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Zubiri Pilgrim Meal disappointment (putting it mildly)

DnCTravels

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
#1
Got to Zubiri yesterday around 2pm and was so glad to have booked ahead at the Rio Arga Ibaia. Clean, great host, big kitchen area and perfect location. Definitely recommend staying there to all. We were too tired to think about cooking so we wandered down to the Ogi Berri Café del Camino for some lunch; it was delicious and worth every €. We did not order the Pilgrim Meal, instead we got a pollo paella and an omelette with salad. The two dishes, along with a 1l bottle of water, came to 18€.

Now comes the sad part of this story: later on that night we were feeling hungry again and decided to try the Pilgrim meal. Unfortunately our lunch spot was full, so we wandered next door to the Taberna Baserri. It was empty compared to the Ogi so we sat down and ordered two of the Pilgrim meals, at 10€ each. They were out of the pollo so we ordered the carne guisada as our mains, and a salad each. 10 minutes later we were each served a plate with a greasy pressed hamburger patty and some barely warm fries. No cutlery, I had to find some. No salads, no water or wine. Back home I would have complained about this but we soldiered on and ate. The waitress came by and asked if we'd had our salads already; I told her no, and I asked for our water and wine. Our salads showed up after we had finished our "mains"; they were better than the greasy burger patty, but not by much. Still no wine or water; I went to the counter and asked for the drinks and finally a tiny carafe of wine, enough for two very small glasses, and our water arrived. We were already done eating.

We already had three Pilgrim meals under our belts by this point: SJPP, Orisson and Roncesvalles. They were all wonderful. What we got from Taberna Baserri was , minus the smiley faces.

Fair warning ⚠️ to those who follow.
 

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Rick M

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
April ('16,'18, '19)
#2
Something like that may well happen again over the next month. Most pilgrims develop a Zen for this kind of thing. I had some dreadful pilgrim meals. I also had some pretty good ones. You find yourself in the position sometimes of having very little choice beyond resolving to buy food at the market and do it yourself, and even there, sometimes very little choice. The Zen part is that the company is more important than the food, and anything at all that fills the hole for ten euros is a feast to be grateful for.........no matter how grim it is.

Buen Camino
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
#3
Sorry about your bad experience.
We went to Baserri some years ago, and asked for pilgrim's menu. I chose the trout option, and it was very good, with a carafe of wine (refilled as needed), bread, water. The desert was delicious, with a cup of patxaran, courtesy of the house. The service was ok, no problem. Actually, I routinely recommend this restaurant.
Maybe it is not as it used to be, or it was a problem related with too many customers in this season.. We were in early April, and there were many empty tables.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#4
Got to Zubiri yesterday around 2pm and was so glad to have booked ahead at the Rio Arga Ibaia. Clean, great host, big kitchen area and perfect location. Definitely recommend staying there to all. We were too tired to think about cooking so we wandered down to the Ogi Berri Café del Camino for some lunch; it was delicious and worth every €. We did not order the Pilgrim Meal, instead we got a pollo paella and an omelette with salad. The two dishes, along with a 1l bottle of water, came to 18€.

Now comes the sad part of this story: later on that night we were feeling hungry again and decided to try the Pilgrim meal. Unfortunately our lunch spot was full, so we wandered next door to the Taberna Baserri. It was empty compared to the Ogi so we sat down and ordered two of the Pilgrim meals, at 10€ each. They were out of the pollo so we ordered the carne guisada as our mains, and a salad each. 10 minutes later we were each served a plate with a greasy pressed hamburger patty and some barely warm fries. No cutlery, I had to find some. No salads, no water or wine. Back home I would have complained about this but we soldiered on and ate. The waitress came by and asked if we'd had our salads already; I told her no, and I asked for our water and wine. Our salads showed up after we had finished our "mains"; they were better than the greasy burger patty, but not by much. Still no wine or water; I went to the counter and asked for the drinks and finally a tiny carafe of wine, enough for two very small glasses, and our water arrived. We were already done eating.

