el campero

The temple of tuna

We met in Barbate with head chef of the world-renowned El Campero Restaurant, Julio Vazquez, to further understand the roots and basis of this restaurant and understand its importance as a reference in Southern Spain´s cuisine.

Words: Vanessa Stankiewicz Portrait: Daniel Alea

restaurante el campero

How was El Campero born?

The concept for El Campero was born from afamily business, in which a farmer seeking a new path in life, in1978 began his transformation in which his tavern, where drinks were mainly served, began to introduce food and tapas. In 1994 it evolves to be the restaurant, which it remains today.

How many years have you been operating?

We have been operating for over 40 years.

What is the basic of El Campero?

It is based on traditional maritime cuisine with touches of modernity, but always respecting the raw material.

What does El Campero pride itself on?

The pride of El Campero is to do things well day by day, we take our work as a way of life,thanks to a great team that are responsible for this evolution.

How important is the quality of product?

It is of the utmost importance because we demand the highest quality of our products, which are usually those of the area.

How do you reinvent your menu each year?

We base it on the wild tuna of Almadraba in which our main work revolves.

How do you experiment to come up with new innovative dishes?

We focus on the tradition of our maritime town that is Barbate, innovating and transforming with the excellent products of the area.

What is the importance of tuna in the area?

It is quite important since it is a very versatile fish from which many recipes can be obtained with different parts of the tuna.

What important elements of southern Spain do you bring into your dishes?

Indigenous products such as fish and seafood from the coastal area of Santi Petri to Tarifa are always present in our dishes.

What ingredient can you not live without and is present in every dish?

Tuna is in the 90% of our menu and is our insignia.

What is the soul of El Campero?

The soul of El Campero is the whole team that is part of this great family, starting with Jose Melero and Josefa Narvaez owners and passionate about this beautiful, hard and sacrificed profession. Without them ElCampero would not be the same.



«The future of El Campero is to continue to envolve and grow but always remembering where we come from, with the same philosophy.»




el campero

What is your star dish?
The tuna “encebollao” or the grilled morrillo , tradition is always our philosophy of work.
Why do people keep coming to El Campero?
People continue to come to El Campero because we always offer magnificent product, treated with enthusiasm and affection, which is represented in each of our dishes. For us each diner is a daily challenge and our hope is that everyone will leave satisfied and happy.
What is your favourite way to enjoy tuna?
I enjoy tuna in its most natural state possible, grilled or with a little oil and salt.
What is your favourite wine of choice to accompany tuna?
To pair the tuna we always choose generous wines from the area of Jerez de La Frontera.
Your favourite childhood dish? Why?
My favorite dish is the tuna encebollado because it reminds me of the traditional stew made by my mother and my grandmother.
What lies in the future for El Campero? What´s next?
The future of El Campero is to continue to evolve and grow but always remembering where we come from, with the same philosophy. We will continue to enjoy working in the kitchen with the great product that is the wild red tuna of almadraba.
Is the spanish saying true “that how well we eat in the south of Spain, you
can´t eat anywhere else”?
It’s true, as well as we eat in the south and enjoy the gastronomy we do not eat anywhere else.

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