Would you like to eat like a local in Barcelona?
As we explained to you at the blog post ” Tapas, do you really know what tapas means? ” we are not all day eating tapas, it is just an informal way of having some drinks and some food with friends. The main meal of the day is lunch, let us explain to you how our meal schedules work.
Lunch and dinner schedules:
Restaurants are filled with locals between 2 and 3 pm for lunch and empty before 9 pm for dinner.
Why are these meals so late?
The answer is easy, because of the Spanish work schedules. Most of the companies are open until 8 pm, and its workers have a long pause to eat. It is what is called “Split shift”. An example would be from 8,30 to 13.30 and 4 to 8 pm, 8 hours a day but with a break of 3 hours. As you can imagine this system is heavily criticized, especially by people with children and family responsibilities. In conclusion, these schedules are the reason that in Spain, lunch is the main meal and dinner is so late.
Few are the people that have time to go home for lunch and return back to the office. For this reason, many workers choose to eat a Menu in a restaurant close to their job. It is quite usual that in many neighborhoods where there are many offices, you find many bars and restaurants offering the “Menu del día”.
What is the “Menu del día” or lunch menu?
It means the Menu of the day and it really is a very interesting option for price and quality, it usually costs around 10-12 euros per person and it offers homemade dishes and local cuisine. It´s offered in almost all bars and restaurants at lunchtime which starts from 1 PM.
The Menu includes starter, main course (with meat, fish) with garniture which can be salad, vegetables or French fries, and dessert. Drink and bread are also included. Note that each dish and dessert you can choose it from a minimum of 3 different options, so there are always some of the taste of the customer, and normally the dilemma is which one to choose because they are all tasty.
The courses of the Menu change every day, and we tell you a secret: Thursdays is the day of the Paella!
Dinner then will be quite late if we are still having lunch at 3 pm. Yes, you are right we have dinner around 9 pm or later.
From Monday to Thursday fewer people will be eating out for dinner. Friday and Saturday are the days for the Spaniards to enjoy a nice night out. During the week we might just have some light tapas and a drink after work and on the weekend we get together with friends a family to have a nice diner.
Just remember that Paella is a lunch meal, not really a dinner one especially if you’ll be eating late.
While seeing if a restaurant is full or empty helps the visitor to recognize if it has a reputation, if you perform a tour with us we will be happy to give you some tips of places so that you can enjoy our cuisine without having to spend too much. Do not hesitate longer, send us an e-mail to receive information about our tours!!
The Chef José Andrés gives you here his best recommendations for a whole day eating in Barcelona.