A Travel Guide to Galicia: Spain’s Celtic connection

The food

Thanks to its proximity to the sea, Galicia is also the place to sample one of the best seafood in Spain. You could have a seafood based dish every single day and yet not get tired- such is the variety that you get here. The seasoning is normally kept quite simple and more emphasis is placed on the individual flavours of the actual fresh ingredients- something that Galicia shares in common with the rest of the country. But nevertheless, it’s an experience not to be missed, so much so that the taste will linger with you long after you have left the region.

Polbo á feira with cachelos

Pictured above is the most famous dish of Galicia. It consists of boiled octopus tentacles (polbo standing for octopus), seasoned with olive oil, salt and paprika. The cachelos are boiled potatoes, seasoned with olive oil (what else!) and salt. This unfussy and surprisingly simple combination is a match made in heaven, especially on a cold, rainy, lazy afternoon when your heart craves for some comfort food. Siesta pronto afterwards.

Zamburiñas a la planchas (Grilled scallops)
Tarta de santiago

Santiago’s famous Tarta de Santiago forms a great ‘postre‘ or dessert after a big meal. It has quite a nutty flavour, thanks to almond meal being used as the main ingredient instead of the usual flour.

‘Queso con membrillo’ (Cheese with quince)

I have no shame in admitting that I have a massive sweet tooth and I was so delighted at having tasted this regional speciality. Sure, tarta de santiago is an icon on its own. However, this never-before-tried-unlikely combination stole the show for me. The extreme sweetness of the quince is balanced perfectly well by a mellow cheese, like the local tetilla. Walnuts are a good option, and they add nice background taste without being overpowering. Give this one a try for sure! It sounds unusual but is definitely worth it!

Where to eat in Galicia

I found the food in these places delicious, good value for money and serving local Galician fare. For me, they are definitely worth returning back to!

  • Ribadeo:
    • Casa Villaronta: Especially to try are their ‘polbo á feira’ with ‘cachelos’, and ‘membrillo con queso’.
  • Santiago de Compostela:
    • Damajuana: Their menú del día (lunch menú) only costs 11 euros and includes a starter, a main course, a dessert, a drink, water and bread. Pretty good value for money, and also had a home-made feel to it!
    • Galeón Raina Cervecería– Go there especially for their local seafood specialities.  
    • O Gato Negro: If you’re able to get a table in this place, consider yourself extremely lucky! It’s super small and always super busy, but the local fare that they serve is quite delicious, and not pricey. An excellent choice if you want to grab a few drinks and tapas, but nothing too elaborate like a 7- course meal.

Cover image: Ribadeo (Galicia)

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