Eating is one of the delights of going on vacation in Spain. But what to eat in Spain when visiting on holiday with family, when there is so much to choose from? Parents also have an additional issue: What can kids eat in Spain, especially if they are picky eaters? We asked our community of family influencers and family travel bloggers to share their best tips and insights. We’ve curated their (and our!) best tips to provide a guide to not only the dishes that Spain is known for but also parents’ top recommendations for the things that children love to eat in Spain.
Get more ideas for where to go and what to do with our list of articles below — and check out the official Spain website, which is a fantastic resource for planning your next holiday there. Don’t miss our bonus section below about the best beverages for kids and grownups. Salud!
1. Paella and pasta – I love a paella! Our daughter is not quite as adventurous as she loves her pasta. @Prescottigirl
2. Spanish breakfast – I love a Spanish continental breakfast with lovely cheeses and meats. @ChampionMum70
3. Pasteles – Find sweet and savoury pastries in pastelerias.
4. Cured meats – The cured meats are a real highlight. @MissieLizzieB
A short list of delicious cured meats to try:
- Jamón Iberico de Bellota – the luxurious cured meat gets its distinctive taste from the pigs’ all-acorn diet. (Bellota = acorn)
- Jamon serrano – Dry cured ham sliced very thin so its fragrant fat melts in the mouth
- Chorizo – A delicious spicy sausage
- Salchicón – Spanish summer sausage
- Sobrasadda – Native to the Balearic islands with a soft texture so you can spread it on bread
- Morcilla – Blood sausage
- Lomo embuchado – A lean dry cured pork tenderloin
- Botifarra – Originally from Catalonia, comes in a range of textures and flavours
5. Fresh fish – The fresh fish is amazing! @slhuddlestone. Try everything from eel to bream to boquerones fritos (tiny fried sardines) to anything cooked fresh on the beach over an open fire. There’s also a great variety of fish stews, fish in sauces and baked into delicious dishes. If your child is fish-shy, this could be an opportunity for them to try it because of the novel name, presentation and taste.
6. Calamari – Fried squid is not only delicious but these little rings are fun to eat as well.
7. Fresh tuna salad – I will never forget the amazing fresh tuna salad I had on a little square in Antequera with an inquisitive cat sat next to me. It was simple but SO amazing, I can taste it now! @MissieLizzieB
8. Empanadas – Pastry parcels with fillings like jamon y queso or pisto (like ratatouille) that you can find in restaurants and as street food. A nice handheld snack or lunch on the go.
9. Cannelloni – We had the most amazing cannelloni on a trip to Costa Barcelona — it’s actually a traditional dish there! @JHowze. Canelones, are a popular Catalan dish, introduced by Italians in the 19th century.
10. Spaghetti bolognese – My eldest child thinks that spaghetti bolognese always tastes better in Spain. @Tmum38
11. Cheese – Not just manchego. There is a wide range of regional cheeses across the Spanish islands and mainland, made with the milk from sheep, cows and goats. Be adventuresome!
15. Tapas – We have had a rule since our boys were tiny that everyone in the family has to try something new every day when we travel, it has made them adventurous eaters! We love tapas and filling a table with lots of exciting food @sarahjchristie
12. Canarian potatoes – My son loves Canarian potatoes (the mojo sauce can be a bit spicy!) @radders2012. Also known as papas arugardas, these are a signature of the Canary Islands, especially Tenerife.
13. Patatas bravas – I am drooling thinking of Patatas Bravas. @racheysun. Fried potatoes in tomato sauce, this dish is a tapas favourite.
14. Tortilla patata – Even if you have a very cautious eater, these egg and potato omelet is a kid-pleaser.
16. Albondigas – Little meatballs, perfect with a refreshing drink in the afternoon or early evening. Very moreish.
17. Croquetas – Delicious deep-fried fritters made of mashed potatoes, bechamel sauce and ham, fish, chicken, mushrooms or another filling. Good for both meat-eaters and vegetarians.
18. Gambas – aka shrimp! Fresh, cooked with herbs and garlic, served sizzling and delicious. Kids can find the peel-and-eat experience especially messy and fun.
19. Fruit – We eat fruit. Tonnes of fruit. I think because its so fresh and refreshing in the heat. @Chatterfoxblog. Look for apples, pomegranates, persimmon, cherries, oranges, loquat, quince, grapefruits and more. Markets are a great place to pick up a bagful of the latest seasonal options.
20. Churros! @LassiesofLondon. Dipped in piping hot chocolate — need we say more?
What to drink in Spain
Don’t miss out on all the bebidas in Spain – things for the kids and for the adults. Here’s are some notable options:
21. Cava – Spain’s sparkling wine is made with the traditional method and the majority is made in Catalonia.
22. Sangria – Naturally. Eat the fruit for part of your five a day.
23. Horchata – This sweet milky-style drink is made from tiger nuts, great for after lunch.
24. Granizados – Delicious frappes made with crushed ice and fruit juice or fruity syrups.
25. Cerveza – Choose a regional beer with a salty snack like crisps or nuts.
26. Wine – Red, wine, pink — it’s fun not only to drink wine but also to visit some of the wineries, some of which have child-friendly tours, like Alta Alella, near Barcelona.