Eating Your Way Through Spain: Must-Try Spanish Dishes

If you’re heading to Spain in the near future, there’s a lot you need to consider. You have to think about what you’re going to be doing there, where you’re going to stay, and most importantly, what you’re going to eat. Enjoying food is essential for any trip, and when you eat like the locals do you get to explore a side of their culture that’s totally unique to them. Spain is famous for many dishes, some of which you might have even eaten in the United States. Some of these dishes include paella, churros, and salchichas. But, what about those must-try Spanish dishes that are the best enjoyed in their local setting? What about the ones that aren’t common over here in the States?

Take note of these and add them to your itinerary, especially if you’re a self-proclaimed foodie:

Must-Try Spanish Dishes You’ll Love


To kickstart your taste bud journey, start off with a few appetizer-style dishes. You’ll likely find these at any restaurant you visit in Spain. The Tortilla Espanola, or Spanish Omelet, is a great place to begin. The Spruce says it’s likely the most popular and commonly served dish in all of Spain, which makes it something you need to try. It’s a simple dish of eggs, potatoes, and onions, which makes it a favorite for almost every kind of eater.

Tortilla Española, Spain
Tortilla Española: Photo on Flickr by Joselu Blanco / CC BY 2.0

If you’re looking for something with a bit more bite to it, try Patatas Bravas. Patatas Bravas, or Bravas Potatoes, is a dish you can find in bars all over the country. The appetizer consists of fried potatoes covered in a tomato sauce and a dash of Tabasco. In Spanish, the word “bravas” means fierce, so it’s definitely a dish that will ignite your taste buds.

Patatas bravas, spain
Patatas bravas: Photo on Flickr by cyclonebill / CC BY-SA 2.0

Main Dishes

If you love cheese, this next dish is one of your must-try Spanish dishes. Queso Manchego is a traditional dish made of sheep milk. You can find this delicious meal in the La Mancha region, but it comes in one variety or another all over Spain. According to Travel Away, the cheese comes from a specific breed of sheep called “Manchega” and pairs perfectly with different types of meat. Eat this with friends, or keep it all to yourself!

Must-Try Spanish Dishes. Manchego cheese for sale in the stall of Sineu market, Majarca, Spain
Manchego cheese for sale in the stall of Sineu market, Majarca, Spain

Bocadillos are an excellent choice for a main-course dish. If you like sandwiches, you’ll love this! The sandwich is made up of Spanish bread, potatoes, a meat of your choice, and cheese. The meat options often range from ham and pork loin. However, if you plan on being in the Madrid area, you can opt for bocadillo de calamares, or fried squid. Local Adventurer says any meal is a great option for adventurous foodies!

Bocadillo de Calamares
Bocadillo de Calamares: Photo on Flickr by Juan Fernandez / CC BY-SA 2.0

Travel Away also says Gambas Ajillo, or Garlic Prawns, is another great option. This is for all of the seafood lovers out there. It’s a super simple dish to prepare, so when you head out to dinner in the region, you’re not going to have to wait a long time for your food. Fresh prawns are covered in a little olive oil, garlic, and chili flakes, and only take about 10 minutes to go from the pot to the table. You can have this dish as a starter, but many people choose to have it as their main meal.

Gambas Ajillo, Spain, Garlic Prawns
Gambas Ajillo (Garlic Prawns): Photo on Flickr by wEnDy / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


Now it’s time for the good stuff. This isn’t saying that everything listed before this wasn’t good, but we all know that dessert truly speaks to the soul. Forget about the classic desserts you know and try something that’ll spike your Spanish tastebuds.

Crema Catalana is a widely popular dessert all around Spain, but is the best if consumed in Barcelona. Many people compare this dish to the French’s creme brulee, but there are a few differences between the two. Creme brulee is a dish that is most often served warm, and sometimes on fire. Crema Catalana is always served cold, so it’s perfect for a hot summer day. Its custard is filled with lemon rind and cinnamon, compared to the vanilla flavoring of the classic French delicacy.

Must-Try Spanish Dishes. Catalan cream
Catalan cream

Torrijas are another great option. They’re basically the Spanish version of a dessert french toast. Unfortunately, you can only really ever find them between April and March, as they are the dessert of Easter. Spanish Sabores says you can find them in different flavors including wine and cinnamon, and honey-soaked. They’re not that hard to make, so you will get your dessert to your table within a few minutes.

Torrijas, Spain
Torrijas: Photo on Flickr by Ana / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

If you’re traveling to Spain the near future, take note of all of these must-have Spanish dishes. No matter what your taste buds are telling you, there are must-try Spanish dishes here just waiting to be eaten! So get your eating pants on, get your Instagram ready, and get your wallet out. You’re going to have a great time eating through Spain!

About Tasmiah Rashid


In a past life, Tasmiah was either a Bollywood actress, renowned ethnographer or master chef, no questions asked. In this one, she is a shower-singing, croissant enthusiast, who also writes content for Fareportal, in that order.

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    4 Responses

    1. Avatar for Tasmiah Rashid


      Hi there,

      I love your list of Spanish cheeses, yum. You have some really good ideas you did a great job. If you are ever back in Barcelona I would love to show you some amazing places to eat in the city. I run a food tour company called Eye on Food Tours drop me a line some time.

      all the best,


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