Casa Duque, Segovia, Spain

A while back Le Continental visited Mesón de Cándido in the beautiful city of Segovia, Spain. While it is a classic that dates back to 1931, Casa Duque is the oldest restaurant in the city offering cochinillo asado, roasted suckling pig, which the city of Segovia is famous for. Le Continental has discovered that Casa Duque and Mesón de Cándido are linked somehow, though it isn’t mentioned on the restaurants’ web sites.


image by Wikimedia Commons

image by Wikimedia Commons


Casa Duque was opened in 1895 by Feliciana Mate and Dionisio Duque and is still owned by the Duque family. Today Marisa Duque, great-granddaughter of the original founders, runs the restaurant with her family. In looking at historic photos of Casa Duque on their web site, one photo of the restaurant, then located on Plaza de Azoquejo next to the Roman aqueduct, looked familiar to me (the following photo).


historic photo by Casa Duque's web site

historic photo by Casa Duque’s web site


As you can see the building on the right has a sign stating “Duque de Gran Casa de Comidas”. The same building in fact now houses Mesón de Cándido! On that restaurant’s web site there is a similar historic photo of the same building which has signage that states “Mesón Casa Cándido” (I couldn’t download the photo but you can see it here in the center of second row). In examining the two photos, especially the cars, it seems to me that the photo above dates from the 1920s, while the photo of Mesón de Cándido dates from the 1930s or 1940s, which makes sense since Mesón de Cándido didn’t open until 1931. So, some time after 1895 Casa Duque must have moved from the plaza to its current location. (Little of this information is mentioned on the restaurants’ web sites.)


doorway from bar into Sepulveda dining room - photo by Dean Curtis, 2014

doorway from bar into Sepulveda dining room – photo by Dean Curtis, 2014


After entering Casa Duque one passes the bar and enters the Sepulveda dining room, which is the original dining room in the restaurant, through a beautiful carved wood doorway. I was seated in this dining room for my dinner. It was almost empty at the time (around 9:00 pm) as most locals eat their large daily meal in the early afternoon.


Sepulveda dining room - photo by Dean Curtis, 2014

Sepulveda dining room – photo by Dean Curtis, 2014


The walls at Casa Duque are covered with awards, medals, historic photos, and bric-à-brac and the wood ceilings are magnificent. There are several dining rooms in this large restaurant. I took a couple more photos before my phone’s battery died (so I didn’t get any photos of my food. Note to self: bring a backup digital camera next time.). You can see more photos of the gorgeous dining rooms here.


photo by Dean Curtis, 2014

Sepulveda dining room – photo by Dean Curtis, 2014


photo by Dean Curtis, 2014

San Millán dining room, a portion of the parish house of San Millán acquired and installed in 1995, the centenary of Casa Duque – photo by Dean Curtis, 2014


Casa Duque’s specialties are Segovian roasted meats, such as cochinillo asado and lechal asado (roasted lamb), both cooked in the wood fired oven. Another specialty is Judiones de La Granja Gran Duque, giant white beans grown on the family farm in La Granja stewed with partridge.


first course - photo by

first course – photo by

I went for the menú gastronómico, which was three courses: the first course was a sampler of chorizo (sausage), morcilla (blood sausage), judiones (huge white beans), sopita castellana (Castilian soup), and a pork loin picadillo (a hash of chopped meat), followed by a large portion of cochinillo, and for dessert a piece of the Segovian specialty ponche Segoviano (layer cake).


I couldn’t possibly finish the first course because I had to save room for the suckling pig, which is roasted very simply so it had a pure pork flavor with juicy meat that melted in my mouth and a salty, crispy skin. Delicious.


