What to Eat in Spain and Food Culture in Spain – Spain’s National Dishes and Popular Food in Spain You Need to Taste
FOOD TO EAT IN SPAIN: TRADITIONAL FOODS IN SPAIN
Traditional Spanish food
Are you planning a trip to Spain last minute?
And are you interested in sampling traditional Spanish food in Spain?
If you are traveling to Spain last minute, I prepared for you a short summary of the best food and drinks tours in Spain!
BEST FOOD TOURS IN BARCELONA:
Barcelona: Paella Cooking Experience & Boqueria Market Tour (the most popular foodie tour in Barcelona)
Barcelona: Tapas and Wine Small-Group Walking Tour (a top-seller foodie tour in Barcelona)
Barcelona: Flamenco Show at Tablao Flamenco Cordobes (the most popular tour in Barcelona with optional dinner and drinks)
BEST FOOD TOURS IN MADRID:
Madrid: Wine and Tapas Walking Tour (the most popular food tour in Madrid)
Madrid: The Original Tapas Crawl (a top-seller food tour in Madrid)
Madrid Region Wineries: Guided Tour and Tastings (the most popular day trip from Madrid for wine lovers)
Check out: Best food tours in Madrid
BEST FOOD TOURS IN MALAGA:
Málaga: Evening Wine and Tapas Tour (the most popular food tour in Malaga)
Malaga: Tapas and Wine Tour with Flamenco Show (a top-seller tour in Malaga with food and drinks)
BEST FOOD TOURS IN SEVILLE:
Seville: Tapas Crawl (the most popular food tour in Seville)
Seville: Flamenco Show in Triana ( a top-seller tour in Seville with food and drinks)
Spanish cuisine: Spanish national food
Discovering new tastes and eating local food as I travel is an important part of my traveling experience.
Experiencing culture through local foods and tastes in my case means getting better insights into societies, customs, and traditions and a better understanding of local people.
I traveled to Spain a lot. Besides experiencing classics such as Madrid and Barcelona, I traveled to beautiful Andalusia in southern Spain (visited Seville, Malaga, Cadiz, and Granada with marvelous Alhambra, Jerez de la Frontera, Cordoba …) and hiked over 1000 miles of Camino de Santiago (Camino del Norte, Via de la Plata, Camino Finisterre) across Spain.
In addition to its amazing history and culture, Spain is famous as one of the best food and wine destinations in the World.
That being said, traveling to Spain means for me getting familiar with the food culture of Spain: eating traditional Spanish food, sampling traditional dishes from Spain, and drinking typical Spanish drinks.
Tasting local food in Spain and trying regional Spanish cuisines are always on my bucket list of things to do in Spain.
Food and drinks from Spain are essential items on my Spain bucket list!
If you would like to taste some popular food in Spain, ethnic Spanish food, authentic Spanish food, Spanish typical food, Spanish famous food, traditional Spanish dishes, and authentic dishes from Spain, the following list of Spanish food and authentic Spanish dishes I have compiled on my trip to Spain will help you to taste authentic flavors of Spain.
Oh, yes, my Spanish food list comes with pictures of Spanish food and Spanish food names in Spanish! And I added some Spanish food recipes to try at home!
¡Feliz viaje! ¡Provecho y salud!
Traditional Spanish food
A Week in Spain
10 Best Places to Visit in Southern Spain
Andalucia Road Trip Itinerary
Tips for Visiting Alhambra
Traditional Spanish desserts
Foodie Spain: Best Destinations in Spain for Foodies
Breakfasts in Spain
Seafood in Spain
Eating snails in Spain
THIS POST MAY CONTAIN COMPENSATED LINKS. PLEASE READ MY DISCLAIMER FOR MORE INFO.
Popular food in Spain: 56 Most famous foods in Spain
Food of Spain – traditional Spanish foods & famous foods in Spain
Spanish cuisine is probably best known for various Spanish tapas (cold or hot Spanish appetizers or snacks) including world-famous national foods of Spain like iconic jamon iberico, legendary paella, and glorified gazpacho.
But actually, there’s an impressive number of gastronomic delicacies in Spain and only a comprehensive culinary encyclopedia would do full justice to Spanish cuisine.
However, here’s a Spain food list covering authentic Spanish food, typical food from Spain, traditional food in Spain, famous foods in Spain, famous Spanish tapas dishes, best Spanish dishes, typical dishes of Spain, the most popular dishes of Spain, and popular Spanish drinks.
Cultural food from Spain – Traditional dishes in Spain and famous Spanish dishes:
Popular traditional Spanish dishes
1. Paella – The most famous Spanish rice dish
Paella is considered to be a national dish of Spain. If someone asks you to name the top 3 Spanish dishes, your first thought will likely be Spanish paella.
This widely worshiped Spanish rice dish is the all-time most famous dish in Spain. This iconic Spanish food originates from the Spanish region of Valencia but it is eaten all over Spain. No visit to Spain is complete without tasting paella.
Ah, you might like to know, paella in the Valencian language means pan. Spanish paella is traditionally flavored with Spanish saffron and rosemary.
Spaniards savor different types of paella: meat paella (with chicken, rabbit, duck), seafood paella (clams, mussels, prawns, calamari, scampi, fish), vegetable paella (vegan paella) or mixed paella (meat, seafood, and vegetables).
Although there are various paella types to meet each taste, authentic Valencian paella is mixed meat paella (rabbit, chicken, sausage, and snails). Authentic paella is one of the most delicious Espana dishes!
Beautiful Valencia is among the most beautiful cities in Spain and among the best destinations for foodies in Spain (think of the famous juicy Valencian oranges, besides delicious paella). Paella de Marisco, the seafood paella, is the most famous Spanish paella in the world.
It is so easy to fall in love with paella.
WATCH: AUTHENTIC SPANISH SEAFOOD PAELLA RECIPE
2. Gazpacho – The most famous Spanish tomato soup
Legendary gazpacho is a cold tomato soup from Spain.
But, beyond any question, this famous dish from Spain is among the top 10 Spanish foods. In addition, gazpacho is one of the best tomato soups in the world overall.
