What to Eat in Spain: Foods and Drinks to Try (+ Where to Find Them) | The Invisible Tourist

From the stomach comes the dance” ~ Spanish proverb.

Ever wondered what the secret is to having the most enjoyable trip possible? Welcome to my “Be Invisible” series – your ultimate guide for how to avoid looking like a tourist on your next adventure and guaranteed to boost your entire travel experience.

Bursting with helpful tips and tricks, I’ve asked locals from particular cities around the world to share their insider knowledge on the best ways travellers can become “invisible” when visiting their city and enjoy it like a local. If you’re ready to challenge travel stereotypes, overcome language barriers and embrace what I like to call invisible tourism, you’ve come to the right place!

Curious about what to eat in Spain? This guide to traditional Spanish foods and drinks was written by Marco from Travel Boo and provides great insight into each dish to help you make the most of your culinary adventure. The exciting part is he’s included the best regions in Spain to find them, too!

If you’re planning a trip to Spain and want to avoid looking like a tourist, order these delicious local dishes and beverages to blend in amongst locals and have a meaningful experience. Read on for more! 


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What to Eat in Spain: Foods & Drinks to Blend In with Locals | The Invisible Tourist
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What to eat in Spain to not look like a tourist? Try these 9 Spanish foods & beverages

Why visit Spain? Well, not only for its scenic beaches, cosmopolitan cities, historic and charming village, or the beautiful architecture but also for its fabulous cuisine. As you explore the iconic landmarks in Spain, you simply have to sample and savour all the rich flavours of Spain too.

For centuries, Spanish cuisine has been known to offer the most delectable food and delicious dishes prepared from a variety of local ingredients. A distinct and diverse range of tastes and choices await you around every corner as you visit the uniquely different regions of Spain. 

But, whilst Spain has become known for its tapas bars and culture, Spanish gastronomy entails so much more – offering up an incredible selection of foods and drinks to delight in when visiting!

Since moving to Portugal permanently a few years ago, I have been fortunate to travel to Spain on several occasions and have spent weeks exploring Madrid, Barcelona and its surrounding areas. As a food lover, I simply had to indulge and sample some of Spain’s best tapas, drinks and other dishes whilst there!

If you’re wondering what to eat in Spain, here are some of the top Spanish foods to try out on your next visit.

Croquetas – The perfect tapas for any occasion

Croquetas should undoubtedly be at the top of your list. And Spain, just like many other countries, has its own version of croquettes.

Some of the best traditional croquetas are packed with unforgettable Iberian flavours and filled with jamón ham, tasty béchamel sauce, and are covered in fried breadcrumbs. You will love the light and airy croquetas, which are rich and flavourful.

Although January 16th is officially World Croquet Day, one can enjoy this popular morsel every other day too. But keep in mind that not all croquetas are created equal. A good croqueta should be light, crispy, and fresh.

Where to have the best croquetas in Spain: Madrid is the right spot to enjoy Spanish croquetas, and some of the most popular places to try them include Casa Julio and Le Croquette.

Foods to Eat in Spain to Not Look Like a Tourist: Croquetas

Gazpacho – Andalusian tomato soup

Nothing could be better than enjoying a cool and refreshing gazpacho on a hot Spanish summer day. You will find people enjoying this cold soup every day in summer in southern Spain. 

The cool tomato soup in the first image certainly packs a punch of flavours. Made from the ripest tomatoes, garlic, cucumber, olive oil, and cucumber, the chilled liquid is traditionally poured in bowls or glasses.

The dish originates from the Andalusia region and is commonly served on the side as an appetizer with a slice of bread.

Where to have the best gazpacho in Spain: You can try the authentic Spanish dish at Enrique Becerra, Seville. You can also follow the Seville food guide to learn more about the variety of other traditional foods. La Torre del Oro in Madrid is another spot to enjoy gazpacho.

Pulpo a la Gallega – Traditional Galician fare

Pulpo a la Gallega, meaning ‘Octopus of Galicia’, is a Spanish dish that originates in the Galicia region located in the northwest of the country. 

Served as a main dish during festivities, pulpo a la Gallega is a unique seafood cuisine usually prepared in a copper cauldron.

The name may sound a bit fancy, but the dish is relatively simple to prepare. The octopus is boiled and seasoned with salt, paprika, and olive oil and every bite of the dish oozes rich flavours.

Where to have the best pulpo a la Gallega in Spain: Enjoy this Spanish dish with a glass of wine at Bodegón Os Concheiros in Santiago de Compostela. Taberna Maceira in Madrid is also known to serve some of the best pulpo a la Gallega in Spain.

What to Eat in Spain: Pulpo a la Gallega

Paella – Quintessential Spanish flavours

Perhaps one of the most well-known Spanish dishes, paella originated in the Catalonia region of northern Spain. The dish is now prepared all over the country and is popular across the world.

When holidaying in Spain, you are sure to come across the most typical paella dishes made from rice in a big pot and different vegetables, meat, chicken, or fish all thrown in to create a medley of delicious flavours. 

