One of Cudillero's most well known sights is fish hanging and drying on clothes lines stretched out with sticks and left for months. The line I saw outside didn't look the most appetising and perhaps that no flies or wandering cats attacked it may be testament.
I was in two minds about trying it - part of me just wanted guaranteed quality seafood but the adventurer in me thought I had to taste a local Cudillero dish. I asked my hotel reception where to get it, and his simple unwavering answer was "El Remo". Of all the restaurant menus I read, El Remo was actually the only one I recall with curadillo on it, in a little section dedicated to Cudillero specialties (the only other option a kind of tripe dish I think). The other options open for the day were El Faro, Opera, one open on either side of El Faro (which had quite basic menu del dias) and the end of the pier (which had quite good sounding menu del dias but the reviews aren't the best on TA).
Whereas the tourists sat outside of El Remo, I chose the atmospheric interior for lunch much to the amusement of some of the locals. I think even the waiter was surprised when I ordered curadillo - perhaps it isn't the chosen dish for many tourists that go there (possibly not the locals either since they'd make their own).
My fears of a weirdly fermented fish were allayed when I sampled the firm but not tough fish flesh (I didn't ask what fish it was) in between onions, fried potatoes and a single slice of marinated red pepper. The sauce wasn't overly salty too and had deep redness of red pepper and paprika probably, almost like a nice Italian pasta sauce. The brown bread (first place in Spain I've been served brown) mopped up the sauce and sandwiched the fish very well.
Out of the Asturian stews, I probable enjoy fabada more but I would be quite happy to eat curadillo again. I didn't get to try fabas con almejas, but maybe next trip.
I tried the arroz con leche €3.5 at the end, just to have it somewhere in Asturias. To my surprise it came instantly - I had read the top layer is crusted with a hot iron so expected it to take a little longer. But not, it had been sealed in advance and refrigerated. They topped it with too much cinnamon and it was a sweet dish that was too much in the end. Never again (by myself at least). The rice was obviously cold and had a little bit of crunch to it, which I like.
The next day for my final meal in Cudillero and Asturias, I spent a solid amount of time (an hour probably) contemplating where to eat. There were only 3 options open this Thursday evening in May - El Remo, Opera and El Faro. Interestingly I had marked Opera and El Faro before I arrived and only went to
El Remo earlier at the recommendation of my hotel host.
After much to-ing and fro-ing, I ended up back at El Remo.
In summary, Opera looks like they do more unusual combinations and dress things up fancier. El Faro is off the main strip and looked quite nice too, but their options for seafood didn't appeal to me as much. El Remo was easily the most popular and I think it's because their menu is much more standard, homestyle and with the seafood speaking for itself. El Remo is also a little cheaper for those reasons. I think I would have been very happy in any of them, and I wanted Cantabrian/local seafood, which to be fair is probably most of what any of these restaurants have.
El Remo's suggested dish of Calamares de Cudillero en su tinta €18 won the end. Like the curadillo, it doesn't get more local than that. I really wanted percebes (they didn't have them) or navajas but the waiter said that dish would be enough. And it certainly was a large dish of soft, minimally chewy calamari in a saline black liquid. The brown bread again and more potatoes gave balance. It wasn't so strong that needed lemon (and I had the acidic cider too) but in hindsight that could have been nice.