Ribadesella is a small municipality in the Spanish region of Asturias, located at the mouth of the River Sella and bordering the Cantabrian Sea. It may not be a big place, but the town of Ribadesella itself, and the surrounding villages, have a surprising array of excellent places to eat. Here’s our pick of the best traditional restaurants in the area.
Restaurant, Spanish, Mediterranean, European, $$$
Restaurante la Huertona, Ribadesella | Courtesy of La Huertona, Ribadesella
One of the best restaurants in Ribadesella, La Huertona offers stunning views of rocky mountains and the wide river estuary through its many windows. The menu is based on fresh seasonal produce, particularly fish, which is bought fresh from the Llanes and Ribadesella markets each morning. Roasted meats and vegetable sides are also available. Each dish is so beautifully presented that you’ll want to take photos of them all to post on your Instagram page.
Restaurante Arbidel, Ribadesella | Courtesy of Arbidel, Ribadesella
This fine dining restaurant by chef Jaime Uz is the best option in Ribadesella for haute cuisine. The stunning menu is just as you’d expect from a place of this calibre, complete with flavoured foams, emulsions and quinells of cream or sorbet. Perhaps start with the scallops cooked in cider and pink grapefruit, then move on to red mullet cooked in fennel and tarragon, or truffle and mushroom risotto with cauliflower marrow and sea asparagus for the vegetarians. Finish up with warm chocolate sponge served with gianduja (chocolate and hazelnut paste) and rosemary ice cream. There’s also a tasting menu available for those who want to try a bit of everything.
Carroceu is a huge, inviting cider bar and restaurant set right along the seafront. Always lively and popular, the main attraction is of course the cider, which like the typical Asturian cider, is cloudy, sparkling, tart and poured from a great height. Apart from the cider, tapas is the order of the day here, and the menu features typical dishes such as pimientos de Padron (small fried green peppers), mussels, fried cod fish, platters of Asturian cheeses and calamari.
A cosy restaurant with a lovely outdoor garden, El Texu can be found in the larger Ribadesella area, rather than in the town itself. It’s located in the countryside near the village of Meluerda. The main attraction here are the huge traditional cachopos – large slabs of veal covered in ham and cheese, then battered in egg and breadcrumbs, before being deep-fried. Other popular dishes include tortos (corn pancakes covered in cabrales cheese, fried egg and chorizo) and grilled meats straight from the barbecue. They also have a range of delicious homemade desserts such as tarts and cheesecakes.
A simple place along the riverfront, El Tarteru offers seating both outdoors on the terrace and in the cosy dining room. They also serve excellent cachopos, as well as croquetas of various types, scrambled eggs mixed with different ingredients, and salads. The seafood tapas are also the star of the show here, featuring plates of everything from razor clams and scallops to mussels and baby squid.
El Campanu is owned by the Marques José Manuel Mori Cuest, which has branches in Oviedo and Cangas de Onís, as well as Ribadesella. The restaurant in Ribadesella is located right by the port and offers stunning views of the Cantabrian Sea. Hailing from a family of great fishermen, seafood is the prime ingredient on the Marques’ menu, particularly fresh salmon from the rivers in Asturias. Rice dishes and grilled meats also feature heavily for those who are not big seafood fans.
A simple and cosy restaurant, Meson El Labrador serves huge portions of local, hearty cuisine at an excellent price. With chunky wooden furniture and wine-red walls, it’s a nice laid-back place to eat. The menu includes Asturian classics such as fabada Asturiana (a thick white bean stew with chunks of meat), escalopines (like cachopos), lots of broth-like soups and big cuts of barbecued meat served with chips.