We are driving up to Asturias from Salamanca on a Monday and are looking for something more traditional for lunch or dinner either in Asturias or on the way. I have noted some recommendations for Casa Fermin in Oviedo but wondering if there is something less formal we can try. We will be going to Casa Gerardo, Molin de Mingo and Eleonore later that week.
From Salamanca to Asturias on a Monday either on the way or in Asturias…
That really depends. Where is your Asturias destination that day? Pueblo Astur? Palacio de Luces? somewhere else? on the coast or inland?
It’s a wide region, and I don’t want to send you way off your route. There are possibilities on a Monday but it really depends on your final destination in Asturias that day.
Casa Fermín in Oviedo is lovely but getting in and out of Oviedo, the capital, will eat up your time and it’s a 2-hour meal to do it justice.
I would stop for lunch in a smaller town instead, easily reachable from the A-66. Somewhere around Josè Andrés´ birthplace of Mieres.
A cider house (“Chigre”) in Mieres itself might be fun. Nacho Manzano of Casa Marcial and his wife Dulce like the Sidrería el Rinconcín (she’s from there) or Ca’Laura next door where Bourdain & José Andrés had lunch. Both are on a cute square, Plaza San Juan, surrounded by cider houses. Very informal, locals only. You don’t have to drink cider but they do pour it for you so you don’t have to do it yourself.
In Mieres there’s also the Michelin & Repsol recommended El CENADOR DEL AZUL, but I haven’t been. Open Mondays for lunch.
As to Casa Gerardo & Molín de Mingo…great choices but I would add GUNEA, to the west of Avilés to the mix if possible. But only for lunch and not on weekends.
Here’s Maribona’s very recent review of Gunea (also open on Mon.). He declares it one of the Principado’s best (and Maribona is from Asturias)
GUNEA has one Repsol sun and is Michelin recommended. It’s in Cruz de Ilias, outside of Avilés in the council of Castrillón.
The chef. Pablo Montero, won a Michelin star at Le Domaine, Abadía Retuerta in Ribera del Duero when Aduriz of Mugaritz was supervising the kitchens. He’s Mugaritz trained but is now back to his Asturian roots, in his original location, added by his wife who is Basque.
Was thinking about Gunea and it’s open on Mondays. Fairly sure he was cooking when we were at Abadia 3-4 years ago. The cider houses sound like a good option as well. I’ll take a closer look.
Should have specified Asturias along the A-66 corridor to Gijon-Aviles and then a bit East as we are staying in Pintueles (between Cangas and Oviedo).
Lastly, I’m on the lookout for a place that does Fabes con almejas really well. Hard to figure out based on my own reading.
Pablo may or may not have been at Abadia Retuerta then, as he moved in 2016 to Madrid after achieving his Michelin star to open a casual bistro, Taberna Recreo, which is still going strong with his colleague in charge. When we visited Taberna Recreo 4 years ago, he was in charge and took our order.
Sounds like you may be staying at El Gran Sueño. We’ve stayed nearby in the Infiesto area.
I would have recommended Nacho Manzano´s retreat, Palacio de Rubianes, but we went to see it and it’s quite remote, as in VERY remote—more of a gorgeous getaway for weddings and conferences. A destination restaurant-hotel, for sure.
Places for great fabes con almejas (which I actually prefer rather than the heavy fabada) can be found in any number of Asturian humble restaurants, since it’s such an ultra classic dish, but you’re dealing with the Monday closures.
I’ve looked at the El Gran Sueño’s recommendations, and many are closed on Mondays.
Since you’ll be going to El Molín de Mingo (run by Nacho Manzano’s wife Dulce and her mother,
I hesitate to send you to the Cangas area again.
Best to stop in Mieres del Camino and enjoy the typical cider house ritual, which you may or may not have experinced. These “chigres” are informal, fun and attract few tourists.
I looked over my fall Asturias itinerary notes, and I saw that SIDRERÍA LA BARRACA in Nava I had listed as an option for lunch while touring around la Comarca de la Sidra from our lodging in Villaviciosa (Casona de Amandi).
While we opted for a cider house lunch in Mieres del Camino instead, partly out of curiosity from the Parts Unknown: Asturias episode, it could be an option for you. We planned on re- visiting the cider museum in Nava (Asturias’ cider capital) but ran out of time.
Nava is about a 20-minute drive west from Pintueles and this cider house is open on Mondays. And like all cider houses, it serves very traditional Asturian dishes.
The sidrería sits off the highway just at the entrance to town. It’s run by the 2 Ovín sisters who are considered some of the best escanciadoras (cider pourers) in the region. It’s been going strong since 1933. Many menu items are prepared with cider, and of course they offer several different types of cider, including sparkling (“Sidra achampanada”) and ice cider.
While they may not offer fabes con almejas, they do serve fabes con jabalí.
Again, a typical rustic no-nonsense cider house serving traditional dishes in copious portions.
Just another thought.
Thanks, Maribel. A lot to consider but super useful. We visited a chigre after a sideria tour in 2014 and it was a great experience (best fabes dishes we’ve had). However. I think my wife is going to prefer Gunea in this instance even with the extra driving.
Since you’ve had the chigre experience on another trip, and your wife prefers Gunea, I heartily endorse a meal there. I’ll be eager to know what you think after your trip!
I checked and we were at Abadia in 2015 on a Sunday night so I assume he was there at the time. There was no else in the dining room with the 12th century frescoes and we were treated to a tasting of several special bottles in addition to the excellent tasting menu. I’m sure wife is looking forward to seeing what his cooking is like with an Asturias focus.
Short report on Asturias:
MOLIN DE MINGO- fantastic. Had the beans with octopus stew, the goat and the Pitu. Excellent in every way from the setting to the service.
CASA GERARDO- we feel that the gastronomic side has slipped a bit since our first visit in 2014 and now we go a al carte. The asturian classics are excellent.
ELEONORE- a new place with 1 sole on the beach in Salinas. A pastry chef (also with a bakery there) expanding to a tasting menu. Several international elements and approaches. Overall we weren’t wowed. Amazing service.
MONDAY LUNCH AT COSCOLO- we had asked about Monday options in Asturias and ended up eating cocido maragato in Leon province in a small village. Great experience. High quality meats and chickpeas including fantastic chorizo, pork ribs and chicken meatballs. Large portions. They give you a take home chupito of homeade orujo. Will repeat.
Again, great feedback. Really glad you enjoyed El Molín de Minho. The setting is certainly unique and the experience memorable.
I’ve had the cocido maragato in Castrillo de los Polvazares on the Camino. You chose well.
You didn’t get to Gunea?
Closed on mondays in October. On the list for next time.
So happy to read this, but sorry that I did not see it at the time you initially posted. Molin de Mingo is certainly a great experience in every way. Of course we got lost en route but the scenery is so beautiful that our poor navigation actually heightened the experience.
I also liked Casa Fermin very much. The owners were so kind and food excellent. Also enjoyed Gerardo. Would love to return to Asturias!
If you have access to Discovery Plus,you can go down memory lane with “José Andrés snd Family in Spain, the Asturias episode. He and his daughters prepare a meal for the chefs of Casa Gerardo and dine at Casa Marcial with Nacho Manzano and his wife Dulce of Molín de Mingo. It brought back wonderful memories!