Audrey lived in Spain for years and has compiled several helpful articles for first-time visitors, especially those headed to Extremadura.
Where to Eat in Cáceres: A Local's Suggestions
For the typical tourist visiting Cáceres, the maps and tourist offices may send you to the Plaza Mayor in order to eat your meals. If you’d rather avoid the touristy part of town and go places where you can mingle with the locals and really experience the Spanish way of life, this list of places to eat in Cáceres is exactly what you need.
My favorite breakfast spots are Gran Cafe near Cánovas and Majestic in Nuevo Cáceres neighborhood. At each spot, I order a cafe manchadito (milk with a little coffee) or a cafe cortado (lots of coffee with a little milk) depending on how well my toddler has slept the night before. I then order either churros or a catalana, which is a large piece of toast with a special, fresh olive oil and tomato sauce with Spanish ham on top. Churros are not covered with cinnamon sugar like those in Mexico, but you can ask for sugar to dip them in. My husband orders a hot chocolate to dip his churros in—it's so thick it looks like pudding! If you want a more authentic churreria experience, head to Churreria Ruiz. Remember, the trash on the floor is normal. You’ll probably see my father-in-law there. It is his favorite breakfast spot. Go ahead and throw your napkin down and don't even feel bad about it!
Postre y Pastelerias (Dessert and Bakeries)
By far the best dessert spot is Pasteleria Imperial, which is located on the more posh side of town for sure. I would recommend the Bambas, or cream-filled donuts, or the tarta de piñones. Napolitanas are also a very safe bet—these are croissant-style pastries filled with rich chocolate icing. A bakery called Cupcakes Cáceres makes delightfully cute cakes and cupcakes made-to-order, although they already have some things made for daily customers. It's the only true, American-style cupcake bakery I have found in Cáceres.
Any place you see that says Horno Santa Ofelia or Horno Santa Ana is a bakery with all sorts of little tarts and pies. Typically, the word Pasteleria denotes a bakery.
La Cruz is a roundabout at the end of Cánovas park, and there is a delicious ice cream shop there. Favorite candy shops are scattered throughout Cáceres and are unmistakable with their blue and yellow signs that read the name: Sanchez Cortes.
One of our favorite places to eat on a Sunday after church is El Picanton. It's a rotisserie chicken-style place opened by some of our dear friends. I'd recommend getting 1/2 or 1 Pollo a la Brasa (grilled chicken), an order of fries, some sides of their special homemade sauces, and a big bucket of what they call "Broaster" chicken, a fried, crispy chicken that you will not find anywhere else in Extremadura except here. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find something similar in all of Spain, unless you found a KFC in a bigger city.
Our favorite restaurant in the Plaza Mayor is Restaurante Cáceres because of the price and location. It's so nice to sit out on those big chairs and watch people (and pigeons) walk by!
Chiao Chiao is our favorite smaller pizzeria, even though Domino's (and Spanish chain Telepizza) deliver fine product, too. Get the pizza Diavolo or the Pizza Barbacoa at Chiao Chiao.
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EL Montaito has several locations and is great for sandwiches and tapas, which are small plates of food you get with a drink. In Extremadura before 2 PM, if you order a drink from a bar (meaning any sort of cafe, not necessarily a nightlife-style bar), they will give you a free tapa or pincho, usually pork meat with mushrooms or bread with patatera (spicy potato and pork sausage). I would also recommend trying any of the following plates, which are offered at the majority of Spanish restaurants:
- Bacalao a la dorada (like a cod fish hash brown with egg. I know it sounds awful but it is life-changing)
- Chorizo: Spanish sausage made with paprika and garlic, not like Mexican chorizo
- Jamon: Spanish ham. Iberico is the best, but serrano will do.
- Pechugas rellenas: Chicken cordon bleu
- Solomillo: some sort of beef tips; amazing
- Cocido: Extremaduran garbanzo stew
- Gazpacho: Andalusian soup made of tomato and peppers, which is cold and refreshing
- Tortilla de patatas: Spanish potato omelette or frittata
- Queso: order a cheese (and charcuterie) plate! You’ll thank me.
Mexican food can be found in Nuevo Cáceres neighborhood and is called La Malinche. It is not tex-mex style, but more authentic, so be prepared for some different flavors. Our favorite Chinese place is in Los Fratres neighborhood and is called Oriente. Order the Pollo Agridulce (sweet-sour chicken) and a Rollo Primavera (spring roll). I would also recommend the Tallarines tres delicias (three-delicacies noodles), which I used to crave while pregnant. There is also a Chinese buffet in El Peru shopping center near Ruta de la Plata, but I have never been there, although I’ve heard good things. Fast Food consists of McDonald’s and Burger King. But please, let the locals eat there. Get your real Spanish experience and leave the fast food behind!
If you must have a cheeseburger, head to Dino's and order the Mickey Mouse, or go to New Golden Burger--yes, the names of both are in English, but don't expect to order in English.
An American style chain restaurant is Foster's of Hollywood behind Antonio Hurtado Avenue (a big commercial and business area) or Pasadena, in Nuevo Cáceres neighborhood.
Wanting to try a new soft-drink? People love Coke, but here, you will see something called Aquarius. It's a refreshing, sprite-style drink without the fizz. Also, people drink Trina, which is an orange soda with no fizz. Don't be surprised if they put a lemon slice in your coke or serve you bread without butter! It is also normal (read: not lame) to order a beer without alcohol. If you want one, order una sin, literally meaning "one without."
Fine Dining in Caceres
Another great place to go is Mirador de Galarza. It's on top of a parking deck, and it's a bit pricier. They have amazing grill-charred meats, hams, cheeses, etc. If you are looking for another splurge dinner, Michelin star-recipient Atrio offers an upscale, date-night atmosphere and yummy Mediterranean cuisine. El Figon de Eustaquio is a long-standing restaurant in Plaza de San Juan and has been operating since 1947. Bring serious cash to all these places, because they are not cheap. They're worth it, though, and you'll want to keep buying things on the menu and pair them with good, local wine. By far the best upscale meal I ever had in Spain was at Madruelo, located within walking distance of Cáceres' old city.
Tips for Eating Out in Spain
- No need to tip! Really. If you must, leave some change up to 1 Euro. Waiters are paid salaries with benefits in Spain, which is why the food seems somewhat more expensive in restaurants.
- If you do not speak much Spanish, I would recommend getting a menu translator like this one. This particular one is great for people who are backpacking because it comes in three languages: Spanish, Italian, and French. You may think you can figure it out, but suddenly you have no Wifi in a remote part of Spain, so Google translate will not work, and you accidentally order Gallegan Octopus.
- Casual bars allow you to throw trash on the floor
- Breakfast can be anytime between 7 and 10, and many people take a coffee break between 10:30 and 12:30, lasting about 15-20 minutes.
- To ask for the bill say "la cuenta por favor."
- Lunch is from 1:30-3:30 and is referred to as la comida, not el almuerzolike in Latin America. This is the big meal of the day. Stuff yourself, because you won’t eat dinner until 9-11 PM.
- Siesta, or nap time, is after lunch. Coffee time is from 4-6ish PM and people eat something sweet, carbohydrate filled, and drink their afternoon coffee.
- La cena, or dinners, are usually lighter than lunch but can get heavier depending on the occasion.
I hope this article was helpful for you as you travel and eat your way through Caceres! If you visit any of these places, let me know what you think. If you stumble upon a new place, leave a comment for future passers-by of this magical and enchanting medieval city surrounded by bustling, modern life. As the Spanish say, ¡Que Aproveche!, or enjoy your meal!
© 2018 Audrey Lancho