The Best Restaurants in Tarifa, Spain

Tarifa is home to a number of first-class restaurants
Tarifa is home to a number of first-class restaurants | © Zoonar GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Mark Nayler
17 February 2020

Best known for its excellent access to water sports and exuberant nightlife, Tarifa also boasts an impressive selection of restaurants.

Enjoy Iberian ham tapas in Tarifa | © James O'Sullivan / Alamy Stock Photo

Pointing out to sea at the tip of the Iberian Peninsula, Tarifa is perched right at the southern end of Spain. With its long coastline and beautiful beaches, it’s a great place for seafood, and dining outside on the town’s pretty terraces in the summer months is a real delight. So, whether you plan to try fresh fish in the historic quarter or enjoy a relaxed evening eating tapas, Culture Trip has you covered with this list of the best restaurants in Tarifa.

Silos 19

Restaurant, Spanish, $$$
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Silos 19 not only boasts one of the chicest dining rooms in Tarifa, it also serves up some of the town’s best Spanish/Mediterranean food. Standout dishes include the grilled scallops, perfectly cooked steaks (both tuna and beef) and surprises such as aubergine with goat’s cheese and stuffed mushrooms. Enhancing the Silos 19 experience are great wines and friendly, multilingual staff.

Morilla

Restaurant, Spanish
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Morilla comes top of the value rankings in Tarifa, offering a starter, main, dessert and drink for a very reasonable price. This popular restaurant also enjoys a prime location, with a terrace spread out underneath Iglesia de San Mateo, old Tarifa’s most famous church. Star platos (dishes) comprise the seafood soup, grilled tuna and, for dessert, the home-made almond flan.

Braseria Vaca Loca

Restaurant, Spanish, $$$
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Dinner-only eatery Vaca Loca is a carnivore’s dream. Treat yourself to an 800g (28oz) steak of Retinto beef (bred from Retinto cattle in the hills north of Tarifa) or a fillet of Iberico pork and you won’t be disappointed, but the simple grilled chicken and lamb are also excellent. Telephone reservations aren’t taken, so sit back and enjoy one of the best mojitos in Tarifa as you wait for a table.

El Francés

Bar, Spanish
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This Tarifa institution doesn’t take phone reservations either, so arrive early to avoid a wait. But if you do find yourself having to chill with a caña (small beer) at the bar before eating, it’ll be worth it: Francés’s versions of Andalusian classics such as carrillada de cerdo (pig’s cheeks) in red wine sauce and spicy patatas bravas are likely to be the best you’ll taste in Tarifa. Portions are generous, so be wary of over-ordering.

El Lola

Bar, Spanish, $$$
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No visit to Tarifa’s old quarter would be complete without a trip to El Lola, a cosy little place that serves the best tuna for miles around. The sought-after bluefin variety (counter-intuitively called atún rojo, or red tuna) is available in several incarnations here, from sashimi to Japanese barbecue-style. Also on offer, either as tapas or a main course, is the top-notch pata negra Iberian ham.

Restaurante La Pescadería

Restaurant, Spanish, $$$
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With its big, blue-and-white terrace in the heart of the old town, Tarifa’s best seafood restaurant is hard to miss. Its extensive menu is divided up into sections for the local almadraba tuna catches from the Strait of Gibraltar, pescado frito (fried fish) and arroces (rice-based dishes, not to be confused with paella). A must-try is the tuna-tasting option, in which the fish comes cooked in four different styles.

No. 6 Cocina Sencilla

Bar, Spanish
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Langoustine bruschetta and teriyaki salmon are among the star dishes at No. 6 Cocina Sencilla, a contemporary tapas joint opposite Tarifa’s central food market. Take one of the window seats and watch market life unfold as you enjoy the attractively presented tapas, all of which is made from local ingredients. Cocina sencilla (simple cooking) doesn’t get much more inventive and flavoursome than this.

Mandragora

Restaurant, Moroccan
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If Tarifa’s proximity to North Africa gives you a hankering for Moroccan food, head to Mandragora. An elegant restaurant in the old quarter, its most popular dishes are the lamb and plum tagine, the falafel and the hummus, all of which are served by staff repeatedly praised for their friendliness and efficiency. Customers also love Mandragora’s tasty desserts and varied wine list.

Chilimosa

Restaurant, Spanish, Vegetarian
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Situated just inside the Puerta de Jerez, Chilimosa is a cosy vegetarian restaurant opened by couple Denny and Saira in 2005. It started off as a takeaway, but the popularity of its fresh food soon resulted in the addition of a few tables to the intimate interior. Standouts on the wide-ranging menu include a spinach- and feta-stuffed pastry, a Thai green curry and a veggie soya burger.

BoccaBuena Tarifa

Bar, Restaurant, Spanish
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Laid-back tapas joint BoccaBuena has a terrace on the lively and bohemian Plaza San Martín, a favourite among Tarifa’s flamenco buskers. As you enjoy the live entertainment, you can tuck into everything from grilled sardines and fried calamari to a chicken skewers and a fabulous home-made cheesecake. Vegetarians and vegans also have plenty to choose from.

These recommendations were updated on February 17, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.