Salamanca: Ment, En la Parra or elsewhere? Plus tapas recs

I always enjoy evening strolls in Salamanca and the city alone is a reason to visit. Food wise, I’ve liked Vinodiario for great and interesting wines by the glass and some very good tapas.

But we haven’t had any great experiences. A lot of attention on a new modern place Ment which quickly got Repsol and Michelin attention but polarizing review.

En La Parra has been around for a while and seems like a comfortable but excellent tasting menu on a Sunday afternoon.
Any thoughts on either of these or another option to consider?

Also would appreciate insights on tapas places to try.

Salamanca is indeed a wonderful city (I studied there).
I have En la Parra at the top of my “must try” list.

Lately there have been more tapas/gastro bars getting recognition from Repsol and the gastro critics I follow.

In addition to Vinodiario, you should try Tapas 3.0 if you haven’t already.

Tapas 3.0: recommended by Michelin & Repsol for their tortilla (“best tortilla in Salamanca province” award.

Oro Viejo gastro bar gets a nod from Repsol as well.

Also El Mesón de Gonzalo (recommended by Maribona in ABC and 1 Repsol sun) for their Carrasco label Iberian ham from Guijuelo. Many of the best tapas bars in Spain are now serving Carrasco as their house brand of Iberian ham.

Another Maribona and Repsol recommendation: El Alquimista

Thanks, Maribel. This looks great for a Saturday night tapas crawl. Will decide on Ment vs En la Parra and report back. Similar situation to Toqha with super polarizing reviews. I think we are leaning toward Toqha in Puerto and so maybe we will select en la Parra for Salamanca.

En la Parra has received very solid reviews from the professional critics that I trust. For my next visit (soon, I hope), I will head straight to En la Parra.

Maribona’s favorite Salamanca province restaurant is Don Fadrique in Alba de Tormes, if you happen to go by on your way to the city. One Repsol sun.

A review of En la Parra from another gastro critic I follow-

Thanks for the links. Some other good reviews there.

I have Don Fadrique on my list but we only have a single day to transit Castile this year and Mannix has to take priority. My wife does not eat lamb (maybe really her only serious flaw) and so will enjoy the tapas recs that evening in Salamanca.

About Mannix,
Gemma García, the niece in charge of the apps, desserts and wine cellar, left the “Mannix nest” to supervise the kitchens of the new Restaurant El Puntido gastronomic space inside the Sierra de Cantabria bodega in tiny Páganos, Rioja Alavesa. I don’t know if this was a temporary move just to get the restaurant up and going or whether it’s going to be long term. She’s still listed on the web site as part of the Mannix team.

I was surprised that she had gone out on her own, but I suspect it may be just a temporary move. José Andrés wanted to take her back to the US but according to her sister, Alicia, she wanted to stay in Campaspero.

Before she left, this spring we had a wonderful lunch at Mannix, our best to date, with an absolutely packed house on a Sunday afternoon and a more sophisticated look for the cavernous dining room.
For apps, Gemma’s sister recommended the tuna nigiri, the steak picaña and the brioche de cochinita pibil de carrillera ibérica.
We ordered the lechazo to share, accompanied by their terrific tomato and lettuce salad and for dessert, the trampantojo de limón (also recommended by Alicia, whom we met at the bar).
To drink, a bottle of Briego crianza (we had toured this nearby winery and enjoy their wines) and with dessert, an ice cider.
The lamb, of course, prepared by Marcos Antonio, master asador, is one of the best in Castile.

For us, this has always been our most enjoyable roast lamb experience.

I had heard Gemma stepped up the entrantes offerings so perhaps my wife will be able to try some of those. Sounds like some Western Hemisphere influences.

I’m noting this wine choice as well.

Yes, her sister said that she had created some 25 entrantes and some diners order them ahead of time to make sure they’re available. She’s also stepped up the desserts, so your wife could make a lovely meal of the entrantes and desserts. Our waiter actually told us to do that when we return–just to come back for the apps and desserts!

Looks like En La Parra is closed on Sundays in October. Thinking about Consentido, the chef was just nominated for Madrid Fusion “revelation chef”. Any thoughts on this vs others? We are keen to stay in the city on this day.

Yes, I completely forgot about ConSentido.
We attended Madrid Fusion this spring (next year it will be back in Jan.) and remember his nomination. His cooking is kilometer zero, so no seafood other than Tormes River trout and cod. Lots of emphasis on Iberian ham, “chacinas”, stews, and local veal. In November it will be game and mushroom season.

Interesting that Aitor Arregi of Elkano chose him to inaugurate the “Elkano of the south”, Cataria, in Novo Sancti Petri. He’s trained with some of the greats, starting with Luis Irizar, then Zuberoa, so it should be a safe bet. Capel of El País gave it a solid review.

The game and mushroom sounds great and since we are heavy on seafood in Andalusia and Galicia i think It’s a good option. We are wanting something in walking distance and this fits. Thanks again!

I love dining out in November during mushroom, truffle and game season. I hope his lomo de jabalí (loin of wild boar) and his mini brioche of wild mushrooms are on the menu (Capel enjoyed these).

