Best restaurants and bars
Santiago de Compostela
Ría de Muros y Noia
There is no shortage of fine restaurants for you to enjoy in the maze of flag-stoned streets forming the old part of Santiago. The most famous parade of restaurants is on Rúa do Franco where charming waitresses will tempt you into their lairs. But look beyond the traditional and the obvious and you will find an eclectic mix of cuisines and culinary styles throughout the city. Here we suggest some of the best-hidden treats. (OT = Old Town, NT = New Town, AP = Average Price)
Eating venues that offer a mix of tapas dishes - a perfect way to share a variety of courses and local wines in an informal atmosphere.
O Dezaséis: (OT, AP 24) web Rúa de San Pedro, 16. Ph: (+34) 981 577 633. ‘Number 16’ is one of the most famous traditional Galician restaurants in Santiago and it is always busy. At weekends, advanced booking is usually required. International menus walk you through the best in meat and fish (especially cod) that Galicia has to offer. The descent down the steep steps into vintage Galicia is well worth the effort.
Casa Rosalía: (OT) web Franco, 10. Ph: (+34) 981 565 441. A typical Franco Street tapas bar and restaurant, but with a relaxed atmosphere and a handy entrance area where you can simply nibble at tapas and drink local wines and beers rather than commit to the full restaurant treatment, which takes place in the farther part of the establishment.
Casa Felisa: (OT) web Porta da Pena, 5. Ph: (+34) 981 582 602. Once upon a time a nun’s convent, this hidden-away courtyard has now been converted into a beautiful, walled, outdoor dining location with an excellent menu. It’s a little hidden treasure in a great part of town, away from the hustle and bustle of the masses.
Mesón o 42: (OT) web. Rúa do Franco, 42. Ph: (+34) 981 581 009. Possibly the most famous restaurant on Rua do Franco, Number 42 is a Santiago institution. Popular with locals and the tourists alike it serves up everything you would expect from traditional Galician fare in healthy portions and a vibrant local atmosphere.
La Viña de Xavi: (NT, AP 22) web. Fernando III El Santo, 4. Ph: (+34) 981 940 071. A vibrant new wine bar in the new town that excels in its wide selection of wines. You can sample them upstairs with a little tapas and then make your way downstairs to the enormous in-house shop and purchase whatever wine you desire.
La Viura: (NT) Santiago del Estero, 1. Ph: (+34) 644 494 059. A small but very popular tapas-bar in the new part of town, where the bar staff are renowned for injecting a little showmanship into their work and pouring beers from a great distance. Quite an art! Good reputation for its variety of mushroom dishes and meats from the Rioja area. La Viura attracts a middle aged, conversational crowd with a fine wine list and don’t worry if you don’t finish that bottle of wine, you can take it with you!
Tapería Castelao: (NT) web. Rúa Nova de Abaixo, 7. Ph: (+34) 881 976 005. Tapas with a difference, Castelao is a popular venue in the new town where you can sample some of Galicia’s new cuisine in tapas styled portions. It has won awards for its seafood concoctions, and has an excellent wine list covering over one hundred labels.
Restaurante Hotel Bonaval: (OT) web. Bonaval, 2-4. Ph: (+34) 981 558 883. The busy restaurant of the hotel Bonaval is open to the public but requires advanced bookings at the weekends. It has a good reputation for its meat, cod and rice dishes, and offers up a different view of the cathedral from its dining garden on the east side of town.
Vilas: (NT, AP 29) Rosalía de Castro, 88. Ph: (+34) 981 591 000. One of the most famous upmarket restaurants in Santiago, it dates back to 1915 and is run by the grandsons of the original founders. The devoted local clientele are drawn from the political, industrial and cultural corners of Santiago. Serving top quality traditional cuisine with an emphasis of fish dishes, paella and seasonal game meats such as rabbit and partridge.
Terra Nosa: (NT, AP 40) Rúa Nova de Abaixo, 5. Ph: (+34) 981 597 354. A small, cosy upmarket restaurant that specialises in seasonal foods, Terra Nosa prides itself on the quality and freshness of its produce whether during the hunting season, the shellfish season or the fishing season. High quality food that is worth the extra cost.
A new wave of culinary thinking is sweeping through the kitchens of Galicia and of Santiago in particular. Creativity is the watchword for chefs who follow it, and a whole different cuisine has emerged, mixing traditional dishes and cooking methods with new ideas, ingredients and techniques. The results are often sumptuous, delighting diners’ taste buds in unexpected ways. With the younger generation demanding a little more sophistication in their fare and elegance in their surroundings, the new breed of chefs are doing everything in their power to satisfy them.
