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Seafood Fresh from the Atlantic in Santiago de Compostela
Seafood in the north of Spain is less focussed on frying the heck out of everything.
What to Eat in Santiago de Compostela
Seafood in general is the order of the day in Santiago, with pulpo a la gallega – Galician-style octopus – as the quintessential dish everyone has to try.
I don’t think I’ve met anyone who expected to like the unusual texture of boiled octopus – nor have I met anyone who, once they’d tried it, didn’t enjoy it in the end.
When the octopus is this fresh, and cooked by chefs with such experience, it is always fantastic.
Other dishes worth checking out is tetilla, a local cheese, and pimientos del padrón (small peppers from Padron).
Tapas in Santiago de Compostela
Restaurants with a bar area in the old town often give you small bites to eat with your drink. You’ll need quite a light appetite to get your fill from these bites (or a desire to drink quite a bit!). Check out the bars on Rua do Franco and Rua Nova. La Tita is famous for its tortilla.
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Espeto de Sardinas in Malaga
Another south coast city and another place known for its fish.
Classic Dishes in Malaga
Malaga can’t quite compete with Cadiz in the quality of its fried fish, but it does have a signature dish that you won’t find elsewhere: the espeto de sardinas.
A skewer of fresh sardines barbecued in an an old fishing boat, this dish is not only tasty but a great photo opportunity as you walk along the beach on a sunny Andalusian afternoon.
What’s Tapas Like in Malaga?
In the center of Malaga, pretty much all you’ll get is fried fish. There are dozens (if not hundreds) of restaurants selling freshly prepared pescado frito. They might have salad too(!)
Portions are not really tapas size, but ‘raciones‘ and ‘media raciones‘ (servings and half servings) which mean you’ll eat much better if you can get a large number of you to order several dishes and share them all.
See also: Eating and Drinking in Malaga
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Steak and Cider in Astigarraga, San Sebastian
Yes, San Sebastian has already featured in this list, but the oft-proclaimed gastronomical capital of Europe deserves two appearances.
The town of Astigarraga just outside San Sebastian is home to sagardotegi, cider houses where you get your cider from a giant barrel and eat copious amounts of chargrilled steak.
You’ll need your own transport to get to these restaurants (they’re a short drive outside of San Sebastian) and someone to make a reservation for you (English-speaking staff cannot be guaranteed).
Take the stress out of the logistics and go on this Basque Cider House Tour in San Sebastian.
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Roast Lamb in Aranda de Duero
A meat not normally associated with Spain.
Traditional Dishes in Aranda de Duero
Usually, when one thinks of Spain, they also think of copious amounts of pork. But in much of Castilla, roast lamb (cordero) is the most highly regarded dish.
Aranda de Duero is a small city most known for its wine production. El Lagar de Isilla, a local winery, also owns a restaurant in the city that is famous for its lamb.
Make sure you ask them to let you into the underground wine cellars, a labyrinth of tunnels that criss-cross the entire city.
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Beans and blue cheese in Oviedo
Oviedo is probably the city with the most unique dishes in the whole country.
Traditional Dishes in Oviedo
You have fabada, a famous bean-and-pork stew, cachopo (a kind of grandiose cordon bleu) and lots of dishes with the local blue cheese, cabrales. Plus, it’s the other big area for cider, along with the Basque Country.
What’s Tapas Like in Oviedo?
Pretty good! Not as formal as the ‘drink-and-a-tapa’ system of, say, Granada and Leon, instead you’ll just get passed a portion of food when the kitchen has some.
Sometimes you’ll get a lot, sometimes you won’t get anything at all.