You’re visiting Spain and don’t know what to eat yet? As a first-time visitor to Spain, you may have difficulty deciding what to eat due of the wide diversity of Spanish food. Even while paella, sangria, and tapas are commonly associated with Spanish cuisine, you’d be surprised at how many other variations there are around the country.
Places in Spain where you may eat authentic Spanish dishes
It is impossible to overestimate the importance of Spanish food to the economics and culture of the country. There are numerous regional specialties in Spain, each of which is proud of its own distinct cuisine.
1. Parrillada de Verduras
Vegetables cooked over an open flame are known as parrillada de verduras in Spain.
In Spain, parrillada de verduras quickly became one of my favorites. For this meaning, “parrillada” refers to any food that is cooked over a fire or in a fire pit. On the other side, a parrillada de verduras is a grilled vegetable dish. Olive oil-drenched grilled vegetables including eggplant, zucchini, and bell peppers are prevalent in Spanish cuisine.
Every time you will eat this dish, you will be amazed by the high quality of the fruit from Spain’s small family farms. Vegans and vegetarians in Spain should take advantage of the numerous options available, many of which are unknown to most tourists. A lack of vegetables has long been a source of discontent in Spain, which is famous for its love of jamón. However, a verduras parrillada is always nearby. If you ask for something that isn’t on the menu, you’ll almost always receive it.
2. Spanish Omelette, Patatas Bravas, or a Potato Tortilla
Tortilla Espanola or Tortilla de Patatas is the Spanish name for this meal. All around the country, this is a popular Spanish dish. Eggs, potatoes, and olive oil are the traditional ingredients in this recipe. On the other hand, onions are typically used to enhance the sweetness of a dish. Despite the dish’s apparent ease of preparation, it isn’t as simple as it appears and requires some practice to get the omelet cooked to the desired thickness and height.
The Spanish tapa Tortilla de Patatas is a popular snack served on a slice of bread at numerous places throughout Spain. There are several ways to incorporate this dish into your diet. Preparing it ahead of time and serving it as an appetizer or as part of a picnic spread. You can cut it into squares; it makes for terrific finger food. The Spanish Omelette has the advantage of being able to be served both hot and cold. Keep in mind that using only high-quality Spanish olive oil will ensure that your tortilla has the best flavor and is a real treat to eat! Nonetheless, the recipe is not a one-size-fits-all guideline. These include bell peppers, chorizo, and tomatoes.
3. Potato Bravas
Better than French fries and a vast improvement over baked potatoes. This dish is made with fried potatoes and salsas, and it’s absolutely tasty. Street food, fast food, or whatever you want to call it is an essential part of the Spanish diet. Potatoes are cut into cubes and fried in oil until they are golden brown and crispy. As a tapa or larger appetizer, they are frequently served with dips or additional garnishes (for example, spicy tomato sauce, chorizo, chicken). Half-kilo quantities of potatoes are the most common serving size for them.
The dish’s beginnings are a mystery; however, its unusual salsa helped it become popular in Madrid taverns in the 1960s. The Spanish potato dish, patatas bravas, is now widely accessible throughout the country, and several localities have developed distinctive salsas to go with it. They could be dipped in garlic aioli, spicy salsa, or mayonnaise. The salsa can be purchased pre-frozen, or you can create your own.
4. Churro Wrapped in Chocolate
For breakfast, many people eat churros soaked in a thick chocolate sauce.
A late-night snack or a quick breakfast, churros are a must-try when in Spain. These golden and crispy fried pastries combine perfectly with a hot cup of chocolate, making the combo nearly impossible to resist. Churros in a thicker form, known as porras, can also be ordered. Because of the shapes, there is a minor variation in the textures between the two.
There are many “churreras” in Spain; however, the Chocolateria San Ginés in Madrid is one of the most well-known. It was established in 1894 and is open every day of the year. Crispy churros and creamy hot chocolate (that isn’t overly sweet) keep customers coming back. According to this suggestion, don’t eat churros that haven’t been freshly fried.
5. Iberian Ham
The Iberian Ham is a must-try Spanish dish, just as pasta is a must-try Italian dish. It’s easy to find Iberian Ham in Barcelona because of the abundance of food vendors selling it.
Iberian ham is cured ham from Spain. It’s a lot better than prosciutto, and it tastes like it. It’s mildly smoky in flavor and melts in your mouth thanks to its silky, creamy texture. It’s a delicacy that many consider the best and most expensive cured ham in the world.
