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what to eat in the capital of Cantabria (and which restaurants you shouldn’t miss)

22 mayo, 2021

Santander smells of the sea, it smells of Cantabrian, of fishing charm and classicism. The Cantabrian capital is a paradise for Santanderians and travelers, which finds in its tables, bars and restaurants authentic culinary delights that make it a mandatory stop for gourmets and lovers of good gastronomy.

Is the land anchovies, squid squid (and magano), mussels and snails, sorropotún, stews (lebaniegos and montañeses), their cheeses … Oh, Cantabria, like the ad, is so infinite as is your table. The best of the sea and the best of the land coexist in it so that any diner leaves convinced of its excellence.

The 11 best recipes of Cantabrian cuisine

Therefore, today we get into dance to recommend where to eat and what to choose when you head to Santander, from table and tablecloth restaurants to typical bars and taverns where you can relax at the bar.

The five most typical dishes of Santander gastronomy



The great canned jewel of the Cantabrian Sea. Finding a menu in Santander -or throughout the province- in which this delicacy is not present is almost impossible. World-famous are those of Santoña, whose best catch period goes from April to June, in the so-called coastal. During that time they spawn and concentrate their fat potential in the roe, being more elegant than the so-called ‘return’.

To identify a good canned anchovy by sight, we must look at its color, which must be uniform, allowing shades ranging from light brown to intense reddish. There should be no blood or skin marks, in addition, its central spine should be barely noticeable. If this is clearly perceived, it will be a symptom, it is a sign that the anchovy has been packed for a long time. They should not be too large and their body should not be round or their profile flattened.

In the mouth, a good anchovy should be smooth, chewy, offer a certain resistance and never be pasty or soft. They must also maintain subtlety in taste and smell, always sea, never fresh fish., and the accompanying oil should be clean and shiny. Of course, it must be suitably clean of thorns.



The Cantabrian frying par excellence, extended to all corners of Spain but where the proximity of the product and the mastery of the flour make Santander a pilgrimage to discover them. We know little about its name, but we do know about its ingredients, which must be a good cephalopod, a light flour and a very clean extra virgin olive oil.

It is convenient to make sure what type of squid we are talking about -that is why it must be explained what we want the ration-, since raba is an elaboration, not a type of animal. We can find them from squid (magano), octopus, hornbill or the frequent squid. In the case of the magano, it is convenient to distinguish between sizes: the large magano, which can reach weights of up to four kilos; more expensive and elegant is the medium magano, scythe fish, a fishing art consisting of a lead, and the small magano or squid, not too common in squid.

Other species used are the peludín, frequent although less substantial and which is mainly imported from New Zealand. The octopus, easily recognizable, and the squid, harder and more powerful in sea flavor, although less delicate. For its part, the cachón, a relative of the cuttlefish, is also part of it. Be that as it may, a raba should always be an elongated and elegant cut, slightly greasy and with a uniform but subtle floured.



The bonito from the north is the protagonist of this casserole with a very strong seafaring stamp. Potato and flakes of this white fish star in it, like its first cousin the marmitako, with whom it shares the main ingredients. The substantial difference is that the Cantabrian recipe does not have chorizo ​​pepper and it does have bread -Everyday loaves, preferably- and fresh crushed tomato.

Bonito sorropotún recipe

Frequent in fishing towns, this dish changes its name depending on where it comes from, being ‘marmita’ in Laredo, ‘marmite’ in Santoña or the sonorous sorropotún in San Vicente de la Barquera. Be that as it may, It is consumed throughout the Cantabrian coast, even in the capital, and its base is the aforementioned bonito, being excellent the one that is fished during the summer and preferably fished for live bait or hunting.

Clams a la marinera

Clams a la marinera

There is practically no bivalve that does not occur with quality and smoothness in the Cantabrian markets and fish markets, however, the great fame falls on clams –especially the fine ones from Pedreña and Ancillo-, which also reach the best prices on the market. They are physically distinguished from the latter because the lines (radial and concentric) of their shell create a kind of shallow grid. In the case of the japonica, these lines are much more marked.

Clams a la marinera: the recipe for the perfect starter

They also differ in their siphon. Those of the fina are totally separated and those of the japonica are joined halfway. Physiognomy apart, the texture of the fine clam meat is more elegant and subtle, offering smoothness in the bite but gently, and can be done naturally. In the case of the japonicas, mostly brought from other coasts, it is somewhat coarser -although it is tasty- and somewhat harder.