Spanish gazpacho originates from Andalusia in southern Spain, but over time gazpacho has become a favorite Spanish national dish of all Spaniards.
Gazpacho is traditionally drunk from a glass or traditional Spanish bowl and it comes as an appetizer in Spain. Spanish gazpacho is a classic tapa dish and the ultimate summer soup in Spain.
Spanish Gazpacho is one of the main dishes in Spain you simply can’t miss tasting it while in Spain!
WATCH: GAZPACHO RECIPE
3. Salmorejo – The famous Spanish tomato purée
Spanish salmorejo is another popular Spanish dish.
Salmorejo is a version of gazpacho originally coming from the town of Cordoba, Spain. It is made of pureed tomatoes, bread, garlic, and vinegar. Salmorejo is served with chopped egg or ham on top.
But if you are a vegetarian, you can order salmorejo without topping ham.
Personally, I prefer salmorejo to gazpacho. In my opinion, salmorejo is one of the best Spanish food. Salmorejo recipe is one of the recipes from Spain I took home with me.
If you are taking a trip to Seville and want to learn how to prepare authentic Andalucian salmorejo, this Spanish cooking class is for you.
RELATED READ: Epic Things to Do in Seville
WATCH: SALMOREJO RECIPE
4. Tortilla Espanola – The famous Spanish omelette and a national dish of Spain
Spanish tortilla or also called Spanish omelet is the most common food in Spain and one of the most popular foods in Spain too.
Moreover, tortilla de patatas is another national dish of Spain and typical food of Spain. Spanish tortilla Espanola is a simple tapas dish made of slow-cooked caramelized onions and potatoes in olive oil and eggs.
This famous dish from Spain looks more like a quiche than an omelet. Tortilla Espanola is served sliced or squeezed between bread into a sandwich (called bocadillo in Spanish).
WATCH: TORTILLA ESPANOLA RECIPE
5. Rabo de toro – The famous Spanish bull tail stew
Talking about delicacies in Spain and Spanish food in Spain, ‘rabo de toro‘ takes a special place in traditional Spanish cuisine.
Rabo de toro is a famous Spanish bull’s tail stew. Rabo de toro is made by slowly cooking oxtail flavored with red wine, garlic, and thyme at low temperatures.
It is an authentic Spanish dish. This typical Spanish dish comes from the town of Cordoba. But today the bull’s tail is one of the most popular Spanish dishes, widely prepared in Spanish homes.
Once a working-class meal in Spain, Rabo de toro dish has become a leading delicacy of Spanish gastronomy and one of the top Spanish dishes.
To make it short, Rabo de toro belongs to the list of famous dishes from Spain you need to taste on your trip to Spain!
6. Patatas bravas – The Spanish spicy potatoes dish
Chorizo is a famous food from Spain. Besides chorizo, Spanish spicy potatoes are popular Spanish food too.
Patatas bravas translates to spicy potatoes. Spicy patatas bravas is one of the most popular tapas dishes in Spain. The piquant bravas sauce is made with sweet and hot pimentón paprika. But, to tell the truth, Spanish potatoes are moderately spicy (not spicy as you would expect them to be)!
Nevertheless, patatas bravas is one of the most famous Spanish dishes.
WATCH: PATATAS BRAVAS RECIPE
7. Puplo a la gallega – The famous Spanish boiled octopus dish
Interested in some more traditional Spanish food?!
Let me introduce pullpo a la gallega, one of the most famous Spanish dishes.
Galician-style octopus is one of the most delicious Spanish dishes and typical Spanish dishes coming from the Galicia region in Spain.
But today the octopus dish is one of the most famous Hispanic dishes ever. To keep it short, pullpo a la gallega is a boiled octopus, soaked in paprika, salt, and olive oil. This tender and mouthwatering popular Spanish tapa dish is traditionally served on a wooden platter.
It is one of the Spanish delicacies you need to try! Yummy! Ah, talking about delicious Spanish food makes me crave some tasty bites of pullpo a la gallega!!
WATCH: PULPO A LA GALLEGA RECIPE
8. Zamburinas a la gallega – These famous Galician scallops are among the most popular food in Spain
Spanish scallops come from the region of Galicia in northwest Spain.
Scallops in Spanish are called vieiras. But there are two types of scallops in Spain: vieiras (sea scallops) and zamburiñas (variegated scallops).
The shell of the scallop is the symbol of St James, the patron of Spain. Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia holds the remains of Saint James the Great, the apostle of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the shell of the scallop is also the symbol of the famous Christian pilgrimage route of Camino de Santiago.
Santiago de Compostela is one of the best cities in Spain worth visiting.
WATCH: ZAMBURIÑAS A LA PLANCHA RECIPE
I walked several Caminos in Spain: Camino del Norte, Via de la Plata, and Camino de Santiago a Finisterre. As a part of Camino de Santiago Via de la Plata, I walked Camino Sanabres too.
Check out my guides if you are interested in walking Camino de Santiago:
Camino de Santiago guide
How long is Camino de Santiago
12 Most Popular Camino de Santiago routes
Camino del Norte guide
Camino de Santiago Via de la Plata
Camino de Santiago Sanabres
Camino de Santiago packing list
Camino de Santiago a Finisterre
9. El arroz negro – The popular Spanish black risotto
Italy has ‘risotto al nero di seppia‘. Montenegro and my homeland Croatia have ‘crni rižoto od sipe‘. And Spain has ‘el arroz negro‘.
In each case, it is a rice dish prepared of white rice with black squid ink, squid or cuttlefish, olive oil, and seafood broth. In Spain ‘el arroz negro‘ is sometimes called ‘black paella‘, although it is a risotto, not paella.
Spanish black risotto originates from Valencia and Catalonia. Therefore, when in Barcelona or Valencia, don’t forget to try ‘el arroz negro‘.
WATCH: EL ARROZ NEGRO RECIPE
10. Garbanzos con espinacas – The traditional Spanish spinach dish with chickpeas
Spanish-style spinach with chickpeas, garbanzos con espinacas in Spanish, is a simple vegetarian Spanish dish.
Even more, garbanzos con espinacas is a healthy and vegan Spanish tapa. This simple dish is made with spinach, chickpeas, olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic and spiced with cumin, ground coriander, and paprika. Breadcrumbs are often added to it.