The ham that comes from free-range pigs is created entirely from acorns. Acorns impart a nutty flavor to the ham. It is available in virtually every restaurant in the country.
There are so many delightful foods in a new country that it’s hard to keep up with them all, isn’t there? The phrase “tapas” allows you to sample a wide variety of delicacies in a single sitting in Spain. Shareable tapas are small plates of tapas to be enjoyed with a group of people at a meal. In other words, the more people you have in your group, the more tapas you can sample. A wide variety of flavors and methods are available in tapas, ranging from the more familiar classics to the more experimental newcomers. The cuisine and customs of Spain’s many regions also differ. In Spain, aioli, croquetas de jamón, pimientos de Padron, and fried potatoes with Brava Sauce are some of the most popular choices.
Tapas include pintxos as well. Pintxos are a Basque delicacy that has become popular across the country. These are tapas for one person. If you’re traveling alone or want to try as many different dishes as possible, the buffet is perfect for you.
The large variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian alternatives available in tapas makes them suitable for a wide range of dietary requirements.
Gazpacho is a tomato-based soup that is served chilled. To cool yourself in the summer, try this cold Andalusian vegetable soup. Tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peppers, garlic, and breadcrumbs are mixed to create an explosion of fresh flavors in this dish. With the addition of peppers, it becomes sour and a little fiery; however, it is always a nice change of pace!
8. Farton-Topped Horchata in the Valencian style
Chifas, a type of nut, is used in the preparation of horchata, a milky drink unique to Valencia.
On a sunny terrace in Valencia, sipping horchata and snacking on fartons is one of the best things to do. Even more so if you’re going in the summer, when it may get up to and sometimes even above 38 degrees Celsius! ( Horchata is made from a grass-like plant that can only be found in the fields north of Valencia; however, it also makes delicious vegan milk. If you combine them with additional flavorful ingredients like water, sugar, or cinnamon and a dash of lemon, chufa tubers make an excellent and nutritious snack. The best way to enjoy horchata is to serve it in a slushy form. It has a soft, velvety feel.
Fartons, a sugar-coated pastry, are supposed to be dipped in horchata in the same manner that churros are. What makes this drink so popular with locals in Valencia is clear to see, and it’s easy to see why. It’s the perfect antidote after a long day at the office. Remember to include these in your Spanish culinary itinerary the next time you visit Valencia, along with the traditional dishes like paella and horchata con fartons.
10. Crema Catalana
You must try the delicacies of Catalan cuisine. As the name suggests, it’s Crema Catalana from Catalonia, Spain!
You’ve probably previously had Crema Catalana in one form or another. Crème Brûlée is known as Crema Catalana in Spain, although Crème Brûlée is known as Crème Brûlée in France.
In addition to Portugal (Leite Creme) and the United Kingdom, several countries have traditional sweets like this (Burnt Cream). So many countries around the world have their own unique twists on this dish, which is why it has spread so widely.
While no country can claim to have invented this wonderful treat first, most countries would be happy to take credit. Despite their many similarities, Crème Brûlée and Crema Catalana are two quite different sweets. Because it is made with milk rather than cream, it has a distinct flavor and texture. As a result, it has a little advantage over its French cousin in terms of health benefits. You might be able to find alternatives that are better for you!
On St. Joseph’s Day in March, many restaurants in Spain serve Crema Catalana, a popular dessert that is now available all year round. Try it out in each of the countries stated above, as well as any others you can think of, in order to figure out which one does it best.
In Girona, Catalonia, a meal called Fideua is served in a pan and is made using pasta.
Award-winning restaurants make Girona one of Spain’s top culinary destinations. El Celler de Can Roca, a world-renowned restaurant founded by the Roca brothers, is also located here. Catalonian city of Costa Brava is a lovely place to dine for less than the cost of a ticket to Disneyland.
“Fideua” is one of Girona’s top dishes. If you’re looking for this meal outside of Girona or Valencia you’ll have to travel to other parts of Spain to find it. This meal, which is conceptually similar to Paella, substitutes pasta noodles such as spaghetti or spaghettini for the rice. Other forms of seafood are also widely used to build up the sauce, which is normally based on tomatoes and a base of tomato sauce. In the end, the pasta is juicy, fragrant, and crispy on the top, all presented on the pan they were cooked in.
