Eating in Córdoba: Foodie Guide & Spanish Mealtimes 101

Ever since moving to Córdoba three and a half years ago, one of my favorite things to do has been to discover my adopted hometown’s amazing gastronomic scene. Bigger cities like Seville and Madrid might get all the credit, but Córdoba is easily a great foodie city in its own right. From traditional Spanish cuisine to modern international fare, you can find it all here. These are just a few of my favorite places to eat in Córdoba—whether you’re here for just a day or plan on staying for life (*raises hand* hi), hopefully you’ll find a place you’ll love!

Breakfast/coffee/snacks

God bless Spanish people: they introduced me to the wonderful concept of second breakfast. Many people will eat something small first thing in the morning, then go out for coffee and a tostada with their coworkers around 10 or 11.

Then, a few hours after lunch, it’s time for another coffee break, this time usually with something sweet. Merienda, or the afternoon snack, usually takes place around 6 p.m., when cafes around the country fill up with locals devouring pastries and churros. And although Córdoba recently inaugurated its first Starbucks, try to resist the temptation of familiarity and support one of these great local spots instead!

When I lived in the city center, my go-to place for breakfast or a sweet pick-me-up was Pastelería La Sultana (Calle Cronista Salcedo Hierro, 6). Now that I live across the bridge, I love Sabor Moreno (Avenida Campo de la Verdad), a cute little neighborhood cafe which just opened within the last year. Both have delicious homemade pastries, a cozy ambiance, and are just far enough away from the touristy areas to feel nice and authentic.

For something beyond the typical Spanish coffee-and-toast-or-pastry, La Tortuga (Calleja Barqueros, s/n) is an adorable little cafe with great variety. And if you’re a brunch fan, you can’t go wrong with Maddow (Calle Cardenal Gonzalez, 44) a cute and colorful little cafe tucked away down a side street near the Mezquita.

coffee pastry
Nothing beats coffee and a gooey chocolate napolitana.

When it comes to sweet treats in Spain, most people might automatically think of churros. You’re not wrong—these crispy, fried bites of perfection are one of the most popular choices for breakfast and merienda. I like Churros Bar Marta (Calle José Cruz Conde, 32) in the city center and Churrería Salinas (Avenida Campo de la Verdad, 1) on my side of town. Just don’t forget the chocolate.

churros
Or get your churros to go. All good.

For a sweet pick-me-up while on the move, stop by La Tarterie (Calle Rodríguez Marín, 3). This adorable little bakery sells its amazing homemade cakes by the slice to go. There’s not much room to sit down inside, but you can take your cake to Plaza de la Corredera nearby and chow down there.

Last but not least, if you’re lucky enough to be here during one of Córdoba’s freakishly hot summers, one of the best ways to cool off is with one of the milkshakes (okay, freakshakes) from Coffee Away (Calle de los Tipógrafos, 2). I’ve heard good things about their coffee, too, but can never bring myself to try it when I see the delicious looking shakes!

milkshakes
Nothing beats a milkshake on a hot day!

“Sit down” places for a big meal

When you think about it, the Spanish concept of second breakfast makes sense considering they don’t usually eat lunch here until 2 p.m. at the earliest. This usually throws some people off when they come to visit and can’t find anywhere open serving lunch at noon (locals are still finishing their tostadas!).

Then, when 2 o’clock rolls around and it’s actually time to eat, you’re in luck. If you haven’t yet adapted to the Spanish eating schedule and find yourself starving two hours after your normal lunchtime, you might be pleasantly surprised to learn that lunch is the main meal of the day. This is a hearty, sometimes multi-course affair best enjoyed with friends and family. In fact, most Spanish workers have a break in the middle of the day during which they come home and eat lunch before going back to work.

Córdoba has hundreds of places that are perfect for enjoying a classic, filling Spanish lunch, several of which I’ve listed here. Even if you can’t break the habit of having a light lunch and are used to a heartier dinner, these places are also great for a sit-down evening meal, too (I’ve had dinner at many of them).

When it comes to traditional Spanish food at its best, you’ll find some great places tucked away in the old Jewish quarter. Elegant El Churrasco (Calle Romero, 16), famous for their grilled-to-perfection meats and excellent wine list, is a favorite among locals and visitors alike, for good reason.

