Whether it's a good meal or a rollicking night on the town you're after, we have your Jerez dining and entertainment cheat sheet right here!
Five Restaurants and Experiences
La Varga. For both locals and tourists, this quintessential Jerez cafeteria is the best place in town for breakfast and people watching. The joint is famous for fried churros, tostadas (toast) and café. Plan to spend at least an hour to have the full experience. For lunch, try the sherry soup. Plaza Estévez, s/n.
Bar Juanita. Located just past Plaza del Arenal in a trellised passageway, Bar Juanita is romantic enough for an early evening tapas date, followed (of course) by a glass of Jerez sherry. Make sure to order the artichokes to start. Dinners tend to be expensive. Calle Pescadería Vieja. +34-956-334-838.
The Best Neighborhood Bar award goes to Bar La Cuadra, perfect for inexpensive tapas or a quick stop for a drink. Flamenco tunes play on the radio, and old black-and-white Spanish movies are often playing on the bar's television. Sit at the bar and order a plate of jamón serrano (cured ham). The bar is hidden off the main drag down a narrow alleyway on Calle Gravina, 4. 011-34-956-346-068.
La Carboná offers white-linen tablecloths and fine, traditional dining for a budget price (main dishes are about €12). The restaurant is housed in an old winery. Order the bacalao (codfish), rabo de buey (oxtail) or puchero (stew), all Jerez specialities. Calle San Francisco de Paul, 2. 011-34-956-347-475.
Jerez bakeries turn out more pastries than loaves of bread, reflecting the local penchant for sweets. El Pozito is the regional pastry in Jerez, and it's worth the early morning caloric splurge. A pastry shell holds a light, cinnamon flavored cream that won't leave you feeling sick after stuffing yourself.
Five things to experience
It's what's for dinner. Pick up fresh fruit for a day of walking at the Mercado Central on Plaza Estévez. Wander inside and watch as Cádiz seafood, all fresh off the boat, is tossed, sliced and sold. Weak stomachs should avoid the fresh meats department.
Nightlife. If Flamenco isn't your schtick, check out Plaza Vargas, which tends to get rowdy late at night with an all-ages crowd. The hottest place to shake it like Shakira is La Carbonería (Calle Letrados, 7). The Teatro Villamarta is a revered city jewel on Plaza Romero Martinez. Shows are listed outside the building. For more information, call +34-956-329-507 or visit the Teatro online.
Plaza del Arenal. The city's central plaza is perfect for people watching. Pack a lunch or order a drink at one of the outdoor terrazas. At night, young people take over and host botellónes, or outdoor drinking parties—the most economical way to party.
Church bells. An Andalusian wedding is quite a sight. Chances are good that you'll witness a wedding at one of the many historical churches in the city. The most attractive of the bunch, however, is the 16th-century Iglesia de San Miguel (Plaza San Miguel), which holds mass at 8 p.m. All the city's churches are free.
Shopping. You cannot leave Jerez without picking up some sherry and local vinegar. Check butcher shops and grocery stores for cheaper prices and avoid tourist shops. There are many Flamenco dress shops around town, too. While Flamenco dresses are expensive and relatively impractical, a simple silk prop flower for your mom back home will do nicely.
EuroCheapo's Mini-Guide to Jerez