12. Romesco Sauce and Catalan Calcots
Calcots, a Catalan green onion, are celebrated in Barcelona in the springtime. Calcots are milder than onions and have a flavor between a leek and a spring onion. Calcotada, or barbecuing calcots, is a common pastime in every community. As the Calcots are served, the romesco sauce is sprinkled on top. Bread and ora peppers can be used to thicken the sauce. It is grilled and served with romesco sauce, grilled meat or veggies, and dessert. If you’re in Barcelona in February or March, a calcotada is a must-have. EU Protected Geographical Indications have made it incredibly difficult to purchase the calcot from Valls, Catalonia.
Botifarra is a white bean sausage from Catalonia, Spain.
A lot of Spanish food includes pork, and the country’s cooks appear to have a slew of different recipes for the meat. Every region of the country has its own unique style of making sausages and charcuterie. Every regional cuisine has a different flavor profile because of the country’s geographic variety. Catalonia, a region in northeastern Spain, is no exception. As far as local cuisine goes, botifarra is a popular choice.
Egg-free and sweet options are available, as well as a range of other flavors. Popular botifarra methods include both grilled botifarra and “in the pot” botifarra. The traditional Catalan meal of Botifarra with Santa Pau white beans is created using this well-known sausage from the region. White beans from the Catalan Pyrenees are eaten alongside the sausage, which can be grilled or boiled. Catalan cuisine, on the other hand, extends from the Catalan foothills to the coast of the Costa Brava.
Any foodie who visits the Basque Country should sample Basque cuisine. Typical Basque snacks known as pintxos are incredibly famous. Basque people consume bread slices covered with anchovies called pinchos, or Spanish tapas.
La Gilda is the most popular pintxo dish. Tapas, like as fried fish and olives with anchovies and jamón rojo, are commonly served on orecchiette-pierced platters. To pay, you’ll need to go to a nearby xx and bring a toothpick with you. Slivers of cured ham, anchovies on toast, and salt-and-pepper fried green peppers are common ingredients in pintxos bars.
Olives, anchovies, and little peppers are speared with a toothpick. There are candy and seashell table tops at A Fuegro Negro; however, the interior of La Cepa is crimson and smoky.
15. Bacalao a la Vizcaina
Bacalao a la Vizcaina is a Basque cod dish that is cooked in a tomato-based broth.
In Spain, one of the country’s most popular dishes is also one of its oldest. Bacalao a la Vizcaina, or Basque-style Salt Cod Stew, features salt cod, potatoes, and olives in a fiery tomato and red pepper sauce. In the Age of Exploration, cod from the Atlantic was a traditional staple in Spain and Portugal because it could be stored in ship holds during long ocean voyages.
For visitors to the Basque Country of Spain, especially Bilbao and San Sebastian, Bacalao al Vizcaina is a must-have dish. Even if the salting process enhances the fish’s flavor and texture, it must be soaked and rinsed multiple times before cooking with salt cod or bacalao.
Camarones are widespread on the Costa Tropical in Spain, where seafood such as pulpo and shrimps are grilled over open flames on the beach.
Nothing can compare to a Spanish home-cooked supper. The classic tostada with tomato, oil, and jamon (toast with tomato, olive oil, and ham) is perfect. However, you might like the barbequed camarones (prawns or shrimp).
The Costa Tropical region of Spain’s coast is one of the country’s least developed. Nasrid rulers spent their summers at Salobrea in Granada province, away from the Alhambra’s sultans. Old fishing boats turned into BBQs on the beach offer the freshest octopus, shrimps, and fish. These succulent and flavorful camarones are a must-try for any foodie visiting the region. You can only prepare it at home.
17. Seville-Based Pringá
Pringas de Sevilla, or pork-filled bread rolls, is a native delicacy in Seville.
The Andalusia region of southern Spain is home to Seville’s characteristic pig dish, pringá. In the 13th century, Muslim and Jewish communities in southern Spain influenced its development. This fatty multi-meat dish includes hog belly, morcilla (blood sausage), tocino (pork fat), beef roast, and chicken thighs. Almost ready to burst, it’s packed that tightly. A tasty meat filling is formed as a result of this process. In huge quantities, it’s not the healthiest food on the market. As a result, you won’t be able to order it on its own.
Pringá is used to make a popular sandwich called Montedito Pringá, as well as a substantial chickpea stew. When it comes to this dish, you’ll notice that each of the grandmothers prepares it a little differently. If you’re careful, a little Pringá can go a long way.
