Basic rules to order in Spanish restaurants

When you hop off your flight or cruise ship keep in mind you’re in a new country. They will follow a whole new set of rules, especially when it comes to eating and drinking in a restaurant.

  • Water from the tap is not served and it is not free. You have to buy water with your meals. It will be about the same cost as a soft drink or beer, so why not?
  • You may have to ask for salt and pepper, some restaurants consider it an insult, so taste your food first to see if you need it!
  • As of January 2, 2011, smoking was banned in restaurants and bars, so don’t try it.
  • “Menu del Dia” is always the best deal and the most food for your money. Come hungry and leave happy. Look for the chalkboard in front of restaurants. These bargains can be eaten normally between 12pm and 4pm. Three or four courses and wine included, what could be better?
  • Butter for your bread? Nope! So don’t ask. But you will always be able to have your own bottle of delicious Spanish olive oil on your table. Pour this on your bread and anything else.
  • If you ask for a doggie bag, the servers will think you belong back on your cruise ship. It is customary in Spain to simply force down all the food placed in front of you.
  • Service is slow. Really slow. Don’t expect hyper waiting staff asking, “Everything okey dokey here folks?” Be patient and don’t be rude.
  • Keep your purse on your lap during your meal, pick pocketing is a problem even in restaurants.

Following these rules you will be warmly welcomed to Spain and look like a local! Get ready to eat some great food!

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