Filled with art, culture, museums and amazing food, Spain seems to have it all. This country is best known for its friendly Spanish-speaking people and its amazing diversity, which can be seen in each of its cities. This past June I embarked on my very own quest for food in Spain and experienced what Spain had to offer. My food quest took me to four cities in Spain: Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante, and Madrid. 

Mayleen Zhagnay

This mosaic lizard (pictured above) guards the entrance of Park Güell located in Barcelona and was designed by Antoni Gaudí.


My first stop on my food quest was Barcelona, located in the Northeastern part of Spain's Mediterranean coast. Barcelona is best known for Antoni Gaudí, a famous architect whose works were inspired by the religion, architecture, and nature that can be seen throughout the city. His most famous work is La Sagrada Família, a church that has remained under construction for over 100 years, even past Gaudi's death. Its completion is expected to take place by 2026.

Mayleen Zhagnay

Jamon Experience

La Rambla de les Flors, 88 08024 Barcelona Spain

Ratings: Yelp: 4 stars, TripAdvisor: 4 stars

Spanish Ham can be found all throughout Spain. It was, however, originally founded by the people of the Iberian Peninsula. One of Spain's most popular ham is the Cured Spanish Ham, a meat dried and preserved with salt. Cured Spanish Ham is classified into two sections, both equally delicious. The first classification is Jamón Ibérico while the second classification is Jamón Serrano

Mayleen Zhagnay

Jamon Iberico comes from free-range pigs that only eat acorns. The hams taken from the slaughtered pigs is salted and left to dry for two weeks, after which it is rinsed and left to dry for another four to six weeks. The curing process takes at least twelve months, but many producers cure their ham for up to 48 months. 

Jamon Serrano is a type of dry-cured Spanish ham. It is generally served in thin slices, occasionally diced. Jamon Serrano is made from a landrace breed of white pigs or from commercial breeds such as Duroc. The ham is first trimmed and cleaned. It is then stacked and covered with salt for approximately two weeks in order to get rid of excess moisture to prevent spoilage. After this period has come to completion, the salt is washed off and the ham is hung to dry for approximately six to eighteen months. 

Do keep in mind that Jamon Iberico is much more expensive than Jamon Serrano. Restaurants will give you a plate filled with Spanish ham, so don't forget to order it!

Aitor Restaurant

Carrer de Sardenya, 324 08025 Barcelona Spain

Ratings: Yelp: 4.5 stars, TripAdvisor: 4 stars

Spanish tapas are bite-size food delicacies that can be placed on bread or enjoyed on their own. There is a variety of tapas and they vary in terms of ingredients and toppings. This is a convenient way to indulge in Spain while still leaving room for dessert! 

Mayleen Zhagnay

Looking to learn more about tapas? Check out how to conquer Spain and its small plates.


Valencia, is a port city located on Spain's southeastern coast, known for its vibrantly tasting dishes and its modern architecture. 

El Almundi

Carrer del Almudín, 14, 46003 Valencia Spain

Ratings: Yelp: 4 stars, TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars

Spain is best known for its Paella but Valencia is the city to thank for this dish. Valencia's paellas use natural and locally produced ingredients. This region has an abundance of Bomba rice available to perfect their Paellas. In this region, Paella is frequently made with seafood items such as shrimp, clams as well as fish. The further you travel inland, the more you will notice that seafood is replaced with chicken and rabbit in paellas.

If you are interested in making your own shrimp paella click on this recipe

Horchateria de Santa Catalina

Plaça de Santa Caterina, 6, 46001 València, Spain

Ratings - Yelp: 3.5 stars, TripAdvisor: 4 stars

There's nothing like drinking a nice horchata or Orxata (local pronunciation). This beverage is enjoyed by both local Valencians as well as tourists alike. This sweet and milky Spanish style drink is made from water, sugar, and tiger-nuts referred to "xufes" by locals.


Alicante, is a port city located on the coastline of Costa Blanca and south of the Valencian Community. Alicante is a smaller city consisting of only 285,000 people. Alicante has a rich history, making it easy to get lost in the narrow alleys and cobblestone streets. 

The streets are filled with mom and pop stores. If shopping is not your thing, the beach is located within walking distance! Since Alicante is only south of the Valencian Community, rice dishes are typically found in the food in Spain, it is the basis of their culinary influence; this is especially true in Alicante.

Casa Julio

Avenida Niza, s/n 03540 Alicante Spain

One dish is called arroz con conejo, which translates to rice with rabbit. This dish is typically found in Alicante due to their rice surplus and their comfort with eating rabbit. If you're into trying new dishes, this might bewilder your taste buds. I tried the arroz con conejo y caracoles (snails) and it was out of this world.

Ratings: Yelp: 5 stars, TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars


Turrón is a brittle nougat sweet dessert in candy form. It is made with honey, eggs, sugar, and almonds. This Spanish treat first appeared at the time that the Moors conquered Spain at the start of the Middle Ages. By the 15th century, turrón had become popular in Spain. Despite Turrón being known as a Christmas delicacy in Alicante, it can be enjoyed year-round! It is sold in bakeries and pastry shops as well as local candy stores.


Madrid, the capital of Spain is located in the center of the Iberian Peninsula. There are more than 3 million inhabitants in the city, making it the largest and most populous city in Spain. 

Maestro Churrero

Plaza de Jacinto Benavente, 2 28012 Madrid Spain

Ratings: Yelp: 3 stars, TripAdvisor: 3.5 stars

Whether it's time for dessert or even breakfast, (no one is judging), Churros con Chocolate will not disappoint. A classic hot chocolate and brown sugared churro is a match made in heaven. Maestro Churrero is the place to stop by; they have been perfecting this fried delicacy since 1902. Don't worry, the sugar rush is totally worth it.

Rosi La Loca 

Calle de Cádiz, 4 28012 Madrid Spain

Ratings: Yelp: 4.5 stars, TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars

The Spanish equivalent to comfort food can be seen through Madrid's Patatas Bravas. These diced soft white potatoes are fried in oil and served warm with Brava sauce. Patas Bravas originates from Madrid and has made its way to other regions of Spain. 

That's a wrap on the tour of food in Spain!

Mayleen Zhagnay

I'd go back just for the food in Spain. Spain was full of culture, life, architecture and extraordinary culinary dishes. Don't forget to order these dishes the next time you make your way through Spain!