18. Gambas Al Pil Pil
Gambas al pil pil, a traditional Spanish appetizer, is made with shrimp, garlic, and chili peppers.
It’s nearly impossible to go anywhere in Spain without running into some type of seafood. Because of the availability of water in their surroundings, the Spaniards have perfected the technique of using seafood in their cooking. With its traditional Spanish seafood dish, it is one of Malaga’s most popular tapas.
There are prawns slathered in garlic and olive oil on every corner of the United States. On the other hand, Malaga’s Gambas Pil Pil is a delightful delicacy because to its simple components. For the classic one-pot dish, shrimp, fresh prawns, Spanish olive oil, a sprinkle of chili pepper, and sweet paprika are blended in a clay pot.
Chipotle and paprika, which give this dish its distinctive Andalusian color and flavor, provide the red color of the dish. Make sure you have plenty of bread on hand to mop up all of the garlicky, chili-infused olive oil. This recipe, despite its simplicity, is bursting with flavor and satisfies the senses in every bite. Some recipes call for langoustines, rather than prawns. Gambas Pil Pil are easy to find in Andalusia, so don’t worry about missing out.
In Spain’s southern areas, it’s a traditional cold soup of ripe tomatoes, bread, and garlic with a hard-boiled egg. At the very least, you should sample Salmorejo throughout your time in Spain. Even tourist destinations like Seville and Granada may be seen serving cold tomato soup from Córdoba, the capital of Andalusia.
Typical of many Spanish meals, the ingredients for Salmorejo are limited to only a few simple things: tomato paste, oil, and garlic. Add a boiled egg and some chopped jamón to the mix if you’d like. When combined, the bread gives the dish a richer, creamier flavor and texture that is simply exquisite.
Salmorejo, a refreshing summer beverage, is readily available year-round in Spain and may even be found in the drinks section of most supermarkets. Make a point of trying Salmorejo, one of Spain’s best dishes, if you ever find yourself there. You will not be let down!
20. Grilled Fish
Roasted sardines from Spain’s Costa Tropical region are grilled over an open fire in this way.
When it comes to eating sardines, you can’t go wrong with one of Spain’s Costa Tropical chiringuitos’ offerings. Spain’s southern portion of the country is known for its basic beach bars, known as Chiringuitos. Plastic tables and chairs will be provided for them in an improvised wooden building. Their specialty is grilled seafood.
It’s not uncommon for a chiringuito’s grill to be an old boat. When preparing the dish, the cooks set the olive wood on fire before placing the stones on top. Skewered fish is traditionally grilled over an open flame by being placed at an angle on top of the burning wood. Grilled sardines, also referred to as espeto, are a popular choice for fish lovers. With a nice drink in hand, this is the perfect way to spend a day in the summer. Espetos are a well-loved custom in Andalucia for both locals and tourists alike.
When eating the espeto, you must use your hands, so squirt a bit of lemon juice on top. It’s unnecessary to remove the bones from such a small fish. Sardines from Malaga are referred to as Espetos and they are grilled. Fish are frequently grilled on the beach during the summer months when they are at their heaviest.
Sardines are skewered and grilled on a cane over olive wood. On a Spanish beach, a unique combination of marinade, olive wood and sea salt results in a unique cuisine. A long cooking time and low temperatures are necessary to avoid the charring of the meat. As the sardines are grilled, the natural oils in the oily fish lead them to fall off of the skewer. To cool down on a hot summer’s day, this salty snack and a cold beverage are the perfect combination.
Many beach cafés serve grilled sardines in tiny plates as a low-cost appetizer that goes well with beer or sangria. Sardines, in contrast to many other popular beach foods, are a nutritious option to consider. It is a healthy snack with a lot of protein and a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, but not too many calories.
Grilled sardines on the beach are a must-try when visiting the Costa del Sol in Malaga, Spain. As far back as the Phoenicians and Romans, sardines have been grilled.
21. Pulpo Gallego
It’s about time you had a taste of Galician cuisine. The Galician delicacy known as “pulpo Gallego” has been around for centuries. Galician-style octopus is served with potatoes and paprika powder in Galician manner.
