Favorite Dining Spots in Santiago
When I first stepped foot into Santiago back in 2011, the dining scene was quite good but very homogenous. It seemed like you only had two types of establishments… either tapas bars or traditional Galician restaurants. The taste and quality was there but the creativity was lacking a bit With each return trip that I make, I see the culinary scene getting more and more dynamic.
Below are some of my favorite dining spots grouped into three categories… casual, moderate and more upscale.
A Taberna do Bispo one of the most well-known tapas bars in Santiago and it’s always packed. But the staff is very gracious and always finds a way to accommodate you. I love their crab montadito, their bacalao con compota de berenjena y tomate, flash fried cod with eggplant and tomato compotes, their tortilla de patatas y cebolla and their razor clams.
Maria Castaña, a rustic Galician restaurant in the heart of the historic center of Santiago, is always packed and it can be tricky to get a table at peak times. But if you happen to go in the early evening before 8:30 or 9 pm, you should be able to get a table without issue. I almost invariably order their chipirones a Maria Castaña – baby squid cooked in tomatoes, peppers and onions and their zamburiñas, grilled scallops on the shell. They also have some of the most generous cheese platters in town!
A Noiesa is a family operation that just opened a couple of months ago and is named after the chef’s mother who was from the nearby town Noia. The husband is the chef while the wife and their son manage the front of the house. The service in turn is very warm, kind and familiar and the food has wonderful freshness and brightness. I particularly like their crujiente de berenjena con miel gallega (fried eggplant with Galician honey) and their zamburiñas (scallops).
Located at the Mercado de Abastos, Abastos 2.0 occupies six market stalls that have been combined. It addition, it does not have refrigeration. Yes, that’s right, there is no refrigeration. This means that all the ingredients are purchased fresh each day at the market. As a matter of fact, on more than one occasion, I’ve witnessed one of the cooks popping into one of the market stalls to pickup an ingredient. The mostly fish and seafood creations on the menu are modern renditions of Galician specialties. You can order just tapas or you can order a tasting menu (35 and 50 euros respectively, depending on which of the tasting menus you select). I highly recommend the full tasting menu.
San Clemente is a very traditional Spanish restaurant with white tablecloth service where many locals gather for long lunches with the family on weekends. I have been dining at this establishment for over five years and the quality is always consistent. I recently had an amazing octopus carpacio as well as arroz con bogavante that were simply sublime!
Housed in a 17th century building and just a few steps away from Praza de Obradoiro, A Horta do Obradoiro offers a modern rendition of Galician dishes in three different spaces: a small bar upfront, an indoor dining room in the middle and a beautiful courtyard for al aire libre dining in the back.
Casa Marcelo is Santiago de Compostela’s first Michelin starred restaurant. A gastropub at heart, it features an Asian/Peruvian/Galician fusion menu in a more modern environment.