The town is full of great old bars, the most charismatic is right behind our house, it’s the Pena Flamenco … look out for live flamenco music at the weekends in the evenings from about 10pm – remember spain is late.
The bar and restaurant at the Hotel Casa de Califa on the square is great looking and atmospheric in a garden. The Morroccan food is quite good. They also have a rooftop bar next to the restaurant and a café for tapas on the Corredero, Taperia del Califa. There is a wonderful garden bar El Jardin next door to the convent which is in our street; this has a lovely view, but is only open in the summer months.
A good place to eat in Vejer is La Garimba on the main square – tapas modern style. It’s owned by a guy from Madrid and therefore is a bit cooler and more modern than most local places. He does do a menu of the day for lunch, so worth a go. The Trafalgar restaurant next door is also reliable good food and more traditional.
There is an asador style restaurant just before the arch to the square, La Brasa de Sancho. This is good for barbecue food on sticks etc. the owner is French. Merengo is a new restaurant with modern style tapas – good quality.
There’s a good pizza place La Posta (649 67 92 80) on Calle Juan Bueno. Go through the scenic arch, turn left down the narrow alley, then through the walled gate and right again – its 50 yards down the hill. It’s tiny so you may have to book or wait, but there’s a lovely little internal courtyard you may miss. It’s closed on Mondays or Tuesdays. For good tapas in town, try La Posada which is on the hill coming into town, just before the supermarket – its old school traditional tapas. Casa Varo is a good and popular restaurant serving andalusian food -and v popular with the locals. Bar Central is also good for tapas.
The best restaurants though are all a little out of town. The two most special ones are in a beautiful little hamlet called Santa Lucia. It’s about a five minute drive, down to the very bottom of the hill on the main road. When you get to the N340 (main road) you head right, in the direction of Algeciras. After aprox half a mile, maybe less, you pass a big furniture store on your left, and soon after there’s a tiny secluded turning on the left, with a sign saying Camping Los Molinos. It’s very easy to miss, if you see the turning for Medina Sidonia you’ve gone too far. Anyway take the tiny left, past the electricity generating thingy, before you hit a tiny hamlet with one bar, Antonio’s, one church, lots of flowers and two great outdoor restaurants. One is called La Tajea (tel 956 44 71 42) and is best for fish. The other Castilleria (tel 956 451 497) does wonderful meat on an open grill and is incredibly atmospheric. You may need to book especially at weekends for dinner, but they are worth it and worth the strange drive, you’ll love them.
If you want to eat by the sea, which you should, there’s three great options. Closest is Hostal Casa Francisco at El Palmar. Fantastic fish right on this wonderfully bedraggled beach. Just go to the bottom of town on the main road and El Palmar is sign-posted, it’s a beautiful ten minute drive. At the far left hand side of the beach past casa francisco, there is a lovely restaurant with a garden facing the sea, called La Chanca. It is a lovely old converted stables, tel 659 977420. For cheaper options, you can try El Cortijiyo at the other end of the beach, past the lighthouse type building, Casa Juan. in summer the chiringuitos are good cheaper options.
Barbate is probably two minutes further, heading in the other direction along the N340 when it’s signposted to the right. Head for the beachfront. There is a great fish restaurant, Bar Nani, on the front, which is now also a hotel. It is about half way down the strip, just before the book stands. It’s much more bustling, affordable and lots of noisy Spanish families but great fun. There is also a specialist tuna restaurant in one of the squares behind the sea front. When you drive into Barbate, take a right of the main road, just before the sea front. I think there is a roundabout with a sign with a fisherman; the restaurant is in avenida de la constitucion and called El Campero. They do a speciality of raw marinated tuna sushi. Tel 956 432 300.
For great pizza and pasta, there is another local restaurant, Il Forno, very popular with the locals in la Muela, which is about 5 mins in the direction of Medina Sidonia. Its open from 8.30pm, but only at lunchtime at the weekends. 956 448 496. again if you get there at 8.15, you should be able to get a table.
Close by is restaurant Patria, about 10 mins in the village of el patria, 956 44 84 63, usually open weds to Sunday, highly recommended food, small menu, but fresh seasonal food – owned by a dutch couple. Patria has great views of the countryside and you can see vejer perched on the hill.
In Conil, about 15 minutes on the N340 direction Cadiz, there are two great places where you actually eat on the sand. One is called La Fontanilla (tel 956 440 779) You may need to book to get one of the tables outside on the beach at weekends. Just head to Conil then follow the signs for Hotel Fuerte Conil to the far end of the beach then head down and park by the sand where you’ll see La Fontanilla. Its always our first choice of restaurant when we arrive in Vejer. This is very recommended. The other restaurants are at the opposite end of the beach, so instead of turning left towards the Hotel Fuerte Conil, turn right, and head for the seafront.
Note that some of the restaurants in the area are only open in high season, so please check that they are open before you venture out to them.