Traga Tapas – Ronda, Spain

Traga Tapas - Ronda, Spain
Traga Tapas - Ronda, Spain
At a certain point in my Spanish vacations, I need to focus my palate on something other than the Spanish staples of bread, cheese, jamón and eggs served in countless combinations.  On the last trip it was a visit to Maoz for a delicious falafel in pita with veggies and yogurt sauce.  This time, it was a visit to Traga Tapas smack dab in the middle of the picturesque town of Ronda, Spain.  Traga Tapas is apparently the sister restaurant to Tragabuches, where I have never been and know nothing about.  Traga Tapas, on the other hand, merits repeat visits.  The sheer audacity of the combination of the flavors used and fused makes every dish we tried worth nothing less than contemplative study with each bite.
Salmon Marinated with Vanilla and Lime (Salmón Marinado con Vainilla y Lima)
Salmon Marinated with Vanilla and Lime (Salmón Marinado con Vainilla y Lima)

The salmon marinated with vanilla and lime (salmón marinado con vainilla y lima) shocked the senses with the first bite but as it continued, it made almost “why didn’t I think of that” sense. The stew crouquette (croqueta de cocido) mixed two Spanish classics together to form a delicious ball of well, fried stew. Much better than it sounds, believe me.

Pork Cheek on Gratin Toast with Cheese Fondant (Chapata de Carrillada)
Pork Cheek on Gratin Toast with Cheese Fondant (Chapata de Carrillada)

The pork cheek on gratin toast with cheese fondant (chapata de carrillada) was reminiscent of the richest pulled pork that one could imagine.  The texture of the toast plank underneath was perfect as well.  Leaning heavily on Asian side of the fusion wheel, the soy pasta dish (fideos de soja salteados con queso de cabra curado, cerdo iberico y rucola) combined Asian, Italian and Spanish flavors in to a sort of cellophane noodle, global village, pad Thai. 

I know, I know.  This reads like hyperbole – trust me – it isn’t.

Trumping all the dishes, the pork ribs (costillas de cerdo) broke little new ground but represented two different dishes to perfection.  The spare ribs were tender, succulent, with a seemingly flash-fried, light, thin outer coating.

Stew Crouquette (Croqueta de Cocido)
Stew Crouquette (Croqueta de Cocido)

  Complimenting their flavor were the best fried potatoes alioli ever served.  The potatoes themselves were enough to send Mrs. NH into gastronomic bliss causing her to beg me to order a full plate of them alone on her behalf.  (I didn’t – there was too much else to try.)  The potatoes were golden fried on the outside and fluffy and earthy on the inside.  The alioli was fresh made, rich, and all creamy-yolk-garlic goodness.  Garnishing the dish was a perfect scattering of coarse sea salt – just enough to make sure every flavor contained therein would have a chance to properly grace your tongue.  Writing this alone is making me salivate uncontrollably…

Pork Ribs (Costillas de Cerdo)
Pork Ribs (Costillas de Cerdo)

I can’t recommend this place highly enough.  With the combination of the inventive yet classic food, great deals on new flavors in local wine and excellent service and recommendations – you’d be a fool to miss this spot while in Ronda – and maybe within a 50-mile radius.