Spanish cuisine is world renowned for its delicious tapas, fresh seafood and steaming plates of paella. Aside from these iconic dishes, there are plenty of regional specialties which offer an authentic taste of the Mediterranean. Here’s a selection of the best and most popular amongst the locals.
Galicia in the northwest region of Spain is home to this savory pie which comes in all shapes and sizes. A variety of delicious fillings include sautéed chicken, minced pork or seafood in a slow cooked onion sauce which gives a rich depth of flavor. Empanadas may be popular in Latin America and across the world, but we think the original is by far the best.
Summer in a bowl, this cold soup has long been a favorite in the southern regions of Spain. It’s most commonly prepared with tomato, stale bread, cucumber, wine vinegar and garlic. Many restaurants serve with their gazpacho with ice cubes and some include chunks of ham and vegetables. In the charming town of Alfarnatejo, this famous dish is celebrated each year with its own festival. It’s a good opportunity to sample some of the best gazpacho in the country and enjoy a traditional flamenco show.
The sprawling port city of Valencia is famed for its rice dishes and some of the best paella in Spain. For a unique taste of the region, try arros negre, a traditional recipe singing with the flavor of the sea. White rice is cooked with cuttlefish in a seafood broth before squid ink is added to give the dish its distinct dark color. Enjoy with some bread and a healthy dollop of aioli.
Traditionally a rural dish with its origins in Catalonia, this has become a popular dish in the lively city of Barcelona. It’s a simple mix of smoked eggplant, tomatoes and peppers, often served as an accompaniment to meat and fish. With affordable Barcelona weekend breaks, it’s worth visiting the city just for this heavenly dish.
Gambas al ajillo
Best enjoyed in one of Spain’s southern harbor towns, this seafood delight is a favorite at tapas bars. Each restaurant has their own unique style of preparation, but the main ingredients always include garlic, olive oil, Spanish paprika, dry sherry and fresh shrimp.
Rabo de toro
Originating from the town of Cordoba, this hearty stew is said to date back to Roman times. Oxtail is slow cooked with vegetables, spices and a drop of wine. Great during the winter months, you can expect a rich, intense flavor and the meat should fall off the bone.
If you’re planning a Spanish adventure, be sure to indulge in these regional favorites, you won’t be disappointed.