Eat Your Way Across Spain: Taste the Best Spanish Food!
Spain has hundreds of years of history and influences from many different cultures. Because of this, each region of Spain has its own cuisine that has been shaped over time, dish by dish. Wherever you are in Spain, you’re guaranteed to eat incredible food. However, to eat the best Spanish food in each region you should know what the specialties are in that area. Traveling across Spain is an amazing adventure and eating your way around the map is even better!
Southern Spain is vibrant in culture, history, and of course, cuisine. Known for tapas, flamenco, and bullfighting, southern Spain enjoys bright, sunny days and a relaxed lifestyle. Locals love to meet for meals together to share some tapas and a beer over good conversation. Since the south is quite hot, you can find many delicious dishes that help beat the heat. Gazpacho and salmorejo, which are both cold tomato-based soups, are a refreshing break from the Andalusian sun. Cold tapas are found on every menu to help cool you down as well.
Andalusia also borders the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean so there is plenty of fresh seafood all year long. Southern Spain specializes in fried fish of every variety, so be sure to try some favorites like adobo, choco, and boquerones. Grilled fish is plentiful and is a favorite at seaside restaurants in the summer.
Lastly, make sure that you try Spanish ham from the south. Jamón ibérico from Huelva or Azuaga can’t be beat! Locals love this flavorful, cured meat and you’ll understand why as soon as you taste it. Salty, savory, and delicious, Spanish ham is a delicacy from southern Spain. Join Food Lover Tour in Malaga or Seville to sample the best Spanish food in the south!
The north of Spain is a food lover’s dream as this region is famous for its cuisine, innovation, and several internationally-recognized chefs and restaurants. The north includes the autonomous communities of Cantabria, Asturias, Galicia, Navarre, and the Basque Country. Within the north, these communities all have their own local specialties. The north is known for eating well, both in quality of food and portions.
The Basque Country is the ultimate foodie deestination. Bar hop and try different pinchos, or small tapas served on sticks, made from fresh, local ingredients. This region also has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other in Spain, so it’s also a great choice for fine dining and gastronomic experiences. Galicia is known for its delicious seafood, especially dishes like pulpo a la gallega, or Galician-style octopus. Grilled fish and seafood is abundant in every tapas bar and restaurant in the north. If you’re into heartier cuisine, try typical soups and stews using legumes and local meat and fish. These will warm you up after a chilly day exploring northern Spain.
Catalonia and Valencia
Catalan cuisine uses the best of its local ingredients, including fish from the Mediterranean, meat from the interior, and fresh fruits and veggies. There are many dishes that love to combine these ingredients, like pork meatballs served with cuttlefish, butifarra (pork sausage) with beans, and stuffed canelons. Rice dishes are prominent, as well as fideuà, a variation of paella made with vermicelli noodles. Food Lover Tour can show you the best Spanish food in Barcelona on any one of our food tours!
Valencia is the birthplace of Spain’s most popular dish, paella. While paella has many different variations, if you want the most authentic you have to make your way to eastern Spain. Many Spaniards will tell you that the best Spanish food is paella, something that you have to try at least once when you visit Spain. Go straight to the source and visit any one of Valencia’s famous rice restaurants and try your favorite style of this fantastic dish.
Madrid and the interior
The Spanish capital is packed with tapas bars, restaurants, food markets. and everything else in between. It is a hot spot in Spain for international cuisine but you can experience authentic Spanish food anywhere in Madrid or the surrounding interior. A specialty of Madrid is a fried squid sandwich, best served in Plaza Mayor. Browse the food markets to sample typical tapas and fresh ingredients from the region. You can join Food Lover Tour to try the best Spanish food in an authentic neighborhood market!
Food from the interior of Spain is hearty and features a lot of game and meat from the surrounding countryside. Spaniards aren’t afraid to use the less-desired parts of animals and turn them into something delicious and filling. Callos is a thick stew using beef tripe, and orejas a la plancha are grilled pig’s ears. Don’t be afraid to try these unusual dishes; locals love them! You also can’t leave the interior without trying cocido madrileño, a stew featuring meat, veggies, and chickpeas. This is a filling lunch made from simple ingredients that will warm you up and give you energy to continue exploring Madrid.
The Balearic Islands off the coast of Catalonia include Mallorca, Menorca, and Ibiza. The Canary Islands are a bit further away, off the western coast of Africa. While small, these islands provide many delicious dishes and flavors. In the Balearic Islands, make sure that you try a local sweet treat, the ensaimada, which is a great pastry for breakfast or a snack. Locals also love sobrassada, a cured, spicy pork sausage which considered a local delicacy and some of the best Spanish food in the islands.
While it goes without saying that you should try seafood in the Canary Islands, there are many other tasty things to try, too. Mojo is a spicy sauce featuring pepper, paprika and olive oil, and has many variations. Mojo sauce is best slathered over wrinkly potatoes, a specialty of the Canary Islands. You also need to try Sancocho, a dish featuring salted fish and local vegetables.
Eating your way across Spain is an adventure to try the best Spanish food from each region. While this list is short, there are so many delicacies to try throughout the country. Spain is a foodie haven as there are so many different flavors to taste and explore. Your only problem will be deciding where to begin!