After my travels throughout Spain and other Hispanic countries, I have decided to give the outsider a little window on what to expect from a typical Spanish restaurant. Here it is:
Not all Spanish restaurants actually have an official starter section, as many of them favour tapas and allow the guests the luxury of flexibility in choosing how they would like to construct their meal. Generally a lighter course, just like in any other restaurant, the Spanish starter is usually either soup or salad. The soup may be hot or cold and will usually be something like a thick, spicy tomato broth, or a thinner seafood soup. The salads that are served as a starter are typically fresh and fantastic, usually consisting of a traditional green salad with avocado and possibly chunks of fruit. A great way to kick of a meal in a Spanish restaurant, without stuffing yourself and ruining your main course and dessert. Before I chose to volunteer in Latin America, I never really ate tomatoes, as the ones in the UK are terrible, tasteless things that seem to be injected with water and have the most ghastly, squishy textures imaginable. The Hispanic tomatoes blew me away, as a matter of fact, and now I’m a fully-converted tomato addict!
Ok, so this is probably the most important part for most people. Not everyone likes to order a starter in a restaurant, but I almost certainly always do. After all, how many times do you get to eat out? For me, not many, and I’d rather make the most of it and enjoy the whole experience as much as possible. Plus hitting a main course on an empty stomach can feel like I’ve dropped a 16-ton weight in there sometimes. Spanish main courses can typically be stewed or roasted meats, such as chicken or lamb, with stewed mixed vegetables or bountiful salads. Grilled chops or fish are more popular choices for the healthy eater, but if you do count yourself as a healthy eater, then look no further than Spanish cuisine. Some Spanish restaurants may even list their main dishes by type of method, or by the method is which it is cooked, as I learned when I chose to volunteer in Guatemala.