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Finally - real food in Santiago!!!

Undermanager

Veteran Member
Round the corner and up the hill from the Pilgrims Office in Santiago, about 50m away, is the Faculty of Medicine's huge cafeteria that must be able to seat between 200 and 300 people. They have a tiny blackboard sign at foot level on the main road in Spanish that says, 'follow the path' - you would be hard pressed to notice the blackboard or the place itself from just general wanderings.

But once you've walked 30m up the path, past the car barrier, there is a massive cafeteria with an inside and outside seating area. They are very welcoming and helpful to tourists. There's a set 3 course menu with loads of choice for €8.50 (water free but fizzy drinks extra) and the food variety & quality is absolutely superb!!

Recommended!
 
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The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Round the corner from the Pilgrims Office in Santiago, about 50m away, is the Faculty of Medicine's huge cafeteria that must be able to seat between 200 and 300 people. They have a tiny blackboard sign at foot level on the main road in Spanish that says, 'follow the path' - you would be hard pressed to notice the blackboard or the place itself from just general wanderings.

But once you've walked up the path about 30m, there is a massive cafeteria with an inside and outside seating area. They are very welcoming and helpful to tourists. There's a set 3 course menu with loads of choice for €8.50 (water free but fizzy drinks extra) and the food variety & quality is absolutely superb!!

Recommended!
Yes. Highly recommended. I discovered it while working at the Pilgrim Office and became a regular. Mid day hours and closed weekends. But HOW I hated that HILL.
 
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Round the corner from the Pilgrims Office in Santiago, about 50m away, is the Faculty of Medicine's huge cafeteria that must be able to seat between 200 and 300 people. They have a tiny blackboard sign at foot level on the main road in Spanish that says, 'follow the path' - you would be hard pressed to notice the blackboard or the place itself from just general wanderings.

But once you've walked up the path about 30m, there is a massive cafeteria with an inside and outside seating area. They are very welcoming and helpful to tourists. There's a set 3 course menu with loads of choice for €8.50 (water free but fizzy drinks extra) and the food variety & quality is absolutely superb!!

Recommended!
Walked by last year, but didn't realise that it is accessible for everyone.
Next time I'll give it a try.

Thanks for the hint!
 
I truly appreciate the information that the university of Santiago offers good food for a good price to anyone including pilgrims. As I said in my first reply (which was deleted by the moderators...), thanks for that.

I'll probably check that cafeteria out the next time I'm in Santiago! It's great information.

But, honestly...

Santiago hasn't had a shortage of "real food" so far, I'd think?

Or is there no "real food" before Santiago?

Why that title?

Wouldn't "Medical faculty of Santiago university has a great cafeteria, good food for small price, pilgrims welcome!" or something like that be more precise and more useful?

Maybe someone can explain to me, as apparently I don't understand

Anyway, thanks for the information!
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
I truly appreciate the information that the university of Santiago offers good food for a good price to anyone including pilgrims. As I said in my first reply (which was deleted by the moderators...), thanks for that.

I'll probably check that cafeteria out the next time I'm in Santiago! It's great information.

But, honestly...

Santiago hasn't had a shortage of "real food" so far, I'd think?

Or is there no "real food" before Santiago?

Why that title?

Wouldn't "Medical faculty of Santiago university has a great cafeteria, good food for small price, pilgrims welcome!" or something like that be more precise and more useful?

Maybe someone can explain to me, as apparently I don't understand

Anyway, thanks for the information!
I have to say I agree, that title is somewhat confusing. Especially as I don't actually consider cafeteria food to be 'real' food, no matter how reasonably priced it is!
 
Not good food, great food. The tuna balls melted in the mouth and prepared the tastebuds for what came next - the pork and cheese stuffed giant tomato, which was divine. The creme brulee without the caramelised topping was a suspect and dangerous choice but the vanilla flavours burst through the mucus layers of nostril protection. The ice cooled the ice tea to perfection.

The €8.50 was mentioned for no good reason than some like to know the cost. But the chef of this "cafeteria" is clearly destined for greater things, possibly an even better cafeteria?

I did ponder before posting whether 47 days of pounding track and tarmac from Barcelona to Muxia over nearly 1300 kms had caused deadly word translocation in the title, that might prompt outraged veteran posters to lift finger to keyboard? Would draping sartorial British wit over a deadly serious subject title for a food recommendation cloak and distract the true nature of pertinent comment, when so many readers do not hail from our green and pleasant lands?

I have no answer. But I look forward to those tuna balls on my next visit.
 