This traditional Spanish tapa comes, guess from where – Andalusia (again, of course!). Seville is the hometown of garbanzos con espinacos.
Moors prepared this first garbanzos con espinacas in medieval Seville. Chickpeas are traditionally used in Arab cuisines a lot. Moors started making the first garbanzos con espinacas in Seville and Andalusia. But, the medieval Sephardic Jews started preparing it as a kosher dish, while medieval Spanish Christians started preparing it as a quintessential meatless dish during Lent.
If you are in Seville and looking for some Spanish vegetarian food, go for garbanzos con espinacas – a typical Spanish tapa from Seville!
WATCH: GARBANZOS CON ESPINACAS RECIPE
11. Gambas al ajillo – Popular Spanish garlic prawns
Gambas are prawns in Spanish and ajillo is garlic in Spanish.
When you cook Spanish prawns with roasted garlic, olive oil, and small chili in a small clay pot you get a Spanish dish called gambas al ajillo.
Spanish garlic prawns are popular Spanish tapas. Garlic prawns are one of those typical dishes in Spain that originally comes from Andalusia but nowadays you can find them in every tapas bar in Spain. If you are a seafood lover like me and you are up for some good Spanish food, no way you can’t get wrong with gambas al ajillo!
If you are taking a vacation in Malaga, on this evening tapas and wine tour in Malaga you can sample fabulous traditional Spanish tapas with the finest Andalusian wines.
RELATED READ: Best Things to Do in Malaga
WATCH: GAMBAS AL AJILLO RECIPE
12. Bacalao al pil pil – The famous Basque-style fried codfish
Flavorsome Basque food is highly appreciated around the globe.
Iconic Bacalao Al Pil Pil is the most famous Basque dish and one of the most popular seafood dishes in Spain. The secret of making delicious Bacalao Al Pil-Pil lies in the emulsification of the pil pil sauce. Emulsification of salt cod, olive oil, and garlic happens by simply simmering the pot with the ingredients. It sounds like a simple cooking procedure, but only Basque people know how to do it properly to get one of the all-time best Spanish dishes.
If you are planning a trip to the Basque Country, divine Bacalao Al Pil-Pil needs to be on your list of must-try traditional Basque dishes!
RELATED READ: Seafood in Spain
WATCH: BACALAO AL PIL PIL RECIPE
13. Conchilo asado – The famous Spanish roast suckling pig dish
Conchillo Asado is one of the most famous Spanish dishes.
This Spanish dish got famous thanks to Ernest Hemingway who mentioned Conchillo Asado in his ‘The Sun Also Rises’ novel. The celebrated author was a regular guest of Sobrino de Botin restaurant in Madrid where he enjoyed this traditional Spanish dish. Sobrino de Botin is known as the oldest restaurant in the world.
Roast suckling pig is a traditional Spanish dish from Castille. But, Segovia and Madrid are the most popular places to try Conchillo Asado in Spain.
Cochinillo segoviano al horno is the most famous dish from Segovia. But when in Madrid, head to Sobrino de Botin and order Conchillo Asado in Ernest Hemingway’s style. Castillan-style Conchillo Asado is a specialty of the house!
14. Pisto – a famous vegetable Spanish stew
Pisto is a traditional Spanish dish made with vegetables.
Spanish pisto is a vegetarian Spanish dish. Common ingredients of typical Spanish pisto are chopped and finely diced zucchini, eggplants, tomatoes, onions, and red and green peppers.
Spanish pisto is traditionally served with Manchego cheese and egg on top.
15. Gambas a la plancha – Grilled Spanish prawns
Grilled prawns in Spain are traditionally seasoned with olive oil, and sometimes even with white wine.
Gambas a la plancha are served with aioli sauce (a famous Spanish sauce made of olive oil and emulsified smashed garlic), juice lemon, and sometimes even with mayonnaise.
Grilled prawns are a popular hot tapas dish, traditionally served for Christmas in Spain.
16. Almejas a la gaditana – Clams in sherry sauce from Andalusia
Clams are a popular food in Spain.
And Almejas a la Gaditana is a famous seafood dish from Andalusia.
This traditional Spanish dish is made with clams cooked in a broth made of olive oil, finely chopped garlic, chopped parsley, a little bit of salt and pepper, and sweet Sherry wine from Andalusia.
If you traveling to southern Spain, clams in sherry sauce belong to the best Spain dishes.
17. Almejas en sansa verde – The Basque-style clams in green sauce
Clams in a green sauce, or almejas en salsa verde, is a popular dish hailing from the Basque Country in northern Spain.
The salsa verde (green sauce) is made with plenty of parsley, olive oil, white wine, a pinch of salt, and a small tablespoon of fleur (to thicken the sauce). Fresh and cleaned clams are cooked in the green sauce for about 5 minutes. And, that’s it!
Remember, order almejas a la gaditana when you travel to southern spain. But, order almejas en salsa verde when you travel to northern Spain!
18. Bacalao ajoarriero – Spicy codfish dish from Spain
Dishes made with codfish are among the most popular fish dishes in traditional Spanish cuisine, especially in the cuisines of northern Spain.
Bacalao Ajoarriero is a popular Spanish codfish stew from the Navarre region and the Basque country in northern Spain. This famous Spanish dish is also called ‘Bacalao de Pamplona’ in Pamplona.
Bacalao de Pamplona was the favorite Spanish dish of Ernest Hemingway while he lived in Pamplona.
Bacalao Ajoarriero is a simple traditional Spanish dish. It is made from cod chunks cooked with olive oil, grated tomatoes, potatoes, chopped pepper, chopped onion, and lots of – lots of minced garlic cloves and smoked Pimentón de la Vera paprika.
If you like codfish and want to try one of the most famous Spanish dishes in Spain, try Bacalao de Pamplona in Pamplona.
19. Boquerones fritos – The classic Spanish fried anchovies
Spanish fried anchovies are on the menu of all tapas bars in Spain.
Boquerones fritos are one of the most popular foods in Spain. Best fried anchovies you can find in chirinquitos (Spanish beachfront bars).
