If there is a place in the city where people meet naturally, especially on weekend nights, it is certainly “Os Viños” in the Historic Centre, Ourense’s tapas area par excellence. This set of streets, united at one end by Blacksmiths’ Square and ending around the Cathedral, concentrates plenty of bars, restaurants and taverns where you can enjoy the gastronomy and wine tradition of Ourense, sharing snacks, tapas and songs in good company. Although there are more and more options for a complete dinner and menu à la carte, the tradition is still to try some snacks at the bar making short stops: as tradition says, a snack per bar.
The city’s catering scene has an excellent health, with new proposals arising every day, which makes it difficult to detail them all. This itinerary intends to be just a starting point to guide the visitor, suggesting the most crowded areas and some of the most traditional taverns … but not the only ones.
Blacksmiths’ Square and Viriato Street
The route (usually nocturnal, although the lunchtime is getting more and more lively) begins at Blacksmiths’ Square, entrance to the historic centre. Around its central fountain there are many terraces, and we find the classic Bar Orellas, a temple devoted to pig both in the menu and in the decoration. You should taste the pig ears and the pig head. Also worth mentioning are O Eironciño‘s squids and “3 sauce” chips. Opposite it, under the arcades of the square, stands Taberna do Meigallo, with a nice interior courtyard ideal to enjoy its homemade food in the summer nights.
Going up from Viriato street, you will find Bar Fuentefría, famous for its anchovies and smoked fish. Just opposite it, A Casiña do Pulpo, ideal to discover the local succulent tradition of the octopus.
San Miguel Street
Going down the steep San Miguel street from Blacksmiths’ Square we first discover Pingallo, a restaurant where it is also possible to enjoy tapas at its bar. Then Asador de Roa, whose suckling pig has given it a name; Casa Toñita, where you have to try the poached eggs; Restaurante Gastro Bar San Miguel, one of the historic restaurants of the city which is completely renovated today. The crowded offer of this street is completed by La Brava, Monterrey and Mesón de María Andrea, another well-known place located in a beautifully restored 16th-century manor house.
Eironciño dos Cabaleiros Square
In this small square, separated from the bustling streets of the surrounding area, you will find the terraces of its many, always crowded, establishments. Among others, here stands out Mesón O Queixo, a historic bar that has opted for the most traditional cuisine and where they serve a high-quality creamy Galician cheese.
Above the upper part of Eironciño square, this beautiful street is domained by the Principal Theatre. Opposite it you will find San Xes, where it is mandatory to try their classic empanadas; there is always has good ambience on performance days. At its side we find another Orellas, twin bar of the one in Blacksmiths’ Square.
We are in the central axis of Os Viños. On this street there is a bar at every door, so it will be difficult to choose. Highly demanded is the “full tapa” at Rey del Jamón, a wise combination of omelette, croquette and bacon; the proposals from D’Luis or the Basque-inspired snacks at O Barallete, a place that remembers the work of knife sharpeners, ambassadors of Ourense throughout the world. Paris is a bar for lively nights whose garlic and oil potatoes also have a good reputation. Next to it is A Nosa Taberna, with fish skewers and morgo skewers, and O’Cogumelo, where you can taste their mushrooms with prawns. Opposite them, O Pote, where depending on the time of night you should choose their quesadillas and squids or just a few drinks. Nor should one miss O’Enxebre‘s toasts.
Around the Catedral
At St. Euphemia’s Square, among charming cafés is Galigola, a tapas and snacks bar by Chef Flavio Morganti. Going up Xoán de Austria street we will find Tixola and A Casa do Pulpo, where you can enjoy octopus, this local delicacy.
The apse of the Cathedral forms a small square crowded with terraces in a privileged environment. Las Monchas offers modern tapas in a space where they coexist with two traditional bars, Bar Pérez and A Taberna do Perico, with its succulent casseroles and the tasty sauce of its small sandwiches.
If you keep going up, in Los Suaves Square (a tribute to this mythical rock band) there is a place whose creative and innovative cuisine has deserved many awards in the local tapas competition: Tapa Negra. Already on Unión Street, down to Wheat Square, it is worth stopping at A O Catorce. If we keep going down, at Magdalene Square, we will arrive at Mata-lo-bicho, with a quiet and pleasant terrace where to shelter from the bustle of Os Viños. If you keep going on through Hernán Cortés street, under the arcades you will find the terrace of Bacelo.
Parallel to Lepanto, Hornos is another street full of bars where it is difficult to choose. In O Arco da Vella, its superb omelette is very famous, and in front of it is O Souto with its bombs (balls of mashed potatoes and spun beef). In Dos Puertas you should always stop to take a tapa of pork ear or squid, although if you have more time O Catador is a historic restaurant with an interesting menu. In La Bodeguilla del Centro you can try its mushrooms and peppers skewer, and in Atarazana perhaps its scallops. Other classic options are Bar Samuel, more than 25 years cooking boiled meat; O Frade, where food is served at the rhythm of jazz; and A Baiuca, with its scallops, scrambled eggs and, only in season, Padrón peppers.
For summer nights, Baysha Soulfood is a place to enjoy calmly, with a beautiful garden-terrace where you can dine or maybe take the first drink, as well as the terraces of Mercy Square, with proposals such as Café Ollo Ledo, Portovello or in the upper part, Lagarza vermutry.
Those of you who like to sleep late and prefer to explore the city nightlife will discover why Ourense is known as the “sparkling land”. Here we party a lot, and whether it’s to have a drink in good company or to go dancing, you will always find a place to your liking and an excuse to delay the return home.