Train for your next Camino (or keep the Camino spirit alive) on Santa Catalina Island
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I've eaten there a good number of times since discovering it about five years ago. The food's ok, certainly good value, and the staff are efficient and friendly. Occasionally pilgrims but mostly locals, a nice alternative to the touristy spots.
 
Aww, there is nothing like finding fantastic cooking outside the normal spots. Awesome recommendation. This reminds me of the French movie “Comme un Chef” with Jean Reno. It’s about a professional chef who is about to lose a Michelin star, teaming up with a hidden-gem cook and his crew at a nursing home cafeteria. When you say the food was great, I believe it :)
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
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I think I’d regard “cojones de atun” with some suspicion even given my eclectic approach to what’s edible 😉

I suspect, without any opportunity for personal research before late September, that there’ll be stuff on the menu you could enjoy @VNwalking but I’ll let you know thereafter 😉
I suspect they likely meant fried, breaded balls of tuna blended with break crumbs - like a croquette.

Besides, fish do not have "balls" in the "cojones" context. So, there must, logically, be another explanation.

This said, I am willing to be wrong.

Hope this helps,

Tom
 
Train for your next Camino (or keep the Camino spirit alive) on Santa Catalina Island
Round the corner and up the hill from the Pilgrims Office in Santiago, about 50m away, is the Faculty of Medicine's huge cafeteria that must be able to seat between 200 and 300 people. They have a tiny blackboard sign at foot level on the main road in Spanish that says, 'follow the path' - you would be hard pressed to notice the blackboard or the place itself from just general wanderings.

But once you've walked 30m up the path, past the car barrier, there is a massive cafeteria with an inside and outside seating area. They are very welcoming and helpful to tourists. There's a set 3 course menu with loads of choice for €8.50 (water free but fizzy drinks extra) and the food variety & quality is absolutely superb!!

Recommended!
While we were working in the Pilgrims office we ate there a few times. Basic cafeteria style food but can’t beat the price. Also very friendly and accommodating staff
 
This thread reminds me of the old joke about the tourist in Pamplona who goes to a celebrated restaurant after a bullfight, hoping to get their famous dish: bull cojones.
He sees it on the menu, orders the dish and waits for a while. Eventually, the waiter flamboyantly presents him with a dish. On it are two very small round things drizzled in sauce. Shocked, he asks the waiter: 'But what's this?'. 'Aaah', says the waiter. 'Sometimes the bull... he win...'
 
Train for your next Camino (or keep the Camino spirit alive) on Santa Catalina Island
I have to say I agree, that title is somewhat confusing. Especially as I don't actually consider cafeteria food to be 'real' food, no matter how reasonably priced it is!
Obviously you have never been in New York in bygone days and eaten at Horn and Hardart's.
I bet there aren't alot of restaurants anywhere that have free performances by old time vaudeville singers, dancers, actors and comedians every Christmas season like they did at the Times Square Horn and Hardart's
Or down in Texas eating at Luby's Cafeteria, where the service was as good as any high priced restaurant I ever ate at. The food was always fresh and first class.
 
If God intended us to eat fish, he wouldn't have thrown them in the sea.
;)
This connects nicely to the famous W.C. Fields quote about why he never drinks water.
I have to send a link and you will find it a little ways down among his many hysterically funny quotes.
It would not be appropriate to write the quote here?
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
True, I have not.

The word cafeteria to me brings up visions of my son's German school food, university food, or the Cafeteria at the dreaded Monte de Gozo. At best, the cafeteria at Shell Head office in London (which, admittedly was pretty reasonable - especially as it was free - but not what I would call 'real food'.)
Personally I've found most cafeteria food (with the exception above) to normally be on a par with most Pilgrim menus: edible, moderately nutritious, but hardly 'good' food. In other words: you get what you pay for.
To be fair judging by the slightly more serious responses most of us when we think of 'real food' think of 'good food' - not normal cafeteria fare.

Your examples appear to buck the trend, I wish they were more common!
 
There are 'cafeterias' and there are 'cafeterias.'

A cousin of mine in Normandy spent 30 years as a chef at the cafeteria of the Gare du Nord in Paris, and he's an amazing cook. That cafeteria is very, very good. And if you've ever been to Florence, there's a justly-famous cafeteria near the Duomo that's crammed full of locals every day with food that my wife and I simply. could. not. believe. Especially considering that the price for a full meal was about half of what you'd expect to pay virtually anywhere else in that area.

If nothing else, locals know. Ask 'em.

And thanks to the original poster for this tip, I'm hoping to be there mid-October this year, finishing off my one and only Camino.
 
Has an
I suspect they likely meant fried, breaded balls of tuna blended with break crumbs - like a croquette.

