Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tapas Route, Cartagena, 2010

Tapas Route, Cartagena, 2010
Official site at
You can vote there and see maps.
I will be adding my personal comments below on those I try. 43 this year which is hard to get through in two weeks. I wish they would make the route a week longer. I haven´t had one that tasted bad yet but there were several so ordinary I wonder why the cafes bothered to enter. At the end of the day people are not going to vote for something so basic they can do it themselves. That rules out most salads and sandwiches for a start. Most of us are looking for a touch of luxury or a new idea we could try out at home.
Interesting the different attitudes between bars. Some are trying their best to win votes by being extremely pleasant. Some seem a little annoyed you are using their tables for a mere 2.50 euros apiece. That´s short-sighted, of course, because the places with good food and pleasant staff invariably lure customers back for more expensive meals thereafter.

La Caserma, Plaza Juan XXI
Brochetta de pollo marinado con su ensalada
Marinated chicken brochette with salad garnish
Very tasty. Think the marinade might have been part soy or teriyaki, part barbecue sauce.

La Tapería de Casa Tomás, Plaza Juan XXIII
Tortilla destructadura con gamba gratinada
Destructured tortilla with prawns au gratin
Pleasant with rich sauce around the prawns. Not sure I could detect the au gratin element.

La Trola Tapas, Plaza Juan XXIII
This was far better than I expected and one of the best to date. Two croquettes on lettuce with a seafood and alioli sauce.One croquette contained arroz negro, the other caldero. It´s a simple idea that really works. Brilliant for using up leftovers.

Taberna Galega, C/La Palma 23
Pulpo a la murgadesa
Octopus cooked in wine with potatoes, peppers and onions
Another Galician recipe for octopus rather than the classic Pulpo a la Gallega. This had a very rich sauce with lots of cayenne pepper and brown Galician bead served alongside. I could happily have eaten a large plateful of this.

Mesón Pacuco, C/Tolosa Latour 2
Ensaladilla Pacuco
Pacuco salad
A couple of pats of Russian salad served on lettuce with a few small crackers alongside. Okay but unimaginative.

Bodega Nicolás, Calle del Carmen 72
Caracoles en salsa Nicolás
Snails in Nicolas sauce

La Tapa del Loro, Calle Santa Florentina
Solomillo Ibérico con una aroma de café
Pork medallion with a flavour of coffee
Nice meat and the coffee didn´t blend badly. Those with children should note that you are only allowed to have a beer with this one.

Restaurante D´Almansa, Calle Jabonerías 53
Hoja de tomate rellena de bacalao y piñones
Tomato pastry stuffed with salt cod and pine kernels
I liked the tomato-flavoured pastry. The cod had a rich creamy sauce but I couldn´t really detect any flavour of pine kernels

Mesón Descanso del Icue, C/ Jabonerías 8
Hojaldre relleno de angullas confitadas en naranja
2 vol au vents filled with eels caramelised with orange
Delicate and subtle with tiny baby eels

El Barrio de San Roque, C/ Jabonerías 30
Sopa de pésoles con brochetta de alcachofa y bacalao 70 grados y huevo de codorniz
Pea soup with brochettes of artichoke and salt cod and quail´s egg

This is a top restaurant which doesn´t usually do tapas. The service is excellent. The tapas itself didn´t bowl me over. I think they would have done better with their boletus croquettes or pudding which are excellent

La Tartana, Puertos de Murcia 13
Croqueta diferente
Different croquette
Prawn at centre with a creamy sauce. Not exactly a croquette but very tasty

Cafetería Real, C/ Real 24
Relleno Real-something stuffed (vol-au-vents?)

El Barril del Tapeo, C/ del Aire 20
Delicia de Almadraba
Tuna delight
Tuna mixed with alioli I would guess. Okay but ordinary.

Bar Restaurante Columbus, Calle Mayor 14
Pudin de bacalao con dos salsas
Salt cod pudding with two sauces
Somewhere between a mousse and a fishcake in flavour. A bit bland

La Mejillonera, Calle Mayor 14
Calamar Bravo
Squid in salsa brava sauce - nice but the same as last year

El Rincon de Miguel, C/ Bodegones 3
Reglamento y Mala Sombra
Think they did something similar 2 years ago. It was 2 different sandwiches

El Rincon Gallego, C/ Canon 13
Mejillones Mar y Tierra
Mussels - sea and earth - not quite sure what that will mean

Cervecería Principal, C/ Principe de Vergara
Delicia de Merluzo y Langostino sobre tosta de canónigos con salsa tartara
Cod and prawn delight on toast with lamb´s lettuce and tartare sauce
Cod was a kind of fish cake topped with a prawn. Okay but nothing special

La Jijonenca. Plaza del Rey
Tosta con base de cheesecake con salmón y sorbete de limón
Toast with cheesecake base, salmon and lemon sorbet

Excellent lemon sorbet. For me the cheesecake under the salmon was too sickly but my son and his girlfriend liked it

La Vieja Taberna, C/ Bodegones 7
Delicia de rabo de toro
Oxtail delight

Restaurante La Patacha, Paseo Alfonso XII
Entre Puntas
Literally - between points. This seems to be laid out like a yachting race (La Patacha is a boat) - will report ingredients in due course. Turned out to be toast covered in warm fish roe with a garnish of mock caviar. Tasty.

Marina Club de Cartagena, Paseo Alfonso XII
Jibia con garbanzos al aroma de hierbabuena/
Cuttlefish with chickpeas and a hint of mint
Spciy stew with some meat as well and toast to dip. I enjoyed this.

