There are many good places to eat in the Casco Histórico, but I think you have to catch them right. I had mixed success in several places with good reputations but you might have better luck than me. I’ve put them in order of preference and you’ll find them all on my map.
I’d recommend starting or ending an evening here…
Jacaranda Bar (Elementary B+), 1 Callejón Dos Codos
This is an atmospheric old bar down a back alley in the old town where I came for a couple of rum and cokes on my last night. It first opened in 1978 and the age of its clientele is reflected in the music they play, typically Bob Dylan and flamenco.
The furniture is fairly basic, fold up wooden chairs, but I liked the atmosphere and the old chap serving is friendly. The tapas are very simple, just ham and various kinds of cheese.
This is another place that’s cheap and atmospheric…
Bar Ludeña (Elementary B+), 13 Plaza de la Magdalena, www.facebook.com/pages/Bar-Lude
I came to this famous old bar on my first night to sample the classic local dish of Cascamusas Toledanas (A), a spicy pork stew made with tomatoes and peas which was invented in this very spot back in the sixties. It’s €4 for a racion here.
I asked for local wines but they didn’t seem to have any from Toledo, just fairly decent Tempranillos from nearby Ciudad Real and Albacete for €1.50 a glass. This includes a free tapa with every drink which is very reasonable.
The last wine bottle had problems standing up straight, usually it’s the other way around.
Restaurante Nuevo Almacén (Intermediate B), 7 Calle Nueva, www.nuevoalmacen.es
This modern place didn’t come up in my research, possibly because it’s quite new, but it was recommended by two local teachers so I gave it a go. It’s a very popular spot with the locals as it has a rep for well-priced good food.
On one of the teacher’s recommendations I had the Croquetas which came in two varieties; ham with veal and mushroom. They were pretty good (B) but they were huge and there were four, so it was a bit of a struggle to finish them.
I was craving rice so next I had the Risotto Foie which turned out to be too rich for me, especially after the Croquetas, and I couldn’t finish it.
Unfortunately of the two house reds I had, the Protos Tempranillo (usually good) was served very cold, a bugbear of mine, and the following warm Ribeira was unimpressive.
So along with my poor food choices and negligible service, my experience here wasn’t that great. I would give it another go though as I think I just had bad luck. Other people’s selections looked very nice and it must be popular for a reason.
On another evening I popped in to this place which is part of the renowned Adolfo group…
Restaurante Alfileritos 24 (Intermediate B), 24 Calle Alfileritos, www.alfileritos24.com
Another spot with a good rep, recommended by many guides and two local teachers.
However I made the mistake of having the Menu del Dia for lunch which was unimpressive. This is often the case with otherwise good restaurants as they are competing to make lunch as cheap as possible, just €12 in this case. The ? was passable (B) but I wasn’t keen on the White Beans with Mussels (C-) and the Rice Pudding was pretty boring (C+). I’d give it another chance though.
Colección Catedral (Intermediate B), 1 Calle Nuncio Viejo, www.grupoadolfo.com
This is a modern space without much atmosphere but they have a good rep for food.
Unfortunately I discovered that they don’t do tapas, just raciones, so I just had a glass of wine (B) and some cured cheese (B+) as I was quite full from being in Ludena earlier. There’s a deli downstairs but I didn’t have time to check it out.
And a few others that were on my hitlist that I didn’t quite make it to…
A good place for a group would be the basement of La Abadía www.abadiatoledo.com which is a warren of little atmospheric rooms and niches.
I also wanted to sit outside Cervecería Trébol cerveceriatrebol.com at 1 Calle de Santa Fe, but it wasn’t open on the nights I wanted to go.
On a warm summer’s evening I think Hacienda del Cardenal www.restaurantedelcardenal.com would be a lovely spot for al fresco dining.
It was a bit too chilly for me to sit outside in March though. They specialise in roast suckling pig and lamb, two of my favourite things in life.
And they are a hotel too…
I stayed at the Sercotel Alfonso VI (Intermediate B) www.sercotelhoteles.com which was comfortable enough but nothing special. Breakfast wasn’t of the best quality but I’ve had far worse. It’s immediately opposite the Alacazar and is well placed for the central Plaza de Zocodover and the old town.
My diary one day; “Just had a rather surreal breakfast. All week I’ve been eating by myself in a faux medieval banqueting hall complete with suits of armour and heavy wrought iron chandeliers and braziers on the wall. This morning I was joined by fifty Chinese tourists intent on nicking everything edible and filling their thermos flasks from the coffee machines. There was nothing left except for a few crumbs, despite the frantic efforts of a single lonely waiter. Fortunately I only wanted a coffee and a bit of melon anyway although, it took me a while to just get those simple things, let alone find somewhere to sit and eat them. It was absolute mayhem, all set to the soundtrack of Waterloo by Abba blasting out at top volume! Strangely enough, you get used to these kinds of things in my line of work.”
Next, a going home treat at the poshest restaurant in town…