The Best Tapas in A Coruña
09 November, 2015
The Concurso de Tapas Picadillo is one of the most acclaimed in northern Spain. In A Coruña, the whole city gets involved, with a good many culinary establishments presenting their best creations. In some areas of the city, participants have come together in the form of group entries. Following is a rundown of some of the bites that surprised us most. As there were over 70 participants, we have made a selection of those located near the historic city centre. Although the contest is over, bear in mind you can still savour the tapas until 31 December, and you can look up this year’s winners on the competition website.
The Ciudad Vieja, Monte Alto, Zalaeta and Plaza de España Area
The earliest settlement in A Coruña is what is now known as Ciudad Vieja (Old City), an area which features monuments prior to the 19th century. This is the perfect place to stroll around, in the hushed atmosphere of its cobbled backstreets. The best place to start the route is hard by the San Carlos Gardens, at an establishment called A Boca do Lobo, where you can try the two special tapas that entered the competition. The first, creative offering is Galician octopus at 100°, seaweed coulis and liquid croquette with a pork crust. The other is the traditional roast Celtic pork dewlap and potatoes in their gravy. On the edge of the Ciudad Vieja lies the Plaza de María Pita, a complex of striking harmony arranged around a statue of a local heroine who fought against English corsairs. The square is surrounded by buildings with porticoes where some of the city’s main bars and restaurants are located. These include Breen’s Tavern, where you can enjoy a scrumptious cod-and-prawn brandade. Next door is El Ángel Café Bar (Plaza María Pita, 25) whose “Celtic pouches” were a surprising entry in the competition, while El Tequeño made a bold move with their creative, melgacho tapa based on small-spotted catshark tail.
The Barrera, La Marina, Galera, Estrella and Olmos Area
This is the nerve centre of A Coruña’s tapas bars, an area also known as La Pescadería, where the largest number of establishments is concentrated. The Calle Franxa, which runs from the Plaza de María Pita, is studded with seafood restaurants, Cuban and Turkish eateries, and a whole gamut of traditional tascas, beer gardens, jamonerías and wine cellars. The stretch leading from Ciudad Vieja to Los Cantones is another area crammed with bars and restaurants. However, the highest concentration of these is found along Calle Barrera, which boasts no less than thirteen contestants in the tapas competition. Like A Casa da Moura(Barrera, 9), with their delicious ovo da moura, or Alma Negra (Barrera, 13), with their creative mackerel taco, as well as a more traditional dish known as mar y montaña de tendones y callos de bacalao (“sea and mountains of tendons and cod tripe”). For us, however, pride of place goes to the stunning tartar de zamburiñas y aguacate sobre cama de brotes tiernos y brotes de col morada (“tartar of variegated scallop and avocado on a bed of tender bean sprouts and red cabbage shoots”), to be had at Tapa Negra. Calle Galera, which leads into Calle Olmos, is flanked by some of A Coruña’s classic tapas bars which have been handed down from one generation to the next.
The Alameda, Plaza de Galicia, Plaza de Vigo and Juan Flórez Area
Another large collection of tapas bars is grouped around the two aforementioned squares. This is the heart of the Ensanche quarter, an important shopping and business precinct, with a good many stores and offices, but also taverns and restaurants. It is part of the Picasso District, an area running from Juana de Vega to Plaza de Mina, named after the Malagan artist who lived and studied for a few years in this part of A Coruña. The streets Juan Flórez, Linares Rivas and Ramón de la Sagra also fall within its zone of influence.
We strolled through the area stretching from Los Cantones to the Parque de Santa Margarita; then along Juan Florez up to Avenida de Rubine, which leads to the Riazor football stadium. To start with, at Casa Martín, near the Plaza de Pontevedra, you should try the empanada de xoubas y grelos (pilchard and turnip top pie). Just one street away is El Huerto Los Cantones (Cantón Pequeño, 22) where, if you’re still feeling peckish – or you have just started out on the route – you will be well satisfied with the miniburguer de pez espada, tomate semiseco, espinaca fresca y salsa de almejas en pan de cereales (swordfish mini burger, semi-dried tomatoes, fresh spinach and clam sauce on wholemeal bread). Any better offer?
Don’t miss the chance to sink your teeth into the best, traditional-style, creative tapas currently to be had in A Coruña. Check out our flights here.
Text by ISABELYLUIS Comunicación
09 November, 2015