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Eight restaurants not to be missed the next time you're in Galicia




02 oct 2023 . Actualizado a las 11:07 h.

Aside from its culture, natural beauty, rich history and traditions, Galicia’s gastronomy is certainly one of its biggest draws among tourists. Pretty much every visitor to our region looks forward to digging into the local cuisine. And it goes without saying that us locals are rather partial to our own culinary delights. The options are endless. Our produce, know-how in the kitchen and immense gastronomic tradition know no bounds. Surf, turf, traditional fare and avant-garde cuisine, including all sorts of fish, seafood, meat and vegetable dishes. And always with a common denominator: let the product do the talking. Here are eight of the most diverse culinary proposals —from north to south and from east to west— that you should definitely check out the next time you pass through Galicia.


A Coruña’s Plaza de España is always buzzing with activity, thanks largely to the presence of one of the most popular and acclaimed venues in the city.

What A Pulpeira de Melide offers today is essentially a contemporary version of the family business where the traditional pulpeira (octopus restaurant) is fused with modern cuisine. At the helm is Gorka Rodríguez, a fourth generation pulpeiro (octopus chef), but who has also trained at some of the world’s finest restaurants, including Mugaritz, El Celler de Can Roca and Noma.

While the octopus is the restaurant’s signature dish and certainly the most popular, there is a lot more to be found on the menu, which is heavily based on fresh market produce.

Simple yet sublime creations include scallop and anchovy gilda (on a skewer), xouba empanada (pilchard tart), dried ham croquettes, black ink cuttlefish croquettes or carpaccio of Rubia Gallega beef.

The seafood and fish section of the menu is also tantalising, with suggestions such as pan-fried clams from Carril, pickled mussels from Lorbe, rock scorpionfish in tempura batter, tuna tartar or marinated mackerel.

The Betanzos-style omelette —the second most popular dish on the menu after the octopus— and the baked cheesecake are also fabulous.


The Atlantic Ocean can be viewed in all its majesty from the dining room window of the San Francisco and can also be experienced through its cuisine. And being where it is, the restaurant’s larder is simply unrivalled. The spray of the Atlantic hits its window on stormy days and the ocean also permeates its menu.

The San Francisco is divided into two clearly differentiated parts. A proper restaurant and another area for picoteo (tapas and other light nibbles while you drink). However, they are both rooted in the same values: traditional cuisine combined with quality produce. The raw material, whether fish or seafood, is sourced from the local fish market and always comes from small-scale fishing.

The San Francisco offers goose barnacles from the most rugged and unspoilt shorelines of the islands of Sisargas, Nariga, Corme or Camelle.

As for the fish, the most recommended dishes include the spectacular caldeirada stew, featuring either grilled or baked fish (must be requested in advance). Not to be outdone are dishes such as octopus caldeirada, beans with octopus and clams, or squid in its own ink, for which the family recipe has been passed down from generation to generation.

The tapas menu also leans towards the sea while preserving the true essence of Galician home cooking. An assortment of omelettes and croquettes rank among the most popular tapas and larger-sized portions. The chocos (fried cuttlefish) are also to die for.

O DEZASEIS Santiago de Compostela

The restaurant can be found in the popular Rúa San Pedro, at number 16 to be precise. Since it opened in 1995, it has become a hotspot within the Galician capital and it has achieved this by building a proposal of traditional flavours and know-how based on local produce. In the words of its manager, Gonzalo Abal: “Those looking for flamboyance or wacky creations at O Dezaseis have come to the wrong place,” though that is not to say that none of the dishes on the menu are creative or innovative.

The traditional spirit is firmly on display at O Dezaseis from the very moment you step onto the stone steps leading into the restaurant. A sober yet elegant decoration, where wood and granite are the main features, create a genuinely cosy atmosphere across its three dining rooms, one of which takes the form of a covered terrace.

As for the menu itself, diners should definitely pick the fire-grilled octopus, the restaurant’s star dish. They also grill a superb San Simón cheese, the iconic tear-shaped cheese of Galicia. Other dishes worth trying include citrus pickled or traditionally pickled mussels and Galician hake, which is beautifully delicate and fresh.


In the heart of the Rías Baixas and Albariño wine country, this house has been setting the culinary bar for a century and a half. The business is now in its fifth generation. And while Casa Rosita may have changed location, expanded its facilities and moved with the times, the fundamentals of its cuisine have remained unchanged over the years. There are few places where the value of tradition is as evident and genuine as in this Cambados restaurant. And its style of cooking stays true to the gastronomic roots of the surrounding area, which is based heavily on seafood and fish.

The star dish of the house is the seafood salpicón. “Out of every ten diners, nine ask us for salpicón,” they confess. So what’s the secret? “The main ingredient is patience. All our seafood (crab, shrimp, lobster, etc.) is bought, cooked and peeled on the day”, they explain. Two or three women spend much of the morning doing this job.

