24 January 2019
Spain is a nation renowned for its glorious coastline, architecture, flamenco dancing, football, and fiestas, but it also has a knack for dishing up fine food. So, to celebrate the country’s flair for flavoursome cuisine, we’ve rounded up our favourite foodie experiences that you can tuck into on a trip to Spain.
Whether you’re in Barcelona or down on the Costa del Sol, if you have a hankering for some traditional Spanish food, paella is sure to satisfy. Varieties of this sumptuous dish can be found all over the country, where regional ingredients are utilised to give it a unique, local flavour. A rice base is the norm, with meat, seafood or vegetables scattered throughout. It’s a great dish for sharing and getting social, and you’ll be able to get it no matter where in Spain you travel to.
“If you're on the coast, make sure to eat delicious paella at a waterfront restaurant and wash down your delicious food with tasty ocean views. If you really want to do it like the locals, eat before lunch, then take an afternoon siesta so you’re ready to go again in the evening.”
Joanne, Travel Counsellor
Paint the town red – quite literally – with one of the highlights of Spain’s cultural calendar, La Tomatina. Dating back to 1945, this large-scale food fight sees between 10,000 and 40,000 people get together and take to the streets of Buñol each year to hurl over 100,000 tonnes of tomatoes at each other.
After the festivities die down and you’ve washed the tomato residue off yourself, you can head to nearby Valencia and try out paella in the city it was invented. La Pepica restaurant on the Valencian promenade – where Ernest Hemingway famously had his first taste of paella – is one of the best places to get the dish.
TC tip: If you’re travelling with children, they may prefer La Tomata Infantil, an adapted version for those aged four to 14, with parents taking cover and watching on from behind a fence.
Spain is home to several restaurants with three Michelin stars, but there are perhaps none better than Restaurante Lasarte in Catalonian capital, Barcelona. Holding the triple accolade since 2016 – the first Barcelona eatery to do so – the newly-renovated Lasarte is the brainchild of Martín Berasategui, who holds eight Michelin stars, more than any other Spanish chef.
Italian chef Paolo Casagrande is responsible for the day-to-day operation, and his elegance and creativity is reflected in dishes such as apple millefeuille and European eel. People from across the globe flock to the restaurant to marvel at his aesthetically-excellent presentation, only surpassed by the combination of amazing flavours of the food.
TC tip: Reservations are available up to four months in advance, but give your Travel Counsellor enough notice so that they can ensure your table for your desired time, as the restaurant tends to book up quickly.
If you’re looking for tasty grab-and-go fare, the island of Gran Canaria is perfect. Gran Canaria’s towns and villages offer fine cuisine which is based on a rich assortment of locally-sourced products. The island’s favourite dishes include papas arrugadas potatoes and an array of stews and broths which complement fine local wines.
One of the best ways to discover Gran Canaria’s food scene is by visiting the local markets of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, which bridges the gap between Canarian classics and modern gastronomy. Try a range of sumptuous finger foods such as the renowned Queso de Flor de Guìa cheese, sancocho soup and churros dipped in hot chocolate sauce, a traditional Spanish dessert.
TC tip: If you want to go where the locals go, then try the Mercado del Puerto. It’s a popular after-work spot with tapas and creative cocktail stalls which have been repurposed as bars and restaurants.
San Sebastián may have the most Michelin stars per capita than anywhere else on the planet, but that doesn’t mean you need extravagance to experience the best of the city’s food. Here, tapas-style dishes known as ‘pintxos’ rule the roost. These snack-like foods are often served on skewers on top of a slice of bread, and dishes are generously seasoned with flakes of regional salt. Hop between pintxos bars, trying incredible dishes such as suckling pig, mushrooms and egg yolk, and patatas bravas.
TC tip: Ask your Travel Counsellor to book a tour with a local expert who will help you find San Sebastián’s finest pintxos establishments amongst the bewildering array of options.
If you would like to try out one of these delicious foodie experiences in Spain, contact your Travel Counsellor and take advantage of exclusive benefits including a 24-hour duty office and full financial protection.