A taste of Spain

Top 10 Foods to try in Spain

Being on holiday in another country is a great opportunity to test your taste buds and Spain has many wonderful dishes, here are our top 10 foods for you to try.

Tapas is also a great way to try a little bit of something new, without having a massive portion of something you are unsure of placed in front of you and the best place for this in Benidorm is the famous Tapas Alley where you can really soak up the Spanish atmosphere.

Find out more about the most popular tapas dishes here

Here in Spain meal times tend to be different so make sure you know the correct times to eat which meals, or when you are starving you may find many places closed.

1 - Gazpacho

Top 10 foods to try in Spain, Gazpacho

The reddest, ripest tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, bread, peppers and cucumber are blended until silky smooth, then chilled and poured into bowls or glasses. So delicious, so refreshing. In Andalucía in southern Spain, people have it every day in summer and there is always a jug on the counter in tapas bars. Also try salmorejo, a thicker version that is often served with pieces of Ibérico ham on the top.  Recipe HERE

2 - Paella

Top 10 foods to try in Spain, Paella

The name of the dish Paella comes from the vessel it is cooked in, quite simply a “La Paella”. This is a Valencian word and describes the round shallow pan with two handles that the ingredients are cooked in and traditionally then served in directly from the fire. The dish we all know and love today originated in Valencia and was a poor mans meal that has developed into one of Spains most popular and beloved dishes with variants of the recipe across the different provinces in Spain.

Some La Paellas are huge and you may have seen them being used at social occasions for large parties as the showcase centre piece.

Paella was originally the meal of peasants, cooked over an open wood fire in the rice fields that they worked in. The original dish was made of the rice from the fields and anything else they could throw in... Onions, tomatoes, snails, green beans anything for taste and texture. Duck and rabbit were also popular when available and this dish soon became such a popular meal of convenience that on special occasions chicken and saffron were added.}


Due to the location of Valencia the Mediterranean Sea soon became a resource for the dish and sea food was added to the recipe. A real Valencian Paella today though is still the traditional peasants recipe and has no shell fish added and is simply a choice of chicken, duck, or rabbit, snails, green beans and garbanzos.  Recipes HERE

3 - Spanish Tortilla

Top 10 foods to try in Spain, Tortilla

Spanish tortilla is one of the most notorious Spanish dishes, widely consumed in Spain as much as abroad. It's made of egg and potatoes. Whether it should also have onion is a common debate and Spaniards may argue about it for hours, however there are many other variations.

Perhaps Spanish tortilla is the most versatile example of Spanish food, since other ingredients such as chorizos, red peppers and a number of other elements can be added, it can be served as a "ración", "tapa" or "bocadillo" (sandwich) or "pincho".

It may be found in any Spanish restaurant and bars, it's a typical sandwich mothers send as a meal for school and most Spanish know how to make it or have their own versions, they are served at parties as appetizers.

Tortilla's name comes from its shape, in Spanish it means "small cake" Recipe HERE

4 - Gambas al ajillo

Top 10 foods to try in Spain, Gambas al ajillo

Perhaps the most common, and therefore one of the most popular, tapa in Spain and in Spanish restaurants, gambas al ajillo, or fried garlic prawns/shrimp.

The hot tang of garlic and red pepper flake-infused extra virgin olive oil, perfectly coating tender pink shrimp (king prawns), makes for a luscious and satisfying dish, especially when there’s plenty of crusty bread to mop up the magnificently flavourful oil.

The other great thing about this dish is that it’s pretty cheap and incredibly simple to make. Accompanied by a green salad and washed down with a chilled glass of fino or amontillado sherry, or perhaps a flute of cava, this is a great tapa/racione or a light lunch.  Recipe HERE

Half way there in our top 10 foods to try in Spain

5 - Tostada con Tomate y Jamon

Found in every single Spanish restaurant and tapas bar, simple and tasty. Recipe HERE

6 - Patatas Bravas

Top 10 foods to try in Spain

Perhaps the most popular of tapas dishes, patatas bravas vary quite a bit around the country, but all versions involve chunks of fried potato, bravas sauce is made with sweet and spicy pimentón – Spanish paprika – olive oil, flour and stock – but never tomatoes. Some people add garlic, some a dash of fino sherry. Recipe HERE

7 - Pollo al ajillo - Spanish garlic Chicken

A Spanish staple recipe -  Unpeeled cloves of garlic are fried in olive oil to flavour it, then taken out before adding pieces of chicken. When that is cooked, the garlic goes back in with some rosemary, thyme and some dry sherry or white wine.  Recipe HERE

8 - Braised Pork Cheeks, carrillada de cerdo 

What is carrillada? Simply put, it is cheek— beef cheek is carrillada de ternera, pork cheek is carrillada de cerdo, lamb cheek is carrillada de cordero, despite the  difference in taste, all carrilladas are delicious, but the most popular would be pork cheeks, which can regually be found in hotel restaurants.

Top 10 food to eat in Spain

Don't let the name put you off, this is delicious.  This cut of meat is unique because it is quite meaty but surprisingly lean– a surprise for many who expect it to be either fatty or tough. It does need to be braised, slow cooked over a low heat for at least a few hours, but the end result is tender pieces of meat that just fall off the fork.

9 - Authentic Spanish Picadillo

Picadillo is a traditional dish in Spain.  Its name originates from the Spanish word “picar” which means “to mince” which explains the presence of minced beef.  It can also be used as stuffing for bell peppers, tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and empanadas.  Recipe HERE

And last but not least the number 10 of foods to try in spain

10 - Turrón

Spaniards devour massive amounts of turrón, or almond nougat, at Christmas, although it is available all year round. Most of it is made in the small town of Jijona in the province of Alicante, using locally-grown almonds mixed with honey and egg white. There are two basic types -  a soft, smooth version, called Jijona, and hard Alicante turrón, which contains pieces of almond. Recipe HERE

Find lots of Spanish Recipes to try at home in this section of the website

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  • The only one I am no keen on is Gazpacho, I like my tomato soup hot and cant stand tomato juice as a drink anyway.
  • Tracy Ann how can anyone not like tomato juice!! hahaha. I like tomato soup hot, but not scalding
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