Already in the kitchen, the predominance of the seafood recipe makes the flour contest indispensable, which will be responsible for giving some creaminess to the sauce and that it is perfect to enjoy with a good bread.


Mountain stew from Cañadío Mountain stew from Cañadío

Choosing between Lebaniego or Montañés is a question at the height of: who do you love more, Mom or Dad? These two recipes are the totem of the Cantabrian spoon. Lebaniego is lighter – as light as a stew can be – and its base is chickpea, which is accompanied by cabbage and potato, mainly. In addition to the meats, there is room for pork and beef but to a lesser extent than the highlander.

The cooked ones, a good dose of energy

This one, on the contrary, is more forceful and has as a base to the bean and its company is collard greens and a succulent cut of pork: bacon, blood sausage, chorizo ​​and rib, keeping similarity with Galician and Asturian pots.

Bars of rations and tapas

Classic bars and modern bars coexist with good sense in the center of Santander. As a pilgrimage center for tapas, Peña Herbosa street is that claim to cling to when the tourist is not very clear about where to go. The Cantabrian capital is a paradise to alternate one or two tapas and head to another bar, so be prepared not to cling to a bar.

The omelette abounds, the anchovy abounds and the raba abounds, so it will be difficult to find a local in the city that does not successfully handle this tasty trinity. In addition, the Cantabrian’s love for tapas allows many bars and restaurants to successfully cover both the bar and the dining room, being difficult in many cases to opt for only one of the spaces.

The Solórzano

Gildas, squid squid and vermouth in Solórzano Gildas, squid squid and vermouth in Solórzano

A must for vermouth and squid. Solórzano is also a classic to discover gildas (both with anchovy and anchovy), although its snack offer does not remain in those two registers. There are many cans, especially those of anchovy -logical- and those of mussels. but also to other preserves, even vegetables, such as leeks or asparagus.

In addition to hot tapas such as croquettes, tuna meatballs or peppers stuffed with oxtail. It is not cheap in general terms but, if you choose well, you get eaten for less money than you imagined.

Peña Herbosa Street, 17.

Lita House

Garlic mushroom skewer from Casa Lita Garlic mushroom skewer from Casa Lita

Claiming Santander and Cantabria from the pincho is the battle this local embarks on every day. Opened in 2003, it is an ideal place not to eat your head and to succeed with the endless number of skewers that parade through its bar. They are not as expensive as in the Basque Country but they are not the cheapest in the worldYes, they are substantial and with three or four – it depends on your serve – you get eaten.

The rotation of the skewer is high and they leave and enter the ‘letter’ frequently so it is difficult for you to repeat. Sirloin steak has a good reputation, as well as Russian salad or mushrooms, which are usually always found, only the way they are presented varies.

Paseo de la Pereda, 37.

The House of the Indiano

Barra de La casa del indiano Barra de La casa del indiano

Consolidated as a classic in the city and very versatile, since it offers restaurant, gastrobar and bar, this place in the Mercado del Este, presents pinchos and tapas that go from the classic to the contemporary. There are rabas -both furry and magano-, as well as mussels, clams and rejos -the legs of the squid, which represent the most orthodox of Cantabrian cuisine.

More risky are the proposals for guacamoles, la black pudding with idiazábal gratin and its meat pintxos, where the sirloin or the grilled foie stand out.

Hernán Cortés Street, 4.

Restaurants where to eat well and cheap

Pots and pans serve to give gastronomic shelter to Santander residents and travelers, who also find in the city, Sardinero above and Sardinero below, tighter culinary offers with which to taste local dishes.

It is time for mountain stew and lebaniego, as well as meat, generally veal, and many fish dishes in casserole, which go beyond the elitist profile that in many cases persecutes seafood around price.

Meson Rampalay

Its bar is stocked with more than twenty skewers daily, although its virtues in the kitchen also have a place in the dining room, where There is a menu of the day and a menu, very sensible, both local product and some winks outside Cantabria. Scrambled eggs and sandwiches, both fried and in vinegar and various versions of cod.

Adjusted prices with an average ticket lower than € 30 are the guarantee of this inn, which also allows ‘decorations’ around seafood or meats, such as the Cantabrian beef tenderloin, but In general, it is an affordable restaurant if you do not want to leave your wallet shivering.

Daoiz y Velarde Street, 9.

Bodega Fuente De

Yes there are an adjective that defines this winery is sincere. His kitchen, free from pretensions, clings to the casseroles and recipes of a lifetime without causing the bank to blow up. The product is of high quality and its stews, both from Leban and Montañes, are essential in the visit.

The kettle is also substantial …