I'll be spending four days in Zaragoza for work and have found very little to go on food-wise. There's only one thread that actually mentions a Zaragoza restaurant (Ana Saz) versus just driving through it.
Has anyone spent any time here? Any restaurant recommendations? Even the guidebooks have very little about the town, which is surprising given that it's the fifth largest in Spain.
P.S. My apologies for going off topic on the Tickets/Arzak thread. Seriously, what the? How many different ways can someone ask about reservations at Tickets?
I'll hitch my wagon to this thread since I'll be there in late September and have not found much beyond a few blogs and recs from TripAdvisor which I really don't trust at all.
I'm particularly interested in budget, traditional and local sit down places and tapas bars. Not really looking for paella, pizza or Asian-fusion.
Thanks in advance to all,
On the basis that most users of this site don't venture out of well defined parts of Spain (pretty much Barcelona, Madrid, San Sebastian), it's perhaps not surprising there's not much information on the site about the rest of the country
Perhaps you need to do what canny Europeans would do if visiting an unknown area. We'd consult the Michelin Guide and its website. It'd find you the 1* Bal d'Onsera and several restaurants rated from 1 to 3 forks.
I've heard that the Michelin Guide's Spanish recommendations are a bit suspect. Curious to know if anyone has any thoughts about that.
But, it may be the best that we have to go on for Zaragoza. And, it is a relatively small city. Perhaps I could eat my way through it in the time while I'm there. If so, I'll report back on my findings. I'm willing to do my best for science.
I've never used the Repsol. As regards the "fork" listings in Michelin, they are, of course, not as rigorously inspected as the starred places but I find them generally reliable indicators of the quality of a place. For example, we travel to Mallorca regularly and find that the places listed also tend to be well thought of, in posts on local discussion boards there. And, when we've eaten there they've proved to be of decent quality.
Often, it's all there is by way of suggestions, By way of a similar example, we are soon travelling to northern Italy. There is nothing on the particular town we are staying in, other than the usual unreliable TripAdvisor posts. But Michelin has turned up a couple of places that we might not have otherwise picked up on.
We've been living in Zaragoza for just over a year now and overall we've found the food scene to be very underwhelming.
However there are a few places worth checking out.
El Angel Del Pincho is a tiny tapas bar that serves only two types of tapas: Argentinian-style empanadas and tempura. Both are very well executed and cooked to order. Look out for the tempura borraja, a local vegetable which we find otherwise inedible.
Calle de Jordán de Urries, 5
Marisqueria Tony is just around the corner from El Angel and is worth a mention for their excellent razor clams, gooseneck barnacles and octopus. It's a no nonsense kind of place and very popular with locals in the evenings.
Calle Don Jaime I, 40
Bodegas Almau is the best of the tapas bars in El Tubo and has the biggest wine list in that area for sure. El Tubo can be a lot of fun if you just want to eat tapas.
Calle Estébanes, 10
La Fama is the place to hit if you want to eat churros and porras. Some of the best we've eaten in Spain,they're cooked in fresh batches just behind the bar. Sadly, most other bars in town serve up cold, hard two day old churros!!
Calle de Prudencio 25
And finally, if you find yourself in Zaragoza on a Sunday morning head to Antigua Casa Paricio for a glass or two of Vermouth and some pickled fish.
Zaragoza is not such a small town. It is a fairly large city with a bustling centre. The Cathedral and the Basilica are worth a stop inside. Amazing. The Bridge is lovely for a stroll too.
I have a list of the tapas bars and restaurants where we chowed down last time we were there.
I shall send on 1st Saturday.
Have a great time.
I just returned from Zaragoza and it didn't seem like a culinary dead zone to me as bobyjo described, although, my expectations weren't high and I can see how things can get a bit dull after a year there. I actually got the impression that one could eat fairly well there, if at least for a little while. Sadly, I saw bobyjo's recs below a bit too late, after I had left. Thanks for the recs just the same.
