An outsider looking in might associate Spanish food with tapas, spice, and other culinary stereotypes, but that’s not how a Spaniard sees it. A Spaniard doesn’t see their food from the lens of a country. They see it from the region’s perspective, which makes sense because Spain is huge, and you can’t possibly have the same special dish everywhere you go.

Spain is big on utilizing local produce and protein, as in those local to their specific region, which could be shellfish, dark meat, or tomatoes. They boast some of the best foodie destinations in the world because they take from the best when it’s at its best.

Here are some of these foodie destinations and their special cuisines.


You’ve probably heard of the paella whether or not you’re a Spanish food enthusiast. Probably the most famous food item after tapas, the paella was invented by farmers in the rice fields of Valencia before it made its way across the country and the world at large.

The dish itself contains locally-grown rice infused with the flavors of different types of proteins, such as chicken, rabbit, and seafood, colored with saffron, and flavored with different spices. You cannot get a more authentic paella anywhere else in the world.


Catalonia is a city where nature meets history meets arts. All kinds of arts, including the culinary ones. The city isn’t just the birthplace of pan con tomate, the Spanish equivalent of the grilled sandwich, but also known for making the best of its natural produce. Case in point: Calçotada.

At first glance,calçotadalooks like just any other street food. It’s simple and requires no more than two ingredients. However, having a few ingredients isn’t always a good thing. It means you have to make every element shine.

Catalonia achieves this feat by preparing spring onions over an open fire during the winters, wrapping them in a newspaper, and serving them with a special Catalan sauce. There’s nothing simple about working with literal fire, but the fruit—or vegetable—is definitely worth the labor.

Spring Onions Being Prepared Over an Open Fire


Madrid is a multicultural city. It’s a place where you’ll find tourists and local Madrileñosin equal numbers, roaming the streets and lining up outside bars and restaurants, hoping to get a taste of the fine wine and the award-winning food.

Speaking of food, Madrid is known for many things that you may associate Spanish food with, especially calamari. The city is particularly famous for its bocadillo de calamares or calamari sandwich despite being a ways away from the coastline.

Although you might find different iterations of the bar snack, it’s usually made of a sliced Spanish baguette stuffed with crunchy deep-fried calamari rings. The rings are also flavored with a squeeze of lemon juice or some aioli and washed down with a big glass of caña.


Andalusia is the next foodie destination on our great Spanish tour. Andalusia is a city where it’s bright and sunny no matter what time of year, which is mostly a good thing. It can actually get pretty hot down here in the summers, which is why people undercut the heat with a bowl of soup—yes, soup—but not just any soup.

Salmorejo is different from the quintessential piping hot soup. It provides ‘cold comfort’ to overheated Andalusians through a tomato and garlic base, stale bread, sherry vinegar, and ham and has a different consistency than a soup. It’s thick and creamy, almost to the point of being a puree but not quite.

Two Bowls of Salmorejo, A Piece of Bread, Three Tomatoes, and a Knife


Make a stop at Galicia on the coastal leg of your journey for the seafood of this part of southern Spain seems to do so well. Be sure to try the polbo á feira, an octopus-based delicacy made by cooking the star of the dish with potatoes and paprika powder in a cauldron.

The copper cauldron adds a special flavor to the dish, usually served during festivals, whereas the red wine enhances the flavors of each element. Enjoy this meal with some boiled potatoes, and don’t forget to drizzle lots of olive oil before taking the first bite. It’ll give a whole new dimension to the tender octopus.


Asturias is yet another coastal city with over 200 beaches and a plethora of local dishes, the best of which have surprisingly nothing to do with seafood. Fabada Asturianais a hearty Spanish bean stew made from white beans, blood sausage, chorizo, and pork belly.

While this meal involves the least popular cuts of meat, there’s nothing unsavory about it. The slow-cooked beans and meat marry perfectly, forming a thick base with all the best flavors of your favorite protein. The upside: you’ll have a newfound respect for offal.

Three Tapas Bowls Containing Calamari Rings, Blood Sausage, and Patatas Respectively

Balearic Islands

Like most course meals, we’d like to end our mouth-watering blog with something sweet from the Balearic Islands. If you’ve ever heard of or even been to Mallorca, you’ve probably laid eyes on ensaïmadaMallorquina, aka the Mallorcanspiral pastry.

This Spanish-style sweet bread was brought to Mallorca by the Arab settlers, and while the latter chose not to stick around, the bread was certainly here to stay. Today, this pastry is dunked in coffee during breakfast, eaten as an afternoon snack, and even enjoyed as a dinnertime dessert on the island.

Explore More Foodie Destinations in Spain with Irina Bukatik

The above regions have more to offer than meets this blog. Follow travel enthusiast, adventure lover, and gastronome Irina Bukatik to explore the Top Foodie Destinations Spain and beyond. File away her experiences or commit them to memory, and try them yourself the next time to visit a particular country.

Share your comments and concerns with the food and travel blogger online.



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