Some real hidden treats for the palate and the senses can be found here…
Ana: (OT, AP 30) Sar, 1. Ph: (+34) 981 570 792. If you feel like getting away from the teeming hub the centre of town can become, take a short walk beyond the old city walls to this charming, beautifully restored old tanning factory and enjoy some wonderful new Galician cuisine in an intimate and relaxing environment. Classic Galician staples are fused delightfully with outrageous sauces and accompaniments in a hidden romantic corner of the building or in the splendid outdoor courtyard, though it must be added that Ana does come with a health warning: they have desserts to die for! (+ info)
Tafona: (OT, AP 30) web. Virxe da Cerca, 7. Ph: (+34) 981 568 923. Taking the best, Galician produce and elevating time-honoured recipes through innovative kitchen techniques and artistry, La Tafona showcases the ‘nueva cuisine’ in an elegant and mouth-watering manner. Expect to find the very finest ingredients teasing your taste buds in unexpected ways as traditional fish and meat dishes take new and delightful guises. The attention to detail of the kitchen is mirrored by the tasteful and painstaking décor. La Tafona more than fulfil their promise to make your meal an unforgettable experience.
Boga: (NT, AP 25) Rúa dos Feáns, local 3B. Ph: (+34) 981 592 227. A favourite haunt for young professionals, Boga offers delightful modern twists to Galician traditions and delivers textured and imaginative ‘nueva cuisine’ in a contemporarily styled bistro environment. A relaxed atmosphere combined with great service and a fine wine list ensures vibrant courses are washed down to perfection.
Restaurante Calderón: (NT, AP 40) web. Carrera del Conde, 8. Ph: (+34) 981 554 356. For something completely different, why not rent your own room for dinner? Restaurante Calderon has converted an old town house into five differently themed and decorated rooms that you can hire individually and to which you can bring your own music. Stylishly decorated with top-class menus, they can accommodate couples looking for a special, romantic experience, or groups of up to twenty seeking a night to remember.
Casa Marcelo: (OT, AP 50) Hortas, 1. Ph: (+34) 981 558 580. web. Experienced and influenced by the famed Spanish chef Juan Mari Arzak, Marcelo Tejedor´s restaurant is raising the bar for new cuisine in Galicia. He juggles the influences of French cuisine with the simplicity of the Galician products and then adds a delicate touch of seasoning, managing to conjure up dishes that ooze personality and yet remain true to their origins. Less is certainly more in his kitchen.
El Mercadito: (NT, AP 35) web. Galeras,18. Ph: (+34) 981 574 239. Gonzalo Rei has a growing reputation as one of the most promising young chefs in the region. At the tender age of 30 he opened up his new restaurant El Mercadito and is winning much praise for exploring the fusion of international cuisine with the traditional Galician kitchen; creating explosive twists in his octopus and fish dishes and then rounding them off with imaginative blends in his sweet yet savory desserts.
Pedro Roca: (NT, AP 45) web. Domingo García Sabel, 1. Ph: (+34) 981 585 776. With a well-established and fine reputation, Pedro Roca recently opened up his stylishly-cozy new town restaurant of the same name. Famed for sourcing his seafood from the local ria´s he transforms this hard currency into delicate, mouth watering dishes that really do fly the flag for Galician cuisine.
La Cavita: (NT) web. S. Pedro de Mezonzo, 9. Ph: (+34) 981 935 098. One of the trendiest new eateries in town, La Cavita is a perfect place for casual dining, where international cuisine is mixed elegantly with local expertise. The joy of their dishes is in the detail and long lunches, early evening gin and tonics, and a vibrant evening atmosphere are orders of the day here.
La Casa de la Marquesa: (OT) web. Costa de Santo Domingo, 2. Ph: (+34) 981 573 958. An unusual and innovative little restaurant that sits warmly within the shadow of the Museo do Pobo Galego. Its surprisingly international menu of fine cuisine and light meals places emphasis on croquets and fish dishes and, on Saturdays and Thursdays, sushi is served. The intimate and cosy setting is proving hugely popular with the Santiago ‘in-crowd’.
Crêperie Cre-Cotté: (OT) web. Praza da Quintana, 1, 1º. Ph: (+34) 981 577 643. For something completely different try this Creperie. Most ot their dishes revolve around their delicately created crepes and succulent fillings. The deserts are also crepe-based with delicious sweet fillings; chocolate, banana, fruits and ice creams all gorgeously wrapped in a mouth-watering package.
