Even though you came to Spain expecting to be immersed in tapas and paella, there’s no escaping the familiar face of Colonel Sanders and the warm glow of the golden arches. Before you laugh off the idea of eating American fast food while abroad, just take a second to look at the menus. Amidst the good ol’ Whoppers and chicken nuggets, you’ll find a number of items not available in the US that might make you reconsider your Spanish-restaurants-only attitude.

Taco Bell

fast food

Photo by Eva Reynolds

If you find yourself lamenting the lack of burritos (only eight?!) and Doritos, you can at least comfort yourself with a beer as part of the €3 happy hour deal. And while it’d be criminal to buy “churros” from the Bell when you can get authentic ones, desserts like Choco Marsh, a “quesadilla” of melted chocolate and marshmallows, are arguably the most unique part of the Spanish-ified menu.

What to order: Taquito Lupita (cinnamon taquito topped with dulce de leche and ice cream), rice (as a side), patatas bravas, patatas especiales (with nacho cheese and sour cream), chocolate bombs (mini chocolate lava cakes), and soft serve.


fast food

Photo courtesy of Jeff Stvan from flickr.com

Ah yes, Mickey D’s. Spanish posts of the omnipresent chain still boast a couple varieties of the CBO – cheddar, bacon, onion – which apparently debuted as a limited-time offer in the US three years ago. The only semblance of Spanish cuisine on the Madrid menu is its toast con tomate, which isn’t enough to make up for the fact that there are only three breakfast sandwiches.

What to order: Double Mex (double-beef burger with “very Mexican” sauce), Tex McRoll (fried chicken wrap with Tex Mex sauce), mini cheesecakes, Oreo tarts, doughnuts, and croissants (plain or with butter or chocolate syrup).

Burger King

Ñam ñam

A photo posted by Luis (@roasenda) on

BK seems to be the most popular fast food joint in Madrid. Maybe it’s because it offers the Diverking deal: a burger or chicken nuggets, fries or salad, drink and dessert for only €3.95. What caught my eye, though, was the helado relleno: vanilla soft serve in a dulce de leche-filled cone. For €1. As if the cardboard sugar cones in the US weren’t disappointing enough already.

What to order: Fried balls of Philadelphia cream cheese, fried chili cheese bites, waffles with chocolate syrup, Piña Colada smoothie, and BK Fusions (vanilla ice cream mixed with chunks of Oreos, Kit Kat or Chips Ahoy).


Fried chicken in a bucket. Fried chicken in a sandwich. Grilled chicken. It doesn’t seem like the Colonel really has many options for diversifying his menu abroad. Instead, your choices in Spain unfortunately lack a lot of all-American favorites, including biscuits and mac and cheese. Looks like you’ll have to look for comfort carbs elsewhere. But they do offer dessert waffles and cheesecake, so that’s still a win.

What to order: Boxmaster (fried chicken, hash brown and cheese wrap), waffle with chocolate syrup, and cheesecake (chocolate-hazelnu), or Lacasitos-Carmel Kreamballs (ice cream).