Amazing Eats of Andalucia, Part II: Baeza

Pasteleria Martínez

c/ San Pablo, 28 (953 74 82 19)

This Baeza institution is an excellent, excellent place to hang out and grab a café con leche and some dainty pasteles. The clientele is Baeza at its finest; all dressed up with nowhere to go—nowhere except here. During peak hours, there is an almost constant stream of older ladies in furs and doll-like toddlers flowing into the warm, two-story café. There is also a healthy population of young Baezanos and well made-up mothers enjoying their afternoon coffee.

The bottom level of the café is the main attraction. A golden bar serves coffee, cocktails, and a limited number of cold tapas (though I’ve never tasted any of their savory offerings). Some people stand and take their coffee at the bar, but those who plan to stay a while take a seat at one of the few tables that litter the bottom floor. The upper level houses the majority of the seating in wooden chairs with unexpectedly low tables. I’ve been here with friends and alone, but the atmosphere is definitely a social one, so it’s a better place to come in a chatty group than alone or with a laptop or book. They do have a big basket of old Spanish women’s magazines on the ground floor if you’re taking your coffee solo and looking for some reading material.

To the left of the bar is a large glass case showing off my favorite part of the café: their pastries. This is what Martínez is known for, and it’s what keeps me coming back. There are a few normal sized pastries; croissants (good, but very covered in some kind of sugary, apricot-ish preserve, so be ready), bread, and a too-flaky Baezan specialty covered in powdered sugar (which I do not recommend). Then there are the heavenly, colorful, beautiful, bite-sized morsels which I absolutely adore and get every time I come here. They each cost 60 cents and you can get as many or as few as you like, though I recommend a surtido, or selection of 6 on a little gold paper plate if you want to try a nice range. They have everything from cream puffs to little tarts filled with whipped cream and strawberries, to mini rolls of white cake filled with chocolate cream, and they are all very delicious. The tocino de cielo (a sweeter than sweet cousin of flan) is perfect, and looks like a perfectly structured cube of membrillo or flan. To be honest, I don’t really know what any of the pastries actually are and I haven’t cared to ask, but that just means I am delightfully surprised every time I order, and I kind of prefer to keep it that way. The woman at the counter usually is not super friendly and/or is on the phone, but if you wait patiently at the counter, she’ll come and help you sooner or later.

The technicalities

Pasteleria Martínez is open 7 days a week (which is amazing!) from 9am to 3pm and then again from 4:30pm to 10pm. It’s busiest in the late afternoon and early morning and if you want the best selection and freshest pastries, come early, as they don’t restock the glass cabinet throughout the day much. You order your drinks and your pastries separately; drinks at the bar, pastries at the pastry counter. Pay for the pastries when you order, but pay for your drinks when you’re done. It’s located at number 28 on c/ San Pablo which is Baeza’s main drag. It’s basically a continuation of Paseo de Constitución so it’s hard to miss. The café is not too well signed but it is located directly across from the old church on San Pablo. Just look for the well-dressed Baezanos and you can’t miss it!

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