For sheer Asturian passion and commitment, this one had to come first. The Gijón branch is the fourth of these restaurants (the others being Oviedo, Avilés and Colloto), and I promise you, a visit here is a real assault on the senses. With bottles hanging from the ceilings, and the option for booth-style seating – set inside enormous wooden cider barrels – the décor is a force to be reckoned with. Then you’ve got the smells; the waiters are masters in the art of Asturian cider pouring so imagine a fruity undertone to the rich scent of meat being flash-fried on the open grill. The food itself is as homely and hearty as you could hope for, so make sure you’re hungry. Some dishes, such as typical fabada asturiana and cachopo (veal or pork fried with cheese and ham) are intended to be shared, so bring a friend along to help!Playa Poniente. Average price main meal: 15 euros.Pomme Cuite
If pastries are your thing, you’re about to walk into a crispy, flaky croissant-flavoured heaven. This 1950s diner-themed café/bakery is right in the heart of Gijón and is a real delight. Everything is baked on-site, which means it smells as good as it looks – and you can even buy loaves of bread to take away from just 0,50 cents.C/ San Bernardo – on the corner of C/ Covadonga. Coffee + pincho/pastry: around 3.50 eurosLa Pause
Another great breakfast spot, and right across from Pomme Cuite. This one feels a bit like a teenager that’s had a life-changing gap yah voyage and has come back with armfuls of batik rugs and a tendency to take themselves a little too seriously. Get past that, though, and you’re looking at tiers of soft, fluffy cakes and a modern twist on pinchos such as chicken tikka with a minted yogurt sauce. Delicious!C/ San Bernardo – on the corner of C/ Covadonga. Coffee + pincho/pastry: around 3.20 eurosRaw Coco
Lovers of juicing, smoothies, detoxes and alarmingly coloured wheatgrass shots, I now speak to you. While this spot can be a little pricey, it does hold the niche position of being the city’s primary (and maybe sole?) raw café. Chia seeds, beetroot, almond milk, carrot, cacao, oat cookies – you name it, they’ve got it. And they don’t close until at least 11pm so you’re covered for breakfast, lunch and that after-dinner boost. Oh, and they get plus points for the Instagram-worthy jam jars.C/ San Bernardo. 500ml smoothie: 4.90 euros.Los Patios
One of the chicest spots in Gijón, Los Patios serves as a well-loved wine bar and restaurant. Their wine selection (local and from further afield) is admirable, and when it comes to the food – well, if you want meat cooked properly, stop looking. The wood-fired grill at the edge of the restaurant is kept hot all evening, so expect sizzling, juicy ribs in minutes.C/ San Antonio. Average main meal: 15 euros.
Kausa Taberna Nikkei
Had enough of chorizo, beans and cider and craving a bit of luxury? Kausa Taberna Nikkei offers Michelin-style dining at a reasonable price, combining Japanese and Peruvian flavours with staggering success. They offer a wide range of individual dishes, but the Menú Kausa or Menú Degustación (Tasting Menu) is a 3+ dish set menu, eliminating the awful decision-making from the equation. An example menu: pureed potato with a cheese and pepper sauce, topped with spicy salmon tartare; followed by sashimi salmon, marinated in a lemon grass and coconut milk soup with miso jelly cubes; and then miso and oyster sauce stir-fried noodles with pork loin and vegetables. It’s a small restaurant though, and they fill up quickly, so do book in advance.
C/ Ezcurdia. Menú Kausa (appetizer, starter and main course + beer/wine): 15 euros.Toma3
This one’s a bit of an anomaly, because it’s actually a bookshop. And a music performance area. And a licensed bar. And a general hub of cultural activity. But come here on a Friday evening from about 8pm and it turns into a cooking demonstration arena, each week celebrating the flavours and styles of a different type of world cookery. Everything that’s prepared in the demonstrations is then available in fresh, delicious tapas form.C/ Marques de Casa Valdes. Average tapa price: 3 euros. Beer: 2 euros.
Leah Hendre is currently studying Spanish and Linguistics at Oxford University, but is using her free time to share her love and passion for Spain - and more importantly, Spanish food. www.LeahHendre.com, @LeahHendre [Twitter + Instagram]