You may laugh, but before I visited Andalusia and El Campero restaurant for the first time, I thought tuna is a small fish which fits in the can. How surprised I was to realize that this spectacular animal can be 4 meters long and weight even half of the ton! 😉
Today I would like to invite you to Barbate, small fishing village on the Atlantic coast of Andalusia.
This town has nothing in common with Spanish charm. It’s bit dirty and for the first sight looks deterrent. Without recommendation, you won’t ever stop there! But there is one thing that makes it absolutely special. It’s red tuna (exactly Atlantic bluefin tuna, but in some languages the red color of the bluefin’s meat is included in its name, as in Spanish atún rojo and Italian tonno rosso).
Barbate has a long history of fishing, stretching back to Roman times when fish salting was at its peak allowing food preservation and in consequence fishing on a large scale. Fishing red tuna plays a huge role there, making this ordinary village unique on the map of whole Spain.
Based on the access to fresh top quality product, in Barbate was born El Campero restaurant. You have to go there even if you are not a fish-lover. I’m sure that after the visit, you will change your mind.
The restaurant´s menu changes every year. Owners love to create new recipes, they are innovate and like to discover new flavors. There is only one thing that always is repeated – the Almadraba’s red tuna, a delicacy you will never have enough.
Red tuna is the undisputed star of the kitchen. Therefore in the menu you will find:
- tuna tartar,
- roast tuna ribs,
- tuna in oil,
- tuna burgers,
- tuna lasagna,
- tuna kebab,
- tuna toast,
- tuna pate
and many many other dishes (including salads, sea food, rice and other fishes too). Visiting this place for the first time I laughed that probably the desserts are also based on tuna 😉 Fortunately not because their chocolate cake was one of the best I have ever eaten!
El Campero combines tradition and modernity, merging the kitchen of fishing villages on the Bay of Cadiz with modern approach. Using fishing method Almadraba, they pay a tribute to the history.
Almadraba is an age-old Phoenician technique for trapping and catching Atlantic tuna, when they are crossing between the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea, as they migrate to warmer water. It happens each year during February to July, when tunas are on their way to spawn in the sea and on its return journey, when they come back into the ocean. Visiting the Andalusian coast you can not miss this topic. This is a major social and gastronomic event, providing essential work for fishermen, packing factories and restaurants along the coast. It’s part of Andalusian identity, but it’s not so well known among tourists and associated with Andalusia as flamenco, post-arabic architecture and famous pueblos blancos. It’s time to change it! If you want to feel better what Almadraba is, watch the video above.
Let’s come back to the restaurant. I visited this place twice, in August 2016 and then one year later. I was enchanted. Interior, quality of service and most of all food – all was impeccable. But visiting this place is something more than satisfying your culinary needs. It’s a way to know better the region of Andalusia.
Restaurant is quite expensive, but you will not be disappointed. They have the best tuna I have ever eaten. One tip – make a reservation and avoid 2 hours waiting for a table (as it happened to me, but it was worth every minute spent there).