We already had three Pilgrim meals under our belts by this point: SJPP, Orisson and Roncesvalles. They were all wonderful. What we got from Taberna Baserri was , minus the smiley faces.

Fair warning ⚠️ to those who follow.
Camino rule #143 Don't expect any subsequent Pilgrim meal to live up to the one you had at Orisson. :)
If it happens consider buying a lottery ticket! :p
 
#5
Pilgrim meals are for pilgrims, not "locals." That means that the proprietors know that they don't need to cultivate return business. I am not saying that people are bilking pilgrims but there is no doubt that you should have low expectations for pilgrim meals and then be happy when those expectations are exceeded.

On the Frances, if you are in a tiny place with a lot of pilgrims, you are not likely to be able to find "the locals'" favorite places, because there are few locals. In bigger places on the Francés, just get off the main drag, look for places NOT offering a pilgrim meal, and you are likely to find really good meals, often with high price/quality ratio in the menú del día, served at lunchtime.

And when you get to Pamplona, try the Restaurante Basseri. I can guarantee that if you go into the comedor/dining room behind the bar and have a menú del día, the word "Basseri" will bring up good rather than bad memories. http://baserriberri.com
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#6
Something like that may well happen again over the next month.
Will
happen again, unless you develop that radar. ;)
For 10 Euros what should we expect? Certainly not haute cuisine. Which only increases the appreciation of a good pilgrim meal with good service. The bad ones are unfortunately all too common.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#8
When these things happen, make a stink! Get up and tell the management this food is inedible and unacceptable, gather up your things and leave. If pilgrims continue letting these people roll them over, these people will just keep it up.
One "weapon" consumers have in Spain is the "Hoja de Reclamaciones," a form that every business is required to keep on hand. You fill it in with your info, complaint, etc.. One copy goes to the restaurateur, you keep one, and one you send to the regional consumer office whose address is listed there.
Different regional offices handle these things differently, some are highly respected. When you ask for a "hoja," often the offending businessman changes his tune very quickly.
Just another great reason to have working Spanish!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
#10
When these things happen, make a stink! Get up and tell the management this food is inedible and unacceptable, gather up your things and leave. If pilgrims continue letting these people roll them over, these people will just keep it up......
Hmmmm, I reckon someone is getting his leg pulled. :eek:
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#11
One "weapon" consumers have in Spain is the "Hoja de Reclamaciones," a form that every business is required to keep on hand. You fill it in with your info, complaint, etc.. One copy goes to the restaurateur, you keep one, and one you send to the regional consumer office whose address is listed there.
Different regional offices handle these things differently, some are highly respected. When you ask for a "hoja," often the offending businessman changes his tune very quickly.
This is great to know, thanks, Rebekah. I assumed there was no recourse for us pilgrims who are 'just passing through' - short of a crummy trip advisor review for those who do such things (which is not me...).
Pilgrims being grateful is one thing but being ripped off is another.
 

CaminoDebrita

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
#12
Got to Zubiri yesterday around 2pm and was so glad to have booked ahead at the Rio Arga Ibaia. Clean, great host, big kitchen area and perfect location. Definitely recommend staying there to all. We were too tired to think about cooking so we wandered down to the Ogi Berri Café del Camino for some lunch; it was delicious and worth every €. We did not order the Pilgrim Meal, instead we got a pollo paella and an omelette with salad. The two dishes, along with a 1l bottle of water, came to 18€.

Now comes the sad part of this story: later on that night we were feeling hungry again and decided to try the Pilgrim meal. Unfortunately our lunch spot was full, so we wandered next door to the Taberna Baserri. It was empty compared to the Ogi so we sat down and ordered two of the Pilgrim meals, at 10€ each. They were out of the pollo so we ordered the carne guisada as our mains, and a salad each. 10 minutes later we were each served a plate with a greasy pressed hamburger patty and some barely warm fries. No cutlery, I had to find some. No salads, no water or wine. Back home I would have complained about this but we soldiered on and ate. The waitress came by and asked if we'd had our salads already; I told her no, and I asked for our water and wine. Our salads showed up after we had finished our "mains"; they were better than the greasy burger patty, but not by much. Still no wine or water; I went to the counter and asked for the drinks and finally a tiny carafe of wine, enough for two very small glasses, and our water arrived. We were already done eating.

