Guide to Spanish Food: 9 Dishes You Need to Try in Spain

Spain has a diverse range of regional cuisines, each with its own distinct tastes and characteristics. Dive into our guide and discover the flavors that make Spanish cuisine so unforgettable.

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By Agata


Spain has a diverse range of regional cuisines, each with its own distinct tastes and characteristics. Spanish food is as varied as the country's scenery, ranging from the sun-kissed coasts to the mountainous landscapes. In this guide we'll go over nine traditional Spanish foods that you should not miss while visiting Spain. With their emphasis on food and rich culinary history, these meals provide a window into the heart of Spanish culture.

1. Paella

Probably the most well-known Spanish food is paella, which comes from Valencia. A beautiful blend of colors and flavors, this rice dish usually includes seafood, various veggies, and saffron. Valencian paella is traditionally made with chicken, rabbit, and even snails. The socarrat, or crispy rice layer at the bottom of the pan, is essential to a delicious paella. Valencia's coastal restaurants serve some of the best paellas, which are cooked over an open fire to give the dish a real smoky flavor.

2. Jamón Ibérico

Spanish cuisine is mostly centered around the opulent cured ham known as jamón Ibérico. This ham, made from Black Iberian pigs, is prized for its subtle marbling and rich, nutty flavor. Pigs that are allowed to wander freely and feed on acorns produce the best Jamón Ibérico, which has a unique flavor. The ham is usually cured for a number of years, which adds to its flavor intensity. It's excellent when eaten thinly sliced, and a glass of Spanish wine is usually recommended. Visit a posh restaurant or specialty store in Madrid or Seville for the ultimate experience.

3. Tortilla Española

Spanish omelette, or tortilla española, is a straightforward but filling dish consisting of eggs, potatoes, and onions. Cooking this thick and filling omelette slowly produces the ideal harmony of tastes and textures. This is a very flexible dish that may be eaten as a main course or as a tapa, hot or cold. In Spanish homes and tapas restaurants, tortillas are staples, and the nation produces some of the best variations of the dish. Many bars in Madrid take great satisfaction in serving this traditional meal in an alternate manner.

4. Gazpacho

Andalusians are the originators of gazpacho, a cool soup. This dish, made with ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic, peppers, and olive oil, is ideal for hot summer days. The ingredients are pureed until a bright, tasty soup is produced that is appetizing and healthful. Garnishing gazpacho with chopped veggies or croutons is a common practice. Visit Granada or Seville, where gazpacho is a beloved dish and part of the local cuisine, for the greatest gazpacho.

5. Patatas Bravas

Popular tapas dish patatas bravas is made of crispy fried potatoes topped with aioli and a spicy tomato sauce. This is a classic Spanish bar dish that's great to share over a drink with friends. The sauce, which should have the ideal ratio of tanginess to heat, is the key to delicious patatas bravas. Patatas bravas and other delectable small plates can be found at some of the best tapas establishments in Barcelona and Madrid.

6. Churros con Chocolate

A popular Spanish snack that's typically eaten for breakfast or in the afternoon is churros con chocolate. Deep-fried dough pastries known as churros are served with rich, thick hot chocolate for dipping and are sprinkled with sugar. Anyone with a sweet craving has to try this decadent mix. The best churros have a soft interior and a crispy exterior. Famous churrerías may be found in Madrid and Barcelona, where both locals and visitors swarm to enjoy this delectable dessert.

7. Pulpo a la Gallega

Galician-style octopus, or pulpo a la Gallega, is a specialty of northwest Spain's Galicia area. The meal consists of soft cooked octopus that has been seasoned with sea salt, paprika, and olive oil. It is usually served with cooked potatoes on a wooden platter. Pulpo a la Gallega is a straightforward but delicious dish that brings out the best in the ingredients. Visit a genuine pulpería in Santiago de Compostela or A Coruña to enjoy this dish to its fullest.

8. Albondigas

Tapas bars often serve albondigas, or Spanish meatballs, which are a tasty and cozy dish. Usually made with a combination of beef and pork, these meatballs are cooked in a flavorful tomato sauce and seasoned with garlic and parsley. They're great as part of a tapas dish and go well with toast for dipping. In Granada and Seville, where age-old recipes are treasured and handed down through the years, you can enjoy mouthwatering albondigas.

9. Tarta de Santiago

Named for Saint James, tarta de Santiago is a typical almond cake from the Galician region. The cake has a moist and tasty texture because it is made with eggs, sugar, ground almonds, and lemon zest. It is frequently adorned with the Saint James cross and coated with powdered sugar. Tarta de Santiago pairs well with a cup of coffee and is a great way to cap off a meal. The bakeries next to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela are the ideal places to try this cake.


Spanish cuisine is a delightful journey through diverse flavors and traditions. Each of the dishes offers a unique taste of Spain's rich culinary heritage. From the coastal paellas of Valencia to the hearty Tarta de Santiago, these dishes are a testament to the country's love for good food. Whether you're planning a trip to Spain or simply looking to explore new cuisines, these ten dishes are a must-try. So, take a culinary adventure through Spain and savor the flavors that make this country's food so unforgettable.

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