This morning we left Santiago and drove four hours to Salamanca. Easily finding our hotel on a splendid plaza in the center of town, with a parking garage just across the street, we settled into our room on the top floor with a panoramic view of the city.
After that, we set off in search of tapas, first trying for Factory Gourmet, which I had read about on Tripadvisor, but unfortunately it was closed on Mondays. Luckily, Michelin lists Tapas 2.0 as an excellent place for modern and traditional tapas, and it was just around the corner from Factory Gourmet. We had 5 tapas, all delicious, particularly the pork “sashimi”, lightly seared pork with a soy-based sauce, and tempura of langoustines and asparagus. For dessert we had “cheesecake” with strawberries, which was not your usual cheesecake, but a liquid cheese over a bed of cake crumbs, topped with chopped strawberries. Very good. With a bottle of Ribeiro del Duero, this substantial meal came to 40 euros.
After lunch, we toured the town, including the Plaza Mayor, the Cathedrals (old and new, one adjoining the other) and the university. Salamanca is a very handsome town with well-dressed stone buildings featuring distinctive wrought ironwork railings. The university “es las muchas antigua d’Espana” but insures a youthful presence. The wind began to pick up and it grew colder as we strolled, and a misty rain urged us back to the hotel.
Dinner was at El Alquimista, a modern restaurant a few blocks from the hotel, recommended in both Michelin and Tripadvisor. This turned out to be spectacular. The amuse-bouche of cauliflower creme was good but needed a kick, being a bit bland, but it was all uphill from there. Tripe stew with chorizo and ham, seared tuna with pesto, beef filet with a press of potatoes, and roast suckling lamb with potato gnocchi, a deconstructed apple tart, and coffee mousse with rum and chocolate crumble were all stunning. The total came to 78 euros including water and a nice 15 euro bottle of 2009 Bierzo from Pitaccum.