… was mostly disappointing this time round. The first day we just had a few very mediocre tapas here and there (the tortillitas de camarones at Casa Balbino – pictured above – being the exception). The second day we went to a new “gastrobar” that was quite nice, but you know… gastrobar. But third day lucky! Following a tip by José Caireles (whose bodega of the same name we weren’t able to visit this time) we ended up at the best hole-in-the-wall spot ever. The Peña Bética de Carlos serves up super fresh fried fish in a no-nonsense tiny space that also houses a local fan branch of the Sevilla’s Bétis football team.
Carlos cooks up perfectly fried fish and seafood in the small kitchen behind the bar, while brothers Manuel and Carmelo take care of the customers. There are about eight tables, all of which had reserved signs on them when we walked in around 1.30 pm on a Thursday. We managed to squeeze into a small spot at the bar and within minutes all tables and any standing space between them and the bar were full. It was organized chaos. I couldn’t believe this all ran so smoothly with just 3 people, but later Manuel told me it used to be just him and Carlos. Then when things started getting busy his brother Carmelo joined the team.
Not all of these dishes were ours. The couple standing next to us at the bar let me take photos of their prawns and salmoretes, even offering to share their dishes with us. All of it was delicious, but that big fat cuttlefish in the middle of the collage was definitely the star of the show. What a great experience, so much more fun than one of the expensive touristy beach restaurants in Bajo de Guía. Thanks again José!