Food and Drink in Barcelona (LingoMap)

I no longer have to be a vegetarian!

I can actually afford meat here in Spain and, believe me, I’ve really been taking advantage of this. In fact, ALL the food here is very affordable. I get to eat out (in actual restaurants) every weekend and I don’t have to ask for their “cheapest water, please”. Yep, even the drinks are affordable; happy days! (Please bear in mind that I’ve just spent a semester in Switzerland…)

Hace tres semanas fui a Terrassa (una ciudad en la provincia de Barcelona, en las afueras) para visitar a una amiga y por supuesto fuimos a un restaurante para cenar y pues como “guiris” que somos comimos paella y bebimos sangría… ¡típico! En España ¡hay SABOR! Para mí, en Inglaterra si quiero cenar en un restaurante “inglés”, siempre está el riesgo de que la comida no vaya a tener sabor, pero aquí ese riesgo es más bajo.


In case you don’t know what paella looks like…


There is something that definitely needs to be discussed about the alcoholic drinks here in Barcelona: they are VERY strong. I have visited other places in Spain (Alicante and Valencia) and have had drinks there, like sangria (of course), cocktails, etc. and they normally have the right balance. However, there have been many times here in Barcelona when I have ordered a simple piña colada or sangria and have honestly felt like I was at pres (pre-drinks) even before finishing it. Yet other people (los barceloneses) who have the same drink as me (or even more) are all of sound mind as if it’s completely normal. So, lightweights, be warned!

Es importante tener en cuenta que en los Mcdonald’s barceloneses no hay pastel de manzana, ¡qué triste! Recuerdo el día que me enteré de eso… tenía antojo de pastel de manzana, así que fui a Mcdonald’s… solo para enterarme de que aquí no existen. Sin embargo, no está tan mal porque en casi cada calle hay una panadería que vende tartas de manzana y ¡son riquísimas!


Una tarta de manzana


Aunque lo que comes es importante, también es importante cuándo lo comes. Les voy a explicar el horario de comida en España:

  • Desayuno a las ocho
  • Tentempié a las once y media
  • Comida a las dos y media
  • Merienda a las cinco
  • Cena a las nueve y media (¡de la noche!!)

Eating dinner at 9pm seems extremely late to me, especially for working adults who have to wake up early every morning –what time will they go to sleep if they eat dinner at 9pm? Anyway, I ignore this norm and just eat dinner around 7pm. You only have to follow it if you want to eat out – you won’t find many restaurants open before 8:30pm.

En mi oficina es tradición que, cuando es tu cumpleaños, llevas comida, tartas y todo lo que puedas a la oficina para que coman tus compañeros de trabajo para el tentempié. Me encanta eso porque nos da la oportunidad de descansar y comer un poco a la mañana… es como si tuviéramos dos almuerzos.


There are so many cafes and bakeries everywhere


Speaking of work, a few weeks ago the CEO of our company came from Singapore to our office in Barcelona and took us all out for lunch. This is when I learnt that it was normal to have a three-course meal for lunch… in the middle of the day. I was really so confused when everyone was telling me that I had to order tres platos. Anyway, I ended up getting rice and chicken (as a starter!!), chips and chicken curry for my main course (at this point I was already about to explode), and then a fruity pastry for dessert. After this, all of my colleagues had shots of coffee since it is customary to have coffee after most meals.

Lo que me sorprendió mucho cuando fuimos a comer es que mis compañeros bebieron cerveza, vino y gin-tonic y todavía podían seguir trabajando.

One thing that I have noticed when dining out in Barcelona is that when other people get into the restaurant, they will normally greet everyone who is already in the restaurant, whereas in the UK, it would be strange to great other people unless you know them.

Top tips:

  • If you have more food on your plate than you can finish, and you want to take it home with you, use the verb llevar. E.g. ¿Puedo llevármelo?
  • To ask if they accept card payments, say: ¿Se puede pagar con tarjeta? / ¿Aceptan tarjetas?
  • To find out what is actually in the food that you’re interested in, say: ¿Qué contiene?
  • To ask how long it will take for your food to be ready, say: ¿Cuánto tiempo lleva? (Yes, llevar is very popular).
  • To ask about Wi-Fi in the restaurant, just say ‘Wifi?’ and they’ll know what you mean.

Key vocab:

  • Menu: el menú
  • Fork: el tenedor
  • Spoon: la cuchara
  • Knife: el cuchillo
  • Napkin: una servilleta
  • Spicy: picante
  • Sweet: dulce
  • Glass: el vaso
  • Waiter: el camarero
  • Waitress: la camarera
  • Meat: la carne
  • Fish: el pescado
  • Sugar-free: sin azúcar

Here are some off-topic photos I took of Barcelona, just for bromas:

Anyway, that’s all for now.

¡Hasta pronto, amigos!

Leave a Reply