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16 Spanish Phrases to Know Earlier than Eating Out in Spain

Deciphering the particular set of vocabulary that comes together with eating out in Spain can baffle even these of us who aced our Spanish courses at school.

From determining methods to ask for the invoice in Spanish to ordering the superbly cooked steak, this information has bought you lined with the important phrases and phrases that may assist you to deal with any restaurant in Spain like a professional.

Close up of a person eating a meat dish while holding a small chunk of bread in the other hand

You do not have to be fluent in Spanish to eat amazingly in Spain, however there are a handful of phrases that may make the expertise a bit simpler. From deciphering completely different components of the menu to ordering precisely what you need, these 16 foodie phrases and phrases will assist you to eat (and order!) like a neighborhood.

1. La Cuenta: Verify or Invoice

Close up of a bartender writing a client's tab in chalk on a wooden bartop
Some Spanish bars nonetheless use the old-school technique of preserving monitor of your tab in chalk on the bartop!

Earlier than we get into the phrases you will want for ordering, let’s begin on the finish of the meal. It is vital to know methods to ask for the invoice in Spanish—particularly since you normally will not get it till you do!

When eating out in Spain, asking for the test is as straightforward as catching the server or bartender’s eye and making a gesture such as you’re writing within the air. If you happen to do need to use phrases, although, go together with “la cuenta.”

In line with Spanish restaurant etiquette, it is thought of impolite for waiters to carry the test earlier than diners ask for it. Communicate up once you’re able to pay; in any other case, you is perhaps ready for fairly some time!

Learn how to use it: La cuenta, por favor. (The test, please.)

2. En Su Punto: Medium Uncommon

Medium rare steak on a white plate
Unbelievable conventional steak at a Basque cider home.

If you wish to absolutely take pleasure in delicacies like chuletón (ribeye) and solomillo (tenderloin), you will have to know methods to order steak in Spanish.

You may ask in your steak to be cooked nevertheless you want, however the commonest preparation is “en su punto.” Actually translated, this implies “at its level”—as in meat cooked to its level of perfection. That is the phrase to make use of if you need a medium uncommon steak when eating out in Spain.

To order a uncommon steak, ask for it “poco hecho.” A well-done steak can be “muy hecho.” Remember the fact that waiters will sometimes solely ask how you prefer to your meat cooked if you happen to’ve ordered a beef steak.

Learn how to use it: El chuletón para mi en su punto, por favor. (I might like my steak cooked medium uncommon, please.)

3. Ración: Giant Shared Plate

Close up of a plate of ham croquettes
A ración of croquettes.

When eating out in Spain, you will discover that many meals are served household type. The big plates which are ordered for your complete desk are known as raciones.

The one distinction between raciones and extra generally recognized tapas is normally simply their measurement! The overall rule of thumb is to order as many raciones as there are folks consuming, place all of them within the middle of the desk, and serve the meals onto particular person plates.

A ración usually gives sufficient meals for 3 or 4 folks. There’s additionally one other, medium-sized choice on the spectrum between tapas and raciones: the media ración, which is normally sufficient for 2 folks.

Learn how to use it: ¿Nos pones una ración de croquetas? (We want a shared plate of croquettes.)

4. Tapa: Small Plate

A tapas spread of cured meat, olives, cheese cubes, anchovies, potato chips, and vermouth set atop a wooden barrel
A easy array of tapas, full with vermouth!

Opposite to standard perception outdoors of Spain, the phrase “tapa” refers solely to the dimensions of a plate, not what’s on it! Tapas are merely small quantities of meals.

When eating out in Spain, a tapa may be something from two triangles of cheese or a dish of olives to a mini hamburger or perhaps a small portion of paella—and plenty of tapas recipes are straightforward to recreate at dwelling.

In cities like Madrid and Granada, tapas typically come free when ordering a drink. In different places, they value cash—nevertheless it’s properly value it for the standard and innovation they typically characterize.

Learn how to use it: Me encanta este sitio. Las tapas aquí son riquísimas! (I like this place. The small plates listed here are scrumptious!)

5. Pintxo: Small Plate with a Skewer

A plate of small pieces of bread topped with goat cheese and caramelized onions
Pintxos with goat cheese and caramelized onions.

Head as much as the north of Spain and you will find bars lined with colourful, eye-catching small bites skewered atop items of bread. Welcome to the land of pintxos!

“Pintxo” is solely the Basque phrase for “tapa.” Following Basque custom, pintxos are sometimes a bit extra elaborate than tapas and are nearly all the time served atop a medallion of bread with a skewer by way of your complete factor.

