The capital of Galicia is a gastronomic paradise for foodies and anyone with a sweet tooth. These are the best restaurants in Santiago de Compostela.

If you eat mainly off the cheap pilgrim menus on the Camino de Santiago, you can get the impression that the cuisine in Spain is boring and monotonous. But the opposite is true: Spanish cuisine is one of the best in Europe!  And Galicia really stands out. Here in the northwest you can feast wonderfully, especially on mariscos (seafood). Off the coast of Galicia fishermen collect duck and razor clams, sea urchins, octopus, scallops and many other kinds of fish.  Mussels and oysters are farmed to the point that Galicia has become the largest producer of mussels in the world. 

And for those who prefer land meat: Five local breeds of cattle are bred in the region, which produce excellent, tender steaks. Vegetarians and vegans might have a hard time, since Spain as a whole loves their meat. But meatless dishes beyond tortilla de patatas are also finding their way into restaurant kitchens more and more. And since good food is very important to the Spaniards (and they make up the largest group of pilgrims), the restaurants in Santiago offer excellent quality. If you’re on a tight budget and living off pilgrim menus your whole Camino, at least swear off the pilgrim menus in Santiago! After all, you made it here. Treat yourself! And there are so many culinary delights to discover. These are my recommended best restaurants in Santiago de Compostela where you can dine like a king. 

Mercado de Abastos – A Galician Feast

On the edge of the old town is the produce, meat and fish market Mercado de Abastos, where locals shop and where restaurant chefs choose their ingredients every day. One of the halls has been converted into a «gourmet street» with several restaurants. Here you will find the entire spectrum of Galician cuisine, from the vegetable soup «Caldo Gallego» to «Pulpo a la Feira», Galicia’s signature octopus dish. It’s not the most visually appealing dish, but it’s very delicious! If you are not a vegetarian or vegan, you should definitely try it. The atmosphere in the market hall is relaxed and cozy, ideal for lunch (the hall closes at 3:30 p.m.)

Lume – Superb Tapas

Lume is located directly on the market – an offshoot of the Michelin starred restaurant A Tafona by Galician chef Lucia Freitas. If you don’t want to spend the 90+ euros for a tasting menu in A Tafona, you can eat just as well at Lume! The menu starts at 35 euros (without wine pairing), and is still at the higher end price by Spanish standards, but it’s worth it. Chef Lucia serves up delicious, creative interpretations of traditional Galician and Spanish tapas. Just make sure to call ahead and reserve a table. 

A Noiesa – Traditional and Stylish

A Noiesa is located on the Rúa do Franco restaurant alley. The interior is modern, decorated with typical wooden utensils from a Galician kitchen. The menu offers tasteful, high-quality classics from land and sea. I recommend starting with some small raciones and for the main course either a Galician beef entrecote or pulpo (octopus), which has been boiled and then grilled until lightly crispy.

A Maceta – Internationally Inspired Seafood

Just off the Camino on Rúa de San Pedro (where the older, lower houses start) is A Maceta restaurant. The entrance area does not look very inviting, but in the backyard reveals a beautiful garden and tasteful dining room. The menu doesn’t feature the classic Galician dishes, but rather seafood with an international influence (there are also meat dishes and vegetarian options). I recommend the very tasty tuna and trout sashimi. 

El Mesón Do Pulpo – Full of Local Flavor

For a really authentic food experience, visit El Mesón Do Pulpo on Rúa de Vista Alegre just outside the old town. As the name suggests, their menu is all about Galician pulpo and other ocean delicacies. The ambiance is simple, not fancy. It’s off the main tourist drag and filled with locals – which is why I like the spot. The prices are low, the house wine is served in clay bowls, and the food is fabulous. What more do you want?

Here I describe my most favorite authentic bars in Santiago.

Write A Comment