The main element of the dish is rice, and the Bomba or Calasparra varieties are known to be the best as they can readily absorb flavours. The main types of paella you are sure to come across in Spain include Paella Valenciana, Paella Mixta, and seafood paella.

Where to try the best paella in Spain: Every region and cook in Spain has its own take on this quintessential Spanish dish, but the most popular spots to enjoy the traditional rice dish are in Valencia. Avoid the touristy-looking paella eateries and head for the restaurants near Lake Albufera, such as La Matandeta for authentic paella in Valencia.

What to Eat in Spain: Foods and Drinks to Try (+ Where to Find Them) | The Invisible Tourist

Gambas al Ajillo – Traditional Spanish dish

The Spanish love their seafood, and gambas al ajillo is among their favourites. It is simply impossible to resist the dish of sizzling prawns that are cooked in a small clay dish with fresh garlic, green chilli, olive oil, and topped off with a dash of parsley.

Enjoy the flavourful dish with crispy bread to soak up the awesome flavours!

This popular Spanish dish is typical of the south and centre of the country and should be consumed quickly before it gets cold. It’s best paired with refreshing white Spanish wine.

Where to have the best gambas al ajillo in Spain: Gambas al Ajillo is served as a main dish because of its strong flavour, and the two top restaurants that serve authentic and delicious Gambas al Ajillo are Cerveceria Catalana in Barcelona and El Raco de I’Aguir in Madrid.

Foods to Try in Spain: Gambas al Ajillo

Pisto – Spanish version of ratatouille 

Pisto, a Spanish vegetable stew, is usually served as a starter or as a side dish and made from onions, peppers, zucchini, garlic, courgettes (zucchini) and tomatoes.

The Spanish version of ratatouille is popular across the country and is usually served with fried eggs or chorizo. 

It may not be technically ratatouille, but you will love the Spanish variety of the classic French dish. Enjoy it with some fresh salad and local red wine to get the ultimate Spanish experience.

Where to have the best pisto in Spain: Pisto is most commonly found in the plains of La Mancha, across its towns and villages. Cabaña Buenavista in El Palmar, Murcia is one of the best places to enjoy pisto.

Foods to Try in Spain: Pisto

Leche Frita – Spanish fried milk delicacy

Leche frita is a popular Spanish sweet made by cooking up milk along with flour and sugar. Once chilled it eventually solidifies. Later it is deep-fried, then coated with breadcrumbs and dusted with sugar and cinnamon. 

This popular and delectable dessert is served with ice cream or whipped cream. It is a must for those who have a sweet tooth and can enjoy it after their meal or just about any time.

Leche frita was first made by nuns to help sustain their convents. Nowadays, it is a common street food item sold in various restaurants throughout the country.

Where to have the best leche frita in Spain: Enjoy delicious leche frita at Casa Alvarez in Madrid.

Spanish Foods and Drinks to Try in Spain: Leche Frita

Agua de Valencia – Valencian cocktail

Agua de Valencia was first made in a bar known as Café Madrid de Valencia in the city of Valencia during the 1950’s, but became more popular after the seventies.

Meaning the ‘water of Valencia’, this cocktail is a blend of sparkling wine and orange juice with dashes of vodka and gin.

The drink, prepared from world-renowned Valencian oranges, is enjoyed in pitches and with some close friends after a long day of sightseeing in the Spanish sun.

Where to have the best agua de Valencia in Spain: You can enjoy the cocktail at almost every restaurant in Valencia, but some of the most popular spots include some bars and cafes situated along the northeast coast such as Café de Las Horas.

Sangria 

Sangria is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most popular drinks in Spain known the world over. With a base of red wine and some fizzy lemon-lime soda, oranges, lemons, brandy, sugar, and ice added to the popular drink and served in large jugs, perfect for sharing amongst large gatherings.

The fruity punch is a favourite refreshing drink during peak summers, and often, one finds an array of chopped fruits such as berries, pineapple, peaches, apples, kiwis, and any other fruit.

Where to have the best sangria in Spain: In order to try the best sangria, drop by Las Cuevas de Sésamo in Madrid, and you can mix it with a dash of brandy or soda. Casa Lolea and Los Caracoles in Madrid and La Carbonería and Vinería in Seville are also popular for their sangria.

Born and raised in South Africa, Marco Santos currently resides in sunny Lisbon, Portugal. His mission is to rediscover his Portuguese & European heritage and document his passion through his travel blog Travel-Boo. Follow Marco’s adventures and love of Europe over on Facebook and Instagram for more.

What to eat in Spain to not look like a tourist

Ready to be invisible in Spain?

Now you’ve uncovered what to eat in Spain to best blend in with locals, perhaps you’re ready to make the trip! Why not compare hotel prices here

Do you have any Spanish foods to add to this list?  Let me know in the comments below.

I hope you enjoyed this instalment of my Be Invisible series! If you found this helpful, please share it or follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and TikTok for more!

Until next time, 

The Invisible Tourist


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What to Eat in Spain: Dishes and Drinks to Try (& Where to Find Them) | The Invisible Tourist

 


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