In Spain they take lunch seriously. And if you want to set yourself up for the rest of the day, it’s worth discovering the options.
Many Spaniards are still surprised when they discover that expats settle for sandwich or a salad at midday. Here, the midday meal is often the main meal of the day, and the traditional siesta period in the afternoon offers you a chance to relax and even have a light nap after filling your face.
Things are changing, of course, and the arrival of a more 9-5 working day means that light lunches are increasingly available, but the traditional Spanish midday meal is also still available and hugely popular, especially at weekends. Here are a few lunch tips all residents should know:
Menú del día
Many local restaurants and comedores (diners) offer a daily three course menu that changes every day. It’ll usually cost around €10, although cheaper and more expensive ones can easily be found.
Normally you’ll be able to choose between about three starters, three main courses and a few desserts. You’ll also usually get a soft drink or water included. There’s often a choice between meat and fish, and hearty dishes such as garbanzos (chickpea stew), paella and seafood vinaigrette are all samples of the menú del día.
Takeway food is available in several shops selling ready-cooked food. They simply put it in a plastic container, bag it up and off you go. The dishes are displayed behind a glass display cases and you pay by weight or by small/medium or large trays.
Roast chicken joints (asadores) are the most popular vendors of prepared food. A chicken and roast potatoes will usually come in at under €10, and each shop has it’s own special recipes with which it seasons these delicacies. A Canarian speciality, often available at these places, is pata asada (succulent slices of roast pork with aromatic herbs).
Tapas are small portions costing about €3-5 each, allowing you to pick and choose favourites. Not all places do them, but it’s worth discovering those that do. The list of dishes is too wide to mention here, but you’ll know many of them already.
If you want a larger portion, ask for a media (half-plate); and a main – course sized serving is una ración.
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