How to Eat in Spain on a Budget
When traveling to a different country, exploring the local cuisine and culture tends to be one of the most appealing activities. What often puts a damper on that, however, is the cost of eating out. You may be wondering if it’s possible to try the local food without spending more on eating out than you did on funding the entire trip. And it is possible. Take a look at the following guide which will provide you with some tricks and tips that will help you to eat well on a budget in Spain.
Pile it in at lunchtime
Many Spanish restaurants have set menus and dishes that they offer for a fixed price during lunchtime. The Spanish rarely do anything in half measures and they usually serve enough food at lunchtime that can save you from having to eat dinner. So, go wild at noon, enjoy the cuisine from a set menu, which you can typically find for between 12 to 15 euros. Then for dinner, have something lighter when the set menu prices increase and food becomes more expensive.
Cornershop the wine
The price of wine and beer in restaurants can be extortionate, especially in the evening. Instead of paying through-the-roof prices for one glass of wine at the dinner table, settle for a soft drink at the restaurant and purchase your wine or beer at a corner store later on. Now that’s savvy!
Take it away!
Portions tend to be larger in Spain. You’ll likely find yourself in situations where you are unable to finish everything on your plate. Ask your server to pop the leftovers into a takeaway box. You’ll thank yourself later in the evening when you start feeling peckish and don’t have to fork out more money for another meal.
Take Advantage of Buy one get one tapas
Tapas offer an ideal way for you to sample different dishes at a low price. Sometimes! Be careful as some tapas bars have been designed for tourists and try to sell you fancy-looking, minuscule portions for big bucks. Look for deals when seeking out tapas. For example, those that advertise a free drink with one or two tapas usually offer the best deals.
Don’t sightsee your meals
Restaurants which are located in the most picturesque places tend to have the highest prices and offer mediocre food. The places that are located near famous landmarks don’t necessarily offer the best food. See the landmarks and then walk a few blocks before picking somewhere to eat. This will help to ensure that you are not paying extra for the view. You will find that food prices drop considerably when you get away from touristy locations.
Stick with the locals
The locals will be just like you, wanting to eat out and enjoy a nice evening without breaking the bank. When choosing a restaurant, steer clear of those that look like they are full of tourists only as they will usually be the more expensive places. Instead, brush up on your Spanish and ask a local for the best low budget place to have dinner, then follow their lead.
That’s a great list of tips to have food in Spain on a budget. I will surely stock up more during lunchtime so I do not have to eat more in dinner. Anyways, I don’t prefer to eat much during the evening. Getting one tapas free with another is surely a great deal, and sticking with the locals is the best idea of all.
In Spain, tapas bars are my favorite.
I can eat just from tapas… I remember living almost exclusively out of them in Tenerife! And you can get so many different one it’s a good way to taste the variety of the food. That being said, I’ve realized that trying to save too much on the food means risking eating quite poorly during a trip. Now I try to find a balance and save on other things like transportation or touristic attractions so I can spend a little more on tasty and quality food.
Going to the green market is another good way to get great food for a good price!
Yes Marion. I’ve done tapas bar hopping in both Barcelona and Madrid!
I always eat well in Spain, and never find the food overly expensive. Eating with the locals is always good, as they know the best places to go 🙂
Thanks Lisa. Do you have any suggestions?
These are great tips. I’d also add avoiding restaurants that have pretty photos of food outside. Those are for sure trying to attract tourists and will be more expensive with lower quality food!
Lol, there’s often a lot of truth to that. Thanks for commenting Nicole!
These are good tips for saving money on meals anywhere. It’s pretty much what we did everywhere in Europe! Sometimes we would also pick up food at a local grocery store and prepare our own meal when our lodging included a kitchen. The best meals were when we were invited into a local’s home to dine!
Yes, several times, I’ve spent a bit extra to have a kitchen only to save by avoiding nothing but restaurants.
Spanish cuisine has so many delicious dishes and I have always had nice meals there. I would say that consulting an online guide before picking a restaurant can help in choosing where to go.
Thanks Federica! Have you been to Spain?
I’m off to Spain next week and loved reading these tips. I will keep it mind to look for tapas deals and it’s a great idea to take away some food if the portions are large. I can imagine the restaurants in the touristy places must be expensive so I’ll try to ask some locals around for good recommendations. Can’t wait to get to Spain!
Hi Medha. How did your trip go?
I couldn’t agree more with this Carl!
I tend to eat lunch later on in the afternoon which sometimes makes me too full to even have a full dinner, so you can save money that way!
Great idea about getting your own alcohol from a shop haha!
I agree with meeting the locals!
They know all of the best places, especially out of the touristy areas! The food is sooooo much better!
Thanks for sharing 🙂
Hi Bea. And thanks for commenting. Hope to get back to Europe this year!