If you’re heading to the Aragonese city of Zaragoza, with its grand cathedral and stunning Mudéjar architecture, you’ll probably be on the lookout for great places to eat, as well as attractions to explore. Look no further, as we’ve rounded up 10 of the city’s best restaurants for you to try.
This cute and cosy tapas bar lies a little off the beaten track, a few blocks from the centre where most travellers stay, but it’s well worth the extra walk. Traditional, yet modern and relaxed, it calls attention with its bright-green facade. The service is friendly and the daily tapas offers are written up in chalk on the slate boards hanging from the walls. Plates include stuffed mussels with prawns, octopus stew with potatoes and monkfish brochette. They also have an excellent wine list and creative gin and tonics.
Bar Hermanos Teresa is a sweet little tapas bar, decorated in white tiles with green trimmings around the windows and shelves. Stylish tapas options are served on black slates and include black squid with salmorejo (a thick gazpacho), Spanish tortilla with a paprika and cumin sauce and a unique borage croquette. They also have sweet dessert tapas, as well as a good selection of local wines.
Café Nolasco is a stylish and modern space with clean lines, lots of natural wood and white walls, decorated with boxes of plants. It’s a great spot for any time of day, from breakfast to afternoon snacks, dinners and late-night drinks. They serve everything from coffee and cake to beautifully presented gourmet meals. Daily changing set menus are offered for €10 and €13, which may include dishes such as chicken cannelloni covered in béchamel sauce, barbecued hake fish with saffron sautéed potatoes or veggie burger with cured cheese. Their desserts are pretty tasty too: think chocolate ganache with a vanilla soup, fruity sorbet or cuajada (a traditional thick sheep’s yoghurt drizzled with honey).
Los Xarmientos is an Aragonese grill and barbecue restaurant serving typical dishes from the region of Aragon and specialising in grilled meats. Inside it’s modern and contemporary, with bold artwork covering the walls and quirky wooden sculptures attached to the ceiling. Order the grilled lamb that the region is famous for, or seafood – try the barbecued cod fillet served a bed of pea puree and asparagus from Navarra. They also have tasty homemade desserts such as torrija, a type of French toast from northern Spain. The one here is served with peaches and cream.
La Miguería is a restaurant specialising in its namesake, which means ‘breadcrumbs’. Migas is a dish from the south of Spain, which is a plate of fried breadcrumbs mixed with garlic, bell peppers and chunks of meat such as chorizo. La Miguería offers more than just this traditional dish, though: here, you can get migas with everything from fried eggs or cheese to pieces of ham or gilled octopus. They also offer sweet migas dishes for dessert.
One of the oldest restaurants in Spain, Casa Lac dates all the way back to 1825. Housed in a stunning building that was renovated a century later in 1925, Casa Lac has modernist influences such as wrought-iron staircases and bright, colourful tiles. The top floor, where the restaurant is located, is Elizabethan in style, with patterned wooden floors and beautiful vintage lamps. Today, the restaurant is led by chef Ricardo Gil, who creates delicious and delicate plates with an emphasis on fresh vegetables.
Montal is a gourmet deli set in a stunning renaissance-style palace. On the ground floor, tables for tapas are set in between shelves of wine, meat and cheese counters and tins of sardines. Upstairs, meanwhile, is a gorgeous historic dining room where you can sit around columned archways looking down onto the shop floor below. Here, you can enjoy four-course tasting menus for €42 per person, or the Montal menu for €59, which includes a starter, fish, meat, artisan dessert and coffee.
Restaurant Celebris is a fine-dining gourmet restaurant and one of the best in the city. As the name suggests, this is somewhere you go to celebrate. It’s situated in the Hotel Hiberus and offers seating both inside its chic and classy dining room and outside on the terrace, with beautiful river views. You can order set menus for €19, €29 or €39 per person. Think starters of Sicilian burrata cheese with smoked aubergine, hummus and pesto, or Peruvian ceviche with yellow and green chillies. Mains are more traditionally Spanish, but with an international twist, such as cod pil pil with wild mushrooms, steak smothered in a blue cheese and vodka sauce or grilled duck with pumpkin, orange and a red berry sauce.
La Pilara is definitely one of Zaragoza’s most interesting places to eat, decorated with bright-red walls, intricately patterned ceilings, old advertisements and posters, and giant wine corks holding up the bar. It’s located in the city’s tapas quarter and is a great place to go for big sharing raciones of classic tapas. Order the crispy breaded calamari, the cod-stuffed peppers or sirloin steak with a bubbly Cava sauce.
If you’re after really good, creative and original tapas in Zaragoza, Méli Melo is the place to go. It’s both casual and relaxed and looks like a normal modern café or bar. Inside, however, you’ll find the bar laden with plate upon plate of tasty tapas and pintxos. They’re so good, in fact, that Méli Melo has won various local awards for its offerings. Try the wild-mushroom butifarra sausage with borage and a garlic mayonnaise, or the almond crusted cod in a romesco sauce (made from roasted red peppers, garlic, almonds and olive oil). Just head up to the bar and help yourself.