Disclosure: This post was written in collaboration with Travelodge. All words, thoughts and opinions in this post are my own and entirely honest. If you’d like to know more about my disclosure policy, you can read about it here.
The best finds when you’re visiting somewhere are those awesome little spots that tourists generally miss. I always love playing local and finding somewhere off the beaten track.
Over 33million tourists visit Birmingham each year. They shop at the Bullring, eat in some of the excellent chain restaurants Birmingham is home too, check out the views from the library and head on home. Meanwhile, us locals are enjoying some top notch, and sometimes well hidden, independent coffee shops and eateries.
One of these hidden gems is Rico Libre. Tucked away on Barn Street in Digbeth, Rico Libre is an incredibly popular spot with those in the know, serving up breakfast, and fantastic, authentic tapas. Digbeth is far from a tourist trap once you get away from the Custard Factory, and Rico Libre is a secret even to some locals, hidden away on an unassuming back street, flanked by car lots. Originally, the venue was a diner, and the exterior hasn’t really changed at all, and neither has the inside really. Tables are packed in, posters plaster the walls and ceilings and the furniture is a strange mix of restaurant, the rickety contents of your nan’s garage and someone’s teenage bedroom.
Once you’ve got over the appearance though, squeeze yourself into a seat, and tuck in. Rico Libre is a bring your own booze establishment, and with three dishes of tapas setting you back £14.50 (price correct at the time of writing), you can have a huge meal without making much of a dent in your wallet at all. Tapas is perfect sociable eating, a fact which Rico Libre really understand. The restaurant is always busy, which creates a lively atmosphere as little dishes of tempting morsels almost continuously land on your table.
I’ve tried pretty much everything on Rico Libre’s menu. They serve all the usual classics you’d expect on a tapas menu, like calamares, patatas bravas and chicken cooked in chorizo and cream, but also plenty of more unusual dishes, such as adobo saltfish, lemon chicken with a quail’s egg, and chicken livers. Everything single dish, from the tapas and main menus, is cooked to order, with no short cuts. Every dish is packed with flavour, cooked with love and is absolutely delicious.
Staying in Birmingham soon? Do the standard trip to the Christmas markets that I’m sure you’re planning, but do yourself a favour and blag yourself a bargainous room with Travelodge, and a bargainous, insanely tasty dinner at Rico Libre. Tell them I sent you.