Locals used to joke that the statue of Columbus in Plaza de las Monjas, the main square in the centre, is pointing the way to all the good restaurants. It’s true that there are some very good places along Calle Vazquez Lopez but times have changed and there are now better and more modern places along Avenida Martín Alonso Pinzón, the other main pedestrian street coming off the square. I’ve broken them down by giving each street their own post, and written a third post about other places in the centre. They’re all on this Google map here. You’ll find a few more posts if you click on the Huelva link.
So, in order of preference…
Azabache (High Intermediate A), 22 Calle Vazquez Lopez, www.restaurante.azabache.com
This higher end tapas bar is really hard to get into. I’m not exactly sure when it opens (8pm maybe?) but it would be advisable to get here as soon as it does most nights, and definitely at the weekend. It’s open Monday too but that’s not a good day for seafood so while you’ll easily get a spot at the bar, there’s not much on the menu. I went three times in all.
My favourite dish was the Ensalada de Berenjenas; a puree of roast aubergines and red peppers in olive oil and topped with Jamon Iberico (A).
I ordered some Habas (broad beans) but these somehow became Gambas Rebozadas, battered and deep fried prawns, which were fine (B). If I’m going to eat prawns though I ‘d much rather have the grilled Gambas Blanca for which Huelva is famous.
I also had Taquitos Corvina (chunks of sea bass) a la Plancha (B) and battered and fried Lenguado (sole) which needed boning but was also fine (B).
I also had the Revuelto de Gurumelos, scrambled egg with earthy local wild mushrooms (B+) but it was a bit pricey at €14.
My biggest regret about my visit to Huelva was not having the Huevos de Chocos (cuttlefish roe) at Azabache. I’d never had them before and they are supposed to be really good here. They need to be really fresh and are usually just served a la plancha with a bit of mayo on the side.
Glasses of wine cost €2.20, a little expensive but the quality is good. The local white wine Barredero seems to be the first choice here to go with seafood, as it was in other good places.
You usually get a free chupito (shot) at the end of the meal and everyone seemed to be having something called Gecko which I’d never heard of before, so I ordered a double. It turned out to be caramelised vodka, very sweet and sickly but a good dessert substitute in small amounts (B).
It’s much better to stick to their Limoncello, which seems to be quite popular in Andalucia. The one they have here is made in the province and is surprisingly good (B+).
There’s a restaurant in the back but it seemed to be booked up with groups each night with no tables for single diners. This was the week before Christmas though so it might be different at other times of year. The whole place was still buzzing when I left at 11pm on Saturday night.
Portichuelo (High Intermediate B+), 15 Calle Vazquez Lopez www.restauranteportichuelo.com
This place is highly rated by some people on the net and by the Frommers guide. I visited it twice and liked the food but not the atmosphere particularly although they do have a terrace in the square outside, unlike Azabeche below.
On my first night I sat in the restaurant at the back where dishes cost a couple of euros more. I had a decent Rabo de Toro (B+) and two glasses of Rioja for my main.
For dessert I had a slab of the deceptively named Tocino de Cielo (bacon from heaven), a speciality of Jerez, which I think is essentially another member of the flan family. It was much too sweet for me though (C). With a glass of PX the bill came to €27.
On a second visit they were very busy but there was still space at the bar. I had their ‘obligatory’ house speciality, the Revuelto de la Casa (scrambled eggs with potato, jamon and green peppers) which was very good (A-) but served on a cold plate and a bit pricey at €13.
I also had Albondigas de Chocos (cuttlefish balls which were very intense in flavour (B-).
With two glasses of slightly effervescent Verdejo called Melior by Bodega Roble de Matarromera (A), the total came to €20.40, which is a bit on the steep side.
Abacería La Abundancia (Intermediate B), 48 Calle Vázquez López
This place is just down the road from Azabache and gets a mention in the Rough Guide. I come here when I can’t get in at Azabache. It’s a bit small and lacking in atmosphere but the food is fine. I like the Albondigas de Carril (B+).
More great tapas bars on Avenida Pinzón next!