La Carbona is one of the most recommended restaurants in the Sherry town of Jerez De La Frontera. Within walking distance from old town / downtown and surrounded by many tapas bars and “tourist traps” establishments, La Carbona is the real deal. Located in an old sherry bodega, the decor is traditional and rustic, with an eye-catching stove right in the middle of the dining room. They have a wide selection of sherries, plus many of the dishes are actually cooked with sherry wines. We visited on a weeknight for dinner so it was not overly busy but I would strongly suggest reservations in-advance. The bill was reasonable considering the quality of the food and wine. Wait staffs don’t generally speak any English except a word / short sentence here and there, but one quickly learns how to communicate with body language so all’s good! If you are looking for a more refined dining experience in Jerez, this is certainly the place to be.

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I wonder if the stove is actually functional and what purpose it would serve, hmm…

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We wanted to try something special and as we’ve never had a still wine from Cádiz, we picked this Vino de la Tierra, for a nice, still, dry white wine. Fresh, thirst-quenching, lemony with mineral undertones, we later learned (thanks to Google!) that this is a single-varietal Chardonnay wine, with grapes planted at 500 feet above sea level.


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€12.5 Salmon tartare with avocado, dill mayonnaise and Amontillado Sherry ~ very refreshing for our palate after eating lots of jamon and cheese throughout our trip, not that I am complaining at all.

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€7 each Red Carabinero prawns baked with Amontillado Sherry ~ these shrimps were very flavourful, quite different from the frozen or previously frozen shrimps that I sadly got accustomed to in Toronto.

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€20 Turbot, mint, cashews, spinach and purple onion ~ I did not pour on the thick and salty sauce, made over-complicated by too many ingredients. I’d rather just enjoy the turbot on it’s own as nothing beats the taste of fresh seafood.

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€18 Red mullet served with a risotto from its parfait and Oloroso Sherry ~ my favourite main dish! Especially enjoyed the risotto, so rich that I thought it was cooked with lobster broth.

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€15 lberian pork Dam, chestnuts and Pedro Ximénez Sherry sauce with strawberries ~ same as the shrimps, pork meat in Spain is much more flavourful and gamey. I almost mistaken this rich pork Dam as a very tender piece of beef.

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I am typically not a big fan of ice-cream, but this cream-cheese flavoured one is quite unique, worth splurging calories on.

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I only nibbled on other people’s desserts but saved my quota for this: Gonzalez Byass Matusalem Oloroso Dulce 30 years old VORS. This is a special sherry with the average age of the wine being at least 30 years old. While other ‘cream sherries’ may carry a bad reputation, Matusalem is certainly an exception. Notes of dried fruits, coffee and nuttiness (as a result of the oxidative aging), this sherry is sweet but fresh and not cloying. I was so impressed that I bought a bottle of the Matusalem to bring home, plus a bottle from the even more impressive (well according to me anyway) Apostoles Palo Cortado Medium 30 years old VORS (both purchased made at Bodegas Gonzalez Byass). I wish more people would agree with me on just how precious and labour-intensive these wines are and pay them the respect that they so duly deserve!

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