Short report on Salamanca (and Mannix)

MANNIX- was great to get back and packed as usual on a Saturday. Desserts are now made by Gemma’s sister Alicia and don’t seem to have lost any quality. Gemma is apparently now at Lera in Zamora province. We went there in 2017 and thought it was good but not fantastic. On the other hand, just about every top restaurant that shows their “books” to customers on a shelf near the reception has the Lera book so maybe we need to go back. The lechazo is still the best. Seems like the entrantes by Gemma have left with her.

CONSENTIDO- a great experience. Many off menu items and you can order 1/2 and 1/3 portions to create your own menu. Highlights included 3 kinds of rarer in season mushrooms, croquettes with stew, wild hare and pigeon royale. Chef Carlos and his team are extremely welcoming and accessible.

EL MESON DE GONZALO- really solid regional dishes. Do not miss the gran reserva Carrasco jamon iberico. Note that tapas de Gonzalo on the plaza mayor does not have the gran reserva but does have the view.

Hi tigerjohn,
Thanks as always for the feedback!

I’m really surprised that Gemma has gone to Lera in Zamora, another professional food critics’s pilgrimage site. She apparently then, went to Sierra de Cantabria’s El Puntido restaurant just to get it started. I’m sorry the entrantes left with her. But I’m glad that Alicia is keeping her dessert recipes and executing them well.

I’ll be in Salamanca this winter after Madrid Fusion so appreciate that you had a good experience with both Consentido and Mesón de Gonzalo. I love Carrasco.

Here’s a very recent critic´s review of Lera. It would be especially inviting during game season. Luis Lera is a former game hunter turned chef.

Seems like they have upped the game a bit. I remember a lunch tasting of 7 different game dishes was around 50 euros when we were there.

I’m in Salamanca now and yesterday had a wonderful lunch at Consentido, next to the Mercado. Since I’m traveling alone, I reserved a space at the bar infront of the open kitchen. The staff were extremely accommodating, including the charming chef, Carlos Hernández del Río, who explained the concept of the restaurant in great detail. I told him to prepare a small degustation menu for me, and without any offal, which I don’t eat.
We had seen his presentation at this year’s Madrid Fusion so was eager to try his
dishes, all locally sourced.

The sommelier paired each of the 7 small courses in unexpected ways, with half glasses of Madeira and Solear Barbadillo or 2 courses.
Everyone in the kitchen was eager to know how I enjoyed each dish.

I did have the jabalí, a truffled potato in truffle sauce, squab, acelgas, trompetas de muerte (which have not been on the menus elsewhere), chuleta tartare, and Tormes river trout in pil pil sauce, not in that order.

Highly recommended.

I also today thoroughly enjoyed Bambú Tapas y Brasas,a half block from the Plaza Mayor, Quite impressive open kitchen and wood fired grill in the back where one comes to share a number of tapas or larger plates. It was packed, a good sign, and service superb. I had a zamburiña a la brasa with coconut sauce, a buñuelo de bacalao and grilled artichoke a la brasa. The patatas revolconas looked wonderful and must be shared. For dessert, the piña a la brasa con nata
y helado de cítricos, best pineapple I have ever had! The cheesecake looked very interesting and is meant to be shared, as are most dishes.

Again the staff here is extremely attentive, the room filled with high tables and a nice design, fair prices and I see why it´s Michelin recommended. If you find yourself in Salamanca again, add it to your list!

Tapas in the evening on the Plaza Mayor at Gonzalo with that incredible view and a light lunch at ipan ivino next to Tapas 3.0, which never had any customers when I went by.
Tonight´s dinner is at Vino Diario.

I did pass by Ment and En la Parra next door to each other, but I wanted to dine at the bar in front of an open kitchen as a singleton. With my husband, we will go to En la Parra. The female chef and Carlos Hernández del Río did a ¨cuatro manos¨ recently.

Tonight at Vinodiario—lovely service, diners started arriving at 8, I at 8:30 and tables were filled by 9, so must reserve. I enjoyed the endive filled with guacamole, bonito del norte y sardina (half portion) and a special of local caviar lentejas topped with panceta.

The wine list is filled with wines from very small producers, and of the entire list, I recognized only 4. I had a Cursol from Sierra de Francia, a mix of rufete (the local grape), garnacha and tempranillo. Lovely owner who treated me to a second glass of wine and a cheesecake mousse for dessert. Very reasonable prices and one to repeat, “a diario”! (Yes, they’re open daily for lunch and dinner).

Highly recommended.

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Thanks for the report on some of my favorite places in Salamanca. Great to hear chef Carlos and the wine team are still providing a great experience. We got several great Barcelona recs from Carlos and the sommelier including Taberna noroeste in Poble Sec (short tasting menu with a focus on Asturias and Galicia style dishes).

I’m eager to hear about En La Parra and will try Bambú as the menu looks great. I’m more enthusiastic about the wines ar Vinodiario than the food but it’s always a nice evening and the wines are indeed hard to find. Salamanca really has a lot to offer despite its small size. More than Toledo and the other Castilla-Leon cities in my opinion. I still need to visit Valladolid though.