My Favorite Spot in Santiago, and I Nearly Missed It!

I have a new favorite spot in Santiago, Spain, and I nearly missed it. Crazy, right? You see, I’ve been going to Santiago since 2005, but somehow, I missed this special place.

In fact, during my last visit, I discovered six places where I’ve never been. I can’t believe I’ve failed to spot them! You might say these are Santiago de Compostela’s hidden gems. Since I don’t want YOU to miss out, I’m unveiling my list of favorite Santiago hideaways here:

Table of Contents

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1.) Favorite Spot in Santiago: Restaurante Obradoiro

two men sit at sidewalk table with a baroque church with twin bell towers dominating the background at my favorite spot in Santiago
Cathedral of Santiago from my table at Restaurante Obradoiro

I’ve walked into Praza Obradoiro, the main plaza in front of the Santiago Cathedral, hundreds of times. I’ve been there to listen to music concerts, to meet friends at the Parador hotel and of course I’ve staggered into the endpoint of the famous Camino de Santiago as a weary pilgrim. However, I’ve never ventured down the steps at the southwest corner of the plaza to Restaurante Obradoiro. From sidewalk tables, you have a jaw-dropping view of the Cathedral. I sat there—my new favorite spot in Santiago—for hours with fellow Camino pilgrims, Anton and Rolf. We retold stories, debriefed our epic journeys and occasionally interrupted the conversation to stare dumbfounded at the backdrop.

Av. de Raxoi, 2, Santiago de Compostela

2.) Another Favorite Spot in Santiago: A Horta d’Obradoiro

salad of sea food, seaweed and potatoes sits on glass dish looking refined and beautiful
Ensaladilla de Mar / Salad of the sea at A Horta d’Obradoiro

Just off the northwest corner of Praza Obradoiro, where I’ve skipped down the stairs plenty of times on my way to the new Pilgrim’s Reception Office, is A Horta d’Obradoiro.

The unpretentious façade, which fails to reveal the tasty refinements within, never caught my eye. Yet on my last visit to Santiago, Rolf insisted that this was one of the best restaurants in town. That, by the way, is saying something since the city in the region of Galicia is known as a foodie destination.

The name of the eatery is Galician for “vegetable garden of Obradoiro,” an indication that all ingredients are fresh and local. Kiki and Eloy are such talented chefs that they attract local foodies and travelers alike, so reservations are necessary.

Rua hortas 16, Santiago de Compostela

two mini paella pans hold black rice with 5 chunks of white fish in each
Arroz Negro con Peixe Sapo / Black Rice with Monk Fish at A Horta d’Obradoiro

3.) New Fave Spot: Monte Pedroso

two women dressed in outdoor gear have their backs to the camera as they sit on a rock at their favorite spot in Santiago
UNSTOPPABLE Stacey and Sharon on Mount Pedroso, Spain

It stands to reason that after a pilgrim has walked 500 miles to get to Santiago, she probably doesn’t want to climb one more mountain. But that’s exactly what I did on my recent trip to the Spanish city. New friend and US expat Sharon wanted to introduce me to the magnificent views overlooking Santiago from Monte Pedroso. So, after hiking one and a half-hour up the mountain north of town, we devoured lunch on the top. Then we continued west descending to …

4.) Hotel A Quinta Da Auga Relais & Châteaux

Hotel A Quinta Da Auga Relais & Châteaux in the outskirts of Santiago

The luxury spa hotel, set in a renovated 18th-century mill, is on the Camino route from Santiago to Finisterre. We’d reserved the spacious spa for an hour and a half of rejuvenating hydrotherapy treatments. After the water jets, steam room and ice fountain, we enjoyed tapas and regional wines with Sharon’s husband, Timothy. They revealed that this is their favorite Santiago romantic getaway, and I have to agree that Hotel A Quinta Da Auga Relais & Châteaux is most assuredly a Santiago hidden gem.

Paseo da Amaia, 23B, Santiago de Compostela

5.) Café La Morena

Even though this stylish café is right next door to one of my favorite Santiago restaurants, Restaurante San Clemente, I’d failed to notice it over the years. That’s so unfortunate since when I finally went for brunch (yes, Café La Morena serves breakfast later than most Spanish restaurants) I loved the comfortable atmosphere and modern take on European foods. The pleasant service and reasonable prices will make me come back for lunch or dinner next time I’m in Santiago.

Rúa de San Clemente, 6, Santiago de Compostela

oval slice of rustic bread with large oiece of Spanish bacon, scrambles eggs peak from underneath the bacon

6.) A Rua Recordos, Tienda de regalos

door of store is open- can see into shop from street

When I was walking in Italy last December looking for a “Via Francigena” patch, Oscar, the owner of A Rua reached out to me via Facebook. He sent me images of the Italian embroidered patch that he carried at his store in Spain. Walking through the threshold of his Santiago shop, I felt like I was in the home of a longtime friend. We hugged and laughed and later I bought an Italian-made linen blouse to wear to a special luncheon the next day. Yes, this amazing giftshop carries affordable fashions as well as Camino patches from all over Europe, maps and T-shirts. That and kindhearted Oscar are the reasons why A Rua is now my favorite Santiago shop.

Cantón do Toural, 7, Santiago de Compostela

Conclusion: Favorite Spots in Santiago

There is one more Santiago hidden gem that I discovered on this last trip. However, my friends made me PROMISE that I wouldn’t write about their secret place. I loved it so much I went back the next day by myself. Since I vowed not to divulge the location, you’ll have to find it for yourself. Leave a comment below if you think you know the place. Or leave the name and address of your favorite Santiago spot in the comments below.

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6 thoughts on “My Favorite Spot in Santiago, and I Nearly Missed It!”

  1. Don’t tell anyone – but our very favorite garden spot in the city is Costa Vella…a glass of wine and the loveliest garden in the city. Thanks for including my two favs, Monte Pedroso and A Quinta!! There is SO much to see in and around Santiago! Next time, a boat ride and wine tasting on the Ribera Sacra…it’ll change your life!

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Sharon! It means so much. I’ll take you up on that boat ride and wine tasting! Salud!

  2. Thanks so much for this list! I’ve bookmarked it and can’t wait to check them all out. Wish you were visiting while I’m there! It’s not exactly a secret, but I have a thing for museums and there’s a cool little one on the upper levels of the Monasterio de San Martìn Pinario. It also has a beautiful, quite ornate chapel,

    • Thanks for sharing your Santiago hidden gem, Cheryl! I’m envious of your month in Santiago – who knows, I might make it there if other plans change!

  3. I took a copy of your “favorite places in Santiago” with me and showed it to Juan at the Ristorante Obradoiro. Turns out he and his mom own the place. When she came out of the kitchen, I told them they were celebrities and got a big hug. You made their day!


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