According to a local saying, Santander never strays too far from the sea – and no wonder, given the glorious sheltered bay on its south-eastern edge and, to its northeast, the wilder waters of the Cantabrian Sea, the southern coast of the Bay of Biscay. A seafaring town and a port, its people have a very distinctive singsong way of speaking. The city stretches a short way inland, onto the steep slopes of the nearby hills that look down upon the coastal strip, where people live their lives in tune with the winds and the distant views of the mountains beyond. The saying is surely true, and may have something to do with the motto on the city’s coat of arms: very noble, ever loyal, determined and always compassionate.
This meeting of land and sea, of surf and turf, is exactly the inspiration for our local cooking which offers excellent dishes that are a joy to linger over. A wonderful world of flavours, textures and aromas rustled up by local chefs who offer very good food, at more than reasonable prices.
Regardless of culinary fashions which chop and change over time, eating out in Santander is not so much a luxury but more the everyday pursuit of one of life’s greatest pleasures, hardwired into our culture. Taking full advantage of the fabulous local produce from the surrounding sea and the province’s fertile farmlands, the city’s kitchens confirm the judgment of those who say that the precondition for creativity and daring is a firm foundation in a good, solid tradition.
The aim of this magazine is to provide a practical and straightforward guide to the many and varied pleasures of the food served by some of the best, but not always the best-known, restaurants in our city. It is not a list of every single one there is, but it is a selection based exclusively on the quality of their cooking and our desire to include the unexpected alongside the more traditional and to cater for the broadest possible tastes at a wide range of prices.
So our basic aim is simply to give you good ideas about where to have a great breakfast, a tasty brunch or lunch, or a memorable dinner. Not to mention the best bars for an ice-cold beer with a one-inch head on it, the best places to try rabas (battered slices of squid, deep-fried), the local appetizer par excellence, or – now that you’ve started – the ice cream parlours and the bakeries with their tempting cakes and pastries. No need to feel guilty now – just enjoy yourselves.