Besides, fish do not have "balls" in the "cojones" context. So, there must, logically, be another explanation.

This said, I am willing to be wrong.

Hope this helps,

Tom
Has anyone found any decent vegetarian food on the Camino other than those lettuce and tomato and onion salads ?
 
Ideal pocket guides for during & after your Camino. Each weighs only 1.4 oz (40g)!
Has anyone found any decent vegetarian food on the Camino other than those lettuce and tomato and onion salads ?
Yes. It depends where you go and what you try to subsist on. Pilgrim's menus? Forget it. Iceberg lettuce and bad french fries, over and over. But I've had decent menus del dia, often by getting 2 first courses. More and more there are places that offer vegetarian alternatives to the usual fare.

Happy Cow is a good website to know about.

And then you can always say you're vegetarian (being very specific about what that means), and leave it up to the chef. I've had some amazing salads that way, chock full of nuts and goat cheese.
 
On the backroad of the chemin heading south from Mont Saint Michel I lunched several times at workers' restaurants which had been set up near large construction sites, with diners seated at long tables, ten-a-side. We were served three-course meals with a choice of wine (not premier cru, but better than almost any house wine at a North American restaurant), water, or cider. It helped considerably that I spoke French and was Canadian-- but the west of France was liberated by US troops and USA pilgrims will be warmly welcomed- but the friendliness of diners and staff was remarkable. Very good stews were available and for some reason (was there a surplus?) several carried roast duck. Chunks of cheese were on dishes on the table and diners helped themselves to finish off their lunch. Prices about fifteen years ago were 5-8 euro.

I've also eaten very well at hospital cafeterias in France but back before the turn of the century I was struck by the carafes of wine being demolished by the medical staff. An Irish friend working there told me that the operations were all scheduled early in the day with the result that surgeons could have their wine at lunch. My only time in a Spanish hospital with an ill pilgrim was less exciting, and I had vending machine cortado to keep me going.

Camino veterans will know, of course, never to stop at the first bar when entering a pueblo, and to always look for restaurants a street or two away from the main plaza to search for their menu de dia. The Spanish, like the French, find that good food is part of the pleasure of life, and it should not cost the earth. I have found that asking the local constabulary or Guardia is a good guide.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Round the corner and up the hill from the Pilgrims Office in Santiago, about 50m away, is the Faculty of Medicine's huge cafeteria that must be able to seat between 200 and 300 people. They have a tiny blackboard sign at foot level on the main road in Spanish that says, 'follow the path' - you would be hard pressed to notice the blackboard or the place itself from just general wanderings.

But once you've walked 30m up the path, past the car barrier, there is a massive cafeteria with an inside and outside seating area. They are very welcoming and helpful to tourists. There's a set 3 course menu with loads of choice for €8.50 (water free but fizzy drinks extra) and the food variety & quality is absolutely superb!!

Recommended!
On the subject of food. Very close to the Pilgrims office are the markets. At the market is a restaurant that opens in the evenings. It's mentioned in the Michelin Guide. They have a menu but will also bring you dishes they construct from the best ingredients of the day. They keep serving them until you ask them to stop. It's amazing. Quite expensive. Really beautiful plates of highly imaginative food. The perfect way to break from the usual.
 
Thanks @Undermanager for this terrific thread - as a Grade A card-carrying foodie I’ve found it really interesting.

The tuna meatballs were intriguing … were they like this recipe?

2EBBF7BD-3BA6-4742-AB99-A5B064ACE71B.png

This recipe sounds really delicious.

I look forward to going to the cafeteria next year when I’m hopefully volunteering at the Pilgrim Office again.

Cheers from Oz -
Jenny
 
Train for your next Camino (or keep the Camino spirit alive) on Santa Catalina Island
Great reply. As a vegan it doesn't sould like there would be much or anything on the menu I could/would eat. Luckily, there are a few great vegetarian/vegan restaurants in Santiago I have yet to try out!


There are literally hundreds of places to eat in Santiago to cater for all tastes, good and bad. The university cafeteria is an ok place to eat. It's cheap (or good value, if you prefer the term) has had prompt service anytime I've been there, and it's away from the general throng, it certainly has that going for it. But honestly, I wouldn't plan a visit to Santiago around it..
 
There are literally hundreds of places to eat in Santiago to cater for all tastes, good and bad. The university cafeteria is an ok place to eat. It's cheap (or good value, if you prefer the term) has had prompt service anytime I've been there, and it's away from the general throng, it certainly has that going for it. But honestly, I wouldn't plan a visit to Santiago around it.
I'm not worried as I have stayed in Santiago 15+ times and I'm not a foodie 😉. Last year I was disappointed though as the two vegan/vegetarian restaurants I wanted to visit were both on holiday. Hopefully this year it will work out.
 