Góndola I: (NT, AP 15) web. Santiago del Estero, 7. Ph: (+34) 981 598 348. A quiet retreat in the new town that has been serving both Greek and Italian food for 25 years: It has a good pizza menu and a wide range of authentic Mediterranean dishes on offer. These can be nicely topped off with a classic Italian pastry.
La Tagliatella: (NT, AP 18) web. Frei Rosendo Salvado, 10. Ph: (+34) 881 939 822. A classic Italian restaurant in both ambience and cuisine: It serves large salads, pizzas and pasta dishes with quality wines at discerning prices.
Pulpo, as it is known locally, is Galicia’s signature dish, whether boiled simply or garnished with paprika, rock salt and olive oil. They love it so much they have restaurants that specialise in the delicacy. Simple taverns with a simple agenda.
Bodegón Concheiros: (NT) Fuente de los Concheiros, 2A. Ph: (+34) 981 588 690.
Mesón do Pulpo: (NT) Vista Alegre, 57. Ph: (+34) 981 586 416.
Pulpería Fuentes: (NT) Campo de Conxo, 5. Ph: (+34) 981 521 007.
SPANISH CUISINE AND STEAK HOUSES
Rincón de Gurpegui: (NT, AP 25) web. Frei Rosendo Salvado, 15. Ph: (+34) 981 598 178. A charming old restaurant lays hidden in the new part of town that will surprise you with its authentic old town-house style. It is famed for its classic Basque-style cuisine and generous portions during hunting season.
Asador Castellano: (NT, AP 50) web. Rúa Nova de Abaixo, 2. Ph: (+34) 981 590 357. Flying the flag for traditional food from the Castilla region of Spain is this classical restaurant in new town. Suddenly, at its entrance, and within its arched dinning halls, you are transported to another part of Spain where the cuisine focuses on succulent meats and generous portions that have been cooked, baked and barbecued in large open ovens.
A Costela de Román: (NT) web. San Pedro de Mezonzo, 26. Ph: (+34) 981 598 811. A typical Spanish steak house that flame grills its cuts of meat to perfection. Great slabs of beef, lamb and pork land on your table with hearty side dishes and salads. They also do octopus and their menu of the day is great value for money and popular with the locals.
O Gato Negro: (OT) (+ info) Raíña. Ph: (+34) 981 583 105. For an authentic, culinary trip back in time you must visit O Gato Negro where the cave-like interior, flag-stoned floors, white-washed walls, vibrant greens and busy chatter provides an ambience that has barely changed in 50 years. The throwback feel includes the décor and its renowned dishes of simple seafood, mouth-watering meats and classic empanadas.
Vinoteca O Beiro: (OT) Raiña, 3. Ph: (+34) 981 581 370. A great wine bar in the heart of the old town offering a tremendous selection of wines and Galician products that tempt you at every turn as you enjoy your tapas and evening aperitif. A friendly, informal atmosphere encourages you to stay a while and if you fancy it you can simply head upstairs for your evening meal.
Bierzo Enxebre: (OT, AP 16) web Troia, 10. Ph: (+34) 981 581 909. A very pleasant and lively early evening bar in a great spot in the old town. Serving classic high quality natural cheeses and meats with favourite wines from the famed Bierzo region, (Leon).
Bodega Abrigadoiro: (OT) Carreira do Conde, 5. Ph: (+34) 981 563 163. To sample some of the finest wines, cheeses and chorizos in the city take a trip to Abrigadoiro. A parade of enormous wine-barrelled tables welcomes you into this cavernous abode where, amid a bustling atmosphere, there’s always a warm welcome and prompt service from the staff. If you venture in far enough you could be enjoying your glass of wine beside a fully functional water wheel, which keeps the Albariños nicely chilled!
MENUS OF THE DAY
Entre-Rúas: (OT) Entrerrúas, 2. Ph: (+34) 981 586 108. A lovely little courtyard, tucked away between the Rua do Vilar and Rua do Nova, makes a delightful outdoor tapas restaurant. They provide an excellent Menu del Día with a good range of dishes at a very reasonable price. Great value in a wonderfully secretive location and the perfect place if you simply want to get away from the crowds and have a coffee.
Candilejas: (OT) Plaza de Mazarelos, 11. Ph: (+34) 981 586 070. This elderly restaurant sits on the corner of the street besides the university’s history building and attracts locals and students alike with its great value menu. Simple but good quality food or just a coffee can be enjoyed in this pavement-cafe like environment.
