My family will be spending a month in Santander in August hopefully learning Spanish. We are renting a flat near the Sardinero beach. I have not seen much for Santander on this board; anyone have any nice places (obviously want to be the only gringo there, prefer incredibly great and free, but will settle for nice fresh seafood or tapas without too many people like me).
Stay far, far away from Restaurant Zacharias. The gregarious owner (who will stand on the street and pull people in) has totally sold out to commercialism. He would rather you buy his cookbooks and DVD's than produce a quality meal. Out of (only) 4 tables at lunch, 3 sent food back. My veal was so tough I could not cut it.
Don't worry, there are no gringos in Spain... just guiris. Here are some places in Santander:
Also Bar del Puerto, a marisquería (like any high quality seafood place, it can get very pricey if you don't show restraint when ordering).
Here's an article that names some other places:
If you have a car, there are other places in small towns that are worth seeking out, too (especially for cocido montañés)
Can't help you with Santander specifically but I've had some great tapas in Bilbao. At a place called Bar Lekeitio but there are a zillion tapas bars there and they all look good.
I was in Santillana Del Mar in October. The cheese pastry there (quesada) is absolutely delicious. I'm sure you'll be able to get this wonderful confection in Santander.