Having had a huge lunch in Jerez I didn’t have a meal on my first night but I did have a glass of Gibalbin wine and some olives at Bar Alcaravan at 1 Calle Nueva, a place recommended by the Frommers guide. It is certainly very atmospheric but unfortunately both the wine and olives were pretty horrible (C-) which rang alarm bells about what the rest of their food might be like.
I’m sure there must be some things that are good though so don’t let me dissuade you from trying it. On some evenings there are guitar and flamenco performances which could be fun.
Google map here.
The same people own La Cárcel at 18 Calle Dean Espinosa (#2 on Tripadvisor at the time of writing) but given my less than enjoyable experience at their sister bar the night before I went instead to their neighbour over the road; Taberna Jovenes Flamencos at 11 Calle Dean Espinosa. This great little bar was at #1 on Tripadvisor when I was there, and justifiably so given the (generally) good food I ate there.
The Carrilladas al Oloroso (beef cheeks stewed in aged sherry) are always a winner (B+).
The unsightly Abajao (B) is an Arcos speciality that is made with bread and asparagus. Traditionally it was a way to use up old bread, as is the case with so many southern Spanish dishes.
Unfortunately the Rinones al Jerez (kidneys cooked in sherry) were overcooked, grainy and for me unfinishable (D).
To drink, two glasses of Barbazul which is considered by many to be one of the better red wines in Cadiz province (B+).
Next I had their Tabla de Quesos which included Payoyo, a personal favourite from Cadiz (B+), alongside another cheese that no one knew the name of (B+).
To finish I was content to have a glass of Pedro Ximenez (PX) but the friendly proprietress insisted I had two portions of complementary dessert; Pudin de Pasas y PX, raisin pudding with sweet wine (B+) and a slice of Tarta Canella, cinnamon tart, which was sublime (A). I really must find a good recipe for it.
By this time I’d fallen into conversation with two local English teachers on the next table so I had a glass of the bar’s homemade brandy (C+) to keep my vocal chords lubricated. All of this came to a very reasonable €40 with a tip.
So a brief experience, but a good one. I’d be very happy to go back to Arcos again.