What to Eat in Spain – 15 Spanish Foods You Must Try

What to Eat in Spain – 15 Spanish Foods You Must Try

Spain is full of delicious foods to try. Each city and region have their own specialties, and this list is a good start for anyone first timers in Spain. Some of these are on the touristy side, but popular for good reason and easy to find.

Spanish Food List - 15 Foods You Must Try in Spain

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Last Updated: July 3, 2019.   First Published: December 21, 2015

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WHAT TO EAT IN SPAIN (15 Spanish Foods You Must Try)

1. Paella

Though Spain has many different rice dishes, paella is by far one of the most popular and traditional Spanish dishes. If you’re looking for something a bit different, try the Arroz Negro (Spanish Squid Ink Rice). If you’ve never had squid ink, it might look strange to you, but we loved the flavors it added. We’ll definitely be ordering it from now on if we have the choice!

Restaurants to Try: Bon Aire, El Palmar | Restaurante Cheriff, Barcelona

Local Tip: Don’t let your luggage hold you back. Find a secure and convenient spot to store your luggage at Luggage Hero.

Paella is a dish you must try when visiting Spain. Here are the other 15 Spanish Foods You Must Try.

2. Jamon Iberico

You will see giant legs of jamón serrano and jamón ibérico hanging in local tapas bars and shops. Spain is the world’s number one producer of dry cured ham and is still made using century-old techniques. Jamon Iberico or Iberian ham is made from black Iberian pigs, while Serrano ham covers most other varieties. We would have loved to take some home, but unfortunately, it’s not legal to bring into the US. Our friend from Singapore got to take some home as a perfect souvenir to remember Spain. You can try to smuggle some back, or just don’t forget to leave Spain without eating plenty! I know I’m not about to get blacklisted.

Shops: Mercado Jamón Ibérico, Madrid | La Cata Ciega, Seville

Spain is known for their Jamon / dry-cured ham using century-old techniques. It's a must eat when visiting Spain. Also see the other 15 Spanish foods you must try.
Spain is known for their Jamon / dry-cured ham using century-old techniques. It's a must eat when visiting Spain. Also see the other 15 Spanish foods you must try.

3. Gazpacho

This dish is served cold and made of ripe tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, bread, peppers, and cucumber. The ingredients are blended together until smooth and makes for a perfect dish in the summer.

Restaurants to Try: Inclan Brutal Bar, Madrid | La Pepita, Barcelona

Gazpacho is a cold soup and a dish you must try when you visit Spain. + A guide on what to eat in Spain.

4. Tortilla Española

This is the Spanish version of omelets and made of eggs, potatoes, and onions. After slow frying the potatoes and onions in olive oil, you beat the eggs to make a delicious dish. Like any omelet, you can add ingredients to your taste.

Restaurants to Try: Bodega de la Ardosa, Madrid | El Rinconcillo, Seville

Tortilla Espanola is a spanish omelette that you need to try when traveling to Spain. Also check out the other 15 Spanish dishes you must try in Spain.

5. Patatas Bravas

This is one of the most common tapas you’ll find all over Spain, and each region has their own spin on it. Although the sauces may vary, they all consist of chunks of fried potato.

Restaurants to Try: Bar Tomas, Barcelona | Docamar, Madrid

Patatas Bravas - must try in Spain - It's one of the most common tapa in Spain. Also see the other 15 Spanish foods you must try when visiting Spain.

6. Pisto

This is a great starter or side dish. It’s the Spanish version of ratatouille, and you can find it in most places. You’ll also commonly find it served with fried eggs or chorizo.

Restaurants to Try: Taberna Malaspina, Madrid | Restaurante Tamara Lorenzo, Madrid

Pisto is a Spanish dish that you must try when visiting Spain. Also check out the other 15 Spanish foods you must try.

7. Sangria

This is by far the most popular drink in Spain readily available anywhere you go. You can order it by the glass or enjoy a pitcher amongst friends. It’s generally found at celebrations and get togethers, and if you order it at a bar or restaurant, you might stick out as a tourist. But, hey, if you like it, you do you. Drink and be merry. If you can’t drink red wine, like Jacob who has a wine allergy, try Cava. It’s the champagne of Spain and is a light and bubbly wine.

Restaurants to Try: Casa Lolea, Barcelona | Taberna el Sur, Madrid

Don't forget to try Sangria in Spain! Each place has their own recipe. Also see the other 15 Spanish foods you must try.

Don't forget to try Sangria while in Spain. Each spot has their own recipe. Also see the other 15 Spanish foods you must try.

8. Chorizo

Spain has a lot of top-notch pork products, one of which is chorizo. This pork sausage is a savory treat that can be an add-on to other dishes or enjoyed on its own.

