On a tour in A Coruña
A Coruña, the city where nobody is an outsider. You hear this a lot in La Coruña as it was the slogan used to promote the city and was eagerly adopted by the local people.
One of my favourite places is a small yet typical old-man’s bar with the original decorations from the 1960s. It is called La Bombilla and they serve delicious tapas, empanadilla inflada, croquettes, tortilla, chorizo with potato and milanese-style chorizo at good prices in the city centre; 6 Calle de la Galera. Unmissable.
In the same area, theZona de Vinos, you’ll find a large number of tapas bars with good prices and quality. You could start at the legendary Taberna Olmos at 22 Calle Olmos and continue on down the length of Calle Barrena. The lively atmosphere lasts all night.
On Calle Orillamar is one of my favourite bars; Maricastaña. The place offers free concerts by local artists, a relaxed atmosphere and a good time. It is open until 3 in the morning and also serves sandwiches at a good price.
For something a little different and alternative, you could try Puticlú (pronounced as it is spelt). Pop and colour in a mixed and highly entertaining atmosphere.
Mardigras is one of the most iconic music bars in A Coruña. Rock concerts, alternative music and a great time to be had.
Another of the liveliest places for a night out is Orzán, very close to Playa de Riazor and with numerous places to have fun.
I recommend two good restaurants; one with a traditional atmosphere and another more modern. Their traditional dish is the Pulpería A Nova Lanchiña. Great octopus at 30 Calle Capitán Juan Varela. The other, more innovative and stylish restaurant (but equally well priced) is close to the beach in the Riazor area: Utopia at 5 Avenida Buenos Aires.
Fundación Barrie de La Mazaand the Caixa Galicia Foundation are the two closest. They offer a good collection of resident art and other temporary exhibitions. The Centro de Bellas Artes is also worth a visit.
One of the unmissable and essential walks is to be enjoyed around La Torre de Hércules, the only oldest lighthouse in the world still working today. There are some wonderful views of the coast and it is very easy to get there because it stands within the city limits of La Coruña itself.
The recently-renovated Parque de San Pedro offers some great views of the city.
Finally, a walk around La Marina to the Castillo de San Antón is very pleasant. If the weather is kind to you, it is a delight to see the typical houses of A Coruña with their white galleries and enjoy a beer or two on a local terrace.
By Marcos La Federica
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Christmas in A Coruña
Christmas means decoration, gifts, ornaments, rituals, celebrations and much more. But, it is also a season when we probably have some extra leisure time. If you use it this year to visit A Coruña, you can get involved in a number of activities scheduled up to the moment the Three Wise Men arrive. Here, then, are our Christmas tips, and an introduction to two restaurants with Michelin stars not far from the city.
The María Pita Christmas Village opens to the public in early December and offers children’s activities, magic, games, music and gifts. Toddlers and infants will have a whale of a time here with the plethora of activities tailored to their needs. Children, the main focus of Christmas cheer, will be treated to a new edition of Nadaliño, a show featuring games and educational activities hosted in Palexco.
The A Coruña Science Museums have also scheduled a special programme for the season which entails learning while having fun. As ever, the festivities come to a close with the Grand Cavalcade of the Kings (Three Wise Men), a parade through the city’s streets, full of surprises, on the magical night of 5 January.
But, not everything has been devised for children. We adults can also enjoy these festivities. So, if you’re coming to A Coruña, be aware that there are numerous concerts on offer, as well as the premiere of several musicals and an Afro-American Gospel Music Festival.
Lastly, in the afternoon of the 31st, the customary San Silvestre Coruñesa race starts in the Plaza de María Pita and finishes at the Obelisco, for those who want to see the old year out in good shape and shed some of the calories acquired during the long holiday week.
While you’re here, we recommend a getaway to two restaurants in the area with a Michelin star:
O Porto de Barizo, Barizo, 15113 Malpica de Bergantiños, A Coruña
Chef: Fernando Agrasar
Located in the heart of the Costa da Morte (Coast of Death), opposite the Sisargas islands, the restaurant is housed in the hotel of the same name, a building with large windows that seem to lean out over the cliff edge. The dining-room is a relaxing, modern space with a formidable fireplace and just eleven tables set around it. The cuisine at As Garzas bears a sea flavour – that of the Atlantic in pristine state. Their chef, Fernando Agrasar, asserts that the cuisine is not avant-garde but creative. Sans impositions or any pointless elaborateness.
Key to the menu is the Galician fish and seafood, crafted into veritable pleasure bites. While liable to seasonal variation, grouper and sea bass always take pride of place. The rices, too, especially their lobster rice. Apart from an impressive seasonal menu, As Garzas also offers a carefully curated menu for “those reluctant to make a choice”. There are 12 to 14 dishes in all (bearing in mind that two of them are desserts), which vary in terms of the season and market, with innovation as the restaurant’s hallmark.
Retiro da Costiña
Av. de Santiago, 12. 15840 Santa Comba, A Coruña
Chef: Manuel Costiña
Set in a stately manor halfway between Santiago de Compostela and the Costa da Morte, each area in the Retiro is meticulously designed for enjoying each occasion. For appetizers, a wine cellar with a star-studded ceiling, while lunch and dinner are hosted in a spacious, stone-walled dining-room. And, for after-dinner, an elegant salon with a fireplace.