El Churrasco: eating in Cordoba, Spain
Grill your meat just the way you like it at El Churrasco.

Another incredible option is El Rincón de Carmen (Calle Romero, 4) just down the street, where you can enjoy classic Andalusian dishes in one of the beautiful, cozy patios that Córdoba is so famous for.

el rincon de carmen
The beautiful patio at El Rincón de Carmen!

Yet another lovely choice for an elegant meal in the historic part of town is Casa Pepe de la Judería (Calle Romero, 1), a local classic with more than 80 years of history. Be sure to sit on the beautiful rooftop terrace for spectacular views of the Mezquita tower while you enjoy your meal.

PDH casa pepe
Celebrating our new pareja de hecho with lunch on Casa Pepe’s lovely rooftop terrace!

If you’re looking for something a bit more modern and unconventional, walk along the river until you reach Plaza del Potro. This lively square looks incredible when it’s all lit up at night and is home to several great bars and restaurants, of which my favorite is La Siesta (Calle Enrique Romero de Torres, junto a Plaza del Potro). Here, you’ll find Mediterranean-inspired dishes reinvented with surprising modern twists. Another great option in the plaza is Taberna La Alquería (Calle Enrique Romero Torres, 3), which focuses a bit more on traditional Andalusian recipes but offers amazing variety and flavors.

Head out of the plaza and walk along the riverfront and soon you’ll come across Amaltea (Ronda de Isasa, 10), a colorful and inviting little establishment with locally sourced fusion food. A little ways further down is one of my new favorite recent discoveries, La Regadera (Ronda de Isasa, 10), an upmarket, chic restaurant that masterfully combines Spanish culinary traditions and ingredients with avant-garde modern techniques.

Tapas and casual dining

So you’ve eaten breakfast, second breakfast, lunch, merienda…now it’s time for dinner! Because we’ve already gotten our big meal out of the way at lunch, most Spaniards opt for something on the smaller side for dinner. That gives us the perfect excuse to indulge in one of Spain’s most beloved culinary traditions: tapas!

While tapas crawling is a popular evening pastime, you can also enjoy a tasty tapas lunch earlier in the day as well. Also, depending on the size of your group, consider ordering a media ración (half portion, ideal for one or two people) or ración (full portion, ideal for three or four) to split. This popular style of shared-plates dining may even end up being less expensive than everyone getting their own tapas!

One of the most popular spots among locals for tapas is Lambik (Calle Victoriano Rivera, 6) just off of Plaza de las Tendillas in the heart of the city center. This happening place is always crowded, so you might have to elbow your way through the crowded terrace as you hunt for a table.

Lambik tapas
Sharing tapas at Lambik.

If you find yourself near the Mezquita and craving some tapas, head straight to Bar Santos (Magistral González Francés, 3). Hidden right in the shadow of the famous mosque yet rarely noticed by tourists, this local classic has been serving up thick, gooey slices of tortilla and rich, creamy salmorejo for more than 50 years. Another great casual spot nearby is La Bicicleta (Calle Cardenal González, 1), a vibrant local joint with modern twists on favorite tapas.

While it’s a bit of a hike from the city center, Hermanos Bonillo (Calle Sagunto, 27) is worth the trek if you want to try another Córdoba classic: flamenquínFlamenquín is a fried-to-perfection meaty roll of pork and Spain’s famous cured ham (how has America not caught onto this idea?), and at this classic neighborhood bar, they make them as long as your forearm. Definitely bring a friend, as these giant portions are nearly impossible to conquer alone. (Side note: this place is just down the street from the school I worked at as a language assistant, and my students erupted into applause when I mentioned having been there.)

Another amazing local option is Bar Seneca (Calle Algazel, 2), a short walk across the Roman Bridge from the main tourist attractions. A local favorite for more than 60 years, they serve the best patatas bravas in Córdoba!

International

I always hear new arrivals in Córdoba talk about how there’s “no good international food here.” That couldn’t be further from the truth! While it’s no Madrid when it comes to being a literal world of global cuisine, Córdoba is home to a small but solid selection of fantastic international restaurants.