We already had three Pilgrim meals under our belts by this point: SJPP, Orisson and Roncesvalles. They were all wonderful. What we got from Taberna Baserri was , minus the smiley faces.

Fair warning ⚠️ to those who follow.
If you stay on Camino long enough, you will notice that this stuff happens every four or five days or so.

Develop that "spider" sense previously mentioned, and if things don't work out, put your ten euro down and just leave after eating what you can salvage.

We have all eaten bad meals here and there on Camino. Pan chocolate for breakfast with a great coffee, and all will be well!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#15
Lots of good tips above.

In my limited experience......

Some Pilgrims menus are great.
Some are OK
Some are awful.

It can be a lottery. But hey, for e10? Move on I reckon....


Maybe the Camino has softened me, but if I get a really bad meal I tend to shrug it off.

I prefer to think that maybe they are having a bad day. Maybe their Mother, Father, Dog, Cat ..... just died.
Maybe their partner just walked out on them.
The cook phoned in sick....
Stuff happens. We all have bad days.

I have a rule to never complain about a meal whilst I am still eating it!
I just have this mental picture of the cooks doing unspeakable things to my next dish :eek:

Though as Reb suggested, asking for a Hoja is a good idea. had never heard of those.

Actually I have another rule on eating establishments generally. Never, ever, ever... go into one that is empty, if others nearby are really busy! (you will merely find out why it is empty)

OK, and a third rule that works everywhere of course. If faced with 2 places to eat and one is full of locals, and the other full of Tourists, Pilgrims....... The food where the locals are eating is likely to be far better quality and value.

Breakfast? Well there's another topic.............
A piece of dry toast with jam and a coffee.....? :eek:

Hence the time proven tradition of '2nd breakfast'........rather like Hobbits......
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#17
If it occurs to you that something is wrong whilst you are still eating it, you must stop eating it!
I 'must'? But what if I'm hungry!! :eek: And it's actually edible :D

I would have gone hungry a few nights if I did that........in the only place serving food :oops:
 
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zrexer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
#18
Honestly, I was not blown away by any of the food on the Camino. Never had a really bad meal, but nothing all that memorable either. Really looked at the food as fuel to 'get me down the trail.' Was not looking for a 'foody' experience. Maybe it is faint praise, but I have had no stomach upset or food poisoning in 4 years of Camino travel, so I can't say I am unhappy.
Because my wife and I do gourmet cooking at home, that might be why we are kind of hard to impress!
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
#19
Honestly, I was not blown away by any of the food on the Camino. Never had a really bad meal, but nothing all that memorable either. Really looked at the food as fuel to 'get me down the trail.' Was not looking for a 'foody' experience. Maybe it is faint praise, but I have had no stomach upset or food poisoning in 4 years of Camino travel, so I can't say I am unhappy.
Because my wife and I do gourmet cooking at home, that might be why we are kind of hard to impress!
I wasn't very impressed until I got to pintxo/tapas territory.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#20
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#21
There is a bar up in a left side street at the top of Calle Amaya in Pamplona, the Stikbol. I have gone there many times with my local Spanish friends. Pintxos and meals, no matter, no disappointments. Another place, for meals, is known as el Arabe. It is near the top of Carlos Tercero, on the right. I am not up to date on prices. On the topic of Camino breakfasts: most memorable was in a bar in El Acebo. We watched and copied two pilgrims from around Sevilla, by ordering the plate of embutidos and cheese they had asked for. Not only did they wash it down with wine, it was chased by a very strong Spirit of the alcoholic variety. We did not copy that part, we stuck to the café con leche! When we found our first bar each morning, we always chose the option that would give the best energy return, so avoided the sweet bread type of food. Jamón, cheese, tortilla...
Aha! Just remembering the buffet breakfast in el Sminario Mayor, Santiago. And what I am going to have shortly is a little bowl of porridge. Ah well, next time I am in Santiago... buen Camino to all who are en Camino.
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
#22
Worst breakfast...
We were asked to order it the previous evening. Next morning we discovered it had been put out ready before bedtime. Coffee was in a cup ready to put in to a microwave!!! Dry cake in a wrapper, dry toast and a small jam and butter in sealed packs. Ugh! Not a great start to anyone's day.
It was somewhere before Carrion
can't remember the name of the albergue without looking it up.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#24
Honestly, I was not blown away by any of the food on the Camino. Never had a really bad meal, but nothing all that memorable either. Really looked at the food as fuel to 'get me down the trail.' Was not looking for a 'foody' experience. Maybe it is faint praise, but I have had no stomach upset or food poisoning in 4 years of Camino travel, so I can't say I am unhappy.
Because my wife and I do gourmet cooking at home, that might be why we are kind of hard to impress!
As you say, I think it depends what you are used to. Camino food is probably not a great example of Spanish food anyway. We tried lots of different places, not often eating Pilgrim menus. But even so, we didn't find anything that great. Nor in the major cities.

