[Spain] Recently in Cuenca or Caceres?

Hi all,
If I manage to not get covid for one more month or so, I’ll be heading to Spain in May. It’s still loose and tentative, but thinking a couple days in Cuenca, then break up a drive to Caceres (4 days) with Toledo (1 day), then the last night in Alcala de Henares. Does anyone have any suggestions for any of those towns?
I have heard of Atrio in Caceres–we are not averse to fine dining, but generally prefer more low key establishments. On past visits to Spain I have liked the ease of making a meal out of tapas given that I do not eat meat. My husband does not really care whether he eats it or not, so looking for places where we can both eat well. I do eat seafood, but given we will not be right on the sea, it will not be an emphasis. Thanks in advance for any recommendations!

The owners of Atrio have reopened the Torre de Sande, which is not as pricey as the 2- Michelin starred Atrio, but it’s still formal dining.

For something less fancy, more low key in Cáceres, I would head to El Figón de Eustaquio for sit down dining or any of the many tapas bars (there called taperías) on the Plaza de San Juan (La Morocco) or Plaza Mayor (Minerva, El Rincón).

http://elfigondeeustaquio.com.
https://www.laminervacaceres.com/imprescindibles-en-caceres-tapas-y-canas-en-la-plaza-mayor/

Tapería Yuste is housed in the NH Palacio de Oquendo.
https://www.nh-collection.com/en/hotel/nh-collection-caceres-palacio-de-oquendo/restaurants

Chef Jesús Segura is scheduled (finally) to open his restaurant in Cuenca’s Casas Colgadas in June or July. There’s been a very long delay. But it won’t be casual dining.

For sit down dining with views in Cuenca, maybe La Posada de San José–it has a Repsol “solete”.

If you have a car, 25 min East of Caceres In Torrequemada, there is a place to get great cochinillo, “La Plaza”. Best to call them to reserve and order your portions ahead of time particularly on the weekend.

Hi tigerjohn,
It’s great to see you here! I still have “La Plaza” in Torrequemada on my must try list!

Thanks all–nice to see you here, Maribel. I have read your posts many years on Fodors and Chowhound! I’ll cross my fingers that perhaps one of the new places in Cuenca will do a preview or open earlier. Eating in the hanging houses sounds charming.
I’m veg, tigerjohn, but I hope that will be helpful for others who read this. We will indeed be driving around the area.

Glad you and a few others are migrating over as well! If you get a chance to try La Plaza, let me know what you think. I’ve only had cochinillo at Jose Maria in Segovia to compare and I think La Plaza is better. Make sure you get his local jamon iberico as well.

Missed that, sorry Valadelphia. Atrio would be a good choice.

Hope that others migrate over here from CH as well. I see that La Plaza in Torrequemada now has a Repsol “solete”.

These “soletes” are new Repsol Guide awards for casual, inexpensive, modest meals, such as those family-run eateries in small villages, beach bars (chiringuitos), tapas bars, cider houses, pizzerias, outstanding ice cream shops (like Logroño’s DellaSerra), churrerías, cafeterias and now highway roadhouses, like Area Boceguillas on the A-1 where we always stop for an individual, freshly made tortilla and sometimes even roast baby lamb on our way up to Lerma/Burgos

So now when seeking out a tapas bar in an unfamiliar town. I look first to see which have received a Repsol solete.

That’s great to know. We have a few solete type places we’ve discovered but much harder to find than tapas/pinchos or higher end restaurants.

So happy to report back that we had a great visit to Cuenca and Cáceres!
We were starving on arrival in Cuenca and ate lunch in the square at Los Arcos, which was solid (eggs and mushrooms sin jamon for me, swordfish [or something similar] and potatoes for husband.
We liked the looks of the patio at Piola Gastrobar and had a pleasant dinner there. Bacalao fritters fantastic, husband’s squid ink and sea bass pasta phenomenal, fine salad with burrata and artichoke app, my hake lasagna was just too rich.
The next night we got more ambitious and had the meal of the trip at Raff (repsol solete). I was literally tearing up at how good it was, and was reminded of what I have missed about dining out the last couple years.
Amuse bouche: salmorejo and hummus with capers, followed by the most perfectly cooked asparagus ever (with romesco), husband’s trout escabeche also a wow, I had the fish stew with saffron, husband won again with octopus and winter squash. I was pleased at the care taken with the wine rec–an orange wine from the region. Dining area was well spaced out, ceilings high–I felt very comfortable eating indoors here.
The Casas Colgadas restaurant was still not open. I halfheartedly inquired through the website at Trivio, but we has decided we were not quite ready for dining in close quarters indoors. The space (at edge of old town) looks cool–possibly too hip for us, lol.
In Cáceres, we again ate with urgency the first meal–Taperia Yuste, where the tapas was forgettable but the shared late of squid and lime aioli was perhaps the finest squid I’ve ever eaten. Service was indifferent, probably the only place I ever felt that.
The next two nights we ate at the outstanding El Figón de Eustaquio. I was again nearly brought to tears, this time bu a cod puree that my husband likened to butter chicken. The mushroom croquetone was also amazing. Salads were excellent. The next night we finished off the seafood menu–tuna and gambas. I was pleasantly surprised by how good seafood was in both regions–especially in the land of jamon.
We tried plaza mayor the next night and it was loud from annoying autotune music and prep for a festival, so we headed back to the peaceful plaza San Juan and tried La Morocho. This was very different and we enjoyed it. Husband had a squid ink risotto he raved about, also liked the escarole salad with bacalao and I think some kind of pork. I needed vegetables and had a spicy rice dish with garbanzos and fried eggs–excellent but too much food (get the small portions unless sharing).
Our last meal was at El Rincon, more perfectly prepared squid, boquerones, and the best grilled vegetables I’ve ever had.
I loved the yellow herbal digestivo–need to research that.
We walked by Atrio and Torre de Sande several times, but they just did not look inviting and the weather was so perfect we wanted to be outside (having the test to return also influenced this).
The Repsol website was extremely helpful–in addition to listings for each town, there are features like “48 hours in [town].”
We ended up not going to Toledo, spent last night in Alcala de Henares where we liked the good quality beer food at Cerveceria El Hidalgo and dinner at Hostaria Estudiante.
It was so good to be in Spain and in two stunning and seemingly overlooked areas (by Americans anyway) after a long hiatus, thanks everyone!

One complaint: Spanish women wear a lot of perfume, and I have a sensitivity–especially to the one that is so extremely popular right now (everyone seemed to be wearing it). Eating indoors close to other tables would have been unbearable–it was nearly so outdoors at times. I’d rather smell cigarette smoke in all honesty. Alas, something I just have to deal with, all over the world.

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