Updated: May 26, 2022
From tasty tapas to incredible seafood and traditions, food in Spain is all about making the most of the best local produce. I compiled this list after going on a tour with Secret Food Tours where we learned about all the best foods to eat while in Spain.
Before I went, people talked about how awesome it was and I wasn’t sure I believed it, but after going… I am a complete believer! Here’s the food to try in Spain that you don’t want to miss.
My list has to contain some of the most typical things you will see basically everywhere, but it’s also got a few things that seriously surprised me while I was there. Each region is known for something different and just because you are in Spain doesn’t mean you should get the same thing everywhere you go.
All Over Spain
This is one food you’ve got to try all different ways! In a cup, from a grocery store, and in local markets. It’s a specialty in Spain and one leg costs over $150 or more depending on how fancy you go. The pigs are raised in really specific ways to be considered Iberica Ham so watch what you buy while there!
Every day near Monsterrat different local vendors set up outside the monestary. There you will find the most increidble Manchengo cheeses! Manchengo is a region and the cheese can be found all over Spain, but the best we had was on top of the mountian. If you’re there do not miss out.
A Spanish tortilla is made of egg and potato, but isn’t always eaten for breakfast! You’ll find it all over Madrid and this simple dish is a Spanish classic that is easy for everyone to enjoy.
Nowhere is the pintxos experience better than in San Sebastián, or Donostia as it’s known in the Basque language. The city is the cultural capital of Basque country and a culinary capital of the world. Pintxos are similar to tapas in the fact that they are small bites or plates with excellent ingredients.
In San Sebastian, you’ll go to a Pinxtos spot and pick out what you want before you take a seat. You can order more or just keep going back up to the bar to pick out more delicious food. This makes it an easy way to hop from one Pinxtos spot to the next.
Fresh Grilled Fish
San Sebastian is a seafood lover’s paradise! It’s no surprise that there is awesome seafood in Spain. The fish there is so fresh and delicious. It’s one place you’ve got to eat a whole grilled fish. Fresh, delicious, and simple is the way to go for this one.
Completely unexpectedly, Madrid has some of the best calamari I’ve every tasted and it’s in the form of a sandwich. I had never heard or seen this before and it was incredibly delicious. The calamari itself is so good that you’ll want to eat it alone, but the experience of eating it on a sandwich is even better! This was a food that surprised me on our food tour in Madrid. You’ll find lots of incredible food on a Secret Food Tours.
Cava Baja, Madrid
Tapas are all over Spain, but Madrid is the spot to go for cheap and delicious tapas. Every where we went in Madrid there were little spots to try something different. Most will have the jamon and bread, but each place has a few different dishes that are cheap and delicious.
Madrid is the city where you order a drink and they will bring you a small plate (tapa) for real, unlike other parts of Spain that simply give you olives (like we got several times in Barcelona). This makes Madrid the spot to go for tapas. We were recommended a little street not far from Plaza Mayor where there were tons of tapas bars. It was easy to hop from one to the next trying delicious food.
We tried to get Paella in Madrid they said wait for San Sebastián. We got to San Sebastián and they said wait for Barcelona. This Barcelona tip was perfect! It is the place to get the best and most fresh paella. Paella is a seafood rice dish that is cooked in a large pan with lots of delicious spices. The pans are actually huge and can usually be shared by two people so be prepared if you order one on your own for a ton of delicious food!
Churros con Chocolate
Churros are one treat you’ve got to have while in Spain. They’re best when you can dip them in chocolate or are covered in chocolate! So delicious and a Spanish classic. They come in all different forms (covered in chocolate, sugar, plain, hot, frozen) and they are all delicious!
The original is plain with hot chocolate (more like chocolate sauce) to the side. Try them all over and get your classic in Madrid. San Sebastian has them right on the beach which is the perfect afternoon snack too.
Rioja (Wine Altogether, Really)
San Sebastian is right near the Rioja region in Spain. The wine there is incredible and even the cheapest bottles are delicious. You honestly cannot go wrong, but the Rioja was my favorite while in Spain!
Gin and Tonic
I wish I had pictures of the different gin and tonics that I got while in San Sebastian! It’s the place to get one because they are huge and very delicious! They add some different spices into their drink that make it incredibly unique and delicious! If you get to San Sebastian, make sure you order one.
Vermouth is a very unique tasting drink and really different in Spain than the Vermouth I’ve had here in the states. You can get it all over Spain, but it’s a really easy drink to sip and perfect for a day on the beach. That’s why I recommend getting it while in Barcelona! Beach bars serve it and give you the chance to relax while sipping on this chilled drink. This liquor is easily one of my favorites now.
There are so many wonderful traditional foods to try in Spain! Traditional Spanish cider (cidre) is really unexpected. It’s not sweet and very dry. Perfect with some Manchego cheese and refreshing to sip. Madrid is the home of the first Spanish ciders and so it’s the spot to go for it!
No matter what you eat, you will love all the different food to try in spain. No matter which holiday destination in Spain you choose, you’re bound to love the food. Seriously my favorite country for food I’ve been to so far (okay along with Italy and Peru!).