Restaurante Parador de Mérida - Mérida, Spain

On the fourth night of our road trip through Spain, we discovered the Parador de Mérida hotel. To say this hotel is special is an understatement. It was a monastery in the early 1700s, and despite religious affiliation or beliefs, anyone would be able to feel the calm and tranquility within the walls. The hotel itself is unique and a marvel. We loved it so much we stayed an extra night! It is surprisingly affordable.

Even if you do not stay at the hotel, a lunch or a drink will gain you access to a novel property that shouldn't be missed if you are in Mérida to visit the ancient Roman ruins for which the city is famous.

The Restaurante Parador de Mérida did not live up to the standard of the hotel in my opinion. We were the first ones waiting to go into the dining room because we were very hungry after being out all day seeing the ruins and had only a couple of tapas so we could enjoy dinner at the hotel. Despite being the only ones in the dining room, we had to wait for the waiter to take our drink orders after he initially sat us. Then we waited several minutes for the drinks and again for him to take our dinner order. I found this odd, but not a show stopper. I wanted a steak! 

The Parador Chain website states the restaurants focus on local cuisine and regional specialties. The salad was decent and the veggies welcome after many days of meat and bread tapas. The photos below look beautiful, but looks are deceiving in this case. 
Mauricio ordered the sirloin, or solomilla de ternera and I ordered the lomo ternera, similar to a ribeye. Mauricio's was paired with carrot puree and mine had a potato side. Both came with what I believe was sauteed jalapenos, but I could be wrong and it just tasted similar. This was one of those times that we were underwhelmed. The temperature of the meat was correct but they lacked flavor and were extremely over-salted. I only finished my meal because I felt sorry for the cow. 

The peppers actually gave an interesting flavor when eaten with the meat, but it just wasn't what I was after. Mauricio cannot handle peppers with any heat over bell so that was definitely a no for him. I tried to make this meal spectacular in any way I could see how, but it just didn't live up to the expectation - or the price. 

The meal was paired with a Spanish wine - Matarromera. Again, there was no sparkle or anything special about the wine. It didn't even make the cut for my Vivino app and that says a lot.  At 25.45 euro a bottle, it was definitely a let-down. The house wine at the restaurante bar was much better.

My take on this restaurante is until they hire a chef that can cook, it's not worth the price tag. Typically, outside a hotel, two entrees with salads and a bottle of wine would cost no more than 50 euro. Our walk away price was over 90 euro. To give a reference, the next night four of us dined and drank like kings in Portugal for 70 euro total. 

Final word - stay at the hotel! Or visit the hotel for lunch or drinks and have a look around but don't splurge on dinner.

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