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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Restaurante Barbantes

I've become rather fond of Vigo in recent years. It's a somewhat quirky city in a stunning setting on the Ría de Vigo where ones euro buys one a bit more hotel than in other cities in Spain. And its close proximity to the Portuguese border gives it a bit of border town character. However, a great meal at a great price was proving a bit difficult to come by until last year, when I stumbled upon Restaurante Barbantes.

It's a family-run place that advertises comida casera, and they don't lie. The tireless dueño appears to be on hand at least 16 hours a day - I've never been there when he wasn't behind the counter, and the woman in the kitchen who does all the cooking is, I believe, his wife. Whoever she is, she sure knows what she's doing. I have had close to a dozen excellent meals here - it's difficult for me to get interested in eating anywhere else in Vigo, especially after a couple of samples of what else was out there. The 8,50€ menú (primero plato, segundo plato, dessert and beverage - and if that beverage is wine, they leave you a whole bottle) is a fantastic bargain, and is offered both at midday AND at night. Their borrego asado is a plate of meat too big for most normal people to finish (not me, of course), seasoned with some hot paprika, onions, a lot of bay leaf, and a hint of tomato. These albondigas (meatballs) are even tastier than they look.

And this fish parrillada de pescado was just beautiful: scrupulously fresh chunks of skate, sea bass and hake (part of the 8,50€ menú, no less).

Even desserts are above average here. And if you come by for breakfast, be sure to try a fresh-made empanadilla, a meat pie filled with 2 or 3 types of chopped pork product - the perfect way to start the day.

Restaurante Barbantes
Rua de Cuba, 3
36204 Vigo, Spain
(+34) 986 41 60 24

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