What is traveling off the beaten track without trying traditional Spanish food in local villages? Discovering new local restaurants on the road has become an essential part of my foodie adventures. Follow this new blog series to keep track of all the non-touristy dishes I keep discovering along the way.
Traditional Spanish Food in the Villages
New Blog Series
While you will occasionally find new amazing Spanish foods on the road in my IG Restaurant Highlights, Traditional Spanish Food in Local Villages will be a separate blog series. Every few months, I plan to share with you 10 new unique dishes from truly local bars and restaurants. I could probably even make a new post every month as I visit a lot of places, but I prefer sharing only the ones I really loved.
Food in Spain
We could all agree on the fact that when it comes to food Spanish people know how to embrace regional ingredients to create something rich in flavors. Did you know, that Spain has more bars per inhabitant than any other EU country? It´s in these local bars and small restaurants where the traditional cuisine of any region is being passed from parents to children. You can often find the whole family working together. There´s nothing I enjoy more than visiting family-owned restaurants and trying homemade food. I guess, in a modern globalized world, this travel experience gains customer value every single day.
I honestly love featuring these places on my blog. They are so authentic – that´s what we all crave, aren´t we? – Plus, I never really tell anyone that I do own a travel blog, so I could evaluate the food and the service as any other customer would. So you can trust me on this and simply keep track of places you won´t find in any guidebook.
Regional food and events
In Andalusia, you have delicious tapas, in the Basque Country – pintxos, in Valencia – paella and almuerzo. But what will you find in Spain off the beaten track, outside the big touristic hubs? – This is what we are about to discover in this Blog Series Traditional Spanish Food in the Villages.
Traditional Spanish Food: Delicious Things I Have Recently Tried in Spain
1. Torreznos / Soria
During my recent trip to Soria not only did I get a chance to explore Numancia, one of my favorite landmarks this year, but I also could not miss a chance to try torreznos, the most typical dish of Soria.
For those of you who never heard of it, Torrezno is a crunchy bacon snack made of pork belly.
It was a spontaneous stop in the village of San Leonardo de Yague. We were simply looking for local bars with decent rankings on Google (for drinks and snacks) and discovered Bar El Hogar in San Leonardo de Yague. Apparently, this place is known for some of the best torreznos in Soria. By pure accident, we got to try the region´s most authentic dish in one of the most local settings. I´m normally not a fan of pork, but I should admit torreznos was good. So, if you´re a meat lover – definitely give it a try.
2. Parillada de Carne + Rabo de Toro / Castellon
While exploring the province of Castellon, locals suggested to me one of the popular places to enjoy the traditional almuerzo in the Valencia region – Casa Julián in the tiny village of La Barona. Traditional almuerzo (e.g late breakfast) in the small villages of the Valencia region looks more like an early lunch, as you might not feel hungry for the rest of the day. It could be traced back to the times when locals used to work hard in the fields, so a strong breakfast was essential. Nowadays, it´s often an excuse for the Spaniards to gather with friends for the whole morning, especially on the weekends.
Also read: Spanish Eating Habits – Almuerzo in Valencia
Together with my husband, we´ve already been to Casa Julián a few times. As I´ve confessed to you in my list of favorite travel experiences of 2022 Tombet de Cordero (e.g lamb stew) was one of the most delicious eats this year. But we´ve also recently tried – Rabo de Toro, one of the classics of traditional Spanish food. Rabo de toro is a bull tail stew. It is considered a cold-weather delicatessen in Spain. Also, parrillada de carne, a selection of grilled local meat, is a very traditional thing to try in almost any non-coastal Spanish village.
3. Conejo con Caracoles + Crema Catalana / Girona
On our family trip across Catalonia, the lunch hour got us near the small town of Santa Pau. So, we spontaneously began to look for the nearest restaurants with positive reviews and discovered Restaurant Can Met in Mieres. One of the most traditional local dishes they offered was Conejo con Caracoles – rabbit with snails.
Also read: Artichoke Tasting Menu in Benicarlo, Spain
In general, rabbit meat is a popular ingredient in traditional Spanish food. Especially in the rural regions of Spain, where hunting is quite popular. In fact, the country´s name Hispania from the Roman times means “land of rabbits”.
