Learning Spanish With Restaurant Menus: Tapas And Starters

Learning Spanish With Restaurant Menus: Tapas And Starters

Before my first business trip to Barcelona, I thought I was able to speak Spanish more or less. But then the first dinner came. Just a glance at the restaurant menu forced me to switch to the English translation – and I was quite ashamed of that. And then those endless conversations about food and cooking which killed my self-confidence at least for that evening. Yes, the Spanish people are really into it! So I had to overthink my learning strategy to keep a pace with them in the future.

Mediterranian Cuisine is a SCIENCE

The main lesson learned: Forget about printed phrasebooks. Or use them only if you´re learning Spanish at the very beginning. Spanish cuisine is not only many-faceted, but it also differs from region to region. A phrasebook with an accumulated restaurant vocabulary from entire Spain may not disclose to you the whole variety of the Catalan cuisine if you are planning a trip to Barcelona. Besides, a phrasebook will get “older” and not be up-to-date in light of changing reality, changing vocabulary… What´s the best solution then?

The solution is on the surface. And surely I am not the first one who discovered it. But we all have the Internet and the majority of the restaurants and bars have websites. So, what about reading the menus online and prepare yourself better for the next trip? You can just google the restaurants or use TripAdvisor for a more targeted search.

For this post, I screened several menus of the restaurants of Madrid and compiled the most frequently used words describing tapas and starters. They are also known as “food to share” (“para compartir”) and are served in big plates for a group of two and more people. So, enjoy learning new Spanish vocabulary with the list below! Don´t forget that the Mediterranean cuisine is more complex and this word list may contain only one per cent out of the whole range 🙂

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