Córdoba Eats: A Trip Down Memory Lane to Taberna Salinas
When I first moved to Spain, I wasn’t sure how long I’d be staying, so the first chance I got, I took a trip down to Andalucía. I knew I had to see the Mezquita of Córdoba and the Alhambra of Granada before I left the country. So Córdoba holds a special place in my heart, because it was my very first trip within Spain!
I was also kind of on a time and money budget, so I took an overnight bus from Valencia to Córdoba, arrived very early in the morning to a dark yet super atmospheric sight of glistening cobblestones and ancient stone walls lining the streets, saw the Mezquita and the Alcazar during the day, and took a bus to Granada at night. I overnighted in Granada, saw the Alhambra during the day, and returned to Valencia by overnight bus. It was a grueling, extremely packed trip, but I’ve always loved visiting Andalucía since then.
In Córdoba, the one and only meal I had on this whirlwind trip was at Taberna Salinas. I’m actually not sure how I came upon it, but I do remember that the service was very friendly, I got to try some very typical dishes, and I was introduced to the wonders of Pedro Ximinez wine with a complimentary glass from the waiter. I generally don’t really enjoy alcohol, and I hate raisins, but somehow this raisin wine is one of my favorite drinks!
I thought, for old time’s sake, that on a return visit to Córdoba, that I would visit Taberna Salinas again for lunch. I noted in my post from 2012 (!) that there was a “guy with glasses and a mustache” managing the door, and he was in the very same position, 7 years later!
Like last time, I was seated in the airy and light-filled interior patio.
I didn’t repeat any dishes from my first visit - the salmorejo, the flamenquín, and the natillas for dessert. This time, we ordered the spinach and garbanzos; it was very welcome to get some vegetables after lots of fried fish and meat in Sevilla! This was a generous portion, and the sauce had a kind of “exotic” twist to it. Could it be cumin, and/or turmeric, spices that might hail from Andalucía’s Arabic past? In any case, this was quite delicious.
An even bigger portion was the fried eggplant drizzled with molasses. This was a big pile of eggplant! But each slice was piping hot, with a light and delicate crust that was not at all oily.
Next we had the rabo de toro, or braised oxtail.
Hiding underneath the sprinkling of fries were fork-tender, succulent chunks of oxtail, bathed in an rich, gelatinous sauce.
I ordered a slice of “pastel cordobés,” which was a layer of cabello de ángel (literally angel hair, or sweetened pulp from the Siam pumpkin), sandwiched in a pastry crust, with a touch of spice (cinnamon?). And of course I had to get a glass of Pedro Ximinez, in the place where I fell in love at first taste. This time it wasn’t complimentary, but the tongue-coating sweetness was nonetheless a satisfying way to end the meal.
It’s always a bit of a risk to return to a restaurant where one has such fond memories, after 7 years. Can the present reality ever live up to nostalgia? This time around, I must admit I didn’t get the same magical feelings about the service as I did the first time around with my solicitous waiter, and I did notice quite a few tourists, but that may be because I was visiting in spring during the famous Festival of Patios, rather than in winter as I did last time. But I still had a delicious, filling meal of local specialties, in characterful surroundings. I was very happy to be able to return to Taberna Salinas after so many years!
Calle Tundidores, 3