Don’t turn your nose up at your plate
Callos. Offal that is super typical in Madrid and Asturias. Totally tasty and worthy getting locally made. Just don't ask what is in it. Photo: Laura Hale
Never comment on how disgusting it appears no matter how unappetizing you find it. Most likely the dish you have been served is a source of regional pride. So if you really can’t bring yourself to try Callos a la Madrileña ( Madrid speciality of pig tripe and stomach lining), then insist you have already eaten.
Don’t ask for butter
They chances are they won’t have it or at best you will be given margarine instead. Instead, if you really want a moistener for your bread opt for olive oil. It’s local, plentiful and equally delicious.
Don't eat too early
Chances are you'll be in the only one in the restaurant. Photo: Ulliana/Depositphotos
The biggest no-no when it comes to dining in Spain is getting the timing wrong. Attempting to eat your evening meal anytime before 9pm is considered just plain weird in Spain. Likewise don't attempt to sit down for lunch before 2pm.
And don't even think about rushing your meal.
Meals are social occasions to savour and enjoy. So no eating sandwiches at your desk, and prepare for some very strange looks if you unwrap a bocadillo while on the bus or the metro, or, heaven forbid, while you are actually strolling down the street.
Don’t ever compare the dish in front of you unfavourably to one from another country
Remember jamon serrano is undoubtedly superior to Italian prosciutto, for every French cheese variety, there is a better one in Spain and if you find you prefer Scottish black pudding to morcilla, keep it to yourself. Don’t even mention Italian olive oil or French wine!
No doggy bags
A request for a doggy bag will be met with a quizzical look and likely an enquiry into what kind of dog you have. The practice hasn’t really caught on yet in Spain.
Take it as it comes
Don’t sit down to eat tapas
The bitesize snacks are almost always eaten standing at the bar with a drink in hand. And when you have gobbled it up, whether it be a slice of tortilla or a couple of boiled prawns, it is still quite acceptable in traditional establishments to wipe your mouth with a paper serviette and then throw it on the floor.