Learn how to use it: Me gustaría un pintxo de queso de cabra y cebolla caramelizada. (I would love a small plate of goat cheese and caramelized onion.)

6. Menú del Día: Day by day Lunch Particular

Close up of meat in sauce with french fries on a white plate
Meat dishes like this carrillada are sometimes accessible because the second course on the menú del día.

Day by day fixed-price menus, or menús del día, are a factor of magnificence when eating out in Spain. They normally include three or 4 selections every for each a primary and second course, bread, a drink, and both dessert or espresso. All of that may set you again simply €10–16!

Menús del día are solely served at lunchtime, and normally solely throughout the week. Some eating places additionally provide a lunchtime menú de fin de semana on weekends, nevertheless it tends to be dearer than its mid-week counterpart.

Learn how to use it: ¿Qué tenéis de menú del día? (What are the choices for the menu of the day?)

7. Caña: Small Draft Beer

Close up of a person's hand holding a small draft beer
There is a technique to the insanity: The small measurement of cañas permits them to remain completely chilly whilst you eat your tapa!

A caña is a brief glass of draft beer. Cañas are normally about 200 ml (roughly ¾ cup).

Beer in Spain is mostly ordered by measurement, as many bars solely serve the native brew on faucet. So as an alternative of ordering a Mahou or an Estrella Damm, you’d ask for a caña. Nevertheless, the craft beer increase in Spain is slowly altering this, including extra beer choices seemingly each week!

Learn how to use it: ¿Me pones una caña, por favor? (I am going to have a small draft beer, please.)

8. Postre: Dessert

Two servings of arroz con leche in clay bowls.
Creamy rice pudding is the proper Spanish dessert.

That is arguably one of the best a part of any Spanish meal, whether or not eating out or consuming at dwelling!

Dessert in Spain may be something from a slice of chocolate cake to a bit of fruit. The previous normally comes after dinner, whereas the latter is extra frequent after lunch. If you happen to order a menú del día, your dessert will typically be included within the value of your meal.

One other vital dessert-related phrase is casero (home made). Many eating places in Spain provide packaged merchandise like yogurts, ice cream bars, or candies on their dessert menu. Whereas a few of these may be respectable, nothing beats home made sweets.

Everytime you’re handed a dessert menu in Spain, make sure you ask which gadgets are literally made on the restaurant!

Learn how to use it: ¿Qué postres caseros tenéis? (What home made desserts do you might have?)

9. Vino Tinto: Purple Wine

Close up of a person holding a glass of red wine with a vineyard in the background
Unimaginable Spanish purple wine.

If you happen to’re not choosy about wine, asking for a vino tinto will get you a glass of the home purple. However if you wish to get extra particular, remember the fact that wine in Spain is nearly all the time ordered by the area, not the grape.

In the case of purple wines in Spain, two areas all however dominate drink menus and wine lists: Rioja and Ribera. The previous is Spain’s best-known wine area even overseas, however the latter is beginning to give it a run for its cash.

Wines from Rioja are typically lighter and fruitier than their extra tannic and juicier Ribera counterparts. Each areas produce primarily tempranillo grapes.

Learn how to use it: Ponme una copa de vino tinto de Rioja, por favor. (I am going to have a glass of purple wine from Rioja, please.)

10. Vino Blanco: White Wine

Close up of a bartender pouring two glasses of white wine on a wooden bartop
The reds are extra well-known, however do not forget about Spain’s glorious white wines!

Spain’s most prized white wine grape is albariño, which comes from the northwestern province of Galicia. Albariño is an exception to Spain’s order-by-the-region rule, as it is the identify of the grape, not the area.

Wines from the Rueda area, which are typically lighter and fruitier than albariños, are gaining momentum within the small however mighty world of Spanish whites. Even Rioja produces some glorious white wines that, whereas not as well-known as their purple counterparts, are properly value a strive!

Learn how to use it: ¿Qué vinos blancos tenéis? (What sorts of white wine do you might have?)

11. Vaso de Agua (de Grifo): Glass of Faucet Water

To get a glass of water at a restaurant in Spain, you must particularly ask for it. If you happen to simply ask for agua, the server will nearly all the time carry a big bottle.

For only a plain previous, free glass of faucet water, it’s a necessity to specify that you really want a glass (vaso) of water, versus a bottle. De grifo means from the faucet, to make it additional clear.

Faucet water in Spain is protected to drink. Nevertheless, in lots of coastal cities like Barcelona and Málaga, the style could be a bit off. Whereas it will not make you sick if you happen to do devour it, you are higher off asking for bottled water (una botella de agua), which tastes significantly better!

