If you come to Mérida, you are most likely in town to see the archaeological remains. You're in luck, because the Despensa del Castúo is located about 50 meters from the entrance to the Museo Nacional de Arte Romano, and perhaps 50 more from the entrance to the Theater/Amphitheater complex. So the location is perfect, but is the food good? The short answer to this question is a resounding YES!
La Despensa del Castúo offers a complete array of tapas, Spain-style, and at Spain prices. This means that you can expect to pay no more than 1.50 eu/tapa, and most of them are substantially less than this, especially if you opt for the sampler, which currently (October 2008) offers 6 tapas for 5 eu. Tapas in this part of Spain are generally pork-based (whether chorizo, jamón, lomo, salchichón, prueba de cerdo, patatera, morcilla etc.), but there is also a decent selection of cheeses, along with some seafood options. At el Castúo these are served on 3 or 4 inch bread rolls, sometimes as a sandwich with the whole roll and sometimes open-faced on just half of the roll. In addition, they have the very best olives in town, and like every bar, café, or restaurant, they'll give you a small dish of olives or some other munchie free with any beer or wine you order. Like the food, drinks here are very reasonably priced (wine for 1 eu, e.g.).
La Despensa del Castúo does have one drawback: it is too small for its popularity--they have 12 tables, all outside, and these are nearly always full, especially from 8pm to 11pm or so. There are tall tables inside for those willing to stand and eat, but table service is only offered to those sitting outside.
Note: here, as elsewhere in Mérida, the staff are friendly and helpful, but not particularly comfortable speaking (or understanding) English.
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