Galicia, in northwestern Spain, is known for its gastronomy comprising seafood, meat, bread and wine. Filled with delicacies such as fish and octopus, Galician cuisine is rich and wholesome. These 10 restaurants represent the very best of Galician dining.
Pilgrims from all over the world finish the spiritual St James’ Way pilgrimage at the monumental Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Situated close to this World Heritage Site, Casa Marcelo has been a reference for avant-garde Galician gastronomy since 1999. Its creator, chef Marcelo Tejedor, gave up a Michelin star with the purpose of reinventing his restaurant in 2012. The renowned establishment now has three casual areas, a menu with tapas ideal for sharing and the offer of an extraordinary mixture of Galician fresh food infused with Japanese inspiration. Nigiri, spicy tuna tartare, pickled mussels or Celeiro’s hake are just some of the examples of Casa Marcelo’s impressive culinary offer.
Abastos 2.0 is located next to the traditional food market of Santiago de Compostela, where Iago Pazos and Marcos Cerqueiro, two young Galician chefs, buy the freshest food every morning. They then cook it in a way that represents their philosophy: respect tradition, use local products and offer high quality. All dishes and ingredients depend on what the seasonal market has to offer, and all food must be consumed by the end of the day. This changing cuisine is served either in their small tavern or in a more modern, adjacent space. The sea is the main source of their creativity, as they extract the inherent flavors of Galician tradition and combine them with a selection of Galician wines.
This traditional restaurant in the marine town of Finisterre, known by the Romans as the end of the world, is located in Costa da Morte (Galician for ‘Coast of Death’), a rugged and stunning coastline where many fishermen and boats have perished. Tira do Cordel takes up the building of a former salted fish factory, next to the beach. High-quality fresh fish and seafood are served on its tables, with the grilled white bass being the most popular dish on the menu. The name of this restaurant means ‘pull the string’ and dates back centuries to a time when the heavy, wooden front door needed to be opened by pulling a cord.
As Garzas is a Michelin-starred restaurant that offers an innovative Galician cuisine with traditional roots. Seafood, rice, fish and typical dishes of the area are brought up to date with modern techniques and the magic touch of Chef Fernando Agrasar. Located in an isolated house against the stunning backdrop of Costa da Morte, As Garzas has wide windows which offer an exceptional view of the open sea. This establishment represents Galician nature and select gastronomy at their finest.
Family-run Marisquería Ríos is one of the most prestigious restaurants in the city of A Coruña and the perfect place to sample the region’s seafood: crayfish, razor clams, crabs and barnacles, clams or shrimps. They are served with meticulous care and close attention is paid to the best ingredients of the season. This is a restaurant where Galician tradition can be enjoyed with excellent fish, sea products and wines at affordable prices.
A Pulpeira de Melide demonstrates how a traditional octopus-serving venue can transform into a 21st century establishment, guided by the fourth generation of a family devoted to preparing Galician octopus. Founded by their great-grandparents, the restaurant’s owners have been developing it over the years to offer an exquisite selection of Galician cuisine along with high-quality products and affordable prices. A mandatory order is, of course, the octopus (polbo á feira), cooked in deep copper pots and served in wooden dishes seasoned with olive oil, coarse sea salt and paprika, and accompanied by seasoned, boiled potatoes.
Mesón O Pote is located in the historical town of Betanzos, former capital of the province. This is a typical Galician restaurant that offers a wide selection of Galician cuisine, from the sea to the farm. Its most famous plate is the Spanish omelet, proud winner of the national award as the best omelet in Spain. This classic element of the Spanish cuisine gains its rich flavor thanks to local eggs that are beaten with a spoon and Galician potatoes, which are fried into a thin and crispy form.
This neighborhood tavern has been devoted to the traditional preparation of outstanding Galician octopus for more than 40 years. Pulpeira O Fiuza is a true institution of the city of A Coruña. It is located close to the Tower of Hercules, a World Heritage Site and the only lighthouse built by the Romans to have retained its original function. This crowded bar has wooden tables and barrels where neighbors from the area eat and drink, play cards and talk about football. Their passion for the local team is clearly visible on the walls, which are covered with images of the team, alongside old photographs of the city. In this tavern, Galician wines can be drunk in a typically Galician way: in little white porcelain bowls.
Mesón Muiño Kilowatio owes its name to its founder, who had previously worked for an electricity board. Nowadays, his daughters run this lively restaurant where generous tapas are served at a mind-boggling pace to diners who can enjoy them at the bar counter. The specialties include squids, zorza (little pieces of pork seasoned with paprika), cordon bleu and, most of all, marraxo (a shark species) that the owner buys personally on the fish market and chops into small pieces. Mesón Muiño Kilowatio is a very busy and popular venue at the seafront of the town of Cedeira. In winter, it opens its doors on weekends only, but stays open all week long during summer.
Taberna do Puntal is a tavern located in the middle of a winding road that connects Ferrol and Cedeira, surrounded by a forest and facing an estuary. Despite its secluded location, the venue is crowded with locals and foreigners who travel to enjoy the menu that combines the best shellfish in the area (common cockles, barnacles, mussels or razor clams) with a spectacular Spanish omelette with chorizo. Reservations are highly recommended, especially in summer.