Friday, May 15, 2009

Casa Manolo
Praza de Cervantes
15704 Santiago de Compostela
Tel: +34 981 58 29 50

Monday - May 4th - Lunch

Casa Manolo must be one of the best value restaurants in the whole wide world; the restaurant, which is featured in practically every guidebook on Santiago de Compostela I read (so, at least four) is located very centrally, right on Praza de Cervantes, and is beautifully designed. According to the staff at my hotel, the restaurant had been refurbished by a prestigious local architect recently.

And it showed! It was very clean, bright and casual, yet not too casual, if you get what I mean. It reminded me of my home back in Singapore.

Waiting area

Dining area


Casa Manolo is incredibly popular, not just with tourists, but with locals as well. This is because of its incredible set menu which consists of a starter, a main, a dessert and a small bottle of water, all for just €8.50. Yes, you read right. A three course meal and a drink for €8.50. Now where in Western Europe are you ever going to get such an offer?

Menu of the day (Spanish)

There were all sorts of items available on the set menu, ranging from Galician fish soup to chicken parmigiana to fish and chips. But I didn't come all the way just to have fish and chips, so I asked the waitress to recommend something nice and, yet, authentic. She recommended the noodles with clams for my starter, and the tiburon, a dish which didn't appear on the English menu. After a couple of minutes whereupon my waitress confirmed that a) it only appeared on the Spanish menu and b) it was available, she told me that the tiburon (shark in Spanish) was one of the best dishes they offered.

Noodles with clams (and other seafood)

When the noodles with clams arrived, I was astonished; the serving size was rather generous. In addition, there weren't just clams. There were prawns, mussels and squid as well. Incredible! Now, the noodles weren't spectacular, but they were good enough.

Tiburon (shark)

For the main course, Casa Manolo remained true to form, and served up an equally generous portion of shark. It was larger than my head and then some! I must have made some kind of surprised noise as the men sitting at the table next to me turned around and exclaimed in surprise. One of them then asked if he could take a photo of the dish. That's how large it was .

All that I could manage

And this is how much of it I could finish.

I just had the dessert to go, and it turned out to be a Cornetto.


By this time, I was convinced I'd been suckered and somehow given the special premium menu which cost a lot more. However, when I went to the counter to pay, it turned out to be just €8.50. Whoa. A beautifully done-up restaurant with great service right in the middle of a tourist hotspot charging this price for a three-course meal? Just unbelievable.

Unbelievably good value

Unsurprisingly, there were people patiently waiting for a table as I walked out the door. I'll bet that Casa Manolo's also popular with the pilgrims. After all, after a long and gruelling journey, they must be starving!

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