Most tourists who venture in Latina by Cava Baja Street usually only get to the Plaza de la Cebada. South of this square is a maze of streets where taverns and traditional businesses still remain, like the wax-chandler's shop next to the church of La Paloma or the wineskins handcrafted by Julio on Calle del Aguila. In mid-August, when the feast of the Virgen de La Paloma, Calatrava and surrounding streets bustle at night. One of them, Calle Tabernillas, retains this name since in medieval times was a place where some taverns were installed outside the city walls.
Off the tourist trail, this part of the district of La Latina has been called "La Latina cara B" (La Latina B-side). Those who come in search of tapas long gone through the rite of initiation (Mercado de San Miguel and Cava Baja) and are familiar with the calamares, patatas bravas and Padrón peppers. This is not an area for sophisticated tapas or "molecular" food but the traditional and popular tapas that taverns are serving since several decades. Most premises do not have an attractive decoration, as if to keep his secret for people-in-the-known.
La Paloma is a narrow bar where for generations the neighbors have enjoyed grilled shrimp washed down with cañas; Arganzuela serves one of the best "bienmesabe" in town; in Cervecería Same one can feel the buzz of the neighborhood while having grilled pork's ear, which I recommend to adventurous eaters. Muñiz makes the best churros in La Latina but also serves tapas. On the same street there are also two of my favorite tabernas in the area: Casa Dani for cheese and cured ham and Casa Gerardo for salted anchovies. Interestingly Dani and Gerardo are not the names that are labeled on the front but everyone knows them by those names. In Casa Mateos is common to see groups of friends having dinner of tapas and Taberna J. Blanco prepare good callos. Already in El Rastro, Santurce only open till 3pm to sell grilled sardines. On weekends, people also occupies Los Caracoles demanding snails.
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