Spain Guide

 

Córdoba Nightlife

When the sun goes down in Córdoba it's time to tour the ancient taverns and tapas bars which line the narrow streets of the old Jewish Quarter. The city is famous for the excellence of its local wines, the quality of its traditional Andalucian cuisine and its hospitality. Traditional fiestas take place throughout the year and whenever you're visiting you'll be able to enjoy some of the best and most authentic gypsy flamenco to be found in the whole of southern Spain.

The area around the mosque, in the historic heart of the city, is the best place to start an evening of tapas bar hopping. Here you'll find bars and restaurants with lovely, leafy courtyards which are cooling oases in the searing heat of high summer. Many old Andalucian homes have been converted into taverns specialising in tapas; some are virtual museums, packed with relics of the past and serving the local Montilla Moriles white wines from their own bodegas.

 

The word "tapa" means cover and comes from the age old tradition of placing a slice of bread over a glass of wine to keep off flies. A habit of placing a piece of cheese or ham on the bread developed into a custom which has become an essential part of Andalucian life. The more "touristy" areas along the coast have largely abandoned this custom but it's still common in many of the cities and inland Andalucia. Typical tapas to be found in the bars of Córdoba include chunks of tortilla española (potato omelette), queso manchego (cheese from La Mancha), spicy chorizo sausage, garlic prawns, octopus and squid. If you ask for a "racion" you'll get a larger portion than a tapa which is normally just a bite sized morsel. One of the most popular tapas bars in Córdoba is Casa Pepe in Calle Romero in the old quarter. You can work your way through the tapas menu here until closing time at 4am.

If you prefer a full meal, there are plenty of good quality restaurants to choose from offering both Andalucian specialties and international cuisine. One of the best places to eat in town (though not the cheapest) is El Caballo Rojo in front of the mosque. The restaurant serves up excellent Cordobes fare including its famous "rabo de toro" bull's tail.

There are plenty of cheaper, good quality restaurants where you can sample traditional Andalucian dishes such as the popular cold gazpacho soup, cordero a la moruna (Moorish style lamb) and pinchos morunos (kebabs). Typical local desserts also show a strong Arab influence try the Alfajores, made from almonds and honey, Pestiños (a honey coated sweet, fried in oil) and Pastel Cordobes, a cake which you'll find in most local restaurants and bakeries.

For late night dancing try Club Cahira in Calle Conde de Roblado or one of the local hotels. The Melia Cordoba, in the historic heart of the city, has a club and casino open to non residents.

For top class flamenco, go along to El Cardenal in Calle Torijos in front of the mosque where, on warm summer evenings, you can see this famous and soulful Spanish art form performed beneath the stars in an outdoor courtyard bedecked with flowers. If you're visiting at the end of May you'll be able to enjoy the Feria de Cordoba flamenco festival when music and dance performances are held in marquees decorated with coloured lanterns.

In Semana Santa, the week leading up to East Sunday, Córdoba stages some spectacular evening processions involving thousands of participants and spectators. Beautifully decorated religious statues are paraded through the streets and the men don rather ominous looking gowns and hoods which cover their entire faces except for their eyes. At the end of May there's the fiesta of Nuestra Señora de la Salud (Our Lady of Health) when the streets are lined with girls dressed in gypsy and typical Cordobes costumes and men on horseback give some impressive equestrian displays.

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