Famous for tapas and paella, Spain has other options. Seafood is good value and excellent at all costal resorts, and inland in places such as Madrid also. Pastries are popular and excellent. It is worth trying a few different kinds.
Eating out in Spain
The normal guide to restaurants and cafes applies.
- Cafes – sell everything from espressos to three course meals, and are open all day.
- Restaurants – generally sell larger meals, and are usually open in the evening.
- Pastelarias – sell cakes to take out, and often sell coffee to drink in with cakes.
- Menu del dia (menu of the day) – the best and cheapest way to get a three course meal.
- Plato combinado – a combination of foods, such as chicken chips or steak and chips.
Breakfast in Spain is normally coffee and a pastry. Chocolate con churros, fried doughnut sticks covered in sugar, are a popular breakfast option. Try a cafe or pastelaria (cake shop) for a take away option.
Lunch is typically 13:00 – 15:30, and taken very seriously as its the main meal of the day. Many towns come to a standstill during this time. The cheapest and best way to eat at lunchtime is to go for a three-course menu del dia (menu of the day), from a local cafe, workers bar or venta. Bread and wine or water are normally included. Expect to pay between €5 and €9 per person. Quality can vary, but find a popular place with a free table.
Dinner in Spain is later than anywhere else in Europe. Most Spaniards will eat from 22:00 onwards. Finding somewhere open before then can be hard in smaller towns.
Larger Spanish supermarkets sell a massive range of items from electrical goods to car accessories. The biggest supermarkets will open all day, but not Sundays. Smaller supermarkets close at lunchtime, all day Sunday, and some on Saturday afternoons. Small towns and villages have smaller supermarkets which carry a limited selection. It is definitely worth stocking up when at a larger supermarket. The smaller supermarkets will probably have a deli counter with a good selection of fresh cheese and meat.