How to Understand the Menu in a Spanish Restaurant
You will find starters under the heading “Entremeses or Entrantes” In this section you will often find subdivisions “Frio” or cold, “calente” or hot. Dishes that you could expect to find in the starter section are listed below:
A mixed salad, of leaves and tomato, onion, baby corn, and with as many a twelve ingredients in total including egg,pineapple,kiwi fruit,tuna,anchovies, seafood sticks,asparagus,olives,capers,artichokes and any thing else that comes to hand.
A chicken salad, consisting of leaves and cucumber and roast chicken pieces on a mayonnaise dressing
A Potato salad with carrots, peas, and tuna
Ensalada de Espinaca con Queso de Cabra
A spinach salad with goats cheese
Sliced Iberico ham produced from black iberian pigs fed on acorns, similar to serrano ham but higher quality so more expensive.
lean slices of the same iberian pigs grilled.
Queso Curado de Oveja
Cured sheeps cheese
Anchoas en Aceite
Anchovies in oil
Morcilla con Pimientos Asados
Blood sausage with roasted peppers
Esparragos Verdes a la Parrilla
Grilled Green esparagus
Verduras a la Plancha con Parrilla
Saquitos de Brick con Puerros y Gambas
Filo pastry parcels of leaks and prawns (shrimp)
Boletus a la Plancha con Ajitos Fritos
Grilled Boletus mushrooms with fried piquillo peppers
Revuelto de Morcilla, Pimientos y Patatas
Scrambled egg with blood sausage, peppers and potato
Revuelto de Boletus, Patatas y Jamón
Scrambled egg with Boletus mushroom, potato and ham
Boquerones en Vinagre
Whitebait (small fish) in vinagar
Sopa de Pollo con Fideos
Chicken Noodle Soup
Sopa de Pescado y Marisco
Fish and Shellfish Soup
Sopa de Lentejas
Sopa de picadillo
A soup with shredded chicken, ham,egg, all in a broth
Typical Cuisine Served at a Spanish Restaurant
An authentic Spanish restaurant can provide you with a dining experience that you will remember for a long time. If you are unfamiliar with the cuisine, learn about the typical foods before you go so you are prepared to make the right menu choices.
Before delving into your meal, you might experiment with a few tapas. Tapas are appetizers or snacks available for order before the main meal. In Spain where residents often eat their meal late in the evening, people may snack on tapas between the time they get off work and the time they are ready for their meal. They may feature seafood such as anchovies or squid. Olives and chilies are a common ingredient. For seasonings, expect garlic, paprika, cumin, saffron, salt, and pepper. Bread often accompanies tapas, which you can use for dipping into the sauces.
A variety of entrees are available in a Spanish restaurant. Tortillas are a mainstay, serving as the main ingredient in burritos, soft tacos, or enchiladas. Tamales, while not native of Spain, are a popular menu item. Tamales usually have meat tucked inside the flavorful bundles. Paella features rice, seasoned with numerous strong spices such as saffron and cumin. It’s common for paella to have meat or fish added to it to round out the dish. Refried beans typically come from cooked pinto beans. After cooking the beans until they are soft, the chef will add a variety of seasonings to give them a hearty flavor.
If you have a sweet tooth, you can usually find plenty of options on the dessert menu. Tarta de Santiago is a traditional almond cake, named to honor Santiago, the patron saint of Spain. Bizcochos borrachos is a delightful sponge cake with a topping of brandy sauce drizzled over it. Flan is a light and flavorful custard that will top off a full meal in a memorable way.
The classic sangria may be one of your first choices for a beverage. This delightful mixture of brandy, wine, juice, and fruit chunks will provide refreshment when you drink it over ice. Rioja wine is famous in the northern regions of Spain. This red wine is an excellent accompaniment with steaks and other red meats. If you’re celebrating, consider cava wine, which is the Spanish equivalent to champagne. This sparkling white wine is the perfect choice when you are having poultry or some lighter fare.
Ask your server about the level of heat in anything you consider ordering. It is pretty typical for a Spanish restaurant to use a numeric rating system for their entrees to help patrons determine which meals to order. If you have sensitive taste buds, stay away from anything rated over a “1.” People with conditioned systems may be able to manage spicier meals without issue. Don’t forget to enjoy the ambiance as you dine. The decor, lighting, and music are all integral parts of the experience, enabling you to get a taste and a sense of what it might be like to dine in Spain or Mexico.
Five Must-Try Dishes at Your Local Spanish Restaurant
Every society has its own cuisine, and food is one of the best ways to experience a culture. Food isn’t just nourishment, it’s part of a person’s identity and heritage.
For many people, foreign food is one of the best perks of traveling. Each year, tons of Americans backpack and vacation through Europe, sipping on coffee in Berlin or spending a night at a Spanish restaurant in Valencia. For people who can’t travel, whether they have obligations at home or cannot afford it, eating out can temporarily take them to whole new world. Having a night out at a nearby Spanish restaurant, for example, can introduce you to a whole new country without having to leave your hometown. Here are some staples you need to keep on your radar.
