La Paloma – Our Favorite Lunch in Oviedo
Our favorite lunch in Oviedo turns out to be at La Paloma, a place that I (Amalia speaking) had been to in past visits to this enchanting part of Asturias. This northern area of Spain is already rich with amazing culinary enjoyments, so there is no lack of good eating while we’re here this August. Our experience was everything that we so love about discovering the local cuisine while traveling. Are you ready to witness lunch at La Paloma? Come hungry!
Returning to La Paloma for Lunch in Oviedo
You know when you return to a place and you’re eager to experience a restaurant that you loved on prior visits? There’s that excitement, daydreaming about the drinks and food you want to savor again, the incessant talking about it to your partner, and then even some brief moments of panic wondering What if they’re not there anymore!?!… Yeah, I experienced all of that. I got to know La Paloma with my family in the summer of 2012. It was the first time I had Fabada Asturiana and the delightful drink Vermouth Solera. During that trip I also stopped in for morning coffees and experienced the friendliness of the staff every time. So returning to Oviedo, for me, meant making sure to eat at La Paloma. It’s like having that familiar friend to visit in a place you’ve been gone from too long.
I was relieved and excited, to say the least, when Eric and I discovered La Paloma to still be open. They were also still popular and crowded! It was a great energy and feeling that filled the place and flowed out onto the street as we first arrived. Around all three sides of the large bar in the front of the restaurant, there were people sitting and standing wherever they could, enjoying everything from tapas and pinchos to vermouth, wine and beer. People were happy and having a great time.
Word to the Wise Traveler:
If you show up and see it crowded, don’t be deterred. Their seating area for sitting down to eat is to the far back-right part of the restaurant so check back there first. It is a small space, so it’s recommended to get there early or make a reservation.
The Meal of the Day for Lunch in Oviedo
Making our way along the right side of the bar, we asked the main server if there was a table for two to eat. He was busy, but still kind when he directed us to the last table available (boy, were we lucky with serendipitous timing!). I recognized him from four years ago when I was last there. He bustled around like it was his second nature and I wondered at how many years he’s probably been at La Paloma. Answering our questions about the menu, he confirmed that we could share the plate of the day, Pote, and also recommended he bring us one of their renown starters, 2 gambas al buñuelo. Turns out these are literally ‘prawn fritters’; they were pretty tasty and made mostly like a corn dog, but with a prawn instead of a hot dog.
The Pote is a large bowl of the large white beans (fabas) and potato chunks in broth and a separate bowl of the various Asturian pork meats – chorizo, blood sausage (morcilla), and bacon (tocino). It has some simple steps to serving and eating the dish. You scoop some of the beans into your bowl and then add chunks of each of the meats. And voila! You have your delicious, Asturian lunch.
Y para bebir (and to drink)? Eric got to finally have a Vermouth Solera in Asturias and I got to once again indulge my palette with this drink that I’ve come to love in Oviedo. La Paloma is especially renown for their Vermouth Solera. Don’t be fooled by the Martini posters throughout the restaurant – this Vermouth is casera (homemade) and far better than Martini. Keep in mind that it can be written two different ways: Vermouth and Vermut. Both spellings are found throughout Spain. While vermouth is something that can be enjoyed all over Spain, we have so far found that Vermouth Solera seems to be specific to Asturias.
Interesting Travel Fact
La Paloma means ‘dove’ in Spanish and also refers to peace and the religious reference of the Holy Spirit.
What Makes La Paloma the Best for Lunch in Oviedo
For us, La Paloma is great in several ways that make it our favorite for lunch in Oviedo. The people working there are warm and friendly, attentive and accommodating. There are many restaurants throughout Spain that don’t let you share their menu del dia or the plate of the day. They require everyone at the table to order it, paying per person. But La Paloma lets you share, which was perfect for me and Eric. We can’t eat an entire menu del dia – it’s just so much food! Especially in the middle of the day, we’d rather share so that a ton of food is not left over and wasted and so we still feel good.
While they have a menu of items you can order from, their plate of the day is a set schedule of a certain dish each day of the week. So Thursdays (Jueves) is Pote and we learned that Wednesday (Miercoles) is Fabada (we’ll be going back for that this week!). At only 11 Euros for the day’s plate, it’s a great deal for eating well in Oviedo. And it was certainly plenty of food for me and Eric. Even with sharing one dish, we still could not finish it! It was delicious, satisfying and oh-so comforting in only that way that Asturian food can be.
Another Lunch in Oviedo | Round 2 at La Paloma
A week after publishing this post, we went back to La Paloma for their Fabada, which they serve every Wednesday. Eric, who is particularly obsessed with green chile from Pueblo, Colorado, said (and we quote), “I might have found my Spanish equivalent of green chile!” For a Colorado-born, green-chile-raised man who loves to cook and eat great food, that’s really a big deal! It was delicious and best of all, we got to chat some with the staff and express our appreciation to them.
Before going, we talked to my (Amalia) brother Mark, who has also visited La Paloma and loves it. He reminded me of the large tortillas that they’re also known for. In the picture below, you can see that they’re Spanish Tortilla, made thick and cut in half with various fillings of meat, seafood or yumminess. Mark’s particular favorite was their tortilla with bacalao (salted Cod fish).
This time, we also got seated closer to where the dishes came out to be served. It gave us a great view of all the action and the enticing pictures of tapas that they serve. Upon seeing that, we realized we’ll be returning again within this month for a feast of tapas. You’ll also see below their dish meat of that day, which we didn’t have, but we sure did enjoy smelling and admiring. Perhaps next time!
Enjoy the updated round of photos and please keep in mind, we were starving and took photos of the food as it was; no time or patience for presentation here! This is all about the food and our stomachs.
Written by Amalia & Eric
Founders & Producers of Move to Traveling