The famous orange awning of this bar, which overlooks the streets of General Mola and Paseo de Pereda, has become a landmark. The menu is far less elaborate than many other bars nearby, but the quality is exquisite, so it's no surprise that it's always crowded.
This week I returned to Cantabria, after nearly two months without seeing my family. The occasion deserved a special dinner so we went to "Los Raqueros", a great restaurant located in the heart of Santander close to Puerto Chico.
First of all, I should clarify the curious name of the locale: "Raquero" is the word that was given to poor kids, often orphans, who in the late 19th century frequented the port of Santander to collect coins tossed into the water by onlookers who wanted to see the youngsters hurl themselves in after them. This quintessentially Cantabrian word has been integrated into the vocabulary of La Tierruca (the native name for Cantabria), and is now used to nickname any rogue or rude young (or old) person. There have been many times that my mother has scolded me with "you’re such a raquera!”
But back to the topic at hand: the restaurant. Fortunately, the atmosphere of the restaurant "Los Raqueros" has little to do with the scoundrels that give it its name. It’s elegant, cozy, and has exquisite service and dishes to match.
To start with, you have braised octopus on potato foam (a type of puree). Simply SPECTACULAR! I am a fan of octopus and I never pass up the opportunity to eat it whenever I can...but this dish in particular made us want to clean our plates (and we did! Not a drop of potato foam left!).
The main courses for each one of the guests were pork fillets for dad, caramelized artichokes for mum, sea-bass in meat gravy for my younger sister, and Bluefin tuna in sweet and sour sauce for yours truly.
Although I can only speak for the tuna, I judged by the faces, gestures, and cries of my companions that their dishes were as good as mine. For my part, I loved the Bluefin tuna, one of the most delicious things I've eaten lately (living alone in Barcelona, normally I cannot afford these luxuries...but what are you going to do). It was slightly raw in the center and had a Japanese influence (not to mention the huge piece of wasabi that I inadvertently, put in my mouth, which made me suffer so much I cried a few tears, I think that was the intended effect) and, above all, very tasty.
Although I cannot tell you how much dinner ended up being with the wine, etc. (this time I did not pay) as a reference I’d say that the starters were around 15-17 euros (the octopus and artichokes) and the main dishes about 20.
In short, a great night thanks to the stupendous restaurant and, above all, by virtue of being treated by my family. The next time I’m home, I'll definitely return.
I want to tell everybody who's going to Santander about this wonderful spot, EL TREBOL. This is a grill restaurant that's constantly evolving, and you can find everything here - calamari, mussels, casseroles, fish, and delicious meats. There's a daily menu, which is ideal for tighter budgets, and everything is homemade and prepared with great care. On Saturday night part of the dining room is converted into a dance floor, with live performances and delicious drinks.
This Santander bar is usually packed, due to its reputation for tortilla chips. Although the bad service is common knowledge! Luckily, we went one day when there weren't many people and the waiters were in a rare good mood, so it went well. Of the pintxos on offer, it's worth trying the steak with red peppers and Treviso cheese. In Santander, tortilla is a point of pride among the restaurants, and here there's plenty of choice (mushrooms with cheese, vegetable, red peppers, ratatouille), but for my taste, they lack salt and have just too much onion confit, so they are doubly bland.
Formerly known as the Rhine Restaurant, Maremondo is one of the most notable buildings in Santander, contrasting with its surroundings. It is one of the most prestigious restaurants in Santander, famous as a popular spot for communions, weddings, and christenings. The terrace is truly outstanding, perfect to enjoy sunny days in both summer and winter. I love the terraces, one in front of the bar, and the other closer to Sardinero beach, perfect for a drink or a coffee.
If you want to enjoy a good night dining and having fun with your friends, then stay well away from Javi Quintanilla in Santander ... whatever you do, don't book before going: we reserved a table for eight for 22h, having booked it in person (you can't book on the phone) and when we arrived, we found eight others sitting at our table. When we asked for an explanation, they didn't tell us anything but just asked us to wait for the eight to leave! Anyway, don't worry, because you'll always have the option of going for a gourmet meal at Telepizza instead!
This restaurant is in Santander and is called "Bombi". The walls are filled with pictures of celebrities. But on top of that, most importantly, the food is spectacular. The drumsticks are the best I have ever tasted. Fortu, one of the waiters, is great.
Next to the crowded plaza of Cañadío, this historic bar continues to give the locals something to talk about. It stands out on weekends especially when there's line at the door waiting for a table.
In La Convenient, the service isn't haughty, the place isn't spotless, the food isn't innovative, and the menu isn't huge...but you are going to eat like a king.
The croquettes (hand-made) are the best in the city. The cecina, anchovies, and asparagus are other specialties you shouldn't overlook when you visit this odd restaurant.
Trying to get a table in the dining room is a complicated mission on holidays and weekends, but the bar always has room, is quick, and serves the same food as the dining room.
The Tia Maria cafe is in one of the most central areas in Cantabria, in Calle San Fernando, close to the famous Calle Vargas. You have to climb to get in, as it's located on the first floor, and inside you can enjoy a full breakfast, snacks, sandwiches, meals, and milkshakes.
If you're visiting the city of Santander, I highly recommend stopping here to have a coffee or a little snack - a sandwich or piece of Spanish omelette. It is ideally located right at the foot of the Cathedral of Santander. It's not very big but has several tables with stools and fantastic, quick service. If the Cantabrian weather permits, you can sit outside.