20 Must-Try Dishes While Visiting Spain

Spain has a little bit of everything for everyone, which is why it’s one of the most popular destinations for vacations. You can always find something that’s suitable to your hobbies and interests whether they’re history, scenery, festivals, or tours, but one thing that we all need and love, is good food.

Luckily for us, Spain has hundreds of dishes and cuisines that are absolutely mouthwateringly delicious and to die for. So while you’re exploring the beautiful city, you can be rest assured that you’re going to eat amazing food along the way. Following are the most popular dishes in Spain that you must try while visiting it.

Most Popular Spanish Dishes

1. Paella

paella dish with rice, shrimp and mussels

Considered to be the National Dish of Spain, Paella tis he most popular and known dish in Spain. It’s a Spanish rice dish that originated in the city of Valencia, but is eaten throughout the entire country. You can find tons of different types of Paella, such as meat, chicken, seafood, mixed, or even vegan Paella, making this dish perfect for just about everyone who is looking for a taste of Spain.

2. Gazpacho

two clear glass cups filled with tomato soup and garnished with cubed cucumbers and basil (Gazpacho)

Gazpacho at its core, is a cold soup. This authentic dish is made of tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, peppers, cucumbers, and bread. The ingredients of Gazpacho are blended until smooth and server as an appetizer, or even simply drunk out of a glass. Considered a staple of Spain and one of the best soups world-wide, this appetizer is absolutely perfect for those Spanish summers.

3. Tapas

While Tapas are technically appetizers and not a whole dish, they’re the perfect Spanish snack that comes in tons of different forms. Some of the most popular forms, are “Croquettas”, or Spanish Croquettes, and “Patatas Bravas”, or Spicy Potatoes.

These appetizers can be hot or cold, meat based, seafood based, or vegetable based. Tapas at their core, are small dishes that can be a light snack, or are paired with a main dish, and with so many different types of tapas, it’s a guarantee that you’ll find many that you love.

4. Empanadas

Whether you’re a fan of savory or sweet, you can find Empanadas in both styles. Empanadas are pastries that are usually either fried or baked, and have various fillings. The sweet empanadas may contain fruits, while the savory ones usually are protein-based, containing a meat such as chicken or beef, often with cheese.

These baked or fried pockets of dough are popular throughout all of Latin America and Europe, with each country or culture having their own personalized version. One thing that all Empanadas have in common though, is that they’re absolutely delicious and a must-try for anyone who is fortunate enough to come across them.

5. Pinchos Morunos

Pinchitos, or Pinchos Morunos, are a traditional Spanish dish of Moorish origin. The dish is usually made with chicken or pork, and is put on skewers, resembling a kebab. The meat is marinated in olive oil and a spice blend of up to 40 different spices, and then cooked over charcoal. You’ll find this dish served with Spanish bread and lemon. 

6. Tortilla Española

Also called Spanish Omelets, Tortilla Española is one of the most common and popular foods in all of Spain. This dish is made up of potatoes and eggs that are fried olive oil, some places add slow-cooked onions, while others completely frown up adding onions to this dish.

This breakfast food is served all around and is a staple of Spanish breakfast, and your own toppings can be added to it, often including toppings such as peppers, spinach, and more.

7. Churros

Undeniably Spain’s favorite dessert, Churros are fried dough that is typically eaten as either breakfast, or as a snack. The Spanish absolutely love dipping their Churros in chocolate, and we think you should try it too. These cinnamon-dusted pastries are famous throughout the entire country, and are often served everywhere from restaurants to street stalls.

8. Pollo Al Ajillo

An ancient classic in Spain, Pollo Al Ajillo is a Spanish garlic chicken that’s known as a traditional family meal and is often made right at home. The method of preparation often involves frying garlic in olive oil, taking the garlic out and adding chicken, and then when the chicken is cooked, re-adding the garlic to the dish, along with other spices and herbs. Every family has their own version of a Pollo Al Ajillo recipe, but they can all agree that the secret is in the garlic.

9. Cachopo

Traditionally made with Veal, Cachopo consists of two breaded and fried Veal fillets, often stuffed with cheese and garnished with potatoes, peppers, or mushrooms. There are multiple variations of Cachopo, so for those who don’t eat Veal, there are plenty of other options that can be made, making this dish able to be enjoyed by almost everyone, so while the original Cachopo is a meat-lover’s dream, seafood and chicken variants can also be found.

