Friday, October 07, 2005

Eating in Salamanca: Zazu

I was in Salamanca yesterday, with time left over for lunch. My plan had been to take a cab directly to Chez Victor, which I had loved--especially a dessert whose only feature I remember is its luscious caramel sauce--when I ate there many years ago with my mom. But when I got there yesterday, it suddenly occurred to me that Chez Victor was probably expensive, and there was no menu outside to persuade me otherwise. So I opted instead for what looked to be a very charming, and far more economical, restaurant around the corner, called Zazu.

And it was charming, in its way, with deep blue walls and windows open on the Plaza de la Libertad. The restaurant called itself "Mediterranean", which translated mostly as Italian, with a few Spanish touches thrown in. I ordered the menu del dia (salad, pasta, dessert, wine, 12 euros) and asked for a glass of water, which in Spain always mean tap water. The waiter--long, dark hair, a little less than fastidious--said, "Of course," and then proceeded not to bring it. When I asked him again, some 20 minutes later, he said, "Sure, but we only have bottles." And then he brought the loud British lady next to me a glass of tap water for her medicine.

Salad was one of those weird concoctions with random vegetables (steamed carrots, raw celery) thrown in with the too-sweet dressing. But the gnocchi with chicken, bacon, arugula and sun-dried tomatoes came together well. Still, I found myself wishing I had stayed with my first impulse.

Zazu is at Plaza de la Libertad, 8, in Salamanca.

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