While there are many popular rabbit dishes across Spain, snails are particularly loved in Catalonia and Valencia. Even though I´m usually not into snails, all the food at Restaurant Can Met looked so homemade that I decided to give it a chance. No need to say it was delicious.
For dessert, they had the very popular in Spain Crema Catalana. Obviously, I´ve tried it many times, but never have I ever enjoyed one as delicious and homemade.
4. Local Pastries / Teruel
While exploring the secret villages of Teruel I couldn’t resist visiting a traditional local bakery (or panaderia in Spanish). This place was called Horno de Pan Dilla Pastas Tipicas and it can be found in the small town of La Fresneda (close to one of the top Spanish hikes – Parrizal de Beceite). I have chosen pastries with the flavors of anise, orange, nuts+raisins, and meringue with almonds. Also, we bought a cottage loaf, called hogaza in Spanish.
5. Requeson con miel / Torla
As the Spanish Pyrenees is one of my favorite travel destinations in the whole of the Iberian Peninsula, be prepared to find a lot of local dishes and restaurants in this Blog Series: Traditional Spanish Food in Villages. After hiking in Parque Nacional de Ordesa y Monte Perdido we enjoyed lunch at Restaurante La Cocinilla in the small town of Torla-Ordesa.
Also read: Gastronomic Weeks in Spain – Hazelnut
While located in a tiny village, Restaurante La Cocinilla was quite fancy. While the cuisine had a creative touch, they also offered a few delicious local specialties like requeson con miel – cottage cheese with honey. While you could find it across the whole of Spain, it is very typical in Catalonia (where it is called Mel i Mato). In fact, while Torla is located in Huesca/Aragon, it borders the Catalan Baqueira/Vall D´Aran. Therefore, the local cuisine often shares similarities for both regions’ specialties.
6. Pan de Calatrava / Castellon
After exploring the Spanish Ceramics of Alcora, we headed to a very local restaurant El Mangranar, near the small town of Atzeneta del Maestrat. This place had such a quiet countryside location – I loved everything about it. It is also a hotel, so for those of you looking to escape the city buzz, it might be a perfect weekend getaway in Spain.
For dessert, at El Mangranar they had either a flan or pan de calatrava. The last one is a bread pudding, originally popular in the Spanish region of Murcia, but nowadays you can find it in the whole of Spain.
7. Local Cheese Plate / Extremadura
The region of Extremadura is known across the whole of Spain for its gourmet jam and cheese. We actually ordered both and really enjoyed the restaurant – Las Mayas in the small village of Barcarrota.
The most popular local types of cheese are La Torta del Casar, Queso de la Serena,and Queso Ibores. But there are many more types of cheese to try in Extremadura. Actually, there´s even a cheese-tasting itinerary, called La ruta del queso extremeño.
8. Coca de Patata + Horchata de Almendra / Mallorca
While Mallorca´s gem town of Valldemossa belongs on the list of romantic places in Spain and charming medieval towns in Spain, it is also known for some local specialties. You might have heard of Valencia´s horchata drink made with chufa (e.g yellow nutsedge), but I´ve honestly never had horchata with almonds. It was delicious, very much like a traditional local pastry coca de patata, made with potato, egg, and sugar.
9. Gazpacho Manchego / Castile La-Mancha
While heading towards the Don Quixote route in the region of Castile-La Mancha, I tried one of the local specialties Gazpacho Manchego (which to my surprise had nothing to do with the typical Gazpacho of Andalusia). Gazpacho Manchego is a stew with rabbit, chicken, and torta cenceña (e.g. local bread without yeast)
So, the restaurant on the road was called Casa Rocio (located in Granja de Iniesta/ Cuenca). Most of the dishes on the manu were very local. We´ve ordered a plate of seasonal grilled mushrooms, called niscalos (which I love ordering through the autumn season in Spain).
10. Arroz Caldoso con Gueñas y Alubias / Valencia
After visiting the mysterious Cornudilla and the most stunning caves of the Valencia region, we enjoyed lunch in one of the local restaurants of Requena – Hotel Doña Anita. While rice is the most typical attribute of the Valencian Community, the variety of rice-centered dishes still keeps surprising me. This time Arroz Caldoso con Gueñas y Alubias was a discovery. It was essentially a “brothy rice” with meat and beans, but it had such a rich flavor.
So, what about you, dear reader? Have you ever tried traditional Spanish food?