Have you always wanted to try Spanish cuisine? If you haven’t been to Spain, there are various Spanish restaurants worldwide that offer dishes as if you’re there. But since it’s easy to start a business nowadays, it can be hard to look for the best ones.
Fortunately, signs are pointing out that a Spanish restaurant is authentic. And once you know these signs, you can easily find Spanish restaurants to try. In addition, aside from the signs, usually the most famous ones are the best.
So before you dine in a Spanish restaurant, here are some of the things you should look for to check if it’s authentic!
1. Everything’s in Spanish
Before you enter an authentic Spanish restaurant, you will notice that there are no big menus outside. And when you look at the actual menus once you’re seated, you’ll see that everything’s in Spanish. Surprisingly, other restaurants have English-translated menus that offer great dishes.
In addition, the good ones have short menus, and they change too often. It’s because they make sure that everything that comes out of the kitchen is fresh. So when you see a Spanish restaurant with tons of pages, maybe you should retreat. On the other hand, if the menu is up to two pages, it might be great.
2. Doesn’t say it’s authentic
When you look at the name of the restaurant, it doesn’t say it’s authentic. Usually, the name itself is already in Spanish, so there’s no need to mention that it’s an authentic Spanish restaurant. Besides, indicating it might just make everything looks suspicious.
So instead of stating the obvious, customers can judge the authenticity based on the food. Do you see pictures of paella and other well-known Spanish dishes? You might need to think twice because their food might just be microwaveable versions.
It’s important to ask for your judgement. Think of it as the cuisine of your country. Do you think it’s okay to see these things if you’re from Spain? If not, then it’s time to look for another restaurant.
3. Floor’s kind of messy
Before you react and get all disgusted, it’s not messy in the sense that there is too much dirt. In Spain, when the bar or restaurant floor has lots of crumpled napkins, it means that a lot of customers are dining in.
But aside from napkins, you can also see other things like cheese rinds, toothpicks from tapas, and chorizo casing.
If you’re wondering, of course, they’re cleaning the floor often, but because they have many customers, it’s hard to keep the floor neat all the time. So when you visit at peak hours, you can still see some of the trash of previous customers.
4. Doesn’t always serve paella and sangria
The typical Spanish restaurants don’t always serve paella and sangria. Even in Spain, it would be difficult to find a restaurant with these two on the menu. Since paella takes hours of preparation and requires fresh ingredients, authentic Spanish restaurants only serve it for a few days a week.
But if you like paella, you can do an advance order so that they can prepare it before you dine in.
As for the sangria, the preparation and ingredients can also take a while. Sure, you can store it overnight, but making fresh batches every day without knowing if it’ll be sold out can be costly. So when you see sangria in a pitcher served every day, it might not be as fresh as expected unless the place is famous for it.
5. They won’t hand the bill unless you ask
In Spain, it’s customary that the waiter won’t give you the bill unless you ask for it. So if you’re in an authentic Spanish restaurant, they might also practise this behaviour. The main reason for this is that it’s rude to give the bill if the customer’s not asking for it.
If this happens, it’s like they want the customers to leave right away. So even if you stay for hours, as long as you’re not calling for the bill, no one’s going to give it to you. And when it comes to the tip, it’s a myth that you shouldn’t. Maybe some restaurants don’t accept tips, but it’s not a general rule in Spanish restaurants.
Entering a restaurant you’re not familiar with can be confusing at first. However, it’s part of the experience. As long as you don’t think you’re being rude, it’s fine. But if you’re confused you can always ask. Or if you’re looking forward to it, you can research and look for pointers on how the restaurant works.
Are you excited to experience the taste of Spanish cuisine? If you didn’t like the food, you might be in the wrong restaurant, so try again. Let us know what’s your favourite dish by leaving a comment below!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Aliana Baraquio is a web content writer who also loves cooking dishes from different countries. If you want to experience a Barcelona-style restaurant that serves high-quality food, and a modern, contemporary, fresh feel from the south of Europe, visit TAST Catala Spanish Restaurant.
Coper is highly experienced in creating engaging content that adds real value to a blog, website, or brand.