This June, the evening before I was set to fly from Santiago after my most recent Camino, and after two-weeks working as an Amigo volunteer at the Pilgrim's Office, a fellow Amigo suggested we eat at a place he had discovered four-days earlier.
He took our group to La Empanadilla & Co., Calle Casas Reales 21 in Santiago. Every pilgrim who walks into the ancient, historical center of the city enroute to the Cathedral via rua San Pedro, has passed this address. The Camino Frances literally passes the front door (on the right as you enter the old city)!
The outside is unassuming and you would have no idea what the inside looks like. BUT the inside, well, it looks like this:
Moreover, the menu is available in English, Spanish, and Gallego, and includes burgers, fries, wings, pizza, sandwiches, and cold beer, as well as Coke and other soft drinks. Spanish, Mexican and BBQ items are also on the menu. The owner, Miguel, informed us that one of his chefs is from Michoacán State in West-Central Mexico. So the Tex-Mex is likely very authentic and not-frozen.
As a personal note, I had what, at 61 years of age, I consider to have been the finest cheeseburger I have EVER had. Their beef is all 100% Galician sourced - the menu translates it as "100% Galician cow." But seriously, there was simply no fat in the meat. The bread is locally baked. Virtually everything is locally sourced and of the best quality available.
Also, Miguel, the owner, told us that all his food is cooked in a 300-degree Celsius wood fired oven. The frites / fries / chips even came with Heinz mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard to suit all tastes. The frites are USA-sourced and imported frozen so he gets the best quality frite / fry / chip possible. They are as close to a proper Belgian frite as I have had outside Belgium. Did I mention they are served with mayonnaise?
Bottom line - Spanish food is fabulous! Each province and region you walked through added new and exciting gourmet experiences. But, after a month or more, eating the local cuisine, and living on jamon and quezo boccadillos, and tortilla, many of us just "need" to have a taste of home.
La Empanadilla & Co., Calle Casas Reales 21, Santiago can feed that need. There is no "menu del dia" or "menu peregrino;" just good, old fashioned American-style food, as you might find in a traditional American diner restaurant. The quality was outstanding, ambiance totally cool, and prices fair for what you received. And, it is air conditioned too!
Oh, I forgot, Miguel also has an automated "juke-box." You download the app to your smart phone for free (I used an iPod Touch) - also has free Wi-Fi - and you can insert songs into the play stream from any genre. This is very nice - and free. Finally, even the rest rooms were modern, spotless and just cool.
Here are the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram URLs for you to consider.
As the company is in Spain, most of the content is in Spanish. But, as a peregrino, that should not slow you down, should it?
The web home page (http://laempanadilla.com/) does not have content. It appears to serve as a front end to get to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Hope this helps someone. Enjoy!