If you are in Barcelona, on Costa Brava or Costa de Sol, look for a chirinquito! And don’t think twice to order boquerones fritos. This typical Spanish food will make you ask for more!
20. Croquetas – The popular Spanish croquettes
When we talk about tapas food in Spain and common foods in Spain, Spanish croquettes are on the list for sure.
Spanish croquettes are fried breadcrumbs and food leftovers tied with potatoes and bechamel sauce.
Croquettes in Spain are made with jamon (cured ham), bacalao (codfish), queso (creamy cheese), morcilla (local black sausage), or queso de Cabrales (Spanish blue cheese).
Crispy Spanish croquettes are typical Spanish tapas food.
21. Pan con tomate – The popular Spanish bread with tomatoes
Spanish bread with tomatoes might sound like a simple dish, but it is one of the most famous dishes in Spain and exceptionally toothsome!
Pan con Tomate is toasted bread with fresh grated tomatoes sprinkled with salt and olive oil. This quick and easy Spanish tapa is eaten for breakfast, but as an appetizer at night.
Pan con tomate with cafe cortado and freshly squeezed orange juice was my typical Spanish breakfast while hiking Camino de Santiago across Spain.
Pan con tomate is also called pan tumaca (in Catalonia, Aragon, and the Balearic islands).
Remember, pan con tomate might be common Spanish food and might seem like a humble dish, but trust me it is not humble in taste at all. Quite opposite, it is divine! A top Spanish food, again!
Crispy pan con tomate definitely goes on the list of the tastiest Spaniard food.
WATCH: PAN CON TOMATE RECIPE
Traditional Spanish snacks are among the most popular food in Spain
22. Bocadillos – The popular Spanish baguette sandwiches
Bocadillo is a traditional Spanish sandwich made with baguette-like bread.
These high-in-demand Spanish sandwiches are the most common Spanish food eaten everywhere in Spain: from Spanish taverns, tapas bars, cafeterias, and restaurants to Spanish homes.
This famous Spanish snack comes in many forms. Various types of bocadillos sandwiches are popular traditional Spanish food.
The most popular types of bocadillos are omelet bocadillos, cold meat bocadillos, vegetarian bocadillos, egg bocadilllos, fish bocadillos, cheese bocadillos, and even sweet bocadillos.
For sure, these popular Spanish snacks are some of the top favorite Spanish food!
23. Montaditos – The popular finger sandwiches from Spain
Spain is not in love with only big sandwiches – bocadillos, but with tiny Spanish sandwiches – montaditos as well.
Montaditos are popular Spanish foods eaten in every corner of Spain. You know the expression: ‘good things come in small packages‘. Well, try this Spanish finger food!
WATCH: RABO DE TORO RECIPE
24. Pinxtos – The popular Basque tapas are among the most famous Spanish food
Pintxos also spelled pinchos, are traditional Spanish food from the Basque country.
Pintxos are small plates of food traditionally served in the Basque country. Pintxos are famous Basque appetizers.
Pintxos are made of bread slices with meats, cheese (most notably, Idiazábal cheese), cod, squid, octopus, anchovies, olives, and pickled peppers ..and served with a skewer or toothpick. The word ‘pintxo’ means ‘spike’ in the Basque language. Pintxos are traditionally enjoyed with Txakoli wine, (a Basque dry and slightly sparkling wine).
Late Anthony Bourdain raved in his ‘Parts Unknown’ about wild mushrooms with egg yolk pintxos in Ganbara restaurant/bar in San Sebastian. Btw, do you know that San Sebastian is the food capital of Spain? San Sebastian is the top destination in Spain for foodies!
Anyway, it could be said that delicious pintxos are ‘the next level tapas’. Pintxos are a Basque food artwork.
Remember, order tapas in Spain. But, when you travel to the Basque Country in the north of Spain, order pintxos.
25. Membrilo con queso – The traditional Spanish quince jam with cheese
As I said, Spanish Manchego cheese is traditionally served with quince jam (membrillo).
Queso Manchego con membrillo is a classic Spanish tapa. The blend of sweet quince and slightly salty but nutty Manchego cheese is to die for.
Let me add here, I would go back to Spain at this moment just to get some divine slices of Manchego con membrillo!
26. Pimientos de padron – The popular Spanish Padron peppers
Tiny blistered green peppers from the municipality of Padrón in Galicia are some of the most popular Spanish tapas.
Fried Padrón peppers are typically mild in taste, but be aware as there’s always the possibility to encounter a spicy pepper! Tasty Padrón peppers are sprinkled with coarse salt and served hot!
27. Mejillones rellenos – The popular Spanish-style stuffed mussels
Mejillones rellenos, also called tigres, are famous Spanish tapa from Galicia and the Basque country.
Tigres are spicy stuffed mussels and a must-try dish in northern Spain.
To make a long story short, this yummy Spanish tapa dish is prepared with steamed whole mussels that are left in the shells, covered with bechamel sauce (made with dry white wine, and a pinch of spicy peppers), and all together fried with dry breadcrumbs.
In my opinion, tigres mussels belong to the list of the very best tapas in Spain!
WATCH: MEJILLONES RELLENOS RECIPE
28. Empanadas – The famous Spanish pastries
Empanada is a famous Spanish dish.
Spanish empanada is a baked or fried pastry that comes with various fillings. The filling can be savory or sweet. Thus, there are savory empanadas and sweet empanadas.
Savory empanadas are typically filled with meat, cheese, vegetables, and sometimes even fish. Sweet empanadas are typically filled with fruits, usually plums, and apples.
Sweet and savory empanadas are some of the most popular authentic dishes from Spain.
Empanadas originate from the region of Galicia in northwest Spain. However, you can find empanadas in the cuisines of Latin America, the Philippines, and southern Europe.
29. Picos – The popular Spanish breadsticks
Breadsticks called picos are popular Spanish snacks that come with soups and salads in Spain.
Thus, when you order gazpacho or salmorejo, expect to get picos with them too. But, equally important, these crunchy snacks are simply enjoyed with a bowl of olives and a glass of wine in bars and restaurants across Spain.
