The Rias Baixas, located in the beautiful region of Galicia, are known for their impressive coastal scenery and rich fishing tradition. In this region of abundant Atlantic waters, gastronomy becomes a true celebration of the most exquisite seafood.
In this post, we encourage you to come along with us on a journey into the world of fresh flavours and delicacies of the sea that will delight your palate and transport you to the Galician coast.
From the sea to the table
The gastronomy of the Rias Baixas is based on the freshness and quality of seafood products. The fish and shellfish caught in these waters are the real stars of the region’s dishes. The area’s restaurants and taverns are proud to offer a unique culinary experience, where the flavours of the sea are combined with traditional and contemporary cooking techniques.
When you try a typical dish from the Rias Baixas, you will be able to appreciate the freshness of the recently-caught fish and the intense flavour of the shellfish. Local chefs work hard to make the main ingredients stand out, using simple recipes that highlight the natural flavours. Whether you opt for griddled sea bass, Galician style octopus or grilled scallops, each mouthful will transport you to the very essence of the Galician coast.
Most common fish
Fish are a fundamental element of local gastronomy in the Rias Baixas. Some of the most common species you will find on menus include:
Sea bream: This white, oval-shaped fish is a delight for the palate. Sea bream is prepared in a variety of ways in the kitchens of the Rias Baixas, standing out for its soft and delicious meat.
Mackerel (Known as Xarda in Galicia) : Plentiful and cheap, mackerel is a blue fish which is round and similar to a torpedo shape. Its intense flavour and firm texture make it a popular choice in the region, where it is used in traditional dishes like mackerel pasties or ‘empanadas’.
Gilt-head bream: Gilt-head bream is a white fish characterised for its compact body with silver or grey skin. Its meat is delicate and soft, making it a favourite among lovers of fish in the Rias Baixas. You can enjoy it griddled, baked or in stews.
John Dory: John Dory is another delicious fish found in the Rias Baixas. With its white meat with a firm and flaky texture, John Dory is used in a variety of dishes, from fried fish dishes to stews and casseroles. If you want to order it in a restaurant, you should know that it is called ‘rapante’ in Galicia.
Horse mackerel: Horse Mackerel is a fish with a long and thin body, with a characteristic skin which is silver and bluish in colour and shiny. It stands out for its intense flavour and firm texture. It can be enjoyed baked, griddled or tinned.
Sole: Sole is a flat fish with a tender and soft texture. In the Rias Baixas, it is prepared on a griddle, baked or used in fried dishes, noted for its delicate flavour and juicy texture.
Sea bass: Sea bass is a long fish with a large mouth and can be distinguished by its dorsal fins. It is a white coloured fish and is very popular in the region. Its meat is tasty and versatile, making it a popular option on the area’s menus.
Hake: Hake is one of the most typical and versatile types of fish in Galicia when it comes to cooking. Its soft and delicate meat can be enjoyed in baked dishes, cooked on a griddle or in stews.
Turbot: Turbot is a very popular species in the Rias Baixas. It is a flat fish with a circular contour and firm and white meat, which stands out for its excellent flavour. Turbot is made in a variety of different ways, from baked in the oven to cooked on a griddle. It is a popular choice in local gastronomy.
These common types of fish in the Rias Baixas offer a wide variety of flavours and textures, and are the base of the region’s exquisite seafaring gastronomy.
Shellfish, a seafaring tradition
Shellfish is another culinary treasure of the Rias Baixas and a true seafaring tradition. The area is famous for the quality of its fresh seafood and its impeccable preparation. Some of the most notable seafood available includes:
Mussels: The mussels from the Rias Baixas are famous throughout Spain. Their tender and juicy meat can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, from steamed to being used as a filling in pasties or marinera sauce.
Clams: Clams from the area are known for their delicate flavour and soft texture. They are used to make dishes like clams in marinera sauce or served fresh so you can appreciate their true flavour.
Spider crab: Spider crab is a popular seafood in Galicia. Its meat is sweet and juicy and can be steam cooked or grilled to highlight its unique flavour.
Common lobster: This crustacean, which looks similar to the spiny lobster, is another delicacy of the Galician coast. Its delicious meat can be eaten in dishes like grilled lobster or in seafood rice dishes.
Sea scallops: Sea scallops are another famous shellfish from the region. These molluscs with soft meat are grilled or used in stews and rice dishes, offering a delicate and smooth flavour. Their large and beautiful shell is another symbol of the traditional Camino del Santiago (Santiago Way) and all of the pilgrims carry one with them on their journey.
Bay scallops: Bay scallops are similar to sea scallops but they are smaller in size. Their meat is tender and juicy and they are usually griddled or grilled to make their unique flavour stand out.
Barnacles: Barnacles are a unique seafood found on the rocks along the Galician coast. Their intense flavour and crunchy texture make them an authentic delicacy. They are usually eaten fresh or cooked slightly to retain their characteristic nature.
Oysters: Oysters from the Rias Baixas – specifically from Arcade – are famous for their exceptional quality and flavour. They can be eaten fresh, and some people like to add a drizzle of lemon to them.
The seafaring tradition is reflected in every seafood dish served in the region, and each mouthful is an unforgettable culinary experience. The freshness and quality of the seafood from the Rias Baixas will transport you to a world of sea flavours that will delight your palate and enable you to appreciate the culinary wealth of this beautiful Galician region.
Mussel tasting with Mar de Ons
Thanks to the wealth of sea and other produce, Galicia has become the perfect place to enjoy gastronomy tourism. Of all of the experiences you can enjoy in the area, one is very comprehensive and of particular interest: Mussel tasting on the Pontevedra ria with Mar de Ons.
During this experience, not only will you have the pleasure of being able to try the ria’s delicious mussels, but you will also do so on board one of our boats while sailing along the breathtaking Pontevedra ria and seeing for yourself the platforms where they are cultivated.
Here at Mar de Ons, we encourage you to pay us a visit and enjoy our gastronomy. Immerse yourself in the culinary wealth of the Rias Baixas and discover the magic of its sea flavours. From the freshest fish to the most exquisite seafood, each dish is an invitation to explore the culinary legacy of our beautiful region.
We look forward to seeing you!