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Spain is an absolute dream for foodies. You will be spoilt for choice for the best places to eat out, whether you crave mouth-watering tapas or the more elaborate Spanish delicacies. While San Sebastian is the country’s culinary capital, home to numerous Michelin-starred restaurants, many other cities in Spain offer the best setting for trying authentic Spanish cuisine.
Check out the best places in Spain for food travel.
Madrid may be more famous for its elegant architecture, world-class museums, and bustling nightlife – it also offers a fabulous and good value dining scene. It’s a renowned melting pot where the culinary heritage of Spain converges, as evident in its enormous range of Spanish and international cuisines with thousands of restaurants scattered across the city center.
From delightful bakeries selling fresh bread rolls filled with calamari to tapas bars serving the famous Jamon Iberico, Madrid will satisfy your every craving. When evening comes, the city’s charming neighborhoods come alive as terraces and tapas bars open up, and locals rub shoulders with hungry tourists ready to feast well into the evening.
Tapas is a fantastic way to experience the delightful flavors of the city and is often why international foodies would come here. Another famous treat in Madrid is Raciones, a larger serving of a meal best shared with family and friends.
While most visitors would visit Madrid during the warm summer months, it’s also worth a visit during the striking cold winter season. It’s also the perfect time to indulge in rich and flavorsome stews, such as the Cocido Madrileño, a chickpea-based stew served with meat and root vegetables.
As the Catalonian capital of Spain, Barcelona is a vibrant city full of beautiful sights and an enviable food scene. Located in northeast Spain amidst the warm glow of the Mediterranean, the bustling capital has access to the freshest produce from land and sea. Barcelona’s streets and side alleys are full of local eateries and delightful food markets selling lip-smacking Catalan delicacies.
Barcelona’s famous food market, Mercado de La Boqueria, is the perfect place to hunt for the tastiest food. Come here for breakfast and avoid the bustling crowds of midday and afternoon diners. Grab a seat at one of the stalls, order a tortilla and the local specialty, “octopus on potatoes.” Don’t forget to wash it down with a glass of local wine.
If you’re here for mouth-watering tapas, visit Betlem, an understated neighborhood home to some tapas bars serving the classics and contemporary varieties. Another delightful spot for eating out is El Nacional, a converted train station offering plenty of dining and drinking options. It’s a popular meeting spot for friends before they head off for a tapas crawl.
3. Mahón, Menorca
Menorca is one of the islands that make up Spain’s Balearic Islands. While it’s not as famous as Ibiza or as vast as Mallorca, it offers many things for travelers looking to indulge in delectable Spanish delicacies. Its capital, Mahon, is renowned for its delightful cheeses. To truly enjoy an authentic experience, consider staying in some of the beautiful rental properties in Menorca, ideal for foodies looking for somewhere to stay while trying out Menorcan delicacies.
Menorca is the birthplace of mayonnaise, particularly Mahon, although it’s still a much-debated subject. According to history, they created the mayonnaise to celebrate the victory of the French over the British on the island in 1756. Whether true or not, no visit to the island is complete without joining one of the “mayonnaise workshops,” where you learn about the locals’ way of producing homemade mayonnaise using natural ingredients like extra virgin olive oil.
Mahon cheese is another food considered the “star” of local Menorcan cuisine. History says that the island started producing cheeses thousands of years ago. However, it was not until the 19th century that they became renowned. You will find Mahon cheese all over the island. What makes them distinct is that they are only four months young. After about 12 months, the cheese will develop a Parmesan-like consistency and become saltier and more intense.
Seville is another fantastic city to learn about traditional Spanish dishes and discover inventive new cuisines. Located in the Spanish region of Andalucia, it is home to stunning medieval churches and palaces, Arabic-influenced architectural monuments, and modern-designed buildings. Seville has a rich food culture that dedicated foodies will be at a loss on where to start their adventure.
Seville’s food markets are the best places to start your adventure. Exploring these bustling markets would be the highlight of your visit. The smells, sights, and sounds will stay with you long after your trip ends. One of the best markets in the city is Mercado de Triana, which occupies a former castle and has over a hundred stalls selling fruits, vegetables, oysters, and the famous Jamon Iberico.
When evening comes, the best places to visit are the tapas bars. There are about over four thousand taps bars in Seville, and you’ll see them covered in colorful tiles. Many were transformed from the shells of traditional Andalusian buildings offering a more authentic experience. Others also treat diners with flamenco dance performances.
5. San Sebastian
San Sebastian is a culinary wonderland, considered Spain’s best place for foodies. Here, you’ll find age-old tapas bars alongside modern, Michelin-starred restaurants using fresh, locally sourced produce to ensure the highest quality. With all the delectable food you can enjoy in San Sebastian, the one food that stands out is pincho, a small snack similar to tapas, famous in northern Spain, and eaten in tapas bars.
San Sebastian is famous for its Michelin-starred restaurants, so no visit is complete without dining in one. Visit Bodegon Alejandro, a fantastic Michelin-starred restaurant serving delectable Basque cuisines, including the tastiest pinchos. The restaurant has a cozy and intimate ambiance, renowned for its ability to adhere to the values and techniques of traditional Basque gastronomy in preparing elegant dishes at incredibly fair prices.
Frequently Asked Questions About Spain & Food Travel
What are some of the best places in Spain for food travel?
Some of the best places in Spain for food travel include Madrid, Barcelona, Mahón in Menorca, Seville, and San Sebastian.
Which city in Spain is known for its culinary heritage?
Madrid is known for its culinary heritage, as it is a renowned melting pot where the culinary traditions of Spain converge.
What is a popular local delicacy in Mahón, Menorca?
Mahon cheese is a popular local delicacy in Mahón, Menorca. It is a unique cheese that is aged for four months and has a distinct flavor.
Which city in Spain is renowned for its tapas bars and flamenco dance performances?
Seville is renowned for its tapas bars and flamenco dance performances. It has a vibrant food culture and a rich tradition of flamenco music and dance.
What is Pincho, and where is it famous in Spain?
Pincho is a small snack similar to tapas that is famous in northern Spain. It is particularly popular in San Sebastian, where you can find age-old tapas bars and modern Michelin-starred restaurants serving delicious Pinchos.
Where can I find the best food markets in Seville, Spain?
Some of the best food markets in Seville, Spain include Mercado de Triana, which occupies a former castle and offers a wide variety of fresh produce, and various other bustling markets throughout the city.
What is the birthplace of mayonnaise in Spain?
Mahón in Menorca is considered the birthplace of mayonnaise in Spain. Although the exact origin is debated, it is believed that mayonnaise was created in Mahón to celebrate a victory in 1756.