We found plenty of 'nice' food, but nothing knock out that you would find in most countries. And I don't mean 'expensive'. Just great quality and flavoursome.

For example if you go to the UK the Roast Beef is great, in Mombai maybe a Thali, in Bangkok perhaps a 3 Flavours Fish, in Paris ... Moules. Just everyday dishes, but really good in a local restaurant.

In Spain? Not sure. What would be the thing to try? A good Paella? I'm showing my ignorance of Spanish food here :oops:

Actually in the Tapas market in Madrid..........we had the best Oysters ever!

On the Camino itself, 2 meals spring to mind.
These were both good lunches.

O'Cebriero
The restaurant behind/through the shop
Portomarin
O Mirador, over looking the water.

Places along the Camino generally cater for Pilgrims. Certainly in the smaller towns and villages. Pilgrims want wholesome cheap food with lots of carbs. (fuel) :rolleyes:
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#25
We watched and copied two pilgrims from around Sevilla, by ordering the plate of embutidos and cheese they had asked for.
Nice... Any other tips on breakfast things to order?
It's hard when things are not on display and language ability is a bit poor.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2017 Camino Frances SJPP-Santiago
2015 St. Olav's Way Oslo-Trondheim
2017 VdlP Seville-Merida
#26
I have eaten bad meals here in my own house! More than once.

P.S. I have even prepared some of them! :mad:
At my house the code word is "interesting". I don't want to hear that what I prepared was "bad" or "terrible" but I don't mind "interesting". :p
 
#28
One more thought on this, thinking from a US perspective -- it may be that when our accommodation costs us 10 -12 € a night and is fine, we think that our 10 -12 € meal ought to also be fine. After all, if I pay $120 for a room in the US, I can usually expect a knock down dragout feast for $120. Good Spanish restaurants are much cheaper than their US counterparts, even in big cities, so as others have suggested, part of our attitude adjustment ought to be -- what do you expect for 10 €?!
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#29
The only way (in our experience) to get your salad served with the main course is to explicitly ask for them to be served together. They are seen as separate courses in most places.
This is the case whether having menu de peregrino, menu del dia or platos combinados, and personally we never asked for the first if there was any alternative.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#30
I think there are two standout dishes on the camino proper: lechazo asado, and trucha. Local creatures cooked simply and well. They only sometimes appear on Menus -- trout much more common than lamb.

You CAN get "foodie" food on the Camino, but you have to know what to ask for. And don't expect to pay only 10 Euros for the meal.