Learn how to use it: ¿Nos pones dos vasos de agua de grifo? (Might you carry us two glasses of faucet water?)

12. Cortado: Espresso with a Splash of Milk

Ordering espresso in Spain comes with an entire new set of vocabulary. First up is the standard cortado. Actually translated, cortado means “reduce.” And within the meals world, the factor being reduce is espresso.

A cortado is a shot of espresso “reduce” with a splash of steamed milk and topped with a spoonful of froth. You should use it as a noun: “I might like a cortado.” Or you should use it as an adjective: “I might like a café cortado.”

Outdoors of the culinary realm, cortado means “reduce” extra actually, as in “¿Te has cortado el pelo?” (Have you ever reduce your hair?).

Learn how to use it: Me das un cortado, por favor? (Might you carry me an espresso with a splash of foamed milk, please?)

13. Café con Leche: Half Espresso, Half Milk

Overhead shot of a person pouring milk into a clear glass of coffee
Espresso in Spain is usually served in clear glasses slightly than mugs.

The preferred Spanish espresso drink is the ever-present café con leche, or Spain’s reply to a latte. This drink consists of equal components espresso and milk. You can too specify what temperature you’d just like the milk to be: go for caliente if you need sizzling milk, or templada for lukewarm milk that may stop you from burning your tongue!

Learn how to use it: Quiero un café con leche, con la leche templada. (I might like a espresso with lukewarm milk.)

14. A La Brasa: Charcoal-Grilled

A man grilling steaks over a large charcoal grill
Grilling steak a la brasa within the Basque Nation.

If you happen to’re craving one thing grilled, a la brasa is the best way to go. This time period is simply used when gadgets are grilled over a flame and charcoal. Usually, solely meat or octopus is usually ready a la brasa.

Learn how to use it: Pulpo a la brasa es mucho más rico que pulpo a la gallega. (Charcoal-grilled octopus is way tastier than Galician-style boiled octopus.)

15. A La Parrilla: Grilled

A plate of grilled vegetables covered in olive oil with a small bowl of orange romesco sauce
Greens a la parrilla with romesco sauce

Parrilla actually refers back to the metallic grill prime that is positioned over a hearth to prepare dinner with. In apply, lots of the gadgets served a la parrilla are literally cooked on a grill pan on the range, not over a hearth. You will nonetheless get these good grill marks, although!

Learn how to use it: Prefiero verduras a la parrilla a verduras al horno. (I desire grilled greens to baked greens.)

16. A La Plancha: Cooked on a Griddle

Chorizo-stuffed mushrooms on a white plate beside a short glass of red wine.
Unimaginable chorizo-stuffed mushrooms, ready a la plancha.

A plancha is a big, flat, metallic cooking floor that is frequent in most eating places. In Spain, all the pieces from fish filets to garlicky mushrooms are seared on one of these sizzling griddle. If the menu does not specify how an merchandise is cooked, it is protected to imagine it is going to be a la plancha.

Learn how to use it: A mí me encanta el salmón a la plancha, pero no me gusta el salmón ahumado. (I like salmon that is been cooked on a griddle, however I do not like smoked salmon.)

Eating Out in Spain Vocabulary FAQs

What are cañas in Spanish meals?

Cañas are the small draft beers which are standard accompaniments to tapas. Their small measurement permits them to remain chilly within the time it takes you to complete your dish. That is why you will typically see locals consuming them whereas nibbling on tapas in Spanish bars!

What’s “grill” in Spanish?

The Spanish phrase for “grill” is parrilla. Nevertheless, at eating places in Spain, this time period normally refers to meals cooked in a grill-style pan on a stovetop. In order for you one thing charcoal-grilled over a flame, search for the time period a la brasa.

How do you ask for the test in Spanish?

In Spain, you possibly can merely say “la cuenta, por favor” (the test, please) once you catch your server’s consideration. One other frequent phrase many locals use is “¿Nos cobras cuando puedas?” (actually “Are you able to cost us when you possibly can?”). Both one is a superbly fantastic strategy to ask your server to carry the invoice.

How do you ask for a desk for 2 in Spanish?

Although you possibly can technically seat your self at Spanish eating places (there isn’t any host or hostess), it is usually thought of well mannered to catch a server’s consideration and ask if a desk is accessible—particularly throughout peak occasions when the restaurant is busy.

To take action, simply ask for “una mesa para dos” (a desk for 2), or nevertheless many individuals are in your occasion. If tables can be found, the server will normally simply invite you to seize whichever one you want.

Replace Discover: This submit was initially printed on December 3, 2015. It was up to date with new textual content and images on June 1, 2021 and republished on Might 24, 2023.

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