COFFEE, MUSIC & DRINK
Paraíso Perdido: (OT) Antealtares, 3. We love the quirky atmosphere of this underground bar and coffee house. A small labyrinth of intimate corners mixed with eclectic furniture and eccentric decoration make it a unique drinking hole. It’s a fun and relaxing place to be and delivers some of the best hot chocolates and coffee variations in town.
Casa das Crechas: (OT) web. Via Sacra, 3. A Santiago classic with a fun vibe that continues to showcase the very best in Galician Celtic music, mid-week is the time, here, for live music and jamming sessions while the weekends see local DJ’s spin a tune or two in the basement.
Casino: (OT) web. Rúa do Vilar, 35. Opulent in décor and lavish with its furnishings, this popular café resides in the heart of town and has been there since 1873. Live pianists will waltz you through their menu of coffees, drinks and tapas meals.
Pub Atlántico: (OT) Fonte de San Miguel, 9. From 5pm to 4.30 am. Musicians have long been congregating at Bar Atlantico along with local artists from the worlds of theatre, art and film. They host a variety of regular cultural evenings: poetry, story-telling and projecting old movies, to name a few. The owners have been a part of the artistic heartbeat in Santiago for over twenty years and the stylish interior and artistic ambience is a reflection of this. Oh and they do good beers and coffees too.
Carrilana: (OT) San Paio de Antealtares, 16. A nicely designed two-floor bar at the back of the Monastery de Antealtares. Its large crystal facade ensures you feel like you’re outside even when you’re sitting in though, of course, on a warm balmy night you can take your drinks outside and join the throng of hip and happy youths.
Calderería: (OT) Calderería, 26. A small cave in the centre of Santiago has become one of the most popular and trendy musical bars in the city. They have a diary packed with live music dates and resident DJs for you to enjoy as you sip from one of the best cocktail menus in town. A youthful, exuberant vibe for a long night of fun and frivolity. Though you may prefer the chilled daytime vibe for a relaxed coffee and a bit of book reading time!
Café Iacobus: (OT) web. Calderería, 42. For an enormous selection of international tea and coffee flavours, pop into Cafe Iacobus. It’s a modern little coffee shop where you can enjoy the best aromatic beverages as well as hand-made ice creams that may well find their way into your hot mug as a specialty of the house.
A Granola: (OT) Plaza de Cervantes, 21. A hang out for local musicians who occupy the old cellar basement, on a daily basis, fine tuning their art. You get the best of two worlds here, great coffees and some authentic Galician background music.
Metate: (OT) San Paio de Antealtares. The Oompa-Loompas from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory would not have been out of place in this charming little cafe that resides behind Obradoiro Square. Old chocolate-making machinery is part of the décor and the owners still make their very own chocolate, mixing it with some very potent liqueurs for your delight.
Modus Vivendi: (OT) web. Plaza de Feijóo, 1. Housed in the old stables of a country house this claims to be the first pub in Galicia. They host live music and a versatile program of shows, exhibitions, photography and theatre. A vibrant and fun bar with its foot firmly keeping the door of Galician culture open to the general public.
Momo...a rúa: (OT) web. Virxe da Cerca, 23. The Abbey Road pedestrian crossing, paved into the interior street that becomes the Momo bar gives you a clue as to its intentions. Nights, here, are danced away to rock music and the young crowd enjoys barroom games. The bar extends out to a glorious outdoor cafe garden with great views of Belvis Park. A great place for a fun night out and cocktails or for early evening drinks.
Garoa: (OT) Rodrigo de Padrón. If you enjoy dressing up for your nightclub experience then head for Garoa where the young and flirtatious twist and tease the night away.
La Radio: (OT) Praza San Fiz de Solovio, 6. For a spot of clubbing head to La Radio where the house beats move you from deep to classic to trance, with a bit of electro thrown in.
Ultramarinos: (OT) Casas Reais, 34. Stepping up to the Indie scene plate and with a relaxed dance-bar atmosphere is Ultramarinos: International dance music mixed sporadically with the locals favourites.
Meia: (OT) Algalia de Abaixo, 22. A favourite student haunt in the old town, Meia is snall and cozy, warming you up for the long night ahead with drinks in the street level bar as the basement beats to euro-pop below.
Retablo: (OT) Rúa Nova, 13. No space at Meia? Then head to the larger dance-bar “Retablo” in the heart of the old town. Here, you can enjoy the night away to the pop anthems of today on one of its two floors.
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