Hey everyone! After living in Spain for almost a year, we learned a thing or two about Spanish food. Tapas are the greatest thing EVER. For those of you who don’t know, tapas are small dishes of food (similar to appetizers) that groups of people will share while having some drinks. Often times this can serve as a meal (for lunch/ dinner). We love tapas because you get to try a bunch of different dishes instead of being stuck with one plate. We want to share our knowledge of Spanish food with you all!
Croquetas are small breadcrumbed fried rolls that usually contain some variety of potatoes, ground meat, and vegetables. This is usually a safe bet when ordering tapas! Our favorite are “croquetas de puchero” which are filled with chicken.
I think this is one of the safest things you can order at a tapas bar. Essentially patatas bravas are fried potatoes covered in a tomato based sauce (that is sometimes a little spicy).
Patatas Alioli are very similar to patatas bravas but are served with a garlic mayonnaise sauce on top. This dish can sometimes be served cold (which makes it similar to potato salad in America).
Carracoles = small snails. If this isn’t your thing, don’t bother ordering them, but if you’re feeling like trying something new, I think that these are easier to eat than the larger French snails! I’m a very picky eater and I’ve tried these twice now! They are usually boiled in a flavored sauce so the taste is good (but I’m not a huge fan of the texture).
Flamenquín can come in different ways, but the most common is ham and cheese rolled up and fried! Occasionally they make this with tuna or meat as well.
Solomillo al whisky
The Spanish are very famous for their pork, and this dish is one of our favorites. Solomillo al whisky is slow cooked pork in a whisky sauce. It’s very tender meat!
Paella is a famous dish cooked in a large pan, consisting of rice, vegetables and either chicken or seafood. It’s very easy to spot large pans of paella cooking in tapas bars. But once they run out, they’re usually out for good! So if you see it and it smells good, order some ASAP!
Tortilla de patatas
We like to think of tortilla de patatas as comfort food. This dish is a “Spanish omellette” with potatoes and eggs (sometimes onions or other vegetables) in it. This is always a safe bet when ordering Spanish food!
Even though gelato is more famous in Italy, it’s still pretty damn good in Spain. If you find a little spot, definitely get some! (Gelato Hack: if you notice the gelato is stacked really high, that means that it is leftovers and it’s not fresh!). One of our favorite places is a chain called Amorino!
Churros con chocolate
Hot chocolate and churros is THE BEST thing to try in Spain. It’s my favorite Saturday morning treat. The hot chocolate is not like in the States, but more like a melted chocolate consistency, and you can dip your churros in it! (One ration is usually good for two people to share, but if you aren’t comfortable dipping in the same hot chocolate you can order two of those).
MORE FOOD RELATED INFO:
- I’ve never had a bad glass of wine in Spain, so don’t be afraid to try whatever the bartender offers you.
- Definitely try “tinto verano” (summer wine). It’s a red wine mixed with a lemon or orange soda. It’s very sweet, but a great way to beat the heat.
- Lunch time in Spain is between 2-4pm and Dinner time is between 9-11pm.
- Spanish people LOVE ham, and you will see pigs legs hanging in almost every market and bar around!
- Splitting the bill is NEVER a thing. The waiter will be very confused. If you go with friends, always have some euros on you so you can each chip in a little money.
- You do not have to tip in Spain. I repeat, you do not have to tip. If the service was exceptional, a few extra euros is a nice gesture, but it’s never expected. This is sometimes a hard concept for Americans to grasp when they visit Spain!
- You usually have to ask for the bill (“la cuenta”) in a Spanish bar / restaurant. You will not be rushed out of seat once you’re finished eating. It’s also common to flag down a waiter if you need another drink / more tapas. They’re not accustomed to constantly checking in on you, like waiters do in the US.
- Avoid anything that says the word “Morcilla” in it. That translates to “blood sausage”. Enough said.
- If you’re ever unsure of what to order, you can’t go wrong with a “Montadito” (small sandwich). We really like “pringa montaditos” but you can get them with cheese, ham, pork, veggies etc. One of our favorite (and cheap) spots is called Cien Montaditos, which serves 100 different types of sandwiches.
Eating at a Spanish Tapas bar is truly a unique experience. I’m biased but I think Sevilla has some of the best places to eat in all of Spain! (For a guide that includes where to eat in Sevilla, check out our previous post here). I hope this didn’t make you too hungry! Stay tuned for a post about Mark’s time in Vermont & Montreal for his brother’s bachelor party!
Hasta luego! Amanda