This blog post was originally posted on November 10, 2013, and was updated on April 19, 2017.
So you’re getting ready to explore Santiago de Compostela? Good choice! You’ve selected one of Spain’s greatest food destinations, complete with an intriguing history and a vibrant and unique culture of its own. Don’t waste a meal on your trip: This guide provides a foundation for where and what to eat in Santiago.
Tucked away in the northwest corner of the Spain, Santiago de Compostela is an unexpected gem. With dark stone buildings, regular rainfall and bagpiping buskers, you’d be excused for thinking you were a little further north in the world. But no, this is what they call Green Spain. And up here the food is fantastic, meaning that eating in Santiago is a dream. There’s fresh seafood from the cold waters of the Cantabrian Sea, delicious beef from the grassy Galician hills and an abundance of vegetables from small market gardens.
Don’t just eat Galician food, experience it! For the best bites in Santiago, join us on a food tour! We’ll show you what to order at our favorite little spots and surprise you with the richness of Galician cuisine. Get ready to navigate the winding cobblestone streets with your local expert guide and discover Santiago’s cultural and gastronomic hidden gems. Come with us to learn how the locals live in Galicia—and feel more like a local yourself!
What to Try
Pulpo a la gallega: Fresh octopus boiled to perfection and then lightly sprinkled with sea salt and Spanish paprika. For seafood lovers, this dish is the Holy Grail. And rightly so as it’s delicious when cooked perfectly, but so hard to get right.
Pimientos de padrón: These small green peppers have been nicknamed the Russian Roulette of tapas: Most are mild but one in about twenty is hot hot hot! They’re lightly fried then covered with sea salt and are served either on their own as a tapa or as a garnish with red meat.
Where to Eat in Santiago
Casa Pepe: A top spot – rustic yet refined – for wine, cheese and cured meats. Perhaps swing by Casa Pepe early in your evening or for a bite before lunch. Or, even better, head here after a morning spent foraging in the nearby Santiago market.
Address: Cantón de San Bieito, 5
Abastos 2.0: Eating in Santiago doesn’t get any fresher than this. Abastos 2.0 is a hole-in-the-wall tapas joint that forms part of the Santiago market. Brothers Marcos and Iago, who run the place, cast a keen eye over the market produce each morning, buy whatever looks good, then cook it up for patrons. As you’d expect, the preparation is simple, the ingredients are ultra-fresh and once something runs out… well, there’s always tomorrow, right?
Address: Praza de Abastos
El Caballo Blanco: It’s not gourmet, but if you like cold beer, generous free tapas and a salt-of-the-earth wait staff, then you’ve come to the right place.
Address: Praza Pescadería Vella, 5
Casa Marcelo: Whoever thought that combining the cuisines of Galicia and Japan was a good idea was… a genius! If you’re hankering for fresh, inventive and cooked-before-your eyes food that’s both comforting and surprising, then hit up Casa Marcelo. The communal tables are a nice touch.
Address: Rúa Hortas, 1
Mercado de Abastos (aka: the Santiago Market): This traditional food market opens every morning but is especially lively on Saturdays. Vendors selling meats and seafood line the vaulted passageways while local gardeners sell a cornucopia of freshly picked crops outside. You’ll see mountains of Padrón peppers, and this is perhaps the most authentic place to try pulpo a la gallega. Scour this market with us, chat with the vendors and try some of the freshest food in Santiago on our Hidden Santiago Food & Market Adventure.
Address: Rúa Ameás
Apart from the market, we recommend two spots for the best pulpo in Santiago. Los Sobrinos del Padre Benito (Rúa de San Miguel dos Agros, 7) and Pulpería os Concheiros (Rúa de Berlin, 3) are both rustic joints that are locally famous for their octopus.
Visiting Santiago de Compostela? Join us on one of our Santiago tours to learn about the local culture from an expert guide and taste all the best that Santiago has to offer!
Enchanted by the country’s exhilarating culture and cuisine, James has written about Spain for international publications, including the Guardian and the UK Sunday Times. He hosts a popular YouTube channel about Spain, and has appeared on the BBC and British Channel 4. A wine lover, he is WSET Level 3 certified.