More and more restaurants on the Camino have the so-called “Menú del Peregrino” or Pilgrim´s menu, and they offer discounts if you show your credential. Although, there are hostels which have a kitchen so there is also the chance of buying some food at the local groceries and supermarkets and cooking it. Some pilgrims make up their minds to follow a steady diet of sandwiches and easy to pack food, some prefer to sit down peacefully and enjoy fine, hearty meals. After days of long walks across the Galician countryside you might eventually decide a combination of both depending on your priorities.
However, not all the pilgrim´s menus are fantastic, like every tourist attraction, you had better be careful. You will have to choose among different alternatives: pilgrim´s menus, menu del día (regular menu which consists on inexpensive meals for local workers) or just try to find restaurants away from the Camino where you will get to taste the local food.
Most menus consist of a selection of starters, main courses, a dessert and it includes bread, water, soft drinks, beer or wine. First, starters are usually salads, soups, pasta or lighter meals. Then, main courses are usually meat and fish dishes. Third course is the dessert: fruit, yoghurt, ice-cream… but if you want home-made desserts you can ask for “ postres caseros”.
Sometimes menus include both dessert and coffee, in other menus you have to choose only coffee or dessert, but you can pay extra for both. Wine is also included typically but if it is not good you can ask about an “upgrade”. Prices of up to 12-15 euros. Menu del día is likely to be cheaper. They all also have a regular A La Carte Menu just like most other restaurants in the world with more expensive plates including the very good value Platos Combinados. There are also some private albergues or boutique hotels that provide an in-house meal.
Remember that lunchtime is different in Spain regarding with timetable and kind of food you are going to have. Spanish people usually eat large mid day and then snack or have lighter for dinner. They often dinner out at the weekend but not on working days. However, some of the Camino menus serve on a more pilgrim-friendly time schedule, usually no later than 7.00 pm. Whereas, the in-town or off-camino restaurants usually serve on the typical Spanish evening meal schedule, which often means 9.00 pm. And many albergues close the doors and have lights out at 10.00 pm.
If you are taking it easy with the Camino and you do not manage to finish the walk before lunchtime, many villages and towns have restaurants and cafeterias where you can order food and drinks. Still, make sure that you carry enough water with you in the morning for the Camino and, if possible, some fruit, nuts or energy foods in case you feel hungry while you are walking.
Buen camino, amigos! Written by Caminotravelcenter. Recommended by Hostal Gau Txori, located in Zubiri. A place where you can find a great menu (12€) which include a wide selection of first and second dishes as well as delicious home made desserts typical of Navarra. A perfect way to get into the traditional gastronomy from this region.