Santiago Gastronomy

Our first impressions of Santiago are pleasantly surprising - vivid colours and intense aromas greet us at one of the city’s most emblematic landmarks: the Mercado de Abastos or Wholesale Food Market. Here, in this resplendent emporium which opened its doors for the first time over a century ago, we can find the finest produce from land and sea. Showcasing the very best of the local fare is the Abella Restaurant in the Rua do Franco, with its live spider crabs and lobsters, and more unusual fillets of crocodile meat. In this bustling thoroughfare, the very first taverns were established to serve the pilgrims who arrived in the city in need of nourishment. On the front of the buildings, we can observe sea shells or five stars – symbols that tell us that the premises were owned by the church or university. If, after a visit to this street we still have an appetite, then a brief stop at the grocery store situated at Number 80, Rua do Vilar, is required. An enchanting emporium with over 100 years of history and which maintains all of the charm and essence of years gone by. And what better way of ending our gastronomic tour than by sipping a refreshing tea in a peaceful and relaxing surrounding ... The Costa Vella Hotel is the ideal place– in the hotel garden, one can sit down with a coffee or tea and quietly contemplate the vibrant, dynamic city that awaits outside. Santiago remains active during night-time and if we wish to savour the social and cultural life of the city, then a visit to the Reixa Pub, housed in a 16th Century palace, is highly recommended. Equally surprising is the Modus Vivendi Pub which is situated inside ancient stables, complete with steps at the entrance – worn down over the years by the hooves of horses for which these quarters were their home. It was here that the city’s first independent art gallery was set up. It is a local classic, and on the numerous shelves we can discover some authentic treasures from the past. Our night-time tour leads us back to Rua Do Franco, which is transformed after hours … Concerts, lectures and exhibitions are all on offer at Casa das Crechas. Considered the platform of Galician culture, this building mixes the decorative style of Galician houses of yesteryear with a personal, modern touch – watched over by the numerous witches which hang from the ceiling. Here, we can also find an authentic treasure trove – one which brings together all of the coins that visitors have left in the cracks of the walls over the years. One needs to stay awake until the twilight hours to fully take in a city, which for many, never sleeps.