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Need Help Picking Spain Vacation Based on FOOD spots

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Ok, this may seem like a broad request, but I am looking for suggestions on where to plan my next Spain trip mainly revolving around food. I have been to San Sebastian (Akelarre and Arzak, not to mention the countless tapas places) as well as Barcelona (I liked Pinotxo Bar in the big market and Inopia). This time around i'd like to try something new. I don't have any preference really so long as the food is amazing. I am willing to drive, bike, walk, whatever. Preferably, the region where I go next should have an airport so at least I don't have to drive all day to get there, but that's it. I'm from NY so I've been to many Spanish restaurants and I like paella, tapas, meats, churros, you name it. My favorite type of food is seafood; baby eel, shrimp, and ESPECIALLY anchovies (oh yes, I can eat like 30 all by myself when severely hungry). Please help!! Spain generally has moderately priced food and wine anyway so I'm not too worried about the price of the meal.

Any suggestions? Was there ever a place you visited that really stood out? Any specialty that you will always remember?Please tell me so I can eat! I love to plan trips around food.
Thank you!!

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  1. Below is a link to an earlier discussion on a similar subject.
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6483...
    For me: Andalucia for food and everything else or Galicia for seafood; everywhere in Spain is special.

    1. So you say "" My favorite type of food is seafood; baby eel, shrimp, and ESPECIALLY anchovies"".

      Then here's no place like Galicia for seafood, baby eels <these will cost you>, and shrimp. Anchovies? The best I ever had was in the Cantabria city of Santander. It's also a beautiful drive on the North Coast/Costa Verde if you go from Galicia to Cantabria or vice versa. A 6-1/2 + / - hr drive.

      Enjoy your trip where ever it might be.

      10 Replies
      1. re: Quimbombo

        Thank you so much guys!! I checked the older link posted here on some good spots and boy do Chowhounders know their Spanish food! I think my husband and I will rent a car this time around so it should be easier to see more and do more. I like the idea of Galicia, so maybe we'll start there. By the way, do you guys have any more recommendations for anchovies?

        1. re: citykid426

          We spent approx 10 days travelling in Galicia for our honeymoon (Ourense, Pontevedra, A Coruna) and didn't have the same glass of Albarino twice. The sunday market in Padron, well, go early and enter into the Pulpo tents, sit down have a breakfast of pulpo and local vino du pais from a cask.....empnadas (the real thing made w/tuna everywhere), a special empanada made w/rough grained corn meal at the great wine bar in San Sebastian (can't remember the name of it, but see my post on this 2-3 years ago)......the Navarra bar in Pontevedra for homemade orujo, mountain cured lomo (from heaven) and if you come more than 1 night, well, you've got new pals....I could go on for ever.....

          1. re: citykid426

            I have been to Barcelona and San Seb and had wonderful food there, but for our 8-day trip this fall we decided to see the south. I have not been to Galicia, but did have the pleasure of dining at a Galician seafood restaurant in Madrid. Casa d'a Troya gets seafood flown in daily from Galicia and we had the best hake and monkfish ever. The other Galician specialties were amazing as well. I am planning to include Galicia in a future trip. I also highly recommend Andalusia. Our trip included Malaga and Sevilla, with day trips to Cordoba and Granada. We had wonderful food both in restaurants and tapas bars. The tapas in Andalusia are large and the more modern places do very creative things. You could put together a great tasting without spending a lot of money, and they have wonderful wine selections at bargain prices by the glass. I particularly loved La Moraga in Malaga and Zelai in Sevilla. For serious restaurants, Cafe de Paris in Malaga, the Parador in Ronda (went there because Tragabuches, the top restaurant in town, was closed that day, but the menu of regional food we had was both very generous and delicious) , and Abantal (this was the best overall) and Taberna del Alabardero in Sevilla are all superb and not ridiculously expensive. Order the local wines and you will be very happy with price and quality. We only scratched the surface of all there is to see in Andalusia and I plan to return for a longer trip there also.

            1. re: rrems

              Thank you guys so much for your advice! 10+ days vacation seems like a luxury, I think about 5 days in Galicia plus the peripheries will be doable, but i wish I could do more. Vacation days are so hard to come by. I'm hoping that based on the reviews it should be enough time to sample all the places to eat. Also, how is the English speaking ability in Galicia for those who've been? My Spanish consists of just a few basic phrases (I also have a phrase book just in case), but other than that I would have to indicate some things in English. I found that Barcelona (especially) and San Sebastian were pretty easy to navigate in terms of people speaking English. Between their English and my Spanish everything was fine, but I'm wondering how the ordering experience might be elsewhere...

