Most of the time I was out on my own in Santiago de Compostela I opted for a couple of complimentary tapas here and there, but I also had some “proper meals” (not tapas) that were very enjoyable. The only problem for me when dining alone is that I am so used to sharing plates – over the years I’ve developed a kind of food ADD and lose interest after the first couple of bites. But these places (like everywhere else I went in Santiago) were recommended by Anna & Jorge @thekilomeaters and, as always, they were spot on.
At Cafe de Altamira, across from the market, I opted for the set lunch (13€), which is something I don’t often do, mostly because I don’t “do” desserts, but the two dishes on offer that day sounded so good I decided to go for it. The starter was an unusual take on the traditional Galician empanada, this one made with crispy wonton pastry and filled with baby sardines and sautéed onions. Main course was grilled mackerel with puréed marinated potatoes. I did try the dessert – lemon meringue “pie” in a jar – way too sweet in my opinion (even though I don’t “do” desserts, I can appreciate a good one). But overall it was a lovely lunch and front of house manager and sommelier Alex took excellent care of me.
The afternoon I was about to get thrown out of my AirBnB apartment (though I didn’t know it at the time) I stopped by Horta D’Obradoiro for some lunch, and I’m really glad I did. Not only was it an amazing lunch, but it lingered as a pleasant memory when things took an unpleasant turn later on in the day. When I arrived at the restaurant I introduced myself to co-owner Kike (blue shirt) who immediately took me on a tour of the place and then sat me at a very cosy table near a window looking out onto the patio. I tried two dishes, first a playful (and delicious) take on the traditional fritura mixta. This was followed by sous vide pork ribs with bourbon sauce. The latter was so massive that I ended up asking if I could take half of it home with me (I still had a fridge then). Great food at very reasonable prices, and very good service too.
My last night in town I really just wanted a snack, so stopped in at hipsterish A Moa to try their tapas menu. I started with octopus croquettes, which were super smooth, creamy… and super bland. Couldn’t really taste any pulpo. Then I thought I’d try the zorza, a dish I’d had during my first meal in Santiago. But rather than the subtle “prueba de chorizo” experience I’d enjoyed at Deulpo this just tasted like already cured chorizo that had been taken out of its casing and fried up. Not bad, but well, chorizo. Perhaps the restaurant menu here is more exciting, but at least they did have some tapas on offer.
Overall the food in Santiago was very good. I liked the complimentary tapas, but missed the option of being able to order tapas, rather than larger plates. Next time I will have to visit with a travel (and dining) companion.