Dining in Spain
- Categories of Restaurant
- Tapas bar
- Here people eat at the counter or standing. Prices are more or less expensive depending on the tapas.
- Typical Spanish cuisine: home-made and not expensive.
- Restaurant of a hotel or a bar, typical Spanish cuisine at affordable prices.
- Restaurants of all types, from traditional cuisine to international cuisine. More or less expensive depending on the restaurant.
- Restaurants where only fish-based dishes or seafood are served.
- Restaurants serving regional cuisine
- Each region has a traditional type restaurant serving regional specialties. Regional specialties are eaten and in general there is only one menu at a reasonable price.
- Rules For Eating Out
- Timings: 13:30 to 16:00 and 20:30 to 23:00, except in tourist areas where the restaurants open much earlier.
The Spanish menu consists of an initial course (rice, pasta, dry vegetables, mixed salad), a second course (fish or meat) and a dessert (rarely cheese). The prices are usually listed without VAT. Bread is billed separately.
|Economy Meal||6 to 11 EUR|
|Medium Price Meal||12 to 17 EUR|
|Good Quality Meal||from 18 EUR|
- Food Specialties
Traditional Spanish cuisine has a country base with distinct regional specialties.
Fried squids, gazpacho and tapas.
Caldereta: Lamb stew: Shepherd's dish. It is an adaptable dish allowing all types of local ingredients like wine, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, red and green peppers and garlic to be added. In the old recipes of Extremadure, the cooking juice is thickened with dried bread-crumbs, lamb liver and almonds, mixed up with a meat stock to make a sort of dough.
Paëlla: typical saffron rice-based Spanish dish accompanied with seafood and meat or poultry.
Churros: In Spain, the churros are part of the popular tradition. The dough is generally molded in a decorating tube with a star-shaped nozzle to make arm-length strips. Once they are fried, they are stacked and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon in cascade. They are eaten with hot and thick chocolate (Spain has obtained a waiver from the EU to be able to continue making chocolate containing a thickening agent).
The quality of the numerous Spanish wines is constantly improving.
The main labels of quality are: Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Priorat, Toro, Ribeiro, Rias Baixas, Albarino, etc. Catalogne prepares large quantities of a Champagne method sparkling wine labelled « cava ». The Andalusian cherrys are known for their variety: fino, oloroso, amontillado, manzanilla, Pedro Ximenez. There are special spirits: anisette, Pacharan and fruit liqueur. Asturias produce cider and Pays Basque du Txacoli (white wine).
- Dietary Restrictions
- Rabbit, horse meat and snails are eaten only in some regions of Spain. It is rare to eat raw shellfish.
- Table Manners
- Continental table manners are followed. What is considered « good » table manners is not common in the average Spanish homes.
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