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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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La Pepica, Valencia

In his bullfighting memoir, The Dangerous Summer, regular client Ernest Hemingway wrote that "Dinner at Pepica's was wonderful"—and the recommendation is...more

see the Valencia guide
Editors' Pick
La Raspa, Ibiza Town, Ibiza

The quayside restaurant in Ibiza Town's swanky new marina is bustling even out of season, thanks to top-notch French cooking and superb fish and seafood. The...more

see the Ibiza + Mallorca guide
Editors' Pick
La Rosa, Valencia

Many locals swear that La Rosa's rice dishes are even better than those of its neighbor, the more famous La Pepica. They're certainly cheaper, and the...more

see the Valencia guide
Editors' Pick
La Sucursal, Valencia

Part of the IVAM contemporary art museum (though with its own separate entrance), this avant-garde eatery has an appropriately arty, minimalist style: stark...more

see the Valencia guide
Editors' Pick
La Teca, Barcelona

The family-run La Teca has been a beloved specialist food shop in the El Born neighborhood since 1932. A total overhaul in 2005 transformed it into a more...more

see the Barcelona guide
Editors' Pick
Le Cabrera

A gastropub from one of Madrid's top chefs and its most famous barman would seem like a good idea—or at least that's what chef Sergi Arola and Diego...more

see the Madrid guide
Editors' Pick
Martín Berasategui, Lasarte-Oria, Basque Country

A sweeping, glass-walled space with views over rolling green hills, this restaurant near San Sebastián—named after its three-star Michelin...more

see the Bilbao + Basque Country guide
Editors' Pick
Mirador de Morayma, Granada

This is the first and best of the carmen restaurants that are now so much in vogue (carmen is the grandest type of Albaicín house). Tables are set out on...more

see the Granada guide
Editors' Pick
Hotel Photo
Mordisco

Before the family-run Tragaluz Group forged its mini empire of trendsetting restaurants, local literati and the design set hung out at its first opening,...more

see the Barcelona guide
Editors' Pick
Mugaritz, Errentería

If you're just looking to sate your hunger, steer clear of this restaurant just outside San Sebastián. Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz's place, set in a rustic yet...more

see the Bilbao + Basque Country 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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