Restaurante Mare Nostrum, Paseo Alfonso XII
Pimiento de piquillo relleno con marisco
Pepper filled with seafood
Okay bit a little insipid - creamy filling, probably mostly tuna and mayonnaise, garnished with mock caviar.

Restaurante ARQUA, Paseo Alfonso XII
Bolsita de puerro y queso con salsa de frambuesa
little pouch of leek and cheese with raspberry sauce
Well-presented and tasted good. One of my favourites. Mine had prawn in as well which was good by my standards but might be annoying to a vegetarian

La Terraza del Sol, Paseo Alfonso XII
Tosta de Calabacín y queso de cabra y emulsión de mile y vinaigre de Modena
Toast with courgette and goat´s cheese with honey and balsamic vinegar
This was rather insipid I think they may have forgotten the balsamic vinegar

Restaurante Portonovo, Paseo Alfonso XII
Rollito de bacalao con pure de aceituna y gamba en tempura al Martini
Salt cod roll with olive puree and a prawn in battter and a Martini. This was excellent and very unusual. The cod was stuffed with nuts - almonds and cashew - and quite hot. Seemed to be a dash of soy sauce alongside the olive puree. Rather an Asian taste to this one. Good mixture of flavours.

Marisquería Freiduría, La Marina C/ Santiago 13
Pulpo La Marina al horno de leña
Octopus baked in a wood-fired oven
Good uncomplicated tapas. Think there was a little balsamic vinegar as well as oil with the octopus. This is close to my home and always has very fresh fish.

Restaurante Los Habaneros, C/ San Diego 60
Esponjoso de tomate con salazones
Tomato mousse with "salazones" - smoked fish. This was very delicate. A tomatoey mousse topped with a rolled anchovy and other smoked fish with a delicate sliver of toast to dip.

Café Bar Pub Jerry Lewis, C/ Lope de Rueda 3

Camperito. Son tried this one for me as it is close to his drama class. He said it was an open sandwich with lomo (pork cutlet) one side and Serrano ham the other. He clapped his togeher to eat them and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Cafetería Ideal, C/ Duque 25
Lomo de Bacalao con salsa de pimientos del piquillo
Salt cod with a sauce made from peppers

La Tasca del Tío Andrés, C/ Alfonso XIII
Delicia de Tío Andrés III/ Delight of Tio Andrés - Chicken and sea beet in pastry with a sweet sauce (tasted a bit alcoholic) with apricots and sultanas. Tasty and unusual

Mesón Las Viñas, C/ Carlos III 49
Pisto de gulas y gambas con una brochetta de vieira
Medley of baby eels and prawns with a brochette of scallop

Think this was an imitation of last year´s winner. Scallop is always a pleasure to eat but it wasn´t in the league of the Portonovo one last year.

L´Altro Pecatto, C/ Carlos III 20
Pecado de Solomillo/ Literally "a sin of a pork medallion" - will report what´s sinful about it when I have tried it. The pork is stuffed with cheese and wrapped in filo pastry. It was served hot so the cheese melted. There weer a few sweet conserves on the side to dip into. A nice rich tapas.

El Abridor de la Lonja, Muralla de la Tierra
Cañelon de carrillera estofada con crema de boletus el Abridor/
Canneloni with veal in a boletus sauce
Good rich sauce and flaky meat. Could taste the boletus. They ran out of tapas though the day my husband wanted to try it.

Restaurante El Pincho de Castillo, C/ Angel Bruna 24
Lasaña de vieira
Scallop lasagne

La Raglette, C/ San Martin de Porres 13

Crepe relleno de crema de queso y jamón con salsa de Moscatel/
Crepe filled with cream cheese and ham in a Moschatel sauce

Carrots Café, Alameda San Anton 26
Tosta de sardina marinada con ensaladilla alcochofa/
Toast with marinated sardine and artichoke salad
Simple tasty tapas. Tostada had the pressed tomato under the sardine and lots of olive oil.

Cervecería El Candil, Alameda San Anton (Correos)
Efesé (ensaladilla de virutas con jamón) Ham and leaf salad
Dreadful service here. Waitress looked on another planet. I had to remind her after half an hour´s wait. Tapas was Russian salad on a bread stick loop with a few shavings of ham on top.

Café Bar Saray, Alameda San Anton 4
Pudin de Bacalao
Salt cod pudding
One of the best of the bacalao tapas on this year´s route. Pudding had a piped cheeesey topping.

El Corte Inglés, Alameda San Anton 50
Milhoja de carrillera de jamón ibérico con compota de Monastrel
Millefeuille of Serrano ham with a compote of flavoured with Monastrel wine
Corte Ingles usually sets out its dishes perfectly but ours bore little resemblance to the picture. That being said the Millefeuillewith ham tasted better than some of their previous perfectly designed tapas

Café Bar El Vinagrero, C/ Bailén,La Unión
Boquerones rellenos con salsa tartara
Anchovies stuffed with tartare sauce
Tasted fine but was absolutely tiny. More sauce than fish.

Restaurante Miramar, Playa de la Isla, Mazarrón
Delicia de langosta Miramar
Miramar prawn delight

Cervercería Azafrán, C/ de la Palma 3
Huevo a baja temperatura con crema ligera de patata con trufa de verano
Chilled egg with creamed potato and summer truffle.
Light and subtle with a strong flavour of truffle. Some sesame crackers alongside to dip as well.