As for the hoja, and making a stink? No, I am not pulling anyone's leg. No one should have to eat swill, even on a 10 euro menu. If enough pilgrims stand up for themselves, the restaurateurs might stop serving inedible food.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#31
Coffee was in a cup ready to put in to a microwave!!! Dry cake in a wrapper, dry toast and a small jam and butter in sealed packs. Ugh! Not a great start to anyone's day.
That is not an unusual pilgrim breakfast. I hate those wrapped cakes too.

However, once time on the VdlP I was eating dinner in the town's only bar and asked the owner about breakfast. He said they weren't open but I could get a cup of coffee tonight for heating in the microwave at the albergue. I thought that was a brilliant suggestion when the alternative was no coffee in the morning and there was no other village for hours. It was something I hadn't thought of (maybe because I don't have a microwave at home), but good to keep in mind for the future.

Any other tips on breakfast things to order?
Tostadas con tomate. It is often available if you ask for it, since Spaniards often have it for breakfast. Properly done, it is grated/pureed tomato that you spread with drizzled olive oil. (Sometimes when the tomato is pureed in a blender, it is quite frothy, and doesn't look much like tomato, but it is fine.)

Edited to spell "tostadas" instead of "tostados". Is that correct??
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
#32
As for the hoja, and making a stink? No, I am not pulling anyone's leg. No one should have to eat swill, even on a 10 euro menu. If enough pilgrims stand up for themselves, the restaurateurs might stop serving inedible food.
Rebekah, no doubt you are more qualified than I am to speak on this subject, but I pray that I am never in a restaurant or bar on the camino when a fellow pilgrim raises a stink about the food. :)
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
#34
That is not an unusual pilgrim breakfast. I hate those wrapped cakes too.

However, once time on the VdlP I was eating dinner in the town's only bar and asked the owner about breakfast. He said they weren't open but I could get a cup of coffee tonight for heating in the microwave at the albergue. I thought that was a brilliant suggestion when the alternative was no coffee in the morning and there was no other village for hours. It was something I hadn't thought of (maybe because I don't have a microwave at home), but good to keep in mind for the future.


Tostados con tomate. It is often available if you ask for it, since Spaniards often have it for breakfast. Properly done, it is grated/pureed tomato that you spread on tostados with drizzled olive oil. (Sometimes when the tomato is pureed in a blender, it is quite frothy, and doesn't look much like tomato, but it is fine.)
Now a good breakfast with tornados con tomatoes that is wonderful and my top favourite. Best one we ever had was in a coffee shop in Leon. At the end of that particular etape we had time to spare before the train back to Santander. The breakfast was so good we each ordered a second one!
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
#35
I guess my expectations are pretty low for a 10 euro Pilgrim Menu. I am usually just hungry and tired. After walking 25-30 km carrying a pack, I am seldom looking for or expecting fine dining.

I really don't have much of a tourist/holiday expectation when on a camino so am usually very pleased to find an open restaurant/bar at the time I would like to eat.
Most pilgrim meals are very acceptable...some are very good...occasionally they may be not too good. Actually, sitting here I cannot recall any meals bad enough to remember.
If you are unlucky to have a bad experience...just move on. Expectations and unacceptance usually lead to disappointment.

