WHERE TO EAT IN LOGROÑO, RIOJA, ON SUNDAY EVENING?
by Andrew Chalk
Logroño is the capital of La Rioja, and a thriving historic city with a cathedral dating back to the 15th century. As well as being a great place to stay in its own right it is also on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. Which prompts an obvious question? What did the pilgrims eat after a day’s climbing mountains and fjording streams? Most of the town was shut in the evening as residents celebrated the Sabbath with family. There were a few hotel restaurants open, but who wants to eat with awful tourists after a day seeking absolution?
The solution, at least nowadays, is umm, a blowout tapas and pinchos bas founded by local chef Alex Garcia, and his second effort to accompany his first in nearby San Juan, which serves full-size helpings.
You go to umm for a quick snack or for a full meal built out of tapas and sandwiches. You will find it in the heart of old town, right next to our hotel, the Hotel Marqués de Vallejo, which sports a restaurant, Gastro 1911, respected in its own right. The tapas bar comes with a Michelin recommendation, light airy modern design, and Miguel, a partner who brings enough personality and grasp of English to put tourists at ease (and persuade knackered pilgrims that absolution can wait).
Start by choosing a couple of tapas each and then continue until you cannot. Ask Miquel about wines (he tipped me off about about Bodegas Muga oak-aged Viura, and a crianza Garnacha that seriously weighed on examples from the southern Rhône). He also has a sense of what pairs with his tapas.
So far as the food goes, that is best told in pictures...