La Taberna Española has been open in Tijuana for 25 years now. They moved to their current location just about 2 years ago, but Chef Mario Araujo has been with them for 22 of those years. The owners of the restaurant hail from Galicia Spain, bringing the authentic culture and cuisine with them to Tijuana. The interiors of the dimly lit space, are inviting, and the sounds of the Spanish guitar just about transported me back to when I lived in Spain myself.
Video : Interview with Chef Mario Araujo
The menu is extensive, and 100 percent authentic Spanish dishes. After speaking with Chef Mario we learned that some of the items are directly imported from Spain, but he uses most of the abundant produce and proteins that Baja California have to offer. Speaking of imports, one in particular is the Pata Negra Jamon Serrano. We watched Chef Mario slice off pieces from both the Pata Negra, and the "conventional" Jamon Serrano. The difference is not only in the taste between the two, but obviously the cost, as well as its appearance. The Pata Negra Jamon will still have the foot intact on the leg, where as the other remains without it. Jamon Serrano is not only one of my all time favorite Tapas, but one of my most fond memories of Spain as well. It was a more than pleasant way to start off the evening.
Chef Mario prepared a few of their different dishes for us. Each and every one was full of color, and the aromas were just mouth watering. Along with the food, the bartender showed us how their Sangria and Porron con Garabato cocktails are made. For the Porron con Garabato, the traditional Spanish wine carafe is filled with beer, white wine, and lemon-lime soda. This was a new experience for me all on its own. I may have been the one to exemplify how you really are supposed to drink out of it. Actually it was more like the table and manager of the restaurant volunteered me. So there I was head tilted back, and before I knew it a stream of this cocktail was flowing into my mouth. Quite the tasty cocktail might I add. If you have yet to experience this on your own, please add that to your bucket list.