Explore the inside of the restaurant:


Casa Duque
Calle de Cervantes, 12, 40001 Segovia, Spain
Phone: +34 921 46 24 87
Open daily 12:00pm – 5:30pm, 8:30pm – 11:30pm



Mesón de Cándido, Segovia, Spain

The old town of Segovia in Spain is a short train ride from Madrid and a town everyone should visit on a day trip or, even better, an overnight from Spain’s capital. It’s a beautiful city spectacularly set on a hill surrounded by the old city wall, with a fairy-tale alcázar (palace) on one end (where Isabella I was crowned Queen of Castile and León), a gorgeous 16th century gothic cathedral in the middle, and a jaw-dropping 2000-year-old Roman aqueduct at the other end, built from 25,000 granite blocks without mortar or reinforcing. In 1985 the entire old town was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.


photo by Dean Curtis, 2014

photo by Dean Curtis, 2014


Located next to the aqueduct on the Plaza del Azoguejo, Mesón de Cándido’s history as an inn (restaurants are often called inns in Spain) dates back to 1786. In 1931, Cándido López, a cook in Segovia since he was a child, purchased the inn, then called Mesón de Azoguejo. The restaurant, renamed Mesón de Cándido, quickly became famous for the Segovian specialty roasted suckling pig (cochinillo asado), among other dishes. In the photo above the original inn is on the right, with the words painted on the front: Mesón (inn), Casa Candido (Candido’s house), and Horno de Asar (broiler for roasting meats). In Segovia and the surrounding area the suckling pig must follow certain criteria to be of high quality and be roasted correctly until the skin is crisp so that when presented at the table the meat can be “carved” with the edge of a plate, as is the tradition started and made famous at Mesón de Cándido.


photo by Dean Curtis, 2014

photo by Dean Curtis, 2014


In 1941 the inn was enlarged and remodeled into what it looks like today, with several dining rooms filled with paintings and photographs, brass cookware, pottery, bric-à-brac, and murals portraying Segovian scenes. Over the years many famous persons, including royalty, politicians, and celebrities have visited the restaurant.


L to R: Cándido López, Alberto Cándido, and his son Cándido - photo by

L to R: Cándido López, Alberto Cándido and his son – photo by Mesón de Cándido web site


Cándido López’s son, Alberto Cándido, who holds the title Head Innkeeper of Castile, now runs the restaurant with his son, continuing the family traditions. The family’s pride in the restaurant shows in the gracious service I received from señor Cándido and his staff and in the excellent food I was served.


Hombres Illustres (illustrius men) dining room - photo by Dean Curtis, 2014

Hombres Illustres (illustrious men) dining room – photo by Dean Curtis, 2014


On my visit last year I took the high-speed train from Madrid, arriving in Segovia in about 30 minutes. From the train station outside of town you can take an inexpensive bus to the old town, or a taxi, which I did so I could check in to my hotel directly. I made reservations for lunch, asking for a table with a view of the aqueduct, and the above photo is the viewpoint I had from my table. Below is the aqueduct visible through the window.


photo by Dean Curtis, 2014

photo by Dean Curtis, 2014


As I was planning on having roast suckling pig for dinner that night I had a “light” lunch of a salad with tuna (a very fresh shredded tuna, not canned tuna like you would expect to be served in many restaurants in the U.S.) and a Castilian specialty, perdiz estofada (partridge stew), with some wine from Ribera del Duero. Other local specialties on the menu include sopa Castellana (Castilian garlic soup), Sepulveda-style roasted baby lamb, judiones de la Granja con oreja de cerdo (stew with white beans from La Granja, pigs ears and trotters), wild boar with apple, and their famous suckling pig. Save room for the special Segovian layer cake, ponche segoviano.


partridge stew - photo by Dean Curtis, 2014

partridge stew – photo by Dean Curtis, 2014



Embajadores dining room with 1941 murals - photo by Dean Curtis, 2014

Embajadores dining room with 1941 murals – photo by Dean Curtis, 2014



The Jab with Alberto Cándido - photo by Dean Curtis, 2014

The Jab with Alberto Candido – photo by Dean Curtis, 2014


Mesón de Cándido
Plaza Azoguejo, 5, 40001 Segovia, Spain
Phone: +34 921 42 59 11
Open daily for lunch, 1:00pm – 4:30pm, and dinner, 8:00pm – 11:00pm