Pulpo Gallego, or Galician Octopus, is a specialty of Galicia, a region in northwest Spain. Due to its location along the coast, seafood plays an essential role in the cuisine of the region. Pulpo Gallego, a simple yet delicious dish, can be found all across the region. Octopus, olive oil, paprika and salt are all that are needed to create a dish that is very remarkable. The octopus is cooked tentacles-first in a copper saucepan to encourage curling. Preserving octopus’s texture by letting it rest before serving prevents overcooking or undercooking from ruining it. To enjoy Pulpo Gallego, you’ll need toothpicks and a little wooden dish with amber potatoes. I’d only eat octopus Pulpo Gallego, which is the only method I’d recommend.
22. Pulpo a La Gallega
Fair-style octopus, or pulpo a la Gallega as it is known locally, is one of Galicia’s most iconic meals and is a must-try for visitors to the province. While walking the Camino de Santiago, you will get addicted to eating the pulpo as a light snack with beer or wine.
A little village near Santiago de Compostela has been dubbed the “pulpo capital of Spain” for its abundance of this delicacy. Only the tentacles of the octopus are often served when the cuisine calls for octopus as a key element. An hour or two of boiling in a large copper pot is followed by an additional 20 minutes of cooking time; octopus must be tender but not overcooked to avoid toughness and chewiness. Cooked and seasoned with salt and spices and paprika before being sliced into tiny squares. Bread and wine from the region are served with the meal (usually young wines). This dish can be found on the menus of chain restaurants as well as specialty restaurants that focus on serving pulpo, such as Pulperias.
23. Papas Arrugadas
Papas arrugadas with mojo verde y mojo rojo is a characteristic Spanish dish from the Canary Islands.
If you’re ever in Spain or the lovely Canary Islands, make sure you taste some of these foods. First of all, try the papas arrugadas. Potatoes with wrinkly skins can be translated into Spanish as “wrinkled potatoes.” You can get it at practically any restaurant on the islands because it’s a traditional Canarian dish. There is something appealing about the name; however, it does not imply that the potatoes have been sitting in the pantry for a long period of time. The color of the potatoes is a result of the salty water used to cook them. Because of this, the potatoes end up fluffy and deliciously salty after they’ve been baked.
With two sauces named mojo verde as green sauce and mojo rojo as red sauce, the most frequent and traditional manner to serve papas arrugadas is. Mojo verde is a mild sauce made with coriander, cumin, garlic, and red wine vinegar. A little kick can be achieved by using mojo rojo, which calls for both hot and Palmera peppers. It has been a true pleasure to indulge in the flavors of the Canaries. A variety of tapas has been used to accompany them.
24. Pork Suckling Pig
Pork suckling pig is a delicacy in Segovia. Many restaurants in Madrid serve this dish, which originated in Segovia, despite it being a regional delicacy. In fact, the best suckling pig in Spain can be found in each of these places.
What is it about suckling pig that sets it apart from other varieties of pork? First and foremost, strict dietary regulations apply. Piglets under the age of three weeks are fed just milk, and they aren’t allowed to grow over that point. A common delicacy in central Spain is eating a young pig even though some people consider it cruel.
It is then cooked in an oven for many hours until the meat is tender and juicy. Because of this, tender meat actually comes off the bone. Suckling pigs’ tender meat is traditionally displayed on plates. Finally, the plates smash to the ground in a stunning display of destruction. Plates are no longer being shattered in most restaurants, which is a good thing.
Competitions to choose Spain’s best suckling pig cook are held annually in Segovia, Spain. As a result, suckling pig is a traditional Madrid delicacy.
25. Traditional Cocido Meal
Unquestionably, this is the most popular dish in Madrid. Many people cook it all year round even though it is traditionally a winter dish. There are elements of North African couscous and European stew in this dish. That’s why there’s so much to love about it. Cocido can now be found in restaurants across Spain, not just in Madrid, because so many Spaniards enjoy it
Cooked in a saucepan, this dish has the appearance of a mixture of meat and vegetables. In Madrid, they’re nicknamed as “Jack, Queen, and King” because of the combination of chickpeas, vegetables, and beef in each plate. There has been an ancient recipe for making cocido passed down through the generations, and it has become so famous that practically every restaurant in Madrid serves it for dinner.
Authenticity is found in the dish’s origins as well as its presentation. In Madrid, the cocido is served in three separate bowls. There’s noodle soup, chickpea and veggie stew, or stewed beef.
And that’s a wrap on 25 Spanish dish options. Whenever you visit Spain, you have to try these dishes. Moreover, you can also make them in the comfort of your home. So, what are you waiting for? Try them and let us know your favorite one!