Paella is a staple dish in Spanish dining. It originated in Valencia on the east coast of Spain. Paella is widely considered as Spain’s national dish. With several different variations, it is generally made up of rice, seafood or meat, vegetables, and spices. Similar to the original jambalaya, it is great for groups to share.
Different croquettes exist all over the world as small, fried pouches, but Spanish croquetas are traditionally made with bechamel sauce and meat or fish with potatoes. Plenty of places today are more creative with their croquetas, using things like ham, cheese, and mushrooms for unique fillings. They work great as either an appetizer or a meal.
Empanadas are a staple of both Latin America and European Spain. Made from a thin wheat pastry, they are stuffed with fillings that vary from fish, meat, potatoes, and cheese, to dessert fillings. Empanadas can be either fried or baked, and they are one of the most versatile dishes out there.
This one’s like a Spanish creme brulee. It’s made with milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, and different spices with a thin, burnt layer on top. It’s rich without being too heavy, usually comes in a small, manageable portion, and is perfect for when you just have that little bit of room left after dinner.
San Jacobos is essentially a dish of meat wrapped around cheese, and it is both simple and delicious. It’s usually fried and is similar to the French cordon bleu. Some people use ham, some people use chicken, different people use different cheeses, but San Jacobos are always a good choice.
While you may not have the time to visit Spain in the near future, a night out at a local, Spanish restaurant can be just as life-changing, especially if you know what to order. Chefs today are great at getting creative with traditional dishes, so you might come across dessert empanadas or some kind of paella fusion. Don’t be scared to step outside of your comfort zone and trust the chefs at a Spanish restaurant.
Enjoying Your Spanish Meal
Spain is known for the variety of ingredients that it uses and the rich flavor that it has. Saffron is a common spice that is used in most of the Spanish dishes. Seafood’s are a specialty in Spain and they are cooked in the most exotic manner. Well-known tapas which are also sometimes called finger foods are small appetizers that are immensely popular in Spanish bars and restaurants. It can be a pleasure enjoying a great Spanish meal.
There is a tremendous variance and diverse regional cultures that affect food in various different regions of Spain. In fact each region of Spain has a signature dish but in totality, Spanish food is a reason that is enough to draw anyone to this country. Perhaps, Paella happens to be the most famous Spanish dish. Other favorites are fabada, suckling pig, yeah you do and cold soup gazpacho.
You must start your meal with red wine sangria. This Spanish wine is actually a punch in which red wine is the main constituent, fruits and brandy are mixed along. In case you prefer white wine, you can order sangria that is made by using white wine. This is refreshing drink is chilled in a sangria pitch. The moment you have it, you will start feeling the Spanish authenticity.
The second part of your meal should be a selection of tapas. You can have a number of these small appetizer bites in different flavors. You can choose from mussels, clams, chorizos or atun. These tapas are traditionally cooked using olive oil and special spices. You can couple tapas with a nice and hearty soup. The best choice would be Caldo Gallego, which is a special Galician soup in which the main constituent is beans and it tastes delicious. You easily get this delicious soup in all standard Spanish restaurants.
In main course of you must have Spanish Paella Marinera dish. This well-known Mediterranean dish has a base of yellow rice along with shrimps, clams, mussels and lobster. A number of spices are used in its preparation and saffron is used for bestowing yellow color as well as for seasoning. You may also order for tenderloins and steaks that are grilled on charcoal or grilled a la brasa.
How to Order Food in Spanish
Knowing how to order food in Spanish is essential, whether you are on a short visit to a Spanish-speaking country or planning to live there. Even if you don’t speak a word of Spanish, it will only take a few minutes to learn some basic phrases so that you are able to communicate in a Spanish restaurant. Spanish speakers are very patient with English speakers and are ready to help in identifying local dishes and ingredients.
- The first thing you want to do is to ask for a table. Waiter, a table for two.” In Spanish, you will say “Camarero, una mesa para dos”. Or if you have a table reserved, then you will say, ” Tengo una reserva para Maria”. This means ” I have a table reserved in the name Maria.”
- Summon the waiter by saying, ” La carta, por favor” (“The menu, please!”) once you’ve been seated. The waiter will bring you a menu and ask, “Would you like to drink something?”(“Quieres tomar algo?”).
- Let the waiter know you want to order by saying, “I would like to order dinner now.” In Spanish, this would be, “Quiero pedir una cena ahora.”
- Request drink by saying, “And to drink, we would like…”( “Y para tomar, quisieramos…”)
- Say “yo no entiendo” (“I don’t understand”) if the waiter asks you a question you can’t translate.
- Ask for the bill by saying “me trae la cuenta, por favor?” If you want to pay through credit card, ask them, “Aceptan tarjetas de credito?” (Do you accept credit cards?)