30. Caracoles – The popular Spanish snail tapas dish
If you seek to taste something beyond classic Spanish dishes and somewhat bizarre but delicious and unique Spanish foods, you should try Spanish caracoles (snails).
Snail tapas might look and sound odd, but you might be surprised to find out that snails in Spain are Spanish traditional food, common Spanish tapas, and even more favorite spring tapas in Spain.
If you are traveling to Spain in the season of snail tapas (in May and June) and want to try one of the unique dishes from Spain, make sure to check out this exceptional Spanish tapa dish.
Read more about my experience of eating snails in Spain: Eating Snail Tapas in Spain
WATCH: CARACOLES RECIPE
31. Calcots – grilled calcot onions from Catalonia
Calcots are unique calcot onions from Catalonia. Calcots have a Protected Geographical Indication.
Grilled calcots are a popular Spanish dish from Catalonia. Grilled calcots over an open fire are tender and soft from the inside. They are typically eaten with romesco sauce (made with olive oil, vinegar, garlic, tomatoes, dried peppers, nuts, and bread), or calçots sauce (made with oil, garlic, tomato, almonds, ñora, and escalibada).
Calcots are typical spring food in Catalonia. So, if you travel to Barcelona in spring, don’t forget to try calcots!
Famous Spanish delicacy
32. Percebes – The goose barnacles from Spain
Are you interested in some more weird food from Spain?
Try Spanish percebes!
Percebes, or goose barnacles, are some of the most expensive food in Spain. The price of goose barnacles in Spain goes up to 200 EURO per kilo. And during the holidays even more!
Twist the tube of boiled percebes off, slip the flesh down, and eat them. This weird and luxurious Spanish tapa tastes like something between clams and lobster.
Goose barnacles are a delicacy from Galicia, Asturias, and the Basque Country. Goose barnacles are called lamperna in the Basque country.
33. Jamon iberico – The Iberian ham
Iberian ham, jamon iberico in Spanish, is traditional Spanish food.
Jamon Iberico is one of the most typical food in Spain and one of the most expensive tapas in Spain.
Ruby red salted and air-dried Spanish cured ham hangs in almost every bar and restaurant in Spain. Jamon Iberico arguably stands as a trademark of Spain.
Unnecessary to say, Iberian ham is one of the most popular Spanish foods, if not the most popular food in Spain.
Jamon Iberico is also known as pata negra in Spain. If you are looking for ‘food made in Spain’ or native Spanish food, Spanish jamon iberico needs to be on your bucket list of authentic Spanish food.
There are two types of cured Spanish ham: jamon serrano and jamon iberico.
Jamon iberico de bellota is top-quality ham (the finest ham in Spain), while jamon serrano is of less quality and cheaper Spanish ham.
34. Txipirones en su tinta – The Basque baby squids in their ink sauce
Basque Country in northern Spain is known for fabulous pintxos and delicious seafood dishes.
Squid in ink, txipirones en su tinta in the Basque language, is one of the most famous Basque dishes. The black sauce is made with squid ink and sweet onions.
This popular Basque dish is one of the all-time best Spanish dishes.
WATCH: TXIPIRONES EN SU TINTA RECIPE
Common Spanish food
35. Chorizo – The traditional Spanish sausage
The list of Spanish food from Spain wouldn’t be complete without Iberico chorizo.
Chorizo, aka sausage, is a typical Spanish food.
Spanish pork sausage with sweet and spicy paprika flavor is called chorizo. To be more precise, this fresh or cured Spanish sausage is made of chopped pork marinated in pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika), herbs, spices, and white wine.
Spanish chorizo is one of the common foods in Spain. It is eaten solely along with bread or as an ingredient in many popular Spanish dishes.
Yes, chorizo comes in many common Spanish dishes. Spanish pork sausage is a kind of food that blends well with almost everything.
Spanish chorizo is one of those Spain cultural foods that come in different variations: sweet, spicy, smoked, unsmoked, fresh, and dry-cured. After all, chorizo is one of the traditional foods from Spain you need to try while in Spain.
Popular Spanish cheese
36. Queso Manchego – The most famous Manchego cheese from Spain
When we talk about famous Spain food, then cheese from Spain needs to be mentioned too.
Authentic Spanish cheese is some of the yummiest traditional Spanish food.
Queso Manchego is an authentic Spanish cheese made of milk of the Manchega sheep from the La Mancha region in central Spain. Needless to say, Manchego cheese is the most popular Spanish cheese and should be on any Spanish foods list.
This semi-hard cheese is characterized by sweet caramel and a nutty flavor. Spanish Manchego goes well with toasted almonds, honey, and fruits. But most commonly Manchego in Spain is served with membrillo (quince jam).
If you are after amazing food products from Spain and some of the best and most famous food in Spain, you need to try queso Manchego!
37. Pascualino queso – The popular Pascualino cheese from Spain
Manchego cheese is the most famous Spanish cheese.
But Spain produces many types of first-class cheese. Here I am listing one of them – Pascualino cheese, as I would love you to try it in Spain. As you can see in the photo it won some world awards.
Pascualino queso is a raw sheep cheese, oval in form, and smooth in taste with vanilla, caramel, toffee, and violet flavors. I bought Pasqualino cheese as a souvenir from Spain and as a gift to my family. They loved it!
Popular Spanish desserts
38. Churros con chocolate – The popular Spanish pastry with chocolate
When talking about traditional food from Spain and popular food in Spain, on the list should be popular desserts in Spain too.
So, let’s talk about authentic Spanish desserts.
Churros with chocolate is undeniably a Spanish favorite dessert. Actually, Spaniards eat their beloved churros daily while sipping coffee for breakfast. Typical Spanish breakfast includes dipping churros in dark chocolate.
Coffee and some sweets for breakfast? I am in. And what about you?
RELATED READ: Traditional Spanish breakfasts
39. Crema Catalana – The famous Spanish caramel custard
France has creme brulee, and Spain has crema catalana.
Spanish custard with a caramel topping is one of the most popular Spanish desserts. This creamy Spanish dessert is made only of milk and eggs, and with just a little bit of cornstarch to thicken the texture.