Retiro offers market cuisine with the most appetising dishes in season. No kidding – Galicia rules! So, it requires no effort to find such marvels as razor clams from Fisterra, grouper from Aguiño, hake from O Celeiro or oysters from O Freixo. Aside from the delicious menu, Manuel offers two tasting menus, one of which is carefully paired by the sommelier. And, there’s more – the wine cellar! In addition to a striking wine list, they have another featuring liqueurs, each with over 800 items. Enological gems such as 40- or 50-year-old Macallan whisky.
There you have it – what’s in store for you if you visit A Coruña over Christmas. Check out our flights here.
Text by Turismo de A Coruña
A Coruña’s Top Restaurants
Yet another year has passed and Galician cuisine is still on the ascendancy, having earned recognition in the Michelin Guide, one of the most prestigious and demanding in the world. Twelve restaurants in Galicia have earned that distinction, a tribute to their culinary talent. But, we’re going to focus on three of them, which happen to be in A Coruña. We’ll talk about the rest another time. Some overlook the sea; others, the green countryside. Some are inspired by cutting-edge trends; others, by tradition. All of them however, have a unique flavour – a markedly genuine, Galician flavour.
(Paseo marítimo Alcalde Francisco Vázquez, 25. 15002 A Coruña)
Chef: Iván Domínguez
This restaurant is located on the seaside promenade skirting A Coruña, halfway between the Tower of Hercules and the Castle of San Antón. It is done out in modern, elegant fashion, with two dining-rooms overlooking the Atlantic, and a third, more secluded, private one. The decor is a blend of fine woods, cork and ironwork, as befits the luminosity of the spacious interior.
The fare on offer at Alborada is based on local Galician produce, particularly fish and seafood, prepared using current techniques. This is haute cuisine, which was awarded a Michelin star in 2010. The menu always features the day’s fish and seafood, accompanied by tasty vegetables in season. Lobster, crayfish, scallop, sea bass, hake, sole… the star is the sea. There are two menus of the day – the “classical” menu, featuring dishes that chart the restaurant’s evolution, and the “tasting menu” spotlighting the chef’s latest, most surprising creations. To round off the experience, Alborada also offers a wine list with over 600 items.
Árbore da Veira
(San Andrés, 109 bajo. 15003 A Coruña)
Chef: Luis Veira
Árbore da Veira is just a few paces from the water’s edge, so ideally you should let yourself be enveloped in the sea breeze. The ambience is warm, relaxing and spacious. There are few tables, light wood finish and furniture inspired by Nordic design. The tables are sans tablecloths and the crockery is stunning, with unique, handmade pieces. This is a happy world. Their chef, Luis Veira, takes you on an alluring culinary adventure. Drawing on the most innovative techniques, the gastronomic experience is designed for the pleasure of the senses. Veira’s motto is to forge ahead, and to integrate new techniques and produce, particularly if it comes from the sea. The result is an array of splendid, signature-cuisine dishes, albeit grounded in the Galician tradition.
A word of advice: here there is no à la carte, but a dynamic offering of two new and attractive menus of the day – “Raíces” (Roots), which includes 8 snacks, 10 main dishes and 8 desserts, and “Árbore”, made up of 8 snacks, 15 main dishes and 8 desserts. Quite a mouthful! In the end, you’re looking at some 30 culinary creations to be consumed in one session. And, the produce is in season, especially from the sea (6 of the dishes are based on seafood) and estuaries of Galicia – oysters, crayfish, scallop, periwinkles and codfish offal. As an alternative, the chef likes to offer the odd meat dish, with Galician beef and porco celta (Celtic pork ham) being his mainstays. The dishes – or “mouthfuls”, as Luis tends to call them – vary in terms of the market and his inspiration. When it comes to the wine list, Árbore adheres to the same approach – around 250 items which include 30 DOs (designation of origin), both Spanish and international, although Galician wines are dominant. The selection, renewed every three months, is impeccable and designed to combine with the chef’s stunning dishes. There are two matches proposed – in the mouth with 8 wines and on the palate with 12.
(Estrada da Estación, 51. 15660 Cambre, A Coruña)
Chefs: Beatriz Sotelo and Xoán Crujeiras
This restaurant lies 15 km from the centre of A Coruña and is striking for its siting, as it occupies the canteen and storeroom of an erstwhile train station. We found the refurbished interior captivating, particularly for its lighting. During the day, the dining-room is bright and lively, with glazed fronting on both sides, as in the old train coaches. By night, the salon turns intimate and elegant, with small points of light evocative of the dinner atmosphere on the Orient Express.
The master-chef tandem base their approach on a combination of technique and creativity, passion and delicacy, sea and mountain. They also share a preference for sourcing local produce, but with a view to the future. The dishes at A Estación point to a harmony of culinary experience, knowledge and recollections. The menu features dishes for snacking and sharing, with starters, fish and meat in season, and tastings that may optionally match wines and are renewed each month. Produce here is always in season, traditional, organic, proximity produce sourced from local cooperatives or small producers.
A Coruña offers a host of incentives to captivate you and one of them is their cuisine. Come and taste the creations of their leading chefs. Check out our flights here.
Text by Turismo A Coruña
The Best Tapas in A Coruña
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 Comunicaciónmore info