I've also eaten very well at hospital cafeterias in France
Yes! Definitely, strangely, yes. 🩷 Same here as a hospital stagiaire. Amazing food at the cafeteria. Still chasing those flavors 25 years later. Best moussaka ever, and for vegetarians also the best lentils. The doctors had an even more special lunch on Fridays, and where I was, that was when they indulged in wine/spirits after finishing surgeries for the week.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
I have to say I agree, that title is somewhat confusing. Especially as I don't actually consider cafeteria food to be 'real' food, no matter how reasonably priced it is!
Well University cafeterias abound throughout Europe. And over the years I often have availed myself of some decent tasty food. That said, when I look to “dine” on the CF, I have a few personal favorite Restaurants or albergues along the way, that cook excellent food and are well before entering SdC. However, you won’t get them as cheap as you will at a Uni, for sure.
 
Round the corner and up the hill from the Pilgrims Office in Santiago, about 50m away, is the Faculty of Medicine's huge cafeteria that must be able to seat between 200 and 300 people. They have a tiny blackboard sign at foot level on the main road in Spanish that says, 'follow the path' - you would be hard pressed to notice the blackboard or the place itself from just general wanderings.

But once you've walked 30m up the path, past the car barrier, there is a massive cafeteria with an inside and outside seating area. They are very welcoming and helpful to tourists. There's a set 3 course menu with loads of choice for €8.50 (water free but fizzy drinks extra) and the food variety & quality is absolutely superb!!

Recommended!
Closed Saturday and Sunday
 
Closed Saturday and Sunday
What is your definition of real food?. I have just moved to Santiago and I can contest that there are many restaurants in Santiago that have real food. I had no knowledge of this cafeteria but will try this upcoming week and see for myself
 
Ideal pocket guides for during & after your Camino. Each weighs only 1.4 oz (40g)!
Round the corner and up the hill from the Pilgrims Office in Santiago, about 50m away, is the Faculty of Medicine's huge cafeteria that must be able to seat between 200 and 300 people. They have a tiny blackboard sign at foot level on the main road in Spanish that says, 'follow the path' - you would be hard pressed to notice the blackboard or the place itself from just general wanderings.

But once you've walked 30m up the path, past the car barrier, there is a massive cafeteria with an inside and outside seating area. They are very welcoming and helpful to tourists. There's a set 3 course menu with loads of choice for €8.50 (water free but fizzy drinks extra) and the food variety & quality is absolutely superb!!

Recommended!
Great tip!
 
Round the corner and up the hill from the Pilgrims Office in Santiago, about 50m away, is the Faculty of Medicine's huge cafeteria that must be able to seat between 200 and 300 people. They have a tiny blackboard sign at foot level on the main road in Spanish that says, 'follow the path' - you would be hard pressed to notice the blackboard or the place itself from just general wanderings.

But once you've walked 30m up the path, past the car barrier, there is a massive cafeteria with an inside and outside seating area. They are very welcoming and helpful to tourists. There's a set 3 course menu with loads of choice for €8.50 (water free but fizzy drinks extra) and the food variety & quality is absolutely superb!!

Recommended!
I'm intrigued by this info, however having made numerous pilgrimages to Santiago I'm lost as to your directions. Round the corner and up the hill is basically what one does every 5 minutes in Santiago ( at least in my perspective ). If I am facing the door to the Pilgrim's office, what direction would I go to find the corner to round? Would you be sending me back up the hill towards the parador?
I'm going to make the quest to find this in a few weeks!
Thanks for the recommendation and hopefully, the clarification of the directions :)
 
That cafeteria in Santiago sounds great. We spent a week in A Coruna two years ago and our Airbnb host took us to the cafeteria of the Universidade da Coruna. It was very inexpensive. Food wasn't great but good. And it was a beautiful place. Large windows with ocean views. Even after that experience we didn't realize that dining in university cafeterias was something we could do without being accompanied by a university insider. But maybe, based on this thread, we can! (An aside: it was March and we were very cold so we asked our Airbnb host if there was an inexpensive place we could buy some warm clothing such as in a charity shop. We were heading back to the Camino in a week and didn't want to spend a lot on clothing we would probably not be able to carry with us. From that request she got the idea we were very poor and kept sending us to places that were quite inexpensive. She pointed us to some great eating places. And that was our first experience with Decathlon where she sent us for cheap clothing. Charity shops in Spain seem to be rare.)
 