Authentic Crema Catalana is flavored with lemon peels and cinnamon sticks. A perfect fit for a king!
RELATED READ: Traditional Spanish desserts
WATCH: CREMA CATALANA RECIPE
40. Arroz con leche – The popular Spanish rice pudding
Rice pudding is a popular dessert in many countries, including Spain.
Rice pudding in Spain is called Arroz con Leche. There’s no need to explain why rice pudding is so popular. Let me just say that creamy rice blends perfectly with sweet and warm cinnamon and refreshing lemon.
So, if you like rice, cinnamon, and lemon, Arroz con Leche is the Spanish dessert to go for in Spain!
41. Tortas de aceite – The traditional Spanish olive oil biscuits
Spanish olive oil tortas are famous Spanish biscuits.
Tortas de aceite of wheat flour, white egg, sugar, and olive oil with anis, sesame seeds, and almonds.
Although these crispy sweet wafers originate from southern Spain, today tortas de aceite are enjoyed all over Spain.
42. Turron – The popular Spanish nougat candy
Turron is the most famous Spanish sweet.
Spanish turron is a nougat candy made of sugar, eggs, honey, and roasted nuts, most commonly almonds but sometimes pistachios too. There are two main types of turron: turron de Alicante (or turron duro) and turron de Jijona (or turron blando).
Turron de Alicante is hard and brittle, while turron de Jijona is soft and chewy.
Just to mention, Spain is the biggest exporter of turron in the World, although ‘torrone’ (as it is called in Italy) is popular foods in Italy too. Don’t forget to try turron while in Spain!
43. Magdalenas – The popular Spanish muffins
Magdalenas are traditional Spanish muffins.
Spanish magdalenas are simple muffins but more fluffy and more lemony than muffins you can find in other countries.
Spaniards traditionally use a lot of lemon for flavoring cakes and biscuits. So, Spanish muffins come with a generous amount of lemon flavoring.
Magdalenas are some of the most popular Spanish cakes. Lemony magdalenas are sold in bars across Spain and are typically enjoyed with coffee for breakfast in Spain.
44. Tarta de Santiago – The famous Spanish almond cake is among the most famous Spanish foods
Tarta de almendras, or Tarta de Santiago, is the most popular Spanish almond cake.
Tarta de Santiago means Cake of St. James. It’s made of almonds and decorated with the St. James cross.
The cake is a signature dessert of Santiago de Compostela. The cake was created in medieval times and it’s related to the famous pilgrimage route of Camino de Santiago (St James Way).
Today this fantastic almond cake can be found not only in Santiago de Compostela and Galicia but throughout Spain.
45. Basque cheesecake – The famous cake from the Basque country
Burnt Basque cheesecake is one of the most famous cakes from the Basque Country.
The Basque burnt cheesecake comes with a sweet and creamy interior and caramelized and somewhat bitter exterior.
The Basque cheesecake was invented in the famous La Viña restaurant in San Sebastian in 1990. The cake is typically prepared 3 days before serving and is always served at room temperature.
Basque burnt cheesecake is one of the most delicious cakes from Spain and a must-try on the trip to San Sebastian.
WATCH: BASQUE BURNT CHEESECAKE RECIPE
47. Rosquillas de Semana Santa – The Spanish Easter donuts
Easter in Spain is one of the most important historical, cultural, social, and religious events.
Holy Week is uniquely celebrated in Spain. Semana Santa in Spain is one of the most spectacular fiestas in Spain. Marvelous religious processions go through the main streets of Spanish cities, towns, and villages.
Fluffy Spanish rosquillas are traditional Spanish Easter donuts. They are made with fresh Spanish orange juice and aromatic Spanish lemon rid.
If you are visiting Spain during Semana Santa, rosquillas are a must-try!
48. Torrijas – The popular Spanish-style French toasts
The list of traditional Spanish dishes would not be complete without mentioning traditional Spanish bread pudding.
Sweet torrijas are Spanish-style French toast.
This sweet Spanish dish is prepared by frying previously soaked bread slices in milk and wine with spices (cinnamon, lemon rid, or cloves). The most typical spice used for torrijas is cinnamon though.
Torrijas are traditionally eaten in Spain during Lent (40 days before Easter) and especially during Holy Week (called Semana Santa in Spanish).
But nowadays aromatic torrijas are some of the most popular breakfast foods in Spain.
49. Cuajada – The popular Spanish milk curd
Milk curd is called cuajada in Spain.
Spanish cuajada is one of the must-try traditional Spanish desserts. This cheese product is traditionally made from sheep’s milk. But, modern cuajada sold in Spanish shops is made from cow’s milk.
Light and mild-in-taste cujada is usually eaten with honey and walnuts in Spain. Cuajada is especially appreciated in northern Spain. Cuajada is also called mamia in the Basque country. The first time I tried mamia aka cujada was in the Basque country during my Camino del Norte hike.
Popular Spanish drinks
50. Sangria – The famous Spanish red wine cocktail
Popular Spanish cuisine consists of popular Spain food and popular Spain drinks.
Thus, it’s time to talk about authentic Spanish drinks. I believe Spanish Sangria doesn’t need any special introduction.
Sangria is probably the all-time most famous Spanish drink. Red wine with sweet chopped fruit with orange juice or brandy makes a divine mix.
A vacation in Spain without Sangria is not a vacation in Spain at all. Amen!
WATCH: SANGRIA RECIPE
51. Tinto de Verano – The popular Spanish wine-based drink
Tinto de Verano is another classic Spanish drink that comes from the list of famous Spanish foods and drinks.
When you mix red wine with lemon soda you get one of the most refreshing drinks you will ever taste. Tinto de Verano is popularly known as ‘Spanish summer wine‘. The name says it all.
Spain + summer + wine = ♥
52. Rioja wine – The most famous Spanish wine
As you might know, wine is considered food in wine regions of the Old World. Many Europeans considered wine to be food.
Wine is a common part of a typical meal in many countries in Europe. One of those countries is Spain. So, when talking about traditional Spanish food and traditional Spanish meals, it is impossible not to mention Spanish wine. And the best Spanish wine is Rioja wine.
