Palencia Travel Guide
Palencia Local History
Castile and Leon (Castilla y Leon) is historically, aesthetically and culturally, the heartland of Spain. It is the region that shaped the nation's history. Its lofty central plains with open skies was frontier land, where castles and walled towns marked the slow push south of Christian forces in their struggle against the Moors. Spain's legendary hero, El Cid, was born here and was instrumental in the expulsion of the Moors from the region.
Once made up of several kingdoms, Castile and Leon today forms the largest autonomous region, composed of nine provinces: Avila, Burgos, Leon, Palencia, Salamanca, Segovia, Soria, Valladolid, and Zamora. Each has its own marked identity, but all share an extremely rich heritage. The capitals of all nine provinces were well established cities in the early Middle Ages and each boasts a cathedral and scores of monasteries and convents from the past. The pilgrims' route to Santiago de Compostela, which passed through the provinces of Burgos, Palencia and Leon, introduced Romanesque and then Gothic architecture and art forms into the region, and a magnificent cultural legacy emerged that combined new aesthetic ideas with the region's inherent spirituality.
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Palencia Restaurants and Bars
Palencia's cuisine is pleasant and homely. It offers many roast meats and uses a variety of ingredients gathered from the fertile lands that surround the capital, in the making of its delicious dishes. Palencia's food is succulent and rich, designed to provide the necessary energy to bear the inclemencies of the winter. The cuisine has numerous hot dishes like garlic soups and the classic Castilian soup, made with hogaza bread, olive oil, garlic and paprika, and later garnished with some cured ham and poached eggs. It should not come as a surprise the fact that bread is indeed the main ingredient of this dish, since in this province bread is something of an institution.
The traditional food from this land should always be complemented by a glass of good wine. The best wines in Palencia are under the Designation of Origin Cigales, like the ones from the municipality of Duenas. They also have great liqueurs, which are particularly good after a heavy meal. These include liqueurs made with sloe, walnut, blackberry and morello cherry.
Casa Damian - This hundred year old restaurant is believed to be king of the Palencia 'menestra' (vegetable and meat stew), which is cooked over a coal oven. The raw ingredients are excellent. It offers regional (Castile and Leon) cuisine and recommended is the Palominos Menestra (stew), roasted young lamb, and fritters. The wine cellar is made up of Rioja and Ribera del Duero wines, and there is a selection of cigars. The restaurant seats 45, and reservations are recommended. Main courses are 20 - 40. Casa Damian is located at Calle Ignacio Martínez de Azcoitia, 9 34001. Tel: 97/9744-628.
La Encina - Typical Castilian carvery at its most delicious best. A traditional wood-burning oven is used for roasting suckling lamb. They also offer baked fish and other seafood favourites. The baked peach with ice-cream is the perfect choice in dessert to round off any meal. There is a set menu of regional (Castile and Leon) cuisine and a Gourmet menu available at 27. The restaurant is closed on Sunday evenings and it is located on Calle Casane, 2 34002. Tel: 97/9710-936.
La Traserilla - Situated in the historic district, Reyes and Miguel offer a cuisine balanced between tradition and modernity, based on the produce of the region. The cuisine is truly creative, and recommended is the carpaccio of colt, suckling lamb 'crepinata' with a juice-based soup, and fried milk pudding glazed with nougat ice-cream. Average prices for main courses are 20 - 40. Also, do not forget to try the apple omelets, or the black soup. The cellar offers Ribera del Duero wines, as well as table wines and a whole host of Denomination of origin wines. Located on Calle San Marcos, 12 34001. Tel: 97/9745-421.
Cafes and restaurants - Palencia does well for cafes and restaurant. On Placa Major, the Cafe Espanyol offers snacks and a good strong cup of coffee, the Juma serves up first-rate tapas and the Restaurante Il Giardino provides superb French-style cuisine. On c/Montision, in between the main square and El Calvari, visitors will also find the upbeat and fashionable Restaurante Cantonet, where the seafood is delicious.
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- Monclus Hotel Menéndez Pelayo, 3 Palencia 40 Rooms
- Rey Sancho Hotel Avda. Ponce de León, s/n Palencia 93 Rooms
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