In Galicia the proverb says: “Nos meses sin r, no marisco comas, nin marisco merques”, a proverb that is intended to convey the inconvenience of tasting it between the months of May and August. Message that does not correspond to reality: the feast does not need to wait, in summer you can also savor good crustacean shellfish, without having to wait until autumn or Christmas. Most of these delicacies, including those with the highest economic value, have all the blessings. The concerns arose long ago when refrigeration systems were not as sophisticated as they are today and there was a serious risk of product degradation. Other theories about the need to preserve some species, which, between May and August, are in the reproduction phase, also contributed to the maxim about the inappropriateness of eating them in summer. This question is also resolved with the current closures that serve to protect the generation of the different classes of these shellfish.
Diego Iglesias, owner of the company Mariscos Diego, assures that “summer is a good time to eat and fish for barnacles. The access to the rocks is more favorable and the flavor is good”. The largest barnacle is quoted in the summer season, at most, at 140 euros per kilo. The same product that at Christmas can be paid for 360. For his part, Andrés Martínez, manager of Mariscos AMS, highlights the good moment of the Norway lobster —although its capture is subject to limitations— and the lobster from the estuary. The trunk Norway lobster —the most voluminous— reaches 100 euros per kilo at the market, a price that is sometimes exceeded; and the lobster from the estuary usually costs around 35 euros at origin. The crab is also a shellfish at a good time. This crustacean, of high commercial value and that lives in rocky bottoms, is quoted daily in the Coruña market for more than 60 euros. There is also the nécora de batea —it lives under these platforms—, highly appreciated, according to Carlos Veiga, from the Mar do Morrazo cooperative.
Other coveted seafood is still sold at this time, although its offer is more limited. The Galician shrimp from the estuary is, together with the barnacle, one of the most expensive crustaceans. The manager of Pescados Lucas, Rafael Vilas, highlights the quality of the fish caught in the Ría de Arousa, which is paid in that area at an average of 150 euros. Another thing to take into account is the red lobster —very scarce—, whose price in the auction ranges between 55 and 60 euros.
Next, we propose six restaurants that work in Galicia with local crustacean shellfish, perfect enclaves to treat yourself.
Address: Baiona-A Guarda road, Km 2 (Pontevedra). Telephone: 986 35 52 04.
Next to the Atlantic, on the road that connects Baiona with A Guarda (Pontevedra), the Rocamar has a large space with views of the Ría de Vigo and the Cíes. Directed by Susana and Ramón Rodríguez, sons of those who started this project almost 50 years ago, it offers products from the estuary purchased directly. They have a good selection of barnacles, which they prepare cooked, and crabs, including the one made from a tray, which at the auction at the market reaches prices close to 70 euros. On the menu they include lobster in two sauces, while lobster is prepared with rice —the emblematic dish of the house—, cooked or grilled. Also to the bellavista, the latter is a typical recipe of Atlantic cuisine: the crustacean is cooked and the tail is cut into medallions; later it is placed on the empty body; the legs and the head are crumbled and a kind of teaspoons are prepared that are placed in the dish in which it is served.
Address: Avenida Teniente Domínguez, 84. O Grove (Pontevedra). Telephone: 986 73 34 47.
The Domínguez brothers, Alberto and Marisol, run this famous restaurant in O Grove, one of the most important seafood ports in Galicia. D’Berto began as a steakhouse in the eighties of the last century, but over time it changed its orientation and ended up becoming a reference in seafood gastronomy, focused on large, quality pieces. The fried lobster is the specialty of the house. Lately they have incorporated the preparation of crabs and langoustines in salt, conditioned in the oven, to better preserve the juices and taste. Large pieces, of more than 300 grams, which come from O Grove and Vigo. Also extraordinary is the barnacle, from the high estuaries, and the lobster, which they prepare on the grill.
Address: Rúa Nova de Abaixo, 5 (Santiago de Compostela). Telephone: 981 59 73 54.
In the new area of Santiago, the Terra Nosa restaurant defends the top-class Galician genre. Francisco Mallon, Chito, runs this business created by his parents in the seventies, which began as a kind of inn. Mallón now leads a renewed project based on the grill, the griddle and the oven in which the seafood is cooked at the moment. Galician seafood in an establishment that offers quarter-kilo crabs and langoustines sold by weight (three units per kilo) that are grilled over firewood. In addition, the menu includes other seasonal shellfish such as shrimp, Galician lobster and Fisterra lobster.
Address: Avenida Isidro Parga Pondal, 8. Laxe (A Coruña). Telephone: 981 72 80 81.
In Laxe, on the Costa da Morte, the Zurich seafood restaurant is a traditional family business run by Ana Pose and her son, Manuel Reigía. Pose has been in charge of the kitchen for more than 40 years and works the dishes simply. They use material coming almost entirely from the local fish market in a seafood restaurant whose offer is contingent on what the Laxe boats unload, so the letter has a testimonial character. In this establishment you can find the outstanding barnacle from the nearby rock of A Mundiña, as well as three or four seasonal shellfish. The lobster is prepared in sauce and with rice —if you want to try it, it is advisable to order it— with a very mild broth so as not to hide the flavor of the crustacean.
Address: Nueva Travesía Buenavista, 13. A Coruña. Telephone: 981 29 19 59.
Traditional seafood restaurant from A Coruña opened in the nineties by Jacinto Souto, a seasoned buyer of seafood at the local fish market. To do this, he gets up at four in the morning —the seafood bid begins shortly before six— and competes without concessions with the main local operators. He buys crabs from Mugardos (Ferrol), which in some cases exceed 400 grams, for which he can pay up to 70 euros per kilo. He prepares them cooked, just like the barnacle. The lobster is made in salpicón, with rice or fried in the oven. They have also incorporated the lobster casserole with potatoes and eggs.
Address: Rúa San Roque, 13. Puerto de Espasante (A Coruña). Telephone: 981 40 83 66.
At dawn, Luis Carlos Galdo, owner and chef of the Planeta restaurant, travels the 100 kilometers that separate Espasante (Rías Altas) and the port of A Coruña to buy Galician products. There is no shortage of seasonal local seafood in this classic establishment that will celebrate its 40th anniversary in the coming months. Simple cuisine in which the lobster salad is especially in demand. Galdo cooks it following in the footsteps of his mother with a recipe that seeks to enhance, above all else, the flavor of the crustacean. Pieces of more than two kilos that he first cooks and, later, prepares with onion, boiled egg, red pepper —all of it chopped with a knife— and olives. Finally, he seasons it with just the right touch of extra virgin olive oil and good wine vinegar.