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...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
I'm intrigued by this info, however having made numerous pilgrimages to Santiago I'm lost as to your directions. Round the corner and up the hill is basically what one does every 5 minutes in Santiago ( at least in my perspective ). If I am facing the door to the Pilgrim's office, what direction would I go to find the corner to round? Would you be sending me back up the hill towards the parador?
I'm going to make the quest to find this in a few weeks!
Thanks for the recommendation and hopefully, the clarification of the directions :)


Santiago map.png
 
I'm intrigued by this info, however having made numerous pilgrimages to Santiago I'm lost as to your directions. Round the corner and up the hill is basically what one does every 5 minutes in Santiago ( at least in my perspective ). If I am facing the door to the Pilgrim's office, what direction would I go to find the corner to round? Would you be sending me back up the hill towards the parador?
I'm going to make the quest to find this in a few weeks!
Thanks for the recommendation and hopefully, the clarification of the directions :)
As you exit the Pilgrim Office, turn left. At the corner turn right and start up the STEEP hill leading to San Francisco Church. The driveway into the cafeteria building is near the top on the right. I am sending you a message regarding the “miracle” topic.
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
Besides, fish do not have "balls" in the "cojones" context. So, there must, logically, be another explanation.
Joking aside, what word DO the Spanish use when forming food into an approximation of a sphere? In seventeen months in Spain and several in Mexico and Perú, I’ve never heard “pelota” used in a culinary context.

Edit: Another post in the thread reminded me of the word I had forgotten: albóndigas
 
Round the corner and up the hill from the Pilgrims Office in Santiago, about 50m away, is the Faculty of Medicine's huge cafeteria that must be able to seat between 200 and 300 people. They have a tiny blackboard sign at foot level on the main road in Spanish that says, 'follow the path' - you would be hard pressed to notice the blackboard or the place itself from just general wanderings.

But once you've walked 30m up the path, past the car barrier, there is a massive cafeteria with an inside and outside seating area. They are very welcoming and helpful to tourists. There's a set 3 course menu with loads of choice for €8.50 (water free but fizzy drinks extra) and the food variety & quality is absolutely superb!!

Recommended!
I ate there once and never went back as the food was dreadful some years ago - might give it a try again to see if it really has improved.
SY
 
Train for your next Camino (or keep the Camino spirit alive) on Santa Catalina Island
On the subject of food. Very close to the Pilgrims office are the markets. At the market is a restaurant that opens in the evenings. It's mentioned in the Michelin Guide. They have a menu but will also bring you dishes they construct from the best ingredients of the day. They keep serving them until you ask them to stop. It's amazing. Quite expensive. Really beautiful plates of highly imaginative food. The perfect way to break from the usual.
That would be Abesto 2.0 and Lume
 
Round the corner and up the hill from the Pilgrims Office in Santiago, about 50m away, is the Faculty of Medicine's huge cafeteria that must be able to seat between 200 and 300 people. They have a tiny blackboard sign at foot level on the main road in Spanish that says, 'follow the path' - you would be hard pressed to notice the blackboard or the place itself from just general wanderings.

But once you've walked 30m up the path, past the car barrier, there is a massive cafeteria with an inside and outside seating area. They are very welcoming and helpful to tourists. There's a set 3 course menu with loads of choice for €8.50 (water free but fizzy drinks extra) and the food variety & quality is absolutely superb!!

Recommended!
Yes, I've been there many times over the years. Very pleasant staff when I've been there.
 
Ideal pocket guides for during & after your Camino. Each weighs only 1.4 oz (40g)!
if it helps global understanding, the Spanish word for:

"croquette" is "croqueta."
"meatball" is "bola de comida."
"sphere (fancy word for round ball)" is "esfera." So, "esfuera de atun."
"fish ball" is "bola de pescado" or "bola de atun"
"tuna ball" is "bola de atún"

Breaded breaded tuna ball is:" bola de atún empanada."

Finally, fried breaded tuna ball is: "bola de atún de empanado frito." Whew that is a mouthful - likely too long for a menu.

One might see any of these descriptions on a menu.

Hope this helps.

Tom
 
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Train for your next Camino (or keep the Camino spirit alive) on Santa Catalina Island
I never said that I was a native Spanish speaker. All this information is useful. Thank you for contributing.
 
Great reply. As a vegan it doesn't sould like there would be much or anything on the menu I could/would eat. Luckily, there are a few great vegetarian/vegan restaurants in Santiago I have yet to try out!
Actually, you might be more likely to find vegetarian and even vegan food in a college/university cafeteria than in a restaurant "out in the open," in Iberia.

I'm often surprised by how many younger people in the region have embraced plant-food diets, and the school cafeterias are likely to support them!
 

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