La Rioja is a region between the Basque Country, Navarre, and Castile-León in northern Spain and the most famous wine-making Spanish region.
The region has over 16.000 vineyards and over 600 wineries (out of which about 200 wineries are open for wine tasting).
Rioja wines are red (tinto), white (blanco), and pink (rosado). However, red Rioja wine is rated as the finest Rioja wine and one of the best wines in the world.
So, if you want to try the best wine in Spain, go to Rioja.
53. Cava wine – The popular Spanish sparkling wine
Talking about foods and wines from Spain cava wine can’t be missed out on.
This authentic Spanish sparkling wine is similar to French Champagne. Cava wines originate from the Catalonia region in Spain but these days famous ‘Spanish champagne‘ is produced also in Aragon, La Rioja, Basque Country, Castile and Leon, Extremadura, Valencia, and Navarre.
Cava wines come as blanc or rose. They best go with Manchego cheese, Spanish seafood, egg dishes, and fruit-based desserts.
54. Sherry – The famous Spanish dessert wine
Spanish Sherry is authentic Spanish wine.
Sherry originates from the town of Jerez in Andalucia. The name Sherry is an anglicized version of Jerez.
Authentic sherry wine is a sweet dessert wine made of white grapes. Sherry wine varies from driest Sherry Fino and light Sherry Manzilla, rich in flavor Sherry Manzilla Posada, medium sweetened Sherry Amontillado, darker in color Sherry Oloroso and Palo Cortado, to sweet black Jerez Dulce.
Sweet Sherry makes sweet memories of Spain, for sure!
If you happen to be in Seville and have limited time, on this Cadiz and Jerez sherry tasting day trip from Seville you will savor the first quality sherry.
55. Sidra – The Spanish cider
Southern Spain has sweet Sherry wine, but northern Spain has cider.
Natural cider is made from fermented apples, has a low percentage of alcohol (around 5%), and is still.
Cider has been produced in Asturias and the Basque Country in northern Spain for centuries. Asturias produces about 45 million liters of cider a year. And the Basque Country produces about 13 million liters of cider a year.
Cider is called sidra in Asturias, and sagrado in the Basque Country. Cider is enjoyed in traditional cider houses, called sidrerias in Asturias and sagardotegi in the Basque Country.
Touring cider houses in Asturias and the Basque Country is one of the best experiences in Spain. Head to Asturias and the Basque Country and get cider poured from a barrel straight to your glass!
56. Cerveza – The Spanish beer
Is it possible to talk about Spain’s cuisine and not mention Spain’s Cerveza?!
If you prefer beer to wine, cold Spanish beer goes well with Spanish tapas as well. And Spain doesn’t lack good beers. That being so, Spaniards are one of the biggest beer-drinking nations in the World.
There are many good-quality Spanish beers to choose from. The most popular Spanish beers are Estrella Galicia (from Coruna), Alhambra (from Granada), Mahou (from Madrid), San Miguel (from Madrid), Cruz Campo (from Madrid), and Ambar (from Zaragoza).
56. Zumo de naranja – The Spanish fresh-squeezed orange juice
Sunny Valencia in Spain is one of the top-producing regions of the finest oranges in the world.
Sweet Valencian oranges belong to the list of the best Spanish foods. But Spanish zumo de naranja is one of the most popular drinks in Spain.
Fresh-squeezed orange juice is a serious deal in Spain. It’s a crucial part of traditional Spanish breakfast. A day in Spain always starts with a healthy glass of vitamin C.
Fresh-squeezed juice from Valencian oranges is made in Spanish homes and Spanish bars and restaurants. Pretty much every café in Spain has a machine that squeezes oranges and makes the sweet juice just in front of you.
POPULAR SPANISH FOOD RESTAURANTS IN SPAIN
MOST POPULAR SPANISH FOOD RESTAURANTS IN BARCELONA
La Gastronómica Platillos – address: Carrer de Calabria, 118, 08015 Barcelona Spain
Bodega Biarritz 1881 Tapas bar – address: Carrer Nou de Sant Francesc, 7, 08002 Barcelona Spain
Diegos Bar Restaurant – address: Avinguda Meridiana 127 Local 1 Entre C// Arago Y C// Valencia, 08026 Barcelona Spain
MOST POPULAR SPANISH FOOD IN MADRID
Los Montes de Galicia – address: Calle Azcona 46, 28028 Madrid Spain
Entre Santos Madrid – address: Calle San Bartolomè 4, 28004 Madrid Spain
MOST POPULAR SPANISH FOOD IN SEVILLE
Restaurante & tapas El Sella – address: Calle Pureza 4 Triana Comida para llevar, 41010 Seville Spain
La Comilona – address: Calle de Luis Arenas Ladislao s/n Benito Mas y Prat, 41005 Seville Spain
Abaceria del Postigo – address: Calle de Tomas de Ibarra 4, 41001 Seville Spain
SPANISH FOOD GIFT BASKETS
Spanish Fiesta Premier Gourmet Gift Basket: Gourmet Cheese Assortment, Ham, Spanish Chorizo, Spanish Olives, Gourmet Chocolates, and Spain’s Finest Delicacies
A Little Bit of Spain in Gift Box: Fine Cheeses, Meats, Spanish Delicacies, and Sweets
SPANISH FOOD COOKBOOKS TO READ
Tapas (Revised): The Little Dishes of Spain: A Cookbook
Clarita’s Cocina: Great Traditional Recipes from a Spanish Kitchen
Catalan Food: Culture and Flavors from the Mediterranean: A Cookbook
Basque Country: A Culinary Journey Through a Food Lover’s Paradise
BASIC VOCABULARY FOR EATING IN SPAIN
Some basic Spanish vocabulary to help you to navigate easier through Spanish gastronomy and Spain foods:
Drink in Spanish is la bebida.
Food in Spanish is la comida.
Snack in Spanish is el tentempie, or la merineda.
Breakfast in Spanish is called desayuno. Typical Spanish breakfast consists of coffee and pastry.
Lunch in Spanish is called comida. Spanish comida comes between 2 pm and 4 pm. Typical Spanish lunch consists of soup and salad as the first course, meat or fish as the second course, and pastry, cake or fruit as dessert.
