If there is a place in the city where people converge naturally, especially on weekend nights, it is certainly “Os Viños” in the Historic Centre, the tapas area par excellence of Ourense. This set of streets, united at one end by Blacksmiths’ Square and ending around the Cathedral, concentrates plenty of bars, restaurants and taverns where to enjoy the gastronomy and wine tradition of Ourense, sharing snacks, tapas and songs in good company. Although there are more and more proposals for a complete dinner and menu à la carte, the tradition is still to try some snacks at the foot of 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 dedicated to the pig both in the menu and in the decoration. You should taste the pig ears and the pig head. 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; San Miguel, one of the historic restaurants of the city which is completely renovated today; and Monterrey, with a more elaborate cuisine. Opposite them, Mesón de María Andrea, in a beautifully restored 16th-century manor house.
Eironciño dos Cabaleiros Square
In this small square away from the most bustling streets in the surroundings you will find Mesón O Queixo, a historic bar that has opted for the most traditional cuisine and where they serve a high-quality creamy Galician cheese. Next to it, Lar da Sabela, whose most demanded dishes are pig head and meatballs.
Above the upper part of Eironciño square, this beautiful street is domained by the Principal Theatre, opposite 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. In this street there is a bar at every door, so it will be difficult to choose. Much demanded is the “full tapa” at Rey del Jamón, a wise combination of omelette, croquette and bacon; or Montecarlo‘s pork with cheese from Arzúa. Paris is a bar for lively nights whos garlic and oil potatoes also have a good reputation. Next to it are 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 ajilimójili squids or just a few drinks.
Around the Catedral
Going up Xoán de Austria street we will find Tixola, Porta Norte with its three floors of small dining rooms, and A Casa do Pulpo, where you can enjoy thoctopus, this local delicacy.
The apse of the Cathedral forms a small square crowded with terraces in a privileged environment. Las Monchas and O Furancho offer 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 are two places whose creative and innovative cuisine has earned them many awards in the local tapas competition: La Gula and Tapa Negra. Already on Unión Street, down to Wheat Square, it is worth stopping at A Tentación de San Pedro. 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.
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 one should always stop to take a tapa of ear or squid, although if you go with more calm O Catador and Porta da Aira are two historic restaurants with interesting menus. In La Bodeguilla del Centro you can try its mushrooms and peppers skewer, and in Atarazana perhaps its scallops. Another classic option is Bar Samuel, more than 25 years cooking boiled meat.
For summer nights, Porta da Pía is a place to enjoy calmly, with a beautiful garden terrace where to dine or maybe take the first drink.
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.