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Spain restaurants

Thanks to star chefs like Ferran Adrià; and Juan Mari Arzak, Spain's restaurants have piqued the interest of epicureans the world over. But it didn't take these maestros' innovative fare to create a passion for food in Spain. Quality ingredients, simple sauces, excellent wines, and a true love of eating have long made Spain a gourmand's paradise.

It's impossible to generalize about Spanish food; each region has its own specialties. The Basque country is rightly proud of pintxos (bite-size tapas), served at a variety of cozy bars and restaurants, and seafood dishes like baked cod, while Galicia is renowned for its amazing variety of shellfish. Don't leave central Spain without sampling the hearty roasted lamb and suckling pigs, and be sure to try southern Spain's crunchy fried calamari, succulent olives, and flavorful cured hams. Valencia is the birthplace of paella, and in Catalonia, Spain's nouvelle cuisine has reached its maximum expression.

No matter where you travel, breakfast is usually a simple affair featuring coffee, pastries, or a small sandwich. At least once, indulge in a serving of chocolate with churros; a big plate of these fried dough sticks is a sure cure for the previous night's excesses. Lunch starts around 2 pm and is the biggest meal of the day. Hearty specialties like paella, cochinillo (roast suckling pig), or a mariscada (mixed shellfish platter) are best enjoyed now, when they can be followed by a leisurely siesta. Early evening is the time to sample tapas, the bite-sized snacks that are served in bars across the country. Olives, a plate of cheese, tortilla española (potato omelet), or crumpled slices of jamón serrano (cured ham) are the most common tapas, but bars may serve more elaborate dishes like chickpea stew, spicy padrón peppers, or fried seafood. Dinner begins no earlier than 9 pm and can last into the wee hours of the morning, especially on weekends. While Spaniards generally have a light soup or sandwich supper at home, restaurants are an excuse to go all out and order multiple courses, as well as dessert and wine.

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Sergi Arola Gastro

Sergi Arola Gastro's minimalist dining room has just six tables and offers only three fixed-price dinner menus (ranging from $150 to $230), plus a more...more

see the Madrid guide
Editors' Pick
Sidrería Zelaia, Hernani, Spain

Sidrerías, or cider houses, are traditionally only open between mid-January and the end of April, when the cider is ready for sale. Our favorite—and...more

see the Bilbao + Basque Country guide
Editors' Pick
Taberna del Alabardero, Seville

The stomping ground of politicos and visiting diplomats, Alabardero is one of Seville's most upscale restaurants, furnished with European antiques and oil...more

see the Seville guide
Editors' Pick
Tapioles 53, Barcelona

Forget three-star restaurants and city-center hot spots. The newest, coolest way to dine in Barcelona is to uncover some hole-in-the-wall hidden beneath a car...more

see the Barcelona guide
Editors' Pick
Hotel Photo
Tickets

El Bulli may be closing, but Ferran and Albert Adrià already have another project in Barcelona. Tickets, named for its theater district location, is an...more

see the Barcelona guide
Editors' Pick
TOC, Barcelona

In a city where customer comfort often seems like an afterthought, the stellar service at this joint venture, opened in 2005 by young chef Santi Colominas and...more

see the Barcelona guide
Editors' Pick
Hotel Photo
Velódromo

Art Deco is thin on the ground in Barcelona, which makes this wonderful café all the more special. The original Velodrómo was the preferred hangout of...more

see the Barcelona guide
Editors' Pick
Yandiola, Bilbao, Spain

First opened as a wine warehouse in 1909, the Alhóndiga, with its modernist facade and revamped interiors by Philippe Starck, is one of the city's most...more

see the Bilbao + Basque Country guide
Editors' Pick
Hotel Photo
Zelai

This bustling bar is frequented by a chic designer crowd, fresh from shopping at Loewe and Carolina Herrera just around the corner. Its long, narrow interior...more

see the Seville guide
Editors' Pick
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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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