The main tapas area in town is around Plaça Mayor, especially in the streets to the west of the square, especially around Calle Correos.
Vinotinto (Intermediate B+), 4 Calle Camana, off Calle Correos, Tel. 983 342 291
Recommended by the Michelin and Eyewitness guides, this is a well-reputed place with modern woody decor and a mainly meat based menu.
You can sit at the scant tables outside but will definitely need to reserve first. I preferred to stand at the bar or at the large wooden table in the centre of the lofty room.
The grill makes the atmosphere a bit smoky but it’s nice to watch your food being prepared. Service is dour to the extreme, as is often the case in Castilla, but I did force one or two smiles out of the old guys after a couple of visits.
I couldn’t afford many of the better racion options so stuck instead to the cheaper tapas and pinchos for around €2.50.
The Tostada Jamon was good (B+) but the highlight for me was the Morcilla smeared onto toast which was more moist and flavoursome than in other places (A).
I also liked the Criollo, a thick Argentinian sausage sliced up and served with bread for mopping up the pool of pimenton-laced fat left on the plate.
The Pincho de Cordero (skewer of lamb) was pretty satisfying too though (B) I wasn’t keen on the bread.
I tried glasses of red Ribeira Joven and rose Cigales here which were both fine (B) but the Toro Crianza, their ‘wine of the week’ as displayed on their blackboard, was my favourite (B+) and a snip at only €1.50.
I came back here twice for the Morcilla and Criollo because I liked them so much.
They have a sister bar called Vinotinto Joven over the road, staffed by equally dour but younger staff and with a more radical menu. I stopped in to try it but after being ignored for a several minutes, decided to call it a night. The staff in both places could definitely use a few lessons in customer service.
La Pequena Villa (Intermediate B), 5 Placa Mayor but seems as if it’s on Calle Pasión
Another Michelin guide sticker on the window and also a favourite of the local teacher I was working with. I thought it was just ok but perhaps I could have made better choices.
The saltcod and spinach Croqueta de Bacalao was great (A), just wish I’d ordered another.
The half racion of sausage and skinny chips, or Pincho de Salsicha y Patas Fritas, was nice too although they didn’t look quite as good as those served to the bloke next to me that I’d copied (B-).
The half racion of Boletus y Huevo seemed like a good choice given the local reputation for mushrooms but I wasn’t that keen on their rubbery texture or the combination with stirred in semi raw egg (C).
The glasses of Verdejo and Ribeira (Vegantigua) I had were fine but unremarkable (B).
Total cost, a reasonable €18.70. Definitely a place to try again.