One of my go-to places is La Tranquera (Calle Cardenal Gonzalez, 53), a fabulous Argentinian place tucked away in the Jewish quarter. We try to order something new as far as far as appetizers go every time we come here, but for the mains, their entrañas steak is perfect. Basically, you can’t go wrong with anything you order here.

Salad tranquera
Delicious strawberry salad at La Tranquera!

Another fantastic spot for international food is well worth the bus trip from the center to the Avenida de Barcelona neighborhood. Cielito Lindo (Ronda de la Manca, 5) serves up the absolute best authentic Mexican food in town in a small but lovely little restaurant. (But when I say “small,” I mean small—there are maybe 10 tables in the entire place with two or three more outside in nice weather, so definitely call ahead if this sounds like something you’d be interested in!)

Food markets

One of the best parts of visiting a new place is checking out the local food market! This is a great way to experience a vibrant slice of local life with lots of delicious variety. Here in Córdoba, the most popular local market by far is Mercado Victoria (Paseo de la Victoria, s/n). Dating back to 1877, the building was once a tent at the old fairgrounds and is now a thriving, modern gastronomic space.

The market is made up of more than two dozen stalls, many of which sell fresh produce, meat, seafood and more. However, many people come here to eat, as the selection and variety is nearly unbeatable. There’s the classic Córdoba combo of salmorejo with tortilla, burgers, Japanese, Arabic, Argentinian (La Tranquera has a stall here), Galician and more. This is usually the first place I bring people to when they’re visiting Córdoba, due to the fun local ambiance and incredible selection of food.

IMG_6017
My handsome guy enjoying a birthday lunch at Mercado Victoria!

A smaller yet equally amazing place to find a good variety of food is Patios de la Marquesa (Calle Manríquez, 4), tucked away in the Jewish quarter just around the corner from the Mezquita. Don’t let that location fool you—few tourists notice it among the tacky souvenir shops. The 16 stalls are arranged around a set of beautiful, traditional Andalusian patios, and it’s a great place to hear some live flamenco music at night, too. The food itself can be a little hit or miss, but you can’t go wrong with the Arabic stall as well as the Montilla-Moriles wine bar.

Drinks

Tomar algo—going out for drinks—is an integral part of the Spanish culture that most visitors will immediately appreciate. Here in Córdoba, there are dozens of incredible local places where you can grab a drink, from dark, intimate wine bars to sun-splashed terraces.

Let’s start with the former. If you’re a wine fan, you can’t leave Córdoba without visiting Casa Madriles (Calle Alhaken II, 18) at least once. This lively spot is popular among the younger crowd, but anyone can stop in to enjoy their fabulous selection of Spanish wines and great live music.

More of a beer person? Yes, there’s more to Córdoba’s beer scene than just Cruzcampo—you just have to find it! Califa (Calle Juan Valera, 3) is an up-and-coming brewpub with fabulous craft beer brewed in-house.

Califa
Refreshing, ice cold beers at Califa.

For a diverse selection of craft beers from all over the world, check out La Trappería (Calle Toril, 4). This cozy local spot is the literal definition of a hole in the wall—the first time I tried to look for it, I must have walked past it three or four times before I finally found it, about to call it a night and go back to my AirBnB. (Luckily I didn’t, because I ended up meeting my boyfriend there that same night!)

If you’re enjoying a stroll along the river when the ganas de tomar algo hit you, you’re in luck. Just down the street from the Mezquita, you’ll find Sojo Ribera (Paseo de la Ribera & Plaza Cruz del Rastro, 1), a lively and fun bar (also a discoteca at night, though they open as early as breakfast) with a spectacular terrace offering sweeping views of the river and the Roman Bridge. Their sister bar next door, Sojo Fusión (Calle Enrique Romero Torres, s/n), is another fun place with a great evening ambiance.

Prefer something a little more out of the way? Continue along the bend in the river to Mirador del Río (Avenida Compositor Rafael Castro, s/n). They have great food, but their outdoor bar area with unbeatable views of the Mezquita is the star of the show.

I hope you enjoy your trip to Córdoba and find a great suggestion here! This list is by no means exhaustive—there are still tons of places I want to try that I can’t speak for yet. If you have a recommendation you don’t see here, leave a comment and let me know!

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Córdoba, Spain is foodie heaven! Here are some of the best authentic places in the city for everything from breakfast to after-dinner drinks.

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