I imagine the daily grind of having thousands of pilgrims coming through a town can lead to some businesses adopting some less than stellar customer attitudes. I just keep on in my own space each day.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#36
Nice... Any other tips on breakfast things to order?
It's hard when things are not on display and language ability is a bit poor.
¿Hay jamón ? ¿Hay queso? ¿Hay tortilla? embutidos are variations on Italian salami, pork based. Yogur is self explanatory... it does depend of course on the time, and the kind of bar. I suppose you could point to a pastry and say, esto, no. Prefiero algo más nutritivo. You can use google translate to describe your own preferences.
¡Que aproveche!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Roncesvalles-SdC Apr-Jun 2015
Roncesvalles-Sarria Sep-Oct 2017
(2019: Planning to return!)
#37
I've just finished eating dinner at La Parada de Zuriáin. One long table with the food brought in on dishes and bowls for us to help ourselves. Mixed salad, pasta, roast chicken and homemade apple tart, with wine and water, all for €9. And they made a special plate of stir-fried veg for my vegetarian mother. Outstanding service, kind and thoughtful hosts. And really good, fresh, well-made food, prepared with love and care. It can be found, and not always off the Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2013
Camino del Norte a Chimayó (USA), 2015
Camino Portugues, 2017
#38
In my limited experience (two caminos), I think of pilgrim menus as the typical 3-course offering found at an independent bar/café along the Camino route for 8 to 10€. Most are, as a driver we once hired for a private tour in Mexico called, "regulár" (or what I'd say, "so-so"). A few were better, a few were worse, but I can only recall one that was really bad (in that place up the road from the municipal albergue in Cacabelos, where they drive you up in a van). We prefer to stay in private albergues for many reason, but mainly because many of them offer "home-cooked" meals. Some are simple, some are more fancy, but they all have one thing in common--they are all good to very good.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#40
Tostadas con tomate.
Yes, my favorite breakfast too!
I think there are two standout dishes on the camino proper: lechazo asado, and trucha. Local creatures cooked simply and well. They only sometimes appear on Menus -- trout much more common than lamb.
And a wee way further down the track how can one not appreciate pimentos de padron? Local veggies cooked simply and well!
There's plenty of good food to be had out there, but I sure wouldn't be looking at the pilgirm's menu to find it.
 

Kev

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept-Oct 2015
Camino Portuguese Sept-Oct 2018
#41
Never, ever, ever... go into one that is empty, if others nearby are really busy! (you will merely find out why it is empty)
I cannot totally agree with that statement. W ewere in Fromista and Restaurante Villa De Fromista was very busy, we managed to score some seats but after 30 minutes of waiting and watching several other tables experience the same, we got up and decided to find another location.
A few minutes down the road and we discovered Villa De Fromista which was completely empty. We entered with trepadation and soon discovered this place was a gem. It was one of the best meals we had experienced, the service was impeccible and the food was just high quality, tasty, and very satisfying. The waiter provided to be very entertaining as well.
Sometimes the not-so busy places ARE gems... But then again sometimes....
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#42
Never, ever, ever... go into one that is empty, if others nearby are really busy!
In Spain this can mean that it caters to locals at a later hour. All the pilgrims are crowding into the other busy place. I went to a wonderful restaurant in Viana, where one of our group had made a reservation for when they opened (maybe at 8:30 or 9:00 pm). We were the only people there for almost an hour before it suddenly filled up completely. Both the food and service were outstanding.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#43
I cannot totally agree with that statement. W ewere in Fromista and Restaurante Villa De Fromista was very busy, we managed to score some seats but after 30 minutes of waiting and watching several other tables experience the same, we got up and decided to find another location.
A few minutes down the road and we discovered Villa De Fromista which was completely empty. We entered with trepadation and soon discovered this place was a gem. It was one of the best meals we had experienced, the service was impeccible and the food was just high quality, tasty, and very satisfying. The waiter provided to be very entertaining as well.
Sometimes the not-so busy places ARE gems... But then again sometimes....
Just what @C clearly wrote below your post.
It's not the "law" per se. The Spaniards are taking their dinner after 9 or even 10pm (I love them for that, just to add ;)) but on the main Pilgrim drag as it was mentioned in the OP if the restaurant is empty and the other one is completely full something is smelly, no doubt. In bigger towns try to veer off the main streets and search for restaurant where there are only locals and it might happen that you'll get even better meal for less than those where all of the pilgrims are eating their Menu.

