The Cordoba restaurants specialize mostly in Spanish food, but since this has long been a culturally rich city, there are other options as well. Arabian cuisine is on the menu at some of the local eateries, for example, and visitors can get their fill of Italian food or Far East cuisine, among other things. Of course, the Spanish food will prove most interesting for the visitor who wants to get a true taste of Cordoba, and there are a few regional specialties that can be fun to try.
The best Cordoba restaurants are found in and around the Old District, which is also known as the Juderia, or Jewish Quarter. Many offer outdoor seating throughout most of the year, and if you want, you can get your fill of food and drink while doing some tapas bar hopping. Visiting numerous tapas bars is an especially popular nightlife activity in major Spanish cities such as Cordoba.
When the Moors ruled Spain, Cordoba was their capital city, and it rose to become one of the world's great centers of culture. This Moorish influence has certainly left its mark on the country's dining front, with the southern region of Andalucia being most heavily influenced. Sweet peppers and saffron are among the things that the Moors introduced to the country and the region in particular, as is the case with almonds and a variety of spices. Saffron is a main ingredient in the country's national dish, paella, a tasty rice dish. By all means, a trip to Spain should involve trying some authentic paella at some point, and there are certainly many Cordoba restaurants that can accommodate.
The list of new foods that the Moors brought to southern Spain is quite long and diverse, with lemons and rice being just two more examples. The Moors also brought their pastry recipes with them to the region, and to this day, getting a sweet treat in Cordoba is an easy feat. Many locals start the day off with a pastry and a coffee, and as you might expect, the coffee is usually quite strong, not to mention delicious.
Numerous tapas restaurants are found in and around Cordoba, and they serve up any number of dishes for visitors to try. These dishes are sample-sized and can feature oxtail, jamon serrano, or any other number of things. Oxtail is a regional favorite and is most often stewed until it is tender. You can get a full dish of it if you prefer. As for jamon serrano, it is the most famous Spanish ham. It is arguably best paired with manchego cheese, crusted bread, and a glass of red wine from the region. You might even add some olive oil to the mix, especially since the Cordoba region's olive oil is some of the best in the world. It has certainly won its fair share of big time awards in recent years. A side trip to Priego de Cordoba can always involve some olive oil tasting at one of the local operations.
As is true of any town or city in Spain, Cordoba is not very far from the sea and coastal beaches. This means plenty of fresh seafood for the resident or visitor to indulge in. It is often deep fried, as is the case with calamares fritos, or fried calamari. Another local favorite is boquerones en vinagre, which is a dish that features vinegar-cured anchovies, garlic, olive oil, and parsley. Gambas rebozadas, which are prawns that have been breaded and fried, are also worth trying when dining in Cordoba Spain, and cod-stuffed croquets or swordfish steaks are just two other options. Prawns aren't always breaded, by the way, and garlic is often used with olive oil when frying them.
The main dish in Cordoba might just be salmorejo. A thicker and denser version of gazpacho, this cold cream soup features tomatoes and bread as main ingredients. Extra virgin olive oil, salt, and garlic are used to add flavor, and the whole thing is sprinkled with jamon serrano and hard-boiled egg.
Also worth noting is the fact that many of the cities in the Andalucia region have culinary specialties that they are known for, so a food tasting side trip might be in order during your Cordoba vacation. Granada, for example, is known for its morcilla, or blood sausage, which is most often judged to be much better than it sounds.