Eating tapas is popular in many parts of Spain, and A Coruña is no exception. The streets of the narrow isthmus between beach and port are packed with restaurants, and most offer a variety of dishes to choose from.
Tapas are small servings of food which cost a fraction of the price of a full portion. If you’re feeling hungry you can get a full-sized serving (ración) or a media ración (half-portion). In some parts of Spain it’s common for friends to order a few raciones or media raciones between them and share; in Galicia you’re more likely to order what you want and eat it yourself — and while you might offer your companions a taste, they’ll probably say no (at least in my experience).
Of course, every area of Spain has regional dishes, and Galicia’s specialties are often things you’ll have never heard of before, with Galician names.
It looks like a cylindrical stick of hot bread until you bite into it and discover the melted cheese inside.
Small pieces of pork are cooked with garlic and a few herbs and served on a bed of round potato chips.
Similar to raxo but spiced up with paprika. It scores 0.5 on my personal 0-10 scale of spiciness (“not spicy”) but my Galician friends think it’s just got a bit too much bite. They choose raxo with a Roquefort sauce instead.
Sure, you’ve probably heard of octopus, but Galicians know how to do it right. The octopuses are frozen for at least two weeks after being caught to break down some of the hard tendons, and then they’re boiled in a large pot, cut up with scissors and served on circular wooden platters with olive oil and a bit of paprika. Our favourite restaurants for pulpo are Pulpeira de Melide in A Coruña and Pulperia Ezequiel in Melide.
Pimientos de Padrón
These tiny peppers, between three and ten centimetres long, are one of those products that just can’t be faked. They come from the small region of Padrón in the province of A Coruña, and have the strange quality that a very small percentage of them are spicy. While you can get cheaper, knock-off peppers from different regions or other countries, these phonies are never hot — and may actually be guaranteed non-spicy. In restaurants, you’ll get the real deal, though you’re more likely to see this dish as a ración than as a tapa.
There are plenty more tapas to choose from, including callos (chickpeas with tripe) filete (schnitzel speared on a toothpick with potato and red pepper) and tortilla española (potato omelette, a personal favourite).
What’s your favourite tapa? Leave a comment below.
Note: this article was first published in 2012 and was updated in 2017.