Buen provecho!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (Sept 2016)
SDC/ Finesterre/ Muxia (2016)
#45
90% of my meal foods were not pilgrim meals. I could never eat enough food and much of it I couldn't eat- (bread and wine)
but I had some spectacular food
the best? a small spot mid morning with fresh grilled calamari and risotto for breakfast. still think yummm even now
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Madrid, Frances and Finisterre (2015)
Camino Norte-2017; Camino Ingles from A Coruna - 2017
#46
Every once in awhile a 10E pilgrim meal exceeds expectations. This summer on the VDLP in Rionegro del Puente at Me Gusta Comer I had an excellent 10E pilgrim meal.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
#48
I’ve stayed twice at the Fonfria albergue ~11kms after O Cebreiro (?sp). The first time I was temporarily without funds and so didn’t have the evening communal pilgrim meal. I was determined to stay there to sample the pilgrim meal the second time I passed through + I have to say it was the best dining experience I’ve ever had on the Francés route. A wonderful menu, quantities of which meant I ate enough to compensate for the missed meal from the previous visit, unlimited wine, a digestiv +, most importantly of all, table service that was both attentive and very friendly.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#49
Worst breakfast...
We were asked to order it the previous evening. Next morning we discovered it had been put out ready before bedtime. Coffee was in a cup ready to put in to a microwave!!! Dry cake in a wrapper, dry toast and a small jam and butter in sealed packs. Ugh! Not a great start to anyone's day.
It was somewhere before Carrion
can't remember the name of the albergue without looking it up.
Yep pretty sure I had that same breakfast at Castrojerez.
The night before was hilarious, at the bar we ordered the paella specialty, and pizza. Basically that was the sum total of the offer but at least the photo on the menu looked half decent,
Then he pulled it out of the freezer, added water, and microwaved the paella (without stirring)- all brazenly in front of us.
And then also microwaved the frozen pizza - from frozen.
Frozen pizza microwaved to death. And Paella with hard clumps of rice, and watery bits that never got stirred in.
We should have walked further but we were hungry, the company was good, and the food was so bad it was funny.
 

Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Camino(s) past & future
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
#50
Go for Raciones and let them keep coming, go for places where it is done and follow what the locals do...
don´t let the sun go down on your hunger ....
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
#51
Reading back through this thread... is there anyone else here who doesn't think 10-12 Euros is so cheap that it's understandable that it would be an inferior meal? I can get an excellent bowl/plate of food for less than that in the US, especially at Vietnamese, Thai and Mexican restaurants. In fact, throughout my travels, I have found that wonderful local meals in most countries are cheaper than that (I haven't traveled around other parts of Europe, though). The main advantage to Spanish meals is the wine refills.
 

SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#52
Reading back through this thread... is there anyone else here who doesn't think 10-12 Euros is so cheap that it's understandable that it would be an inferior meal? I can get an excellent bowl/plate of food for less than that in the US, especially at Vietnamese, Thai and Mexican restaurants. In fact, throughout my travels, I have found that wonderful local meals in most countries are cheaper than that (I haven't traveled around other parts of Europe, though). The main advantage to Spanish meals is the wine refills.

If you go away from the Camino Frances and walk a less travelled Camino like for instance the Camino del Ebro, but also many others, you will find excellent menus del dia for 10-12 €.
There are almost no pilgrims so they do not have to " cater " for people who only pass for a day.

Lots of people , lots of tourists : more chance locals want a quick profit and quality will go down.
For instance , everyone with a bit of knowledge knows to avoid the area around the Grand Place in Brussels, local main square and the adjacent streets . An ugly tourist trap with inferior restaurants trying to rip off innocent people.
If you walk to a place four streets down the square you will find good and honest food.

I try to do the same in Spain...always follow the locals.
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
C. Francés (2004-), C. Portugués, C. de Madrid, 1/2 V. Plata, 1/8 Levante, hospitalera Grado 2016.
#53
?Perdón, donde se come bien aquí?

We've had some wonderful lunches on different caminos by asking middle-aged natives this, and very often been led to places we never would have found on our own. Looking for where truck-drivers have their lunch can also be good, since we don't count calories while walking.

It only works in towns big enough to have several bars/restaurants, of course. And only for lunch, which is our main meal in Spain.

