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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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Antojo, Madrid

A first glance inside César Rodríguez's sparsely decorated space of only 16 seats hints little at the fact that he is one of Madrid's culinary...more

see the Madrid guide
Editors' Pick
Andra Mari, Galdakao

Entering this converted Basque farmhouse, set next to a 13th-century church in the small town of Galdakao—about a 15-minute drive from Bilbao—feels...more

see the Bilbao + Basque Country guide
Editors' Pick
Albacar, Valencia

One of the only notable paella restaurants in the city center, Albacar turns out delicious Valencian staples like arrroz a banda (seafood with rice and...more

see the Valencia guide
Editors' Pick
Hotel Photo
Al Aljibe

With a quiet, shady patio full of climbing plants, just off the bohemian Alameda avenue, Al Aljibe is one of the prettiest and best-located tapas spots in...more

see the Seville guide
Editors' Pick
Aizian, Bilbao

Chef José Miguel Olazabalaga serves up some truly inventive creations in this angular, glossy wooden box of a dining room. Foie gras is wrapped in a thin...more

see the Bilbao + Basque Country guide
Editors' Pick
A Fuego Negro

San Sebastián's old town is best known for its pintxo bars (the Basque version of tapas), and with at least one on every block, competition is stiff. For...more

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

Don't be fooled by Abantal's location in an anonymous small street near the city center, or its low-key, neutral interior. This contemporary Andalusian...more

see the Seville guide
Editors' Pick
Hotel Photo
ABaC Restaurant, Barcelona

Michelin-starred chef Jordi Cruz is one of the talented young guns of new Catalan cuisine. His latest restaurant, on the threshold of the Tibidabo neighborhood,...more

see the Barcelona guide
Editors' Pick
Hotel Photo
41°

A snackería from the Adrià brothers Ferran and Albert, 41° has been drawing a crowd of curious locals and eager tourists to the unfashionable...more

see the Barcelona 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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