What to Eat in Spain? 7 Spanish Foods You Must Try

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Congratulations! You’re about to jet-set to Spain!

The adventure that awaits is full of gorgeous landscapes, stunning architecture, and rich history. 

It’s also full of delectable dishes!

Before you hop on that flight, it’s important to know what to eat in Spain. With so many delicious morsels at your fingertips, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a country that caters more to the foodie in all of us.

Ready to learn more? Let’s go!

1. Tapas

You wouldn’t visit Peru without seeing Machu Picchu or trek to Greece and skip the Parthenon, would you?

So, why would you go all the way to Spain and miss their iconic tapas?

To be clear, these aren’t a particular dish. Rather, the word “tapas” describes the kind of meal they are. In short, they’re small plates that pack big flavor.

Spaniards eat tapas at any time of day as a snack, meal or both. In fact, there’s even a word for the act of consuming these beauties. “Tapear” means “to eat tapas” in Spanish!

From mini sandwiches to nuts, cheeses, and even squid, you’ll find a variety of tapas on the menu. Pick a few to try out and you’ll never be the same!

Not sure where to begin your culinary adventure? This helpful article helps you scout out all the best tapas around!

2. Paella

Wondering what pairs well with a chilled glass of sangria and a romantic dinner on the beach?

The answer is a hearty paella. Originating in Valencia, you’ll find this dish in one of three forms:

  • Paella Valenciana: White rice, veggies, spices, legumes, meat (chicken, duck, rabbit), land snails
  • Seafood Paella: Rice, various types of seafood, seasoning
  • Paella Mixta: A mixture of both kinds of paella, including veggies, chicken, and seafood with rice, seasonings and olive oil

You can’t go wrong with any of these. The flavors meld together well and the colors are out of this world.

3. Tortilla Espanola

No, this isn’t a tortilla like you’ll find in your local supermarket. In this case, it doesn’t mean a flat and round bread made of flour or wheat.

Rather, a Tortilla Espanola is more akin to an omelet, though its base consists of potatoes and eggs instead of only eggs. The chef will cut the potatoes into slices, cook them on the stovetop, and then fold in the eggs and other toppings once they’re soft. 

Then, he’ll put the mixture in a pan, fry it on one side, flip it, and fry it on the other side until it’s crispy and perfect.

Get a classic one with chopped onion, salt, and pepper and you’ll wonder why you ate eggs any other way.

4. Crema Catalana

A creamy and decadent cousin to the French crème brûlée, this dessert is best served chilled. Its custard is rich with notes of lemon rind and cinnamon, making it the perfect way to top off a day full of sightseeing. 

Break your spoon into the thick top layer to reveal the scrumptious custard underneath. You’ll find plenty of cafes along the streets of Barcelona that cater to your sweet tooth with this delicacy. 

5. Gazpacho

When it comes to Andalusian cuisine, gazpacho is a mainstay. The best part? You can eat it for every meal and never get bored because it’s prepared in so many ways!

At the risk of sounding like Bubba on Forest Gump, there’s cold gazpacho, warm gazpacho, gazpacho soup, gazpacho salad, and even gazpacho stew!

The base is a smooth blend of tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and salt. If you think it sounds like spaghetti sauce, think again. The flavors are delicious together and when you get it in a bowl with an ice cube and croutons, you’ll never look at tomato soup the same again.

6. Queso Manchego

This is Spanish sheep cheese, and it will make you second-guess every other kind of cheese you’ve ever tasted. During your travels, you must track this divine snack down!

In his epic novel, “Don Quixote of La Mancha”, Miguel de Cervantes mentioned Queso Manchego by name. That’s why some call it “The Cheese of Don Quixote.”

If you’re a purist, you’ll have to visit the La Mancha region to get pure Queso Manchego from a specific breed of sheep known as “Manchega.” Yet, if you don’t mind eating outside of the region where it originates, you’ll find it all over Spain!

7. Grilled Fish

What’s better than a day spent on the stunning shore? Eating grilled fish while you get your tan on!

If you find yourself in Marbella or Costa del Sol, you won’t have to look far and you don’t even need to book a table at a fancy restaurant. There, indigenous, sand-filled boats used as makeshift kitchens dot the coast.

On top of burning coals, fishermen cook the fish themselves, with sardines being the standard fare. It doesn’t get fresher than that!

Travel Well and Know What to Eat in Spain 

Are you ready to start packing and planning? Your vacation is right around the corner! To make the most of your visit, start by researching what to eat in Spain. 

No matter which dish you select, you’re sure to find new flavors to enjoy and experiences to share. The hardest part will be turning down dessert when you’re too full!

For more information on how to live, work and play well, keep reading our blog! We have the insider tips you need to succeed.