Eating Spanish Cuisines

Eating Spanish Cuisines



Eating out is immensely popular in Spain and other Spanish countries, so it may be advisable to book before hand if you want to be sure of a table at a special restaurant.


Here’s how to be familiar with dining places you can visit in Spanish countries:


  • Bars serve drinks, coffee, and breakfast Spanish style. They may also offer tapas (appetizers), pinchos (snacks), and bocadillos (sandwiches).


  • Tascas serve soft/ alcoholic drinks and tapas.


  • Cafeterias serve what is called platos combinados (good for a light meal), as well as toasted sandwiches, and even pastelas (cake).


  • Pasteleria serves all kinds of cakes and may have a counter for drinks.


  • Salon de  or tea room is a more select establishment, serving tea and cakes.


  • Marisqueria is a bar or restaurant specializing in shellfish.


  • Restaurante is the general term for restaurants.


  • Hosterias are inns which also serve meals.


  • Merenderos are generally open-air places serving light foods.


  • Ventas are simple road-side places serving snacks and drinks.


As far as eating out in Spain and other Spanish places is concerned, the general rule is that you must expect meals to be served late – at least later than what we usually know. It may be possible to start lunch at around 1 pm; but late lunches, starting at 2 pm at the earliest and going on until nearly 4 pm, are more common. This also makes for a very late dinner, which lighter in content than lunch. Dinner may start at 8:30 in the evening but, more often than not, at 9 or 10 pm.


Breakfast consists of a light meal, usually consisting of white coffee, and bread and butter (or its equivalent); but sometimes, Spanish natives and travelers like to follow the old custom of a hot chocolate (thickened with flour) with churros (fried sticks of butter) to dip it in. This is served in some cafes and bars. Look out for the notice: Chocolate con churros. It can be a fun and comforting breakfast to have, especially during winter. It is also a popular snack during the late afternoon.


Given the long gap between meals, a snack is almost essential. In the evening, this takes the form of tapas, which are served from 7 pm onwards at bars and tascas. It often consists simply of jamon serrano (cured ham) of quite good quality. More elaborated tapas may have to be searched for at specialist bars.


¡Que aproveche! (Enjoy your meal!)