10. Manchego Cheese

No list of must-try Spanish foods is complete without mentioning the cheese of Spain, Manchego. Made from Sheep’s milk, this cheese requires the sheep producing the milk to be on a special diet, thus giving the cheese a slightly salty taste. The Manchego cheese is made right in central Spain, and is often served with jam, toasted almonds, fruits, or honey.

11. Carbayones

Considered the culture symbol of the city of Oviedo, this almond pastry is absolutely beloved. The Carbayones, or Carbayon, is a pastry consisting of a crusty layer of lemon juice, syrup, and cinnamon, and is stuffed with a mixture of egg, ground almonds, and sugar. Cabayones are absolutely delicious and are perfect for breakfast or as a snack.

 12. El Arroz Negro

Sometimes referred to as “Black Paella”, El Arroz Negro, which literally translates to “Black Rice”, is actually a risotto, not a Spanish rice. The highlight of this dish is that the white rice is cooked with squid ink, which gives it the black color. This dish is great for seafood lovers and is one of the most unique dishes that you can find in Spain.

13. Pisto

The Spanish traditional version of Ratatouille, Pisto is often served as a starter. The key to this dish is slow cooking, as Pisto cannot be rushed. The dish consists of tomatoes, peppers, garlic, onions and zucchini that are all slowly fried in olive oil. Try ordering Pisto with eggs for an enjoyable and full-of-energy breakfast.

14.  Bocadillos

Bocadillos aren’t a specific food, but rather they’re sandwiches made with delicious Spanish bread. As with any sandwich, you can fill them with whatever you’d like. These sandwiches are quick, convenient, and can be found just about everywhere in Spain.

15. Crema Catalana

Crema Catalana is Spain’s own delicious version of Crème Brulee. The difference between the two is that while Crème Brulee is made with cream, this popular Catalan dessert is made with milk. Crema Catalana is also made with cinnamon, sugar, and lemon zest. If you’re a Crème Brulee lover, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy this dessert.

16. Gambas Al Ajillo

One of the most popular foods and a fan-favorite for seafood lovers, Gambas Al Ajillo is garlic shrimp. Served all over Spain, Gambas Al Ajillo comes in olive oil, and is served with Spanish bread. It’s very common after finishing this dish to soak up the delicious olive oil with the bread after finishing your meal, as it has a garlicy and rich taste.

17. Turrón

While available all-year round, Turrón is eaten in absolute masses during Christmas time. This almond nougat uses locally grown almonds, mixed with egg whites and honey. Two basic types of Turrón can be found, a hard type with pieces of almond on the inside, and Jijona, which is a soft and smooth version. Try both and see which you like more!

18. Caracoles

If you’re trying to eat something bizarre yet delicious, look no further than Caracoles, or in English: Snails. This isn’t a classic Spanish food, but it’s still traditional in Spain. The delicacy consists of snails that are cooked in a garlic broth and can be serves as tapas, or as enhancers in other dishes such as rabbits with snails, or snails in tomato sauce. So, if you’d like to try a local and beloved delicacy, look no further than Caracoles.

19. Leche Frita

A delectable dish in Northern Spain, Leche Frita literally translates to “Fried Milk”. Milk, flour, sugar, and butter are all cooked together until the mixture thickens and becomes a sort of dough. This milk dough is then fried and sprinkled with cinnamon and is often enjoyed with a side of ice cream. This sweet dish makes a perfect pair with ice cream and we recommend that you’d get this as a dessert in a restaurant or pastry shop, as it can now be found throughout all of Spain.

 20. Torrijas

Originally, Torrijas, or Spanish-Style French Toast, was only eaten during Lent, which are the 40 days before Easter. These days, it’s one of the most popular breakfast options that you can find. This aromatic Spanish bread pudding, consists of frying bread that has been soaked in milk, and then adding spices, usually Cinnamon. Torrijas are both a Spanish and tourist favorite, as the savory and sweet taste is a perfect start to the day.

Have you tried any of these amazing dishes? Tell us in the comments below!

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