Restaurants to Try: Taberna Malaspina, Madrid | Casa Roman, Seville

Spanish Chorizo (What to Eat in Spain / 15 Spanish Foods You Must Try).

9. Churros con Chocolate

These fried, sugary sticks are even better when paired with a cup of Spanish hot chocolate. It’s more of a hot fudge than a chocolatey drink. This one is from the famous Chocalateria San Gines in Madrid, which is good, but I personally think it’s overhyped. It’s still worth trying whether at this touristy spot or elsewhere.

Restaurants to Try: Chocolateria San Gines, Madrid | Granja La Pallaresa, Barcelona

More: 17 Best Desserts in NYC (we recently had some of the best Churros con Chocolate at one of these spots)

Churros con Chocolate from the famous Chocolateria San Gines in Madrid. Also check out the other 15 Spanish foods you must try.

10. Suckling Pig

This is a big part of Spanish tradition in families. Men typically prepare it over a fire while the women prep the rest of the food.

Restaurants: Botin, Madrid | Asador de Aranda, Barcelona

Suckling Pig (What to Eat in Spain / 15 Spanish Foods You Must Try When Visiting Spain).

11. Gambas al Ajillo

A common dish in tapas bars, gambas al ajillo is a sizzling dish of prawns in olive oil seasoned with garlic, green chili, and parsley.

Restaurants to Try: El Raco de l’Aguir, Madrid | Cerveceria Catalana, Barcelona

Gambas al Ajillo is a sizzling Spanish dish of seasoned prawns in olive oil. It’s a must try if you’re in Spain. Click through to see the other 15 Spanish foods you must try when visiting Spain.

12. Fabada Asturiana

This hearty stew is a popular Spanish dish that’s typically served during the cold winter months, but you can still find it on most menus.

Restaurants to Try: El Neru, Madrid | El Chigre 1769, Barcelona

Fabada Asturiana is a popular Spanish dish that's typically served during the cold winter months. Also see the other 15 Spanish foods you must try.

13. Pimientos de Padron

This simple and healthy dish is great to share. Most tapas bars in Spain serve these small green peppers fried in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt.

Restaurants to Try: La Bombeta, Barcelona | Casa Paco, Seville

Pimientos de Padron is a green peppers dish served at most tapas joints. Also see the other 15 Spanish foods you must try.

14. Manchego Cheese

This cheese is made in the middle of Spain with manchega sheep’s milk. With a specific diet, they create a cheese that is slightly salty, and most delis and bars carry it.

Restaurants: Poncelet Cheese Bar, Madrid | Recansens, Barcelona

What to Eat in Spain - 15 Spanish Foods You Must Try

15. Bocadillos

A bocadillos is a sandwich made with Spanish bread. You’ll find them filled with potatos, cheese, ham, and pork loin. If you’re in Madrid, try their bocadillo de calamares (fried squid). I brought my own condiments. ;)

Restaurants to Try: La Campana, Madrid | Can Paixano, Barcelona

Bocadillos is a Spanish sandwich and ones that are filled with calamari are famous in Madrid. Also check out the other 15 Spanish foods you must try when visiting Spain.

More Food in Spain to Try

  • Bacalao – If you’re traveling to the Basque country, try the most popular version of bacalao made with pil pil sauce.
  • Crema Catalana – burnt Spanish custard creme similar to creme brulee. There’s controversy over where this dish originated.

BONUS. A Souvenir to Take Home

Did you know that Andalusia in Southern Spain is the largest producer of olive oil in the world? We couldn’t resist taking some home with us.

Photos courtesy of (creative commons): 3. James Blick 6. Javier Lastras (cropped) 10. Andrew Currie
12. Flavio Lorenzo Sanchez (cropped) 15. Christopher Brown (cropped)

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Best Places to Stay in Spain

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Do you love Spanish cuisine? What Spanish foods have you tried and what are some others you would recommend? Which of these would be at the top of your list if you visited Spain? If you cook, what’s your favorite Spanish recipe?

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Esther + Jacob

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. That’s amazing. I love it. thanks for sharing this such beautiful things

  2. very helpful but u forgot the main food of spain a taco and a burger with fries

  3. Oh my gosh, you guys! Even though I live in the USA, I come from Spain and you just made me crave all of the Spanish food that I’ve been missing for so long! Haha!
    I’m very impressed that you’ve included the fabada asturiana into this list because it’s not something that most people know about…I actually come from the region of Asturias, where this dish is from, and for that you just made my day! Have you actually been to Asturias?
    Thanks so much for sharing! I loved reading it!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! We’ve only been to Madrid, Toledo, Seville, and Granada. It was too short of a trip, we need to go back and explore much more of Spain. Hopefully soon!

  4. Wow! Really mouthwatering. I want to visit Spain to taste all these dishes. The images are amazing.

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