I hit a number of tapas bars that were acceptable, but nothing to write home about. Among these, La Republica, stood out for it's decor and throwback ambiance. Elsewhere, I did have some very good tapas at La Reserva. I also enjoyed a lunch that I had at Al Barracin next door. It was nothing sublime, but it was a satisfying, hearty meal. I went with a lamb shank and a seafood salad. I did the three course option that came with a bottle of water and wine for 20 Euro, which seemed like a pretty good deal, especially as I was expecting a glass, not a bottle of wine with it. Another highlight was Casa Lac. I did a couple of tapas samplers with a couple glasses of local wine with a cena before that. My total bill came to about 18 Euro, which seemed cheap. Their tapas were prepared with a bit more flair than elsewhere, really more small dishes rather than your typical tapas (I realize that probably makes more sense in my head than on paper here). I left satisfied, which is saying something after I had hit both Cal Pep and Quimet y Quimet in Barcelona for lunch earlier that day. The service here was great. The staff at La Reserva were a bit cold. Al Barracin were somewhere in between. I would like to have tried Los Victorinos, but couldn't find it. As Harters pointed out, there is a MIchelin one star in town. I also heard good things about the Aragonia Restaurant in the Hotel Palafox.
Sorry for the late report. We were in Zaragoza for two nights, the last week of September and, although we tried our best, we didn’t get as much eating in as we would have liked since I was feeling a bit under the weather. Nonetheless we did get to visit some very nice places so here goes.
Corner of El Tubo and C/ Cuatro de Agosto
This bar seems to be one of those places that has been around forever without ever changing. It’s run by a husband and wife team. He does the cooking and she handles the customers. Service is brisk but friendly. The clientele looked like mostly regulars. They say Bar Texas makes the best bravas in Spain and they could very well be right. The potatoes were soft and flavourful inside, crisp on the outside and the sauces, alioli and salsa brava, were both top notch. We also had decent fried lamb sweetbreads and some forgettable croquetas. I would go back but stick to the bravas.
Calle de los Estébanes, 10
This place is famous for its many pinchos featuring anchovies. We sampled a few including one with a piquillo pepper, another with fresh cheese and honey and the Explosion de Vinagre which wasn’t as explosive as I would have hoped, but still good. The selection of wines here is quite good and prices are ok. I think it’s definitely worth a stop.
Calle de los Estébanes, 6
This smallish bar with modern décor does croquetas in every imaginable variation. We ordered a few including one with morcilla, one with foie gras, one with mushroom, one with queso de cabrales. It was all delicious and we would have gone back for more if I had felt better on our second night. They also seem to specialize in huevos rotos with almost as many variation as their croquettes. This one is highly recommended.
Calle de los Estébanes, 4
Across the street from Doña Casta with a more traditional bar decor. We ordered two fried items, mousse of morcilla, Roquefort, shrimp and crab surimi shaped like a fried wonton and spicy beef “taco” shaped like small egg roll. Both were quite tasty.
Pedro Saputo Taberna
Calle de Antonio Agustín, 19
This was our day two lunch. Pedro Saputo is an unassuming taberna on a side street at the edge of the old town. Our lunch here was great although very heavy. We ordered some judias verdes (green beans). Overcooked (it’s the Spanish way) and drowning in oil along with a few potatoes, they were flavourful nonetheless. Next came huevos rotos with Serrano ham, truffle shavings and truffle oil. Again, these were very oily, but delicious and we finished the large portion. We followed that with madejitas, a smaller version of madejas, a local specialty of lamb innards wrapped in lamb innards and deep-fried. Tastes better than it sounds. We finished that with a local pudding. I forget the details of that one. Our waitress was great. She was very happy to answer our questions and make suggestions. Overall it was a good meal.
Calle de Prudencio, 25
We had both our breakfasts here. Churros were top-notch. Some of the best I’ve had in Spain. Porras were also very good. Chocolate was good, but nothing special. I’d say this one is a must.
A nice little local market with of beautiful produce. I bought some Teruel ham as part of my Great Jamón Quest of 2012™. It was good ham.
I was excited to try Frutas de Aragón, but they turned out to be a disappointment. They’re iffy fruit paste dipped in cheap chocolate. I had some boozy ones which were a bit better, but not by much. It’s important to shop around for these, prices for the same products can vary greatly from one shop to another.
I had a lot of places on my list, which we didn’t get to. I guess I’ll have to go back. Before leaving, I made a Google map of the places I wanted to check out. I guess it could always be useful to someone else for trip planning.
I've been reminded that the madejitas at Pedro Saputo were simply lamb intestines wrapped around a green onion. To the best of my knowledge, madejas are normally small intestines wrapped around a piece of large intestine and green onion.
BTW, sorry for the typos and the mediocre writing.