Cultural Experience | Spain

A foodies guide to when, where and what to eat during a trip to Barcelona

Spaniards will sometimes take a few hours for one meal! Here’s your guide to Live Like a Local Foodie

Traveling to Spain can be an amazing learning experience, and enjoying delicious local food can make the trip even more memorable. When most people think of food in Spain they think of tapas. While tapas are extremely popular, there are also many other delicious dishes that can be enjoyed during the trip. The way of life in Spain is much more simple and relaxed than it is in America. People take their time enjoying their meals instead of rushing around like Americans. Spaniards will sometimes even take a few hours for one meal! For a foreigner, eating in Spain can be a challenge because of their different meal times and portion sizes. Here are the best times to eat each meal, what to order and where to go to easier fit in with the locals and live a Spanish lifestyle!

BREAKFAST: el desayuno

When to eat: in Spain, many locals do not even eat breakfast. But, when eating breakfast it is normally eaten before 10am.

What to eat: The biggest thing to have during breakfast is coffee! In Spain there are a few types of coffees you can order from any café

coffee 2

Café solo: shot of espresso

Café cortado: shot of espresso with a little bit of milk

Café con leche: shot of espresso with an equal amount of milk

Café Americano: shot of espresso with water

Many locals will enjoy a small croissant, piece of toast or pastry with their coffee. A very popular breakfast pastry is a chocolate filled croissant with sprinkles on top!

Where to eat:

New York Café: Located a block away from the Rocafort metro exit, this café was the most convenient café located closest to my University. While I first visited the café out of convenience, it soon became one of my favorite spots because they had one of the best chocolate pastries!

Planeta Té: Located in Gracía, this small teashop is a perfect place for any tea lover. Although the shop is small, it holds a large selection of different locally made teas.

Molika: Located in L’Eixample, this adorable café has very modern décor and delicious coffee! This is the perfect place to visit with friends on an early morning for a pastry and café con leche.

LUNCH: la comida

When to eat: Lunch is typically eaten between 2 and 4 pm. In many cultures dinner is considered the main meal of the day, but Spaniards consider lunch to be most important. Many stores and businesses close down for siesta so people can spend time eating their meals with their families.

What to eat: Restaurants offer set menus to order off during la comida. Most meals are a set price and include an appetizer, a main course, dessert and sometimes a drink. The price ranges vary on the area the person choses to eat their meals. For example, eating in a touristy populated area such as La Rambla, almost always guarantees prices to be a bit steeper. Common and traditional items to order include Paella, which is a mixture of rice, seafood, chicken and vegetables cooked and served in a large pan. Fideua is another traditional Spanish dish, which is pasta made with a type of white fleshed fish or crustaceans and served with allioli sauce.

More on where to go for amazing Barcelona Night Life here

Where to eat:

Teresa Carles: Very popular restaurant that serves traditional Spanish food.

Bo de B: Very popular sandwich restaurant in Barcelona. Known to be very busy with long lines, but the wait is worth it!

LaLola: located on the rooftop of Arenas shopping center in Barcelona, has a delicious selection of tapas. For anyone who enjoys seafood, this restaurant served the best muscles I’ve ever had!

La Merienda: This is known as the late afternoon snack, because lunch and dinner have such a time gap! Most people will have a small sandwich or fruit, anything to hold them over till dinner.

DINNER: La cena

When to eat: Most Spaniards eat dinner between 9:00 and 10:30 pm.

What to eat: Dinner is much lighter than lunch, many people will order a sandwich, salad or share a few plates of tapas. Very common items on menus are bocadillos, which are sandwiches served on fresh bread. Most are made with a type of ham and cheese. Very popular and delicious tapas to order are patatas bravas, which are fried potatoes with a spicy sauce on top. Croquettes are also very popular; these are breaded cheesy fried potatoes with a dipping sauce.

For dessert, gelato is always a good choice!

Where to eat:

Txapela: Located in La Rambla, this is a very touristy popular restaurant but still very delicious. The price per tapas is very fair, and the menu provides a picture of each tapa so foreigners know exactly what they are ordering.

Cerveceria Catalana: Located in L’Eixample, this small restaurant displays a beautiful arrangement of tapas in glass cases along the bar. A bit pricier per tapa, but the portion sizes are also slightly larger. A very popular restaurant and known for the good quality of their food.

Can Paixano: Offers well-priced and delicious small plates of food and sandwiches. The sandwiches are all displayed and many are made with a variety of ham and prosciutto. This is a great place to go to get a great deal on traditional Barcelona food.

Makenzie Piatt

Ohio University | 9 stories

I'm a sophomore broadcast journalism student studying at Ohio University. I am studying abroad for my very first time this summer to Barcelona, Spain. I hope sharing my experiences of my travel abroad will encourage others to explore the world!

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