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Porto and Galicia - part 2

macaraca | Jun 15, 201601:17 AM

Spent 4 nights in Ourense, inland from Vigo since had seen references on CH of the active tapas scene. We were not disappointed. Our favorite was A Casita de Pulpo Pulperia (not the nearby Casa de Pulpo). Started with the pulpo, of course, and it was terrific. The carnivorous SO had albondigas in preference to seafood – good, but why go all the way to Spain for meatballs? Also had the smokey grilled padron peppers…can’t get enough of them! Came back another night for the fried calamari…had noticed the regulars were almost exclusively ordering raciones of pulpo and calamari the first night, and now we know why. Had the house Ribeiro vino blanco…nice, but not noteworthy.
Another night were too hungry to wait for Casita to open at 8 so had nice scallops on the half shell nearby at Café JP Taperia… there must be a dozen other places to choose from, maybe more. Wish we had had a local to tell us what each places’ specialty was, but even on our own with limited language skills we were never disappointed.
Lunch one day at Porta de Pia with a nice courtyard. Pulpo again, a small tapa, and nice mushroom risotto main.
Our Hotel Irixo faced a small plaza that filled up with café tables from 4 or 5 places each evening and we finally took the receptionist’s recommendation and had pulpo from the place next door…A Feira…part of a small local chain…again perfectly prepared, but a bit short on the sea salt. Excellent calamari too.
A day trip to Santiago de Campostella: magnificent architecture but swarming with tourists and pilgrims, led to lunch of tortilla, seafood rice, sautéed mushrooms at a large place A Taberna do Bispo… acceptable, not memorable. Another day trip to Lugo with its amazing Roman walls found good steamed shrimp and caldo gallego…can’t recall the venue.
Shifted to Pontevedra for 3 nights, again with the reputation for great tapas, again not disappointed. Hotel Ruas put us literally right in the middle of it, with plazas on both sides full of tables for lunchtime and dinner until late. The lunch menu del dia at the hotel on arrival was good…clam and fava bean stew delicious. Evening tapas of mini sardines and padron peppers at Os Mariscos pleasing amidst a real partying scene of young and old, families with kids, mostly locals on a weeknight.
Another night, actually we went back for a second night at Cinco Ruas (Restaurante O Cruciero, with outdoor tables). Pulpo, of course, mushrooms, razor clams and vieira…large sea scallop, shell the symbol of the Santiago pilgrimage. Had delicious bay scallops – zamburinas – at an old fashioned café for lunch, Café-Bar Carabela on one of the main plazas. Disappointing calamari at Taberna Zentola…wanted and expected crab, but only had a crab pate on the menu. Another disappointment was not seeing percebes on any menu – lots of them in the handsome public market, so maybe we should have asked.
Still, we only scratched the surface in both Pontevedra and Ourense, and never got to the little villages along the coast that sounded tempting but didn’t have time for. Certainly want to go back for more, and try the north coast and Asturias next trip.

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