I’m in Zamora. But where should I eat?
Good question. I’m glad you asked! I personally love eating, but I know of no one who relishes good food more than Mario and his family, true Zamorans (zamoranos) who know a good meal when they see one. Thus, I’m very excited to share with you my favorite places to eat or grab some tapas in Zamora!
Check out my Google Map of Where to Eat and Drink in Zamora, Spain!
Restaurants in Zamora
It’s lunchtime, and you’re hungry. You’re looking for more of a sit-down meal than tapas, and you’ll fit right in, because tapas are more of a dinnertime thing anyway. So where should you choose?
1. Restaurante El Bier.
Address: Calle Benavente, 7
I loved this place so much, I made Mario take me on date here, dragged my parents here, and I’d probably drag you here if I could. Located five minutes walking from Mario’s childhood home, it’s the prototype for what a good, hearty Spanish meal should be. Lunch is cheaper than dinner, so go around 2 p.m., order a bottle of wine, and start relaxing.
What To Eat: Merluza hojaldrada, or hake in a puff-pastry shell with leek-cream sauce. To die for. Also—try a light first course, because this one, although it’s fish-based, is not light.
2. Restaurante La Rúa
Address: Calle de la Rúa de los Francos, 21
This place is famous for its arroz a la zamorana (Zamoran rice) and arroz con bogavante (rice with lobster). Arroz a la zamorana is a humble, peasant dish made with rice and parts of the pig from the matanza, the ritual pig slaughter, which tend to be things like oreja, ear, or hooves along with ham and sometimes ribs. The dish, usually served in a traditional clay pot, is red due to the use of Spanish paprika.
What To Eat: Arroz a la zamorana. Go there with an empty stomach, however!
3. El Rincón de Antonio
Address: Calle de la Rúa de los Francos, 6
Are you looking for a bit more of a gourmet meal? El Rincón de Antonio, once home to one Michelin star, is the place to find that in Zamora. Antonio González, the chef, runs the restaurant with his siblings, Manuela (who works in the kitchen) and Ricardo (who works in the dining room). The restaurant is at the forefront of Castilla-Leonese cuisine while still using traditional methods and products of the region.
What To Eat: You choose, but here are some mentions: pulpo frito, crema de cerveza, chorizo zamorano confitado a baja temperatura; paletilla de cordero churro melosa, ligado con pan y tomate, cebollas asadas, laminas de macadamia, aceite de mostaza; cañas de Zamora de harina tradicional rellenas de crema de haba de tonka, helado de chocolate crujiente.
De Tapas por Zamora
By now you’ve eaten well and seen the cathedral, walked along the city walls, and meandered through the casco antiguo. You’re ready for some tapas! Oh, and wine too. Don’t forget the wine! Here are my recommendations for tapas in Zamora:
1. El Chillón
Address: Calle de Diego de Ordax, 6
El Chillón was site of many soccer-watching parties during the Eurocup last year. It’s a good thing the tapas weren’t bad either! In fact, Mario lists this place among his “can’t-fail” sites to eat. Some things you have to be in the mood for, but El Chillón’s tortilla is not one of them.
What To Eat: Tortilla con salsa. If you order a pincho of tortilla, they’ll ask, “¿Con o sin salsa?” You must answer, “Con.” The salsa is the sauce from making callos, or tripe, and it is delicious. I’m not of a fan of tripe—at all—but the sauce? Yes. It’s made from tomatoes and cumin, among other things, and it is divine. Grab a glass of Elías Mora while you’re at it, or if you feel like it, mosto tinto, purple grape juice. Drink (and eat) up!
2. Bar Kalima
Address: Calle San Andrés, 8
Another can’t-fail bar, El Kalima is known to be crowded on Friday and Saturday nights after 9, so get there early if you can. Cozy up to the bar, order a glass of one of the wines listed (all Toro), and not only will you get your order but also a free tapa to tide you over. Nice!
What To Eat: You must get the solomillo al cabrales, a sandwich made with pork loin and Cabrales cheese. It’s great bang for your buck, as the sandwich (made with pan de pueblo) is certainly not small! Happy eating!
3. Bar Lobo and La Casa de los Pinchitos
There are actually two of these bars, one right around the corner from the other, but the real question is: ¿Que pique o que no pique? You can’t have it both ways here—do you want it spicy? From the outside, this bar doesn’t look like much, but it’s home to some of the best pinchos morunos, which are like our kebabs. Pork on a stick, basically, but the best pork on a stick of your life.
Video from Spain’s Channel 6 about La Casa de los Pinchitos
What To Eat: Un pincho, please. You decide if it should be que pique or not.
4. Bar Sevilla
Address: Calle Alfonso de Castro, 5
This place is un bar típico. You throw you napkins on the floor, you fight with other patrons to get your order in, and cleanliness is not always next to godliness. But … just sit down and order your calamares.
What To Eat: If you’re with a group, order the fried squid. It’s good for soaking up all those glasses of wine or cañas.
5. Bar Merlú
Located in the heart of Zamora’s tapas district, this bar is somewhat new. It’s run by a friend of a friend, and I can’t recommend it enough. Good service? It’s not unheard of.
What To Order: Los mejillones, mussels, or the foie. Or both, go with both. With your drink order they’ll also give you a free one. What’s better than free? To drink, try a glass of Rejadorada, another Toro wine.
6. Bar Caballero
Yes, these numbers 5 and 6 seem to have the same address, but I assure that they are two separate locales. They’re just right next to each other in Zamora’s tapas neighborhood. This bar, the “gentleman’s bar,” is the kind of place you eat standing up, shoulder to shoulder with seemingly all of Zamora’s residents, young and old.
What To Order: Patatas ali-oli, which come with both ali-oli and bravas sauce. They’ll give you a little basket of bread and forks; the not-spilling-on-yourself part is up to you.
7. El Pata Negra
Address: Calle Pelayo, 4
This bar is a start-your-night-out kind of bar, the kind of bar you go with to sit down and have a proper tosta, a piece of toast with something delicious atop it. Here you’ll be able to try some of Toro’s best wines, though I must admit I get stuck on, as always, Elías Mora. Try the Crianza!
What To Order: A tosta, of course. My personal favorites include salmon and jamón.
So you’re ready to move on from beer and wine and have some gin and tonics or rum and cokes. The place to go is Calle Los Herreros, where all Zamora’s partiers go around 12 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. If you’re looking for artisan gin bars, this isn’t the street for you, but if you’re looking to party—welcome!
If you’re feeling a bit hungry after a few drinks, check out my favorite bar for some triángulos, or half-sandwiches, the purposely-misspelled Bayadoliz (a funny take on Valladolid).
The Morning After: Churrería Malú
Address: Plaza del Mercado, s/n
Stop by Zamora’s most famous churrería for some piping-hot churros or porras con chocolate. You may have to wait in line, but be warned—it’s definitely worth it! This place is located in the Plaza del Mercado, the market square, right by the old mercado de abastos. It’s one of the only places open there on Sunday mornings, precisely for those day-after necessities.