Sadly there is a large Western portion of Spain's territory that is hardly mentioned, less rarely visited and often chalked-up as a destination for students and bachelors seeking out a weekend of heavy drinking and passing out among frog statues. The Salamanca that has been painted for us by the media and Erasmus students' Facebook profiles is that. However, to be led through Salamanca by a local is an opportunity to explore a powerfully Spanish cultural experience en pleno Castilla y Leon, a land that bears the remains of Celtic tribes, Romans, Moors and a history through the Middle ages.
We arrived with a wedding agenda that included suggestions to visit Plaza Mayor, tour the University - the 3rd oldest in Europe and oldest in Spain- and enjoy the luxurious accommodation and service provided by staff at the recommend hotel. I on the other hand, headed straight for the gastronomic center of the city, which I knew was heavily enriched with finely cured meats like jamón ibérico de bellota de Guijuelo and chorizo stuffed pies. I even sent a text to the groom on his wedding day asking for specific gastropub must-eats - do I have no shame?! Between him - felicidades Sara y Aaron - and our helpful hostel manager (we opted for spending our money on food not the hotel), we narrowed the finalists to Diabluras Gastrobar and Cuzco Bodega, unfortunately Tapas 2.0 was closed but I recommend them anyways. Both restaurants, and their friendly owners and servers offered a plentiful menu, an outstanding price to quality ratio and rounded out our weekend as a successful visit to this magical medieval wonderland.
**Insider's tip: be sure to buy a few packages of vacuum sealed jamón for the ride home at the central market (closed Sundays) or specialty meat shops, you won't find this taste at such a price per kilo in other Spanish cities.
We were pleasantly happy with this Crianza 2008 of Bodegas Pago los Balancines, a blend of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot holding the DO Ribera del Guadiana.
In a presumably Spanish style, there is limited space and seating. But the kitchen is close by so you know your food will be hot and served quickly. Easy access to the server and bar are also a plus.
A cozy nook at Diabluras Gastrobar, Salamanca, Spain.
Bombón de foie carmelizado con Oporto. Caramelized foie gras bonbon with Port wine.
Cochinillo confitado con manzana. Suckling pig confit with apple at Diabluras, Salamanca, Spain.
Vainilla, mango y rosas. Vanilla, mango and roses. A refreshing alternative for those that can't handle chocolate (I don't understand those people!!).
Also open for delicious and affordable breakfasts including torrijas, and a spectacular lunch offer, menú degustación consisting of four tapas and a dessert for 10 euros. Even better, is the fact that it sits walking distance from Plaza Mayor and all the major attractions.
Calle del Pozo Amarillo 6
37001 Salamanca, Spain
+34 601 02 79 78
Between your tapas crawl, take in the city, a gorgeous offering of architecture and light.
As well as these funky graffiti pieces through the old city, which appear to be hand colored with crayons.
Second stop on the tour, Cuzco Bodega, Salamanca, Spain.
Mini hamburguesa. Mini pork hamburger.
Solomillo de cerdo con queso de cabra a la plancha. Pork fillet served with seared goat cheese.
Front page and back filled with creative tapas options, and at these prices you are welcome to try a few.
Cuzco was slightly more casual as far as restaurant space and menu items were concerned. Additional to their standing at the bar theme inside, there are outside tables on the street at a first come first serve basis.
Calle del Rey 5
37002 Salamanca, Spain