Whether you’re planning to go on a trip to Spain or love to go to Spanish restaurants, you should know the basic etiquette when dining in. Moreover, It’s important to know other cultures so that you’ll be able to taste their food the way it’s intended to.
When you’re in Spain, and you’re planning to eat with the locals, you should consider their eating hours. Normally, they would eat lunch at around 3 in the afternoon, and dinner at 10 in the evening. So if you don’t want to starve, you should also know that they eat snacks often.
Additionally, they would go to tapas bar after work or before dinner to have a drink and some conversations. After that, dinner will be served so if you want to know the basics of dining in Spanish restaurants, then you should check the list below!
1. Be mindful when choosing your table
If you go to Spanish restaurants that are usually full, then you should have a reservation. When it comes to choosing the table, you should know that the pricing depends on how good the sitting is. For example, if you’ve seen people outside a restaurant, they probably have it reserved and pay higher than those at the bar inside.
If you’re on a tight budget, you may just want to sit at the bar. However, you should try formal dining at least once.
2. Wash your hands
Aside from hygiene, washing your hands is necessary as there are lots of finger food served in Spanish restaurants. In addition, there may be a shortage of table napkins in some places so might want to be prepared.
Instead of leaving some used table napkins on the table or your plate, you can just throw them on the floor. Some people find it strange to see crumpled table napkins on the table compared to the floor.
3. Think of what you want to drink beforehand
When you arrive at a Spanish restaurant, you’ll be immediately asked for your drink. You can have wine, cocktails, beer, and even non-alcoholic drinks. Usually, the water’s not free so you should drink something else. If you insist on drinking water, you’ll be given two options.
Meanwhile, it’s not advisable to order sangria as local Spanish restaurants don’t serve it. You’re lucky if you land in a tourist restaurant because it may be the centre of the menu along with the famous paella.
Spaniards also include drinking wine while they’re eating so the waiter might offer you some drinks to accompany your meal.
4. Order based on the menu
Have you seen chalkboards in the restaurant? Then you should be aware that the food listed there might cost more than what’s on the menu. With that, it’s important to keep your eye on the menu instead of board specials.
In addition, some restaurants have pictures and translations of the food they serve. It’s a great help for tourists but you should consider dining in a restaurant that has Spanish-only menus to taste the real Spanish cuisine. Moreover, the locals don’t need to see the picture as they already know what the dishes mean.
5. Don’t be afraid to speak
Why should you eat silently when you can talk with your company? Besides, Spaniards love to communicate with others. However, it’s not advisable to talk about business while having a meal together.
When it comes to communicating with the waitstaff, you shouldn’t be afraid to use signals when you need something. Moreover, you should tell them if you have requests or suggestions instead of letting them figure out what you want.
6. Use basic Spanish words once in a while
Be confident when speaking the Spanish language. It’ll help you pronoun the words correctly, and be understood easily. If you’re still not used to it, you can start with the basics such as Gracias, Hola, and Todo está delicioso.
You can inform people that you’re still learning so that they won’t misunderstand that you’re being sarcastic. In addition, don’t be afraid to try as there will always be people who’ll appreciate your efforts in learning their language.
7. The more people, the better
Sharing is one of the best parts of eating out. It’s fun to taste different meals especially when you haven’t tried everything yet. Additionally, ordering various small portions of food will encourage everyone to eat until they’re full.
Just a reminder, you should avoid ordering single meals per person because you might end up being the last one to eat since food is not served simultaneously.
8. When paying the bill…
Traditionally, the one who invites for the meal has to pay the bill, and don’t forget to add a generous tip. In addition, as mentioned before, you have to call or signal the waitstaff when you’re ready to pay instead of just waiting for them to approach you without a warning.
Lastly, a lot of Spanish restaurants appreciate your payment in cash, but some accept cards.
Now that you know the basics of dining in Spanish restaurants, you won’t have to worry when you visit one. Let us know how was your experience when you first dined in by leaving a comment below!