|View of the cathedral from the Alameda park at sunset|
Although I’ve got a separate list brewing of the best places to eat here, I thought I’d share with y’all my personal favorite haunts in Santiago, the places you’re most likely to find me at—the places where I’ve become “a regular,” from octopus-houses (if steakhouse is a word, then that can be too) to cozy cafés.
Bodegón Os Concheiros
|Pulpo á feira (boiled octopus)|
Not so in Os Concheiros—this is their specialty. While nothing will be able to compare to the melt-in-your-mouth goodness from the city of Lugo’s octopus festival, this joint’s pulpo á feira is fresh, juicy, and tender. You can also order many other delicious raciones (platters) of things like fried peppers from Padrón, roasted ham with cumin sauce, french fries, and nuggets of zorza, the marinated, spicy filling that goes into chorizo.
The atmosphere is very bare bones, old-man-bar style, with a row of old wine barrels separating the entryway from the dining area and several simple wooden tables from which you can watch the latest soccer game. And the eating is cheap: I never end up spending more than eight or ten euros when I have a huge family-style dinner with a group of friends.
Address: Rúa dos Concheiros, Nº 2 (near the bus station)
Hours: 11am – 4pm, 7pm – 12am daily, opens one hour later on weekends
|Pementos de Padrón (Padrón peppers)|
Café La Flor
You might call their menu “Galician fusion”: you’re just as likely to see people ordering a thick hunk of toasted Galician bread with melted local cheese or strips of octopus on it as you are waiters carrying out chicken curry burgers and Tex-Mex fajitas. Each of their teas is named after a famous literary novel or film, and their gin & tonics bear the names of contemporary female Galician authors and poet.
Come for the atmosphere, stay for the food!
Address: Rúa das Casa Reais, Nº 25 (along the Camino in the old town)
Hours: 11:30am – 1am-ish, later on weekends, closed all day Sunday and Monday evenings
|Very Galician toast of pork shoulder, local cheese, and chestnut spread|
|Loose-leaf Earl Grey tea|
My go-to breakfast here is a teapot of Earl Grey and a toasted croissant with butter and preserves, which costs me a mere 2,70€. I also enjoy toast with freshly-grated tomato and olive oil with a creamy café con leche served in one of their fancy cups.
Address: Rúa do Pombal, Nº 2 (west of the cathedral)
Hours: 7:30am – 12am, later on weekends, closed Sunday afternoon & evening
|Toasted croissant with butter and preserves|
|A smooth, creamy café con leche (and a little tapa, too!)|
What keeps me coming back here, though, is the high-quality stuff they pull from shiny Italian espresso machines. Unlike the majority of establishments in Spain, Café Venecia doesn’t use a mix of torrefacto coffee, or beans that have been coated with sugar before the roasting. This preservation technique dates back to the Civil War, but is still used today, because Spain, of course. Torrefacto beans can taste harsh and bitter, so I’m grateful to come here for a smooth, flavorful café con leche or rich shot of espresso.
Café Venecia also serves some of the biggest (and tastiest) free tapas in Santiago. I like to order a little somethin’ to drink and wait for a plate to arrive bearing little things to nibble on like Russian salad, peas and ham, or potato omelet. Not a bad snack at all to accompany you as you read the paper, eavesdrop on grandpas playing cards, or see gamblers come in from the rain to buy lottery tickets.
Address: Rúa do Hórreo, Nº 27 (near Praza de Galicia along the main drag to the train station)
Hours: 7:15am – 10pm weekdays, 7:15am – 3pm Saturday, closed Sunday
|Generous free tapa in the afternoon and evening|
O Cabalo Branco
|Mmm…meat and carbs|
Usually they bring out a slice of Manchego cheese, some cured ham, a little bread, and almost always home fries with irresistible aioli sauce. When dinnertime rolls around and I’m not hungry enough for a bowl of reheated lentil stew, I put on my shoes, find my umbrella, and head out the door for a tapa that I know will hit the spot. If you’re thinking about eating here when it’s sunny, make sure to come early, since the terrace fills up quickly and stays full for hours!
Address: Praza da Pescadería Vella, Nº 5 (near the Praza de Abastos)
Hours: 11am – 12am? closed weekends
|Terrace in the square|
For more pictures, check out my album on Flickr.
UPDATE: I have since published my comprehensive guide on Where to Eat in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, so I recommend you check that new blog post out for more recommendations!