Between fiesta and siesta

Between fiesta and siesta

According to statistics, Spain has more variety of cafes and restaurants than any other European country. True, most of them, at least in resort towns, are tiny tapas eateries, which are also open only at strictly certain hours.

Each owner of such a small cafe sets a convenient opening and closing time for him. In most Spanish taverns, breakfast is served from 8 to 10 am, lunch from one to three in the afternoon, and dinner from eight to eleven in the evening or until the morning, if, of course, the restaurant is open at night. Please note that during hot weather, all Spanish catering establishments are usually closed for the traditional siesta.

Both cafes and restaurants in Spain usually offer set lunches and three-course breakfasts to visitors. Here they are called Menu del dia (“menu of the day”). Such sets cost approximately 6–8 euros in tapas eateries and 15–20 euros in large restaurants. An unforgettable candlelit evening with flamenco or a knight's tournament will cost you from 50 to 80 euros.

However, you can also have dinner in small coffee shops, which can be found in almost any, even the smallest Spanish town. And all because the Spaniards have a terrible sweet tooth. They are ready to sit for hours over a cup of coffee, eating incredibly tasty and relatively inexpensive cakes, dozens, if not hundreds of varieties of which are sold in pastry shops and coffee shops.

The Spaniards borrowed their love for sweets and the secret of their preparation from the Arab conquerors. From them they inherited a love for olives; they are sold in Spain, like our seeds, literally at every turn.

The cuisine in different provinces is different and unique. But no matter what part of the country you are in, you can always try paella — a kind of seafood pilaf, as well as delicious cold gazpacho soups. In Catalonia (its coastline is especially loved by tourists from Russia) they will offer fried pork sausages with monguetes beans.

For dinner, we recommend ordering some very good Spanish wines — sherry or the famous sangria. A glass of the latter is often offered by hospitable sellers of local souvenir shops., 09.02.05

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