interesting area to walk around but not as pretty as Santa Cruz, its neighbour to the west. Map of the barrios here and a Google map of the city here.
There’s a nice restaurant and tapas bar on its eastern edge on Calle Recaredo.
Becerrita (Advanced B+), 9 Calle Recaredo, Puerta Carmona, www.becerrita.com
Although it’s on the other side of the old town, I managed to walk (very briskly) from the Hotel Ribera de Triana to Restaurante Becerrita in about 30 minutes.
I’ve seen it described as a cosy trattoria (with a tapas bar at the front) but for me that conjures up dark colours, low lighting and traditional decor. However to my eyes this place has the appearance of a posh restaurant with white table linen, white chair covers and modern art hanging on the white walls. It’s more like eating in an art gallery really.
Don’t let this put you off though, the manager and waiters are very friendly and the prices are reasonable.
I came in the week during the off season and it was pretty much empty except for a big group in the tapas bar and a bickering French couple in the restaurant with me. Fortunately the French walked out after ten minutes on the pretext of the wine servings being too small, so I had the room to myself.
To begin, a free tapa of cooked cauliflower in oil which was okay despite appearances (B).
Becerrita is famous for Croquetas de Cola de Toro, or ox tail croquettes, so I had a half racion. Some of them were just okay (B) and some were absolutely sublime (A+ ). Not sure why this should be so, maybe the fat content made them taste differently from each other.
The waiter recommended a Reserva Rioja called Azpilicueta that was on promotion but it had no roundness of flavour for me (B).
For the main, Solomillo Ternera PX, or veal steak with a confit of onions with a Pedro Ximenez sauce (B).
To finish the Dueto de Quesos involving some Manchego and Payoyo cheese, the latter from Cadiz which I liked so much (A) I sourced some later to take home. It’s now a firm favourite of mine.
Total cost €67 of which two thirds was the steak and wine. A bit pricey, but definitely somewhere I’d revisit, perhaps just for tapas next time.