Spaniards have an eating schedule, meaning that they are not guided by the sense of hunger but by whether it is the time to eat. What is even more surprising is that in Spain people eat up to 5 times a day. However, if you are coming to Spain and want to try Spanish cuisine, restaurants and cafes, we would recommend you keep in mind the eating hours they have. If not, you can easily find yourself rice with seafoodhungry for example at 19:00 o’clock with the majority of the restaurants closed. Of course there will always be restaurants for tourists open throughout the day, however usually the best restaurants maintain a Spanish eating schedule.

The different Spanish eating habits

  • DESAYUNO: Spaniards start their day by eating a very small breakfast, maybe a small toast and most importantly a coffee might be accompanied with fresh orange juice. In the gap between breakfast and lunch, people stop to have
  • ALMUERZO: which normally is a small snack like a piece of fruit or yogurt which is usually eaten about 12:00 o’clock. And then the earliest hour for lunch
  • COMIDA: would be 14:00 up until 16:00 since Spaniards love socializing and chatting a lot while enjoying the meal. This is why in 2Day Languages there is a course “Kitchen Chats” where students are able to have conversations with a teacher and classmates while cooking and trying Spanish dishes. The students are able to experience a real Spanish eating culture! After a rich and relaxed lunch in Spain there is quite a gap between lunch and dinner (since the lunch takes place between 14:00 – 16:00 and normally the dinner starts as late as 21:00) that’s why it is usual to have an evening snack
  • MERIENDA: at around 18:00 which is a small sandwich or a piece of fruit, and  adults still like to have some coffee at this time in the evening. As I have mentioned before the dinner
  • CENA: usually is about 21:00 in the evening up to 23:00 or even longer as Spanish dinners are the most important meal of the day and people love to make it as a social event too. So, if you want to get a real Spanish dinner in a restaurant I would recommend you to show up at the restaurant no later than 21:00 o’clock, because around 18:00 you will only be able to get a snack or even find restaurants closed. The evening hours are also perfect to go to try the famous TAPAS which are small plates of various meals (like ham, cheese, seafood, potatoes) with a little bit of Spanish house wine which is also quite cheap and great quality!

If you are going out to eat with Spanish people it is important to know that Spaniards are used to pay the bill in equal parts, meaning that if there are four people eating, the quantity of the check is divided by 4 equal parts despite of how much each one has eaten.

When talking about tips, it is not usual to leave generous tips for a waiter. They are used to get a 5% tip or even nothing, depending what type of restaurant it is too.

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