Dinner in Spanish is called cena. In Spain dinner comes from 9 pm until 11 pm. Spanish dinner is much lighter than lunch. Typical Spanish dinner consists of selections of salads, sandwiches or tapas.
Appetizers in Spanish are called los aperitivos. The most popular appetizers in Spain are various kinds of tapas snacks.
POPULAR SPANISH FOOD ON INSTAGRAM
To end, don’t forget to check out popular Spanish food on Instagram (the #spanishfood hashtag) for some Instagram food inspiration.
I have just checked out some hashtags about popular food in Spain. Solely the paella hashtag (#paella) has more than two million and two thousand posts on Instagram and the sangria Instagram hashtag (#sangria) leads with two million and nine thousand Instagram posts.
But if you play and mix some Instagram hashtags and Instagram captions related to Spain and Spanish food aka Espana food, the number of Instagram posts about popular food in Spain goes enormously up.
Well. Spain, Spanish vacation, and Spanish food are definitely inseparable. And with a good reason. There’s no good vacation without good food. And, Spain and food from Spain beat many ethnic cuisines in the World.
PS: I hope you liked my introductory guide to Spanish food with Spanish food pictures and Spanish food names!
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What is the national dish of Spain?
Paella (Spanish rice dish) is widely accepted as the national dish of Spain. But gazpacho (Spanish cold tomato soup) and tortilla de patatas or Tortilla Espanola (Spanish omelet) are also considered among Spaniards national dishes of Spain.
What food is Spain known for?
Spain is best known for jamon iberico, paella, gazpacho, tortilla espanola, pan con tomate, pullpo a la gallega, bocadillos, montaditos, rabo de torro, Iberico chorizo, salmorejo, montaditos, churros.
What food is popular in Spain?
Popular food in Spain is Spanish ham (jamon iberico), Spanish rice dish (paella), Spanish tomato soup (gazpacho), Spanish omelette (tortilla Espanola), Spanish sandwiches (bocadillos), Spanish finger food sandwiches (montaditos), Galician octopus (pullpo a la gallega), Spanish sausage (Iberico chorizo), Spanish garlic prawns (gambas al ajillo), Spanish spinach with chickpeas (garbanzos con espinacas), Spanish cooked oxtail (rabo de torro), Spanish fried anchovies (boquerones fritos), Spanish croquettes (croquetas), Spanish cooked snails (caracoles), Spanish snails in tomato sauce (cabrillas en tomate), Spanish fried fish (pescaito frito), Spanish Manchego cheese (queso Manchego), Spanish fried-dough pastry (churros), Spanish custard (crema Catalana), and Spanish nougat candy (turron).
Where does paella come from?
Paella originates from the Spanish region of Valencia but it is eaten all over Spain and it is considered a national dish of Spain.
What is the most famous food in Spain?
The most famous food in Spain is paella (Spanish rice dish), tortilla Espanola (Spanish omelette), jamon iberico (Spanish ham), gazpacho (Spanish tomato soup), Iberico chorizo (Spanish sausage)…
What are the most popular Spanish dishes?
The most popular Spanish dishes are paella (Spanish rice dish), tortilla Espanola (Spanish omelet), gazpacho (Spanish tomato soup), pullpo a la gallega (Galician-style octopus), ambas al ajillo (Spanish garlic prawns), garbanzos con espinacas (Spanish-style spinach with chickpeas)…
What is traditional Spanish food?
Traditional Spanish food is jamon iberico (Spanish ham), tortilla Espanola (Spanish omelette), paella (Spanish rice dish), chorizo iberico (Spanish sausage), gazpacho (Spanish tomato soup), rabo de torro (Spanish cooked oxtail), Crema Catalana (Spanish custard), turron (Spanish nougat candy) …
What do people in Spain eat?
Spanish people use lots of olive oil, wheat, vegetables, meats (chicken, pork, veal, and lamb), fish and seafood (especially in coastal Spain), and herbs (parsley, oregano, thyme, and rosemary) in their diet. Tortilla Espanola (Spanish omelet), jamon iberico (Spanish ham), chorizo iberico (Spanish sausage), paella (Spanish rice dish), and croquetas (Spanish croquettes) are some of the most common food in Spain.
What food is Spain famous for?
Spain is famous for paella (famous Spanish rice dish), gazpacho (famous Spanish tomato soup), pullpo a la gallega (famous Galician-style octopus dish), jamon iberico (famous Spanish ham), queso Manchego (famous Manchego cheese), zamburiñas a la gallega (famous Galician-style scallops), pimientos de padron (famous Spanish Padron peppers), Bacalao Al Pil-Pil (famous Basque cod dish), membrillo con queso (famous Spanish tapa of cheese with quince jam)…
What do Spanish people eat?
Traditional Spanish cuisine belongs to Mediterranean cuisine which is made up of three essential foods: olive (most importantly, for olive oil), wheat (for bread making), and grape (for winemaking). As such, Spanish cuisine is rich in olive oil, wheat, and other grains, vegetables, and fruits, but low in dairy and meat. Besides that, traditional Spanish dishes use lots of herbs like parsley, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. The most popular traditional Spanish dishes are paella (Spanish rice dish), tortilla Espanola (Spanish omelet), jamon Iberico (Spanish ham), gazpacho (Spanish tomato soup), etc.
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Tuesday 7th of March 2023
The food in Spain is very tasty, it's also cheap. I really like the typical dishes and the people are very friendly. The experience was really good. I'll come back one day.
Monday 26th of April 2021
hello yes this was very informational. I am doing a school report on spain and this helped very much. Thank you for posting.-6th grader
Wednesday 24th of March 2021
Traveling to Spain in 2022 with my 16 year old granddaughter. Thanks for providing this information on our “must experience” food and drink adventure. So excited to share this with her.
Sunday 15th of November 2020
Hoping travel to Alicante,Spain, next year in the spring Looking forward trying there cuisine.
Sunday 14th of February 2021
Awesome! I also loved Spanish cuisine, I have been there in 2019.
Sunday 19th of April 2020
I so love Spanish Cuisine. The food in our country has so many similarities. In fact, I cooked some of these dishes at home :)