Of course that’s not to say that diners should neglect the rest of the seafood on offer. The grilled monkfish with a dash of marinara sauce is one such delicacy warranting a visit to Casa Rosita. Turbot, sole, sea bass or hake on a skewer are other mouth-watering options. When it comes to dessert, filloa pancakes, almond crisp with fresh strawberries or creamy mascarpone attract almost as many visitors as the salpicón.


César Fernández and Rubén Álvarez opened this business in June 2020, right at the height of the pandemic. Needless to say, things were pretty hard at the outset, though Sopapo has since managed to thrive due to the quality, uniqueness and honesty of its proposal and it is now one of the most popular venues in Vigo’s old town.

Sopapo harks back to the traditional taverns and cheerful eateries of yesteryear. “Traditional cuisine... not so much market cuisine, more home cooking,” they explain. “No bells and whistles, no fuss. Just a spot of know-how.”

No one will walk away disappointed after trying what Sopapo has to offer. You get what you see, and what you see, you eat. A value and approach that is becoming increasingly popular among customers.

Sopapo’s menu is based on fish. Always —and they do mean always— fish of the day and what’s more sourced from inshore fishermen. “We don’t want anything from the Grand Sole fishing ground out to sea,” they explain. And so diners can choose from bream, monkfish or perhaps horse mackerel, which is probably what we receive the most of. The rib meat rice is another star dish at the restaurant located in Plaza A Pedra square, as are the escabeche de chinchos (pickled mackerel) and various Bandeira meats. The fact that the average bill is between 20 and 25 euros per person (drinks included) is definitely another plus point.


Seafood cuisine is not exclusive to fishing towns and villages. You can also find some wonderful restaurants further inland. And A Taberna, in Ourense, is an outstanding example. Javier Outomuro has been running the restaurant located in Rúa Julio Prieto Nespereira for 20 years, where fish has always been the star attraction. “Eighty per cent of our customers come here for the fish,” he exclaims. Oven baked, salt-baked, or grilled, but there’s one thing that never changes. “They are all wild. We don’t work with farmed fish,” he explains.

Javier defines the culinary proposal of A Taberna as “traditional cuisine based on modern produce”. What matters is the raw material, in its purest form. We let the produce do the talking,” he adds.

Examples of this approach include monkfish with prawns, which “I’ve been cooking for 35 years and would never take off the menu”, says Javier, as well as salmon tacos, rice dishes with lobster, arroz a banda (traditional rice cooked in fish stock), and kid goat.

A Taberna also offers a tasting menu of seven dishes —the best sellers on its menu— at a price of 44 euros, not including drinks.


Lugo’s gastronomic jewel is the octopus, which has even come to symbolise the local festivities. And if we are talking about traditional pulperías (octopus eateries), one of the main establishments is undoubtedly A Lareira, in the A Milagrosa neighbourhood of Lugo. The business has been running for over 40 years, although its current managers, Marina Fraga and Teresa Díaz, took over in 2014, following the retirement of the previous owners. They were regular employees under the previous management, but after taking over, they made sure to maintain the traditional spirit for which the restaurant has always been known.

At A Lareira, the octopus can be eaten á feira (drizzled with olive oil and paprika) or with cachelos (boiled potato). But it is far from the only tempting proposal offered up by the house. Another firm favourite among the restaurant’s clientele are callos (tripe), followed closely by Galician broth —often sadly absent from the menus of many a restaurant—, Maragata-style beef brisket, cured pork shoulder with stewed turnip tops, squid and baby squid.

All of this is prepared and presented in the purest traditional style, following our tried and tested Galician culinary tradition.

They also have a daily set menu and an irresistible selection of homemade desserts.


Ferrol’s gastronomy may well be Galicia’s dark horse. There are many restaurants in the city that are now offering food of outstanding quality, whether in terms of sheer creativity or because they have chosen to stay faithful to their Galician roots. One such establishment is El Timón, located on Rúa A Coruña and run by José María Jordán, a staunch defender of “artisan cuisine”. The concept, he explains, is that of a simple bar. “We are not a restaurant. Although we take our food seriously, we’re big on keeping things informal and spontaneous when it comes to eating.”

El Timón’s “upbeat” cuisine looks to give a brilliant twist to local produce. Using Ferrol’s food market as its starting point, El Timón gives a nod of the hat to the avant-garde, though without all the fanfare and also —and this is important— at a price that most people can afford.

And so, when looking at the menu or the specials board, one can easily be seduced by such tempting and original proposals as turbot with beetroot oil, steak tartar with apple, beef short rib with dried apricot compote, marinated salmon or basmati rice with curried wok vegetables.