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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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Restaurante Juan y Andrea, Playa Illetas, Formentera

A mirage of clattering forks, clinking glasses of tinto, white plastic chairs, and multilingual chattering appears under the palm trees and sunshades directly...more

see the Ibiza + Mallorca guide
Editors' Pick
Restaurante Guggenheim Bilbao, Bilbao

The food at the Guggenheim's restaurant rivals the art on its gallery walls. Josean Martínez Alija, who took over the kitchen in 2000 at the ripe old age...more

see the Bilbao + Basque Country guide
Editors' Pick
Restaurante Cap d'Es Falcó, Carretera Ses Salines, Ibiza

The drive over the salt pans to Cap Falcó can give you the uneasy feeling that you're lost. Stick with it: This is one extraordinary little restaurant,...more

see the Ibiza + Mallorca guide
Editors' Pick
Restaurante Botin

Botin dates back to 1725, and little appears to have changed since it opened, including some of the waiters. The dining rooms, on the second and third floors of...more

see the Madrid guide
Editors' Pick
Restaurante Alameda, Hondarribia, Spain

Just up the coast from culinary hot spot San Sebastián, the seaside town of Hondarribia has its own star attractions. Leading the charge is Restaurante...more

see the Bilbao + Basque Country guide
Editors' Pick
Ramón Freixa Madrid, Madrid

Ramón Freixa does not know the meaning of "less is more." It's said that the chef of Barcelona's one-star Racó d'en Freixa searched for years for a...more

see the Madrid guide
Editors' Pick
Pan y Vino, San Luis, Menorca

Few places offer a more charming, convivial way to spend an evening than with the Pan y Vino's hosts, Terry and Jill Cox. Back in London, he was a session...more

see the Ibiza + Mallorca guide
Editors' Pick
Paco Meralgo, Barcelona

This upscale tapas bar—phonetically the name becomes "pa' comer algo," loosely translated as "to grab a bite"—serves up hearty dishes such as lentil...more

see the Barcelona guide
Editors' Pick
Ocho, Sant Joan, Ibiza

Owned by hip husband-and-wife team John Broekman and Leah Tilbury (formerly of Las Banderas in Formentera), this old coaching inn is an unexpected delight...more

see the Ibiza + Mallorca 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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