Tuesday, July 5, 2011


The word "menu" in Spanish does not mean the same as in English. If you were to ask for a Menu (as in list of items to order at a restaurant) in Spain you would say "Por Favor, dame una carta". Here in Spain "menu" is a term for fixed price multi-course meal. Usually you find menus during lunch time.

Lunch is the by far the biggest meal of the day here, and can take hours to eat. In fact the term "to eat" or "comer" is the same word used for lunch in Spain. The lunch break starts around 2-3pm and can last until 5-6pm. The average worker gets 2-3 hours off for lunch, and it is common to take a leisurely lunch out with friends, or to go home and eat a big lunch with the family and then nap afterwards. Speaking of naps, the whole 2-3 hour lunch break is called "siesta". This can be important information if you ever visit in Spain. I am still getting used to the schedule. All shopping (with some exceptions, including groceries) should be done between 10-2pm and 5-8pm. If you want a sit down lunch you will have to wait until 2 (possibly 3pm, depends on the place).

So, for example, the menu in the photo above has a choice between two dishes for the the first course and a choice between two dishes for the second course, and way down at the bottom notes the price (cut off), and that the menu also includes bread, a drink, and a dessert.

You will find that in Spanish restaurants leisurely placed is the norm. You will have to ask a waiter to bring you another drink, or to bring you the check. They will let you sit and enjoy your meal slowly, and have a long talk over a cup of espresso at the end of the meal. They will not bring you the check, until asked. HAHA I am just passing that along. It was a little hard for me to get used to, and my Spanish husband is getting used to it again after his ten year stay in the States. They might let you sit until closing, I am not sure I have never tried this. "Dame la cuenta, por favor" should do the trick.

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