13 things you'll see on every menu in Spain this summer

From paella to sangria and patatas bravas and plenty more
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Thousands of Brits will be jetting off to soak up the sun in Spain during the summer.

Benidorm, Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands are among the most popular holiday destinations. If you are heading to the Iberian peninsula in the coming weeks, you might be already planning ahead and wondering what to expect.

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Spain is known for its strong culinary identity - but what can you expect to see on menus when you sit down in a bar or restaurant?

Here's all you need to know:


If you go to a restaurant during your holiday no matter where you are in Spain, you will more than likely spot paella on the menu. It is a traditional Spanish rice dish which is cooked over an open fire.

Tortilla de Patata (Spanish omelette)

A popular Spanish dish, this omelette features egg and potatoes - some people may use onions as well. It may be served at room temperature and can be part of a tapas menu.

Patatas Bravas

One of the most iconic Spanish dishes - you might have even seen them on menus in the UK. It is a potato dish in which white potatoes are fried in oil and served with a spicy sauce including the likes of aioli, tomato sauce or mayonnaise.

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It is served in bars and restaurants - and is part of a tapas menu.

Patatas bravas in ValenciaPatatas bravas in Valencia
Patatas bravas in Valencia


This dish is a cold soup made from a blend of raw vegetables. Main ingredients include tomato, cucumber, garlic, vinegar, water and olive oil - but different places may have their own recipe.

Padrón peppers

Also known as Pimientos de padron, these are common on menus in Spain. They are usually fried in olive oil until the skin starts to blister and the pepper breaks down slightly.

Jamón ibérico (Iberian ham)

Spain is known for its ham and cured meat - like chorizo - and one of the most popular is Jamón ibérico. It comes from a type of cured leg of pork.


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Croquetas de jamon, croquetas de pollo, are items you might see as part of a tapas menu. While originally french, croquettes are also common in Spain. Mixing ham or chicken or other meat with potatoes, these treats are then deep fried.

Croquetas in ValenciaCroquetas in Valencia
Croquetas in Valencia


Olives are regularly served as an appetizer in Spain - if you go to the bar you could be served them as a snack. Spanish olives are known in particular for their unique combination of saltiness and bitterness.

Huevos estrellados

A dish in which eggs are fried in a large amount of olive oil. They are typically served with potatoes - which help to soak up the yolk.

Fried almonds

Also known as Almendras Fritas, these are a common bar snack in Spain and you may come across them on a menu during your holiday.

Cerveza & Vino

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An important one for Brits travelling to Spain for a sunshine holiday - cerveza is the Spanish word for beer, while vino is wine. Blanco is the Spanish word for white and rojo means red.


A cocktail you may already be familiar with it already - but it originated on the Iberian peninsula. It is not as popular with locals as it is tourists. In a holiday spot, you might spy it on the menu!

Beware of regional differences

Spain is a large country with rich differences between the regions. It has a number of autonomous communities with their own deep histories and culinary traditions - such as the Basque country, Catalonia and Galicia (in the north east corner).

It means that there will be regional flavours to the menus depending on which part of Spain you are holidaying in this summer.

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For example, if you have a trip to Benidorm in the south east of Spain booked you might spot a dish called fideua on the menu. It is similar to paella except instead of rice it uses pasta noodles and is heavily seafood based.

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