We had just arrived in Toledo and had attempted (rather stupidly) to navigate the narrow, steep and windy cobblestoned streets. We barely made it out of the city walls alive before parking in a questionable lot and climbing our way back into the village. What did we need the most after a stress-inducing introduction to beautiful Toledo? A couple of cold beers and some tapas before siesta!
Tucked away from the tourist-ridden Plaza Zocodover and main entry to the city, La Clandestina was a quiet oasis when we wandered in our first afternoon. It was about 3:45 p.m., and everything closed for siesta at 4:00 p.m. The kind woman behind the bar could sense our desperation, and assured us a quick bite and a couple beers before the kitchen closed. We sat inside, unaware of the beautiful patio tucked in the back, which we would discover the next day when we returned. A few people were finishing up at the table beside us, and otherwise we had the whole place to ourselves. The menu was divided into tapas and raciones, i.e. smaller bites and plates. We quickly settled on a few things and thanked our lucky stars for the ice cold cervezas.
Anything and everything you're willing to order. The menu is varied but not overwhelming, with most dishes available in half orders. We always ordered the half portions in order to try more variety, and the tapas portions were extremely generous. One of our favorites was the Russian potato salad with the incredibly fresh tuna belly - a regional specialty.
These venison meatballs were juicy and tender, and the savory flavor balanced perfectly with the sweetness of the carrot puree.
The duck breast was juicy and perfectly cooked, with a crispy layer of fat over the top. The pumpkin compote added the perfect touch of sweetness to this rich dish.
The star of our lunch the second day is also the star of the region of Toledo: suckling pig. Not always politically correct, but always delicious, this tender cut of pork with a top layer of crispy skin was undeniably rich and delicious.
Tips & Tricks
In Spain, lunch is typically the biggest meal of the day, followed by a couple hours of relaxing siesta and a late, light dinner. Take advantage of this custom by sitting on the beautiful garden patio and lingering over a long, delicious meal.
The small town of Toledo is very quiet in the off season, so you probably don't need to worry about reservations. Plus, Clandestina is located off the main tourist pathways, so it remains relatively tranquil save for the few stray tourists like ourselves.
Make sure to order 1/2 portions where you can! They were all more than enough for two, and will give you the opportunity to taste even more. Stick to the local specialties, such as pork and venison, as well as seafood.
Off the beaten track, but easy to find! Toledo is a small city that takes only about 10 minutes walking to cross in entirety. As long as you can navigate the winding corridors, you're never far from a good meal.