They are everywhere. Their eyes seem to follow you wherever you walk in Segovia, demanding you stop and carve into one. Segovia takes great pride in regarding itself as the capital for roasting tender little piglets not yet weaned from their mothers. No part of a piggy goes unused. Dogs in Spain would be so lucky as to get those big bags of dried pig ears found in pet stores in the United States; those are fried up for tapas here.
Rather than a stuffy, formal restaurant, we chose a place popular with locals and with more of a mom-and-pop feel, Meson Don Jimeno. I gamely gave into sampling a piglet – tender, succulent, juicy from the fat of its crispy skin. Mama sow should be pleased with how flavorful her baby tasted, but after a couple of bites I was looking around for vegetables. Meaning more than the accompanying fried potatoes. The roasted pork was preceded by judiones de la granja, a traditional hearty stew stocked with giant beans enriched by saffrony chorizo.
El Fogon Sefardi was much more formal, even though it was filled with families celebrating Mother’s Day over a three-day weekend. The Mister hoped to repeat his experience with eggplant and honey in Granada several years ago, but, alas, a heavy tempura batter overpowered the eggplant here. Our stacked fish entrée was more successful, and dessert was a welcome simple baked apple.
While the service was old-school at Restaurante Jose, almost directly below our apartment on Plaza Mayor, the intimate dining room was filled with regulars engaged in exuberant conversations. Starters included a bean and clam stew and seasonally prevalent white asparagus wrapped in smoked salmon. We followed this with a rich lamb stew and a nicely grilled fish.
Totally strayed from traditional Spanish fare at La Juderia, know for Indian and Pakistani flavors. Vegetable pakora provided a nice intro, followed by vegetable biryani and daal. Dessert was a bowl of refreshing chunks of pistachio ice cream.
Still recovering from my piglet encounter, we ventured into the vegetarian Restaurante Azabache. Although I’d recommend the spot, we erred by ordering two too-rich dishes, a vegetable cannelloni and an eggplant dish, tomato-sauced and cheese-topped to the point they looked identical.
Which made the platter of grilled vegetables at La Tasquina all the more appreciated. The fish soup was wonderful, as were the mussels in a rich, saffron broth.
While roasted suckling pig traditionally steals the show in Segovia, the city’s contemporary cuisine is much more diverse.