We all know, Spanish food is superb and appreciated worldwide! But eating out in Spain is sometimes not that easy for tourists.
Away from the tourism of the Costa’s most restaurants won’t have a menu translated into English and the waiting staff might not speak a single word of your language.
Some may have special menus for tourists which are of a poor quality, while traditional family restaurants are untraceable in standard street maps or hidden away in lost side-streets.
Don’t trust all recommended places in Spanish guides or tourist offices!
And, bear in mind that some owners of Spanish restaurants consider that visitors won’t realize if they’re being served as tourists, which could mean less quality at higher prices!
Read out more: Basic rules to order in Spanish restaurants
Tips to Eat Cheap & Quality Food when you travel to Spain:
1. Order Menu del Dia. Learn this word, which means “dish of the day”, and ask the waiter in Spanish. That way, he won’t treat you as a tourist, as you speak in his language.
A “Menu del Dia” consists, in most places, of three courses: starter, main course and dessert.
It normally includes bread and drinks, even the coffee or tea in some non-tourist restaurants.
The prices vary from 5 to 20 euros, but it depends considerably on the city and area you decide to eat! The dishes you can choose are usually written on the chalkboard in front of restaurants.
2. Avoid Tourist Sites. If you are, for example, staying in a hotel opposite the beach, don’t go to the typical restaurants in the seafront nor the ones close to the hotels.
Walk to the Old Town -every Spainish city has one- and check out where locals are eating! You can also ask any resident to recommend you the best bar nearby. Spaniards are used to these kind of questions!
3. Ask to see the Menu. In some restaurants the waiter won’t even give you the Menu. Instead he will just start talking to you about the dishes they offer, what you should order etc. Even if you take into consideration his recommendations, ask for the menu to check the prices. If not, you can receive a nasty surprise when checking the bill!
4. Spanish Eating Hours: Remember than Spaniards have a different timeto eat. So, get used to having lunch between 2 to 4 pm and dinner from 9 to 11 pm.
5. Eat & drink with Moderation: You’ll realize that portions in Spanish restaurants are copious. They normally serve a huge amount of food, whatever you order. Get used to ordering less plates and sharing food, as the locals do!
Read also: Drinking in Spain: Be Responsible!
6. Tipping: You will very rarley see a Spaniard leave a tip especially if only ordering a drink. If you thought the waiter was really nice you can leave a Euro coin, but it is not necessary by any means!