Menú del día

Menú del día

Menú del día |

A couple of weeks ago I said that comida means food in Spanish. But comida is also what we call the most important meal of the day: lunch. You can also refer to lunch as almuerzo, but comida is used more frequently -and it’s easier to pronounce! So I’ll use comida.

If you have been to Spain before you will know this. But if you haven’t, you should be warned: mealtimes in Spain are late compared to other countries. The reason for this is that we are living in the wrong time zone (this article explains it in more detail).


As I was saying, la comida is the most important meal, but obviously not the only one. We also have:

  • Desayuno (breakfast). Spaniards, in most cases, don’t take desayuno too seriously. Many just drink a cup of coffee before leaving their homes. That’s why it’s common for people to go down to their nearest bar or cafetería during their break, for a mid-morning café con leche and pincho. Despite that, we have a verb meaning “to have breakfast”: desayunar.


  • Cena (dinner). It is usually a light meal. 10:00pm is a perfectly acceptable (and normal) time to have dinner. It’s not common for restaurants to start serving la cena before 8:30pm. We also have a verb meaning “to have dinner”: cenar.


La comida

Since it’s the most important meal, let’s concentrate on la comida. I already said that lunch in Spain is late, compared to other countries: don’t expect restaurants to start serving lunch before 1:30pm. And you normally have a couple of options:

  1. You can choose from the full carta or menú (menu). This option tends to be more expensive, but it gives you the freedom to choose exactly what you want.
  2. You can go for the menú del día. Generally a more economical option. The price is set and you get at least 2 or 3 choices for each course.


El menú del día

Menú del día was introduced by law in the 60’s. Back then it was called menú turístico and, as the name suggests, it was created to cater for all the tourists that started visiting Spain in those days. The government set the prices and what the menu should include. It should be served as fast as possible and it should also try to promote typical Spanish dishes among the tourists.

Things have changed since, and restaurantes don’t have to offer a menú del día (although most do). Needless to say, prices are not set by the government either and they can vary a lot from one place to another.

menu del dia

The picture shows a real menú del día from a restaurant along the Camino Portugués.


In this menu, you can see the first and second courses separated by a line. So you have siete  (7) primeros and cinco segundos to choose from. The price is €12.00 (€12.20 if you sit outside) and it also includes a bebida (drink), postre (dessert) and café (coffee).

The primeros usually include vegetables, soups, eggs and/or pasta. All of these are included in this menu:

Vegetables: ensalada (salad) as well as vegetable wok.

Soups: lentejas (lentil soup) and crema de verduras.

Eggs: revuelto (scrambled eggs).

Pasta: tortellini.

The segundos are in most cases either fish or meat dishes.

Do you know all the dishes in this menu? What would you order?

Para mí, de primero, lentejas y de segundo, salmón a la plancha.  How about you?



Today’s Spanish words



For the pronunciation of primero and segundo, check Eating on the Camino.


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¡Buen Camino!

Eating on the Camino

Eating on the Camino

Eating on the Camino |

You probably have many questions about eating on the Camino de Santiago. After all, la comida (food) is a very important part not just of the Camino, but of life in general.

Is food easily available along the Camino?

What kind of comida will I find? Will it be nutritious enough? 

How much money do I need to budget for food? 

Should I carry food with me?

Should I carry food with me?

The short answer to this question is NO. Remember what I said about the mochila? Yes, you have to carry the weight, so you should not pack any unnecessary items. You can take a couple of snacks such as frutos secos (nuts), chocolate (no translation needed, right?) or fruta (fruit) in case you need an energy boost at any point in time.

And agua (water), to make sure you stay hydrated. Again, no need to take huge amounts, as you will be able to refill your bottle in fountains and taps along the way. I know this is an issue that worries many, but tap water is generally safe to drink. It gets checked on a regular basis and if it’s not suitable for consumption, it will be marked “no potable”.


Is food easily available along the Camino?

YES, comida is widely available along the Camino. You will be walking through towns and villages with shops, cafés, bars, restaurants… So, no need to carry a big load.

For your main meals you have several options:

  • Some albergues provide food, but not all. And many of the public albergues have a cocina (kitchen), although the equipment might be insufficient. If a cocina is available, you could decide to cook your own meals. You should then find a supermercado and buy what you need.


  • Another option is to eat out. It’s a bit more expensive than cooking your meals, but it can still be done on a budget. Most restaurants offer a menú del día (menu of the day) for a very reasonable price.

Menú del día is a set menu that usually consists of three courses: a primero (starter/ first course), a segundo (main course) and a postre (dessert). It includes some bebida (drink), too. For each course, you will have a choice of at least two or three dishes. Unless you have any dietary restrictions, this should cover all your nutritional needs.

In restaurants along the Camino you can also find a menú peregrino (pilgrim menu) which works in the same way as menú del día.

Just one warning: if you are a vegetarian, check before you eat! Salads often have tuna and even a “vegetable” sandwich could have a slice of ham or some tuna!


The food might not be what you are used to, but you should be open to try new things. It’s all part of the experience!


Today’s Spanish words



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¡Buen Camino!