              1. re: citykid426

                You should have no problem in the big cities like Santiago de Compostela or La Coruña. In other places you'll probably have to do a lot of pointing and gesturing. Galicians are very friendly so don't worry too much about communication barriers. If you're driving, which you should because the coast is gorgeous and the cities are meh, you should stop in every village and sample an empanada. I know that's what I would do. If you like seafood and you've never had percebes, you absolutely must try them. They are pretty much the best thing ever. You should also make a point of ordering some zamburiñas (small scallops).

                What do you mean by "peripheries"? Are you thinking of going to Asturies, Castilla y Léon or Portugal? Galicia has plenty to keep you busy for five days. In fact you could spend five days just touring the coast without ever seeing a city.

                1. re: citykid426

                  Dont worry abou the language, just learn some key words, tinto, chato, thanks, please, Jamon, pulpo etc and you'll do fine. If in santiago you MUST go to the market, lots of gradmothers sellign greens, homemade hooch, empanadas etc....

                  1. re: citykid426

                    A lot of menus are in Gallego - not Spanish.... check out this webpage and cut and paste the food dictionary here into a document and bring it with you to Galicia. I cannot tell you how helpful it is!
                    http://www.colindavies.net/P-Eating%2...
                    (Scroll down for the food dictionary.
                    )There is other helpful info on this website, too.

                    1. re: Shannon

                      Wow, we didnt see that in our entire 2 weeks, where when i was in Barcelona 25 years ago I saw that all the time. Either way, great wine , seafood and people in Galicia. Dont forget the Orujo!

                      1. re: Shannon

                        Sorry, but that list is almost all in Castellano not Gallego. I didn't spend a ton of time in Galicia, only six days, but I never saw Gallego other than on official signs and political graffiti.

                        1. re: SnackHappy

                          Well, it definitely came in handy! More than my Spanish food dictionary did. :)

              2. Diverxo is the booming restaurant in Madrid. If you achieve to catch a reservation, do not wear too fancy dress to attend this stunning gastronomic event.

                1. I'd venture into Andalucia (use Malaga airport). Seafood, specially in freidurias are so fresh..and the restaurants are proud of this. We hit mostly the beachside shacks or chiringuitos in every seaside town. We also had "chanquetes" (actually somewhat illegal) or baby fried anchovies and fried eggplant chips drizzled with honey. They also set up for grilled sardines on a spit and other fried seafood yummies like chopitos (baby squid..my fave!), chocos (bigger squid), grilled berberechos (big clams) and coquinas (baby clams)...I can go on and on..

                  1. Thank you all for your wonderful suggestions! It's been a few months and in that time I managed to snag a reservation (miraculously) at El Bulli!!! So, my next trip to Spain will be in the Catalan region again. I know, I know, I should venture out more, maybe do Galicia and Andalucia next time. But El Bulli was too good to give up so my husband and I just decided to go around there...

                    1. I was in Spain for 9 days in March and here are the restuarants where we ate.
                      San Pau in Sant Pol de Mar.The food was exquisite,the service perfect and the ambience lovely.
                      Cellar con Roca in Girona for lunch.It has since been voted the 2nd best restaurant in the world (according to the San Pelligrino list).It was probably the best meal we had. Only one of us had the tasting menu with matching wines. The others ordered a la carte. The tasting menu portions are much more generous than other restaurants . ,probably too much!
                      Cinq Sentis in Barcelona which is owned by a Canadian fellow. It was also great, but San Pau and Cellar con Roca were unique experiences
                      Tickets in barcelona, which is Albert (of the now closed Inopia) and Adran Ferra's (of EL Bulli fame) new hot spot. It had only been opened 3 weeks when we were there, so it was easy to get a reservation.Fun, superb food and wild decor. Their bar ,41 Degrees< is also great with wonderful tapas and innovative cocktails.
                      We cancelled a reservation at Les Cols in Olot because we thought it would be overkill. Although, I'm sorry we missed that experience.
                      My only complaint was that there was not enought time.
                      We had considered going to Galicia, but we were told that the weather in march would be very rainy ..
                      We would truly remember all our meals.!!