Paella is one of the most classic Spanish dishes. It originates from the Valencia region and can be made in either seafood, meat or vegetable varieties. The traditional rice dish is flavoured with saffron, garlic and paprika. The most typical Valencian type of paella is made with rabbit, snails and broad beans.
Hailing from the Basque Country, Bacalao pil pil is a popular cod dish. The cod is fried with garlic and olive oil and a bit of chilli, until the fish oil and the olive oil forms an emulsion. It is called ‘pil pil’ because of the popping sound it makes when it cooks.
Migas is a dish typically from Andalusia, Spain’s southern region. It is made from either fried flour or fried bread crumbs mixed with garlic, green peppers and pieces of chorizo (spicy sausage).
Similar to gazpacho, salmorejo is a cold tomato soup. It’s made from tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and bread to thicken it up. It comes from the city of Cordoba and is traditionally topped with pieces of Spanish ham and boiled egg.
There are not many vegetarian dishes in Spain, but pisto is a rare exception. It’s similar to a ratatouille and features aubergines, courgettes, onions and peppers, cooked in a thick tomato sauce. It is sometimes served with a fried egg on the top. Pisto comes from the La Mancha region, south of Madrid, but can also be found across Andalusia, too.
The Catalan version of paella, fideuá (which is also found in Valencia) is made with short noodles instead of rice. There are different versions of fideuá, just like with paella, but one of the most typical is made with squid and squid ink and is served with aioli (a garlic mayonnaise).
Pulpo a la Gallega is Galician-style octopus. The octopus is usually boiled, placed on top of slices of potato and sprinkled with paprika. It is typically served on a thick wooden plate.
Literally chickpeas with spinach, this dish has influences from the Moors and can be found in Andalusia. It is a kind of stew made from chickpeas, spinach and onions, and is flavoured with garlic. Sometimes pine nuts and raisins are also added.
Catalan fish stew is made with various types of fish including dorada and monkfish, as well as prawns, tomatoes, onions and potatoes. This is complemented by picada – a topping made from crushed almonds, garlic, bread crumbs, saffron and parsley.
Tortilla is another of Spain’s most classic dishes. It is a potato omelette, which can be made with or without onions. Some of the best tortillas can be found in the region of Galicia and are often gooey in the middle.
A traditional dish from the region of Asturias, fabada Asturiana is a hearty stew made from white beans, pork, bacon, black pudding, chorizo and saffron. It is the perfect accompaniment for the cold Asturian winters.
Madrid’s most famous dish is the cocido Madrileño. Also a thick stew, which usually contains chickpeas, potatoes, cabbage, pork, chorizo, beef and chicken. It is usually eaten in winter, but you can find it in restaurants served throughout the year. Many regions in Spain have their own type of cocido, with slightly different ingredients.
Lechazo Asado is a roasted lamb dish that is typical in Castilla y Leon or La Rioja. It is typically cooked in a clay pot and slow roasted in a firewood oven until it is so tender that it almost falls away from the bone.
Arròs a banda is another of Spain’s delicious rice dishes and is typically found in the Valencia and Alicante areas, but is also popular in Catalonia and Murcia. It is rice cooked in a fish stock, but is different from paella because it’s served in two courses with the rice separate from the actual fish.
Catalonia‘s most famous dessert is Catalan cream. It is similar to French crème brûlée and is made from milk, egg yolks and sugar. It is usually flavoured with lemon or orange and has a burnt sugar topping.
Tarta de Santiago is one of Spain’s best desserts. It is from the Galicia region, and more specifically the city of Santiago de Compostela, but you can find it all over the region. It is a cake-like tart made from ground almonds and typically features the symbol of the saint Santiago in icing sugar on the top.
Literally rice with milk, this dessert is similar to rice pudding. It’s always served cold and is flavoured with cinnamon and lemon. It’s made with a risotto-type rice, which is slightly chewy.