In the evening we might have something we make for ourseles, or just bread and cheese, or a few tapas or raciones (first order one, if good, order more) or whatever is available locally.

A proper Spanish dinner we only have when we're in a hotel in a large city, without a curfew, and knowing we're planning to have a short day tomorrow. Then we actually check Tripadvisor!
 

SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#54
?Perdón, donde se come bien aquí?

We've had some wonderful lunches on different caminos by asking middle-aged natives this, and very often been led to places we never would have found on our own. Looking for where truck-drivers have their lunch can also be good, since we don't count calories while walking.

It only works in towns big enough to have several bars/restaurants, of course. And only for lunch, which is our main meal in Spain.

In the evening we might have something we make for ourseles, or just bread and cheese, or a few tapas or raciones (first order one, if good, order more) or whatever is available locally.

A proper Spanish dinner we only have when we're in a hotel in a large city, without a curfew, and knowing we're planning to have a short day tomorrow. Then we actually check Tripadvisor!
If it caters for truckdrivers and local families! Always a good idea. Even if it does not look like much on the outside when you come in. When you will find the " comedor" around 2.30 pm filled you are in the right place.

One of my nicer meals on the Ingles this spring was at the restaurant in Vilar do Colo.
https://www.restaurantevilardocolo.es/
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Camino Frances SJPP / 2014 Camino Portugues / 2015 Camino Ingles / 2015 Hospitalero Training
2016 (fall) Camino Sanabre / Hospitalero?
#55
Got to Zubiri yesterday around 2pm and was so glad to have booked ahead at the Rio Arga Ibaia. Clean, great host, big kitchen area and perfect location. Definitely recommend staying there to all. We were too tired to think about cooking so we wandered down to the Ogi Berri Café del Camino for some lunch; it was delicious and worth every €. We did not order the Pilgrim Meal, instead we got a pollo paella and an omelette with salad. The two dishes, along with a 1l bottle of water, came to 18€.

Now comes the sad part of this story: later on that night we were feeling hungry again and decided to try the Pilgrim meal. Unfortunately our lunch spot was full, so we wandered next door to the Taberna Baserri. It was empty compared to the Ogi so we sat down and ordered two of the Pilgrim meals, at 10€ each. They were out of the pollo so we ordered the carne guisada as our mains, and a salad each. 10 minutes later we were each served a plate with a greasy pressed hamburger patty and some barely warm fries. No cutlery, I had to find some. No salads, no water or wine. Back home I would have complained about this but we soldiered on and ate. The waitress came by and asked if we'd had our salads already; I told her no, and I asked for our water and wine. Our salads showed up after we had finished our "mains"; they were better than the greasy burger patty, but not by much. Still no wine or water; I went to the counter and asked for the drinks and finally a tiny carafe of wine, enough for two very small glasses, and our water arrived. We were already done eating.

We already had three Pilgrim meals under our belts by this point: SJPP, Orisson and Roncesvalles. They were all wonderful. What we got from Taberna Baserri was , minus the smiley faces.

Fair warning ⚠️ to those who follow.
Consider this a training meal for bocadillos being the whole menu
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#56
I hate sitting there waiting for a meal for ages and for no apparent reason.

2016 Camino in Melide. We went into the Chuscos bar (by the little flowerbed roundabout) following two or three other groups of pilgrims. Only one waitress on duty so you have to be patient right?

Our drinks and were served promptly but after that the lady seemed more interested in talking on her phone.
The clientele, maybe 16 people in all, started to get restless and, after about 40 minutes I dropped some coins on the table for the beers and we walked out.

Went down the road into Eziquiel's - greeted, seated and served within 5 minutes.

You could, of course, walk the C Portuguese - fabulous food!
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
#58
[[Lots of people , lots of tourists : more chance locals want a quick profit and quality will go down. ]]

Like those ubiquitous, dreadful microwave paellas advertised on sandwich boards across the Camino.
 

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