6 things you need to know if you are eating in Spain

Eating in Spain

If you are planning on going to Spain it’s important to know more about what you are eating and some information on culinary experiences you can have in Spain. Many travelers across the world spend time taking in culinary experiences throughout Spain and set their targets on Spain for travel because of the wealth of restaurants and nightlife. Here are six things to know about eating in Spain and the culinary experiences of Spain:

Choosing the right table

When arriving at a restaurant in Spain you may have the option to seat yourself or wait for a hostess to place you. Convenience fees may be charged if you choose to have a table that outside or in a prime location of the restaurant. Keep this in mind when you are choosing a table with a hostess. If you wanted to save money on your meal it could be advantageous to sit in the bar area.

Prices on menus can vary depending on where you sit

Tables outside often come with service fees.

You may get some samples

Many restaurants throughout Spain often bring out snacks and samples from the menu as part of a drink order or as part of your meal. You might get a bowl of chips, olives or other items for the table to share amongst yourselves. It’s usually complementary to get these items. Some meals may even come with a wine pairing, in these cases a bottle of wine could be left at your table and you simply drink as you would like with the base charge for the wine as part of your meal.

Many restaurants provide tapas, chips or even olives for free

Drink orders often come with snacks. Sometimes wine or an aperitif is complementary with a meal

Eating is a social/sharing event

Many dishes throughout Spain are designed for sharing. A larger meal or selection of tapas is designed to be shared amongst a few people. Going to a restaurant with at least 4 people can often present you with some of the best experiences. You can get larger dishes and often get a better value for your restaurant experience. A number of restaurants throughout Spain may even pair you up with other people for the dining arrangements based on the way their restaurant is configured.

 Many restaurants offer inclusive dining arrangements

 It is usually best to dine with at least 4 people for sharing dishes


A meat course likely does not come with a side

Meat courses are generally one off orders. These are items that typically don’t come with a side like they would in the United States or other areas of the world. If you order a meat dish, you should consider that that meat dish will likely only come with chips or the early starters that are complementary from the restaurant. If you would like a side salad or another menu item, you will likely have to order it as well.

Most menu items containing meat do not come with sides

You must often order items from the menu separately rather than in combos/meals

Bring along some napkins

Many restaurants go light with napkins in an effort to reduce waste. If you are the type of person that regularly relies on a napkin, you may want to bring a few extra with you to a restaurant. There are many dishes that also encourage eating with your hands so unless you want to get up and wash your hands often, bring some extra napkins to the restaurant as most will provide just one smaller napkin for you to use.

Many dishes encourage eating with hands

Most restaurants only provide 1 small napkin

Expect later meal times

The expectation for restaurants in Spain is to serve meals later to account for typical lunch hour breaks. Most businesses in Spain take a break throughout the day at 2pm and this is when you can often expect to have lunch served. With the later lunch hour, dinner is also serve much later. It can often be easy to find a table at around eight o’clock but the traditional time for dining is usually around 10 PM. Trying to find a nice seat at a restaurant at 10 PM can be very difficult especially in busy tourist areas. If you wanted to eat earlier at around five or six, you may find that many restaurants are simply closed to prepare for the dinner rush.

Lunch is often served around 2pm

Dinner can be served as early as 8 but rush happens at 10pm

Keep some of these top ideas in mind if you are planning on trying out culinary experiences in Spain.