One of the many things we love about living in Spain, is the food and the importance of family time around the table. If you read our post, Spanish Food For Children, you will see that our children enjoy a wide and varied diet. However, there are times when a bit of Spanish fast food is what is needed.
Fast food is a less common concept in Spain than in many other countries. And where you expect to find it, you are probably less likely to find it. Let me explain …
What do we class as Spanish fast food?
In many places around the world, the likes of KFC, Burger King and Mac Donald’s are some of the most popular fast food outlets. From our experience in Spain, the “fast food” concept has developed a bit of the Spanish “mañana” syndrome. Expect to stand in line and at the counter for a comparably long time. Do not be surprised if you are also sent to your table with parts of your order missing. They will usually arrive but maybe not a quick as you are used to.
At our local shopping centre, the biggest queues are to be seen outside Burger King.
Two of our most frequented Spanish fast food joints are 100 Montaditos and Lizarran. Each have their own particular way or ordering and paying for your food. We see many tourists and visitors totally confused in these places, where staff often only speak Spanish. So, we’ve decide to share the systems with you.
About 100 montaditos
The Montadito is a typical element of the Spanish culture and gastronomy.Is a unique tapa-sized roll filled with the best ingredients, a very Spanish way of tasting different recipes. They are widespread and known in Spain since the fifteenth century. The montadito traditon is long and even previous tothe sandwich culture.Mount Up…!
The root of the word montadito is in the Spanish verb montar (’to mount’), because small slices of bread are topped, or ‘mounted’, with a variety of quality ingredients. Montaditos are essentially charming bite-sized finger food.
The food ordering process …
Once you’ve made your decision, you take the order sheet to the counter where you will pay for your order (unusual in Spain!) and receive your drinks. You will be asked for your name. It’s advisable to give an easy to pronounce name otherwise you will not recognise it when it is shouted over the tannoy!
Once your order is ready your name will be announced over the tannoy system and you collect your order from the hatch.
In all honesty, it is not gourmet food but it is pretty good value for money. And, where else can the children enjoy chocolate bread stuffed with orios?
Our number one favourite Spanish fast food joint is definitely Lizarran.
Inspired by the Spanish tapas tradition, and combining it with the techniques and demands of the modern restaurant industry, in 1988 the first Lizarran tavern opened in Sitges (Barcelona). That was the start of a meteoric expansion which, by 2010, had taken the total number of establishments to 200, throughout Spain.
We have eaten in Lizarran’s all over Spain and are yet to be disappointed.
The food ordering process …
At Lizarran, you can enjoy all types of hot and cold tapas and wide variety of other dishes. Generally, the cold tapas are found on the counter in each restaurant and the hot tapas are brought round to the tables by waiting staff. You need to work out the best time to go to be there when they bring the best hot plates out if that’s what you fancy.
Lizarran is also a great place to try traditional Spanish dishes. Depending on the day and on the location, you will find large clay bowls ladened with mouth watering food that you can order as a tapa (the smallest serving, ideal for tasting something new), media ración (a larger serving) or ración( a full plate).
At Lizarran, as in most Spanish restaurants, you sit at your table and a waiter comes to take your drinks order. You then go to the bar, collect a plate and help yourself to any of the cold tapas on display. If you want a hot tapa or ración, that are on display at the bar, it is better to order this from the waiter as they will heat it up and bring it to your table. If you get your timing right, serving staff will offer various hot tapas at your table. If you are there at a busy time you may need to be quick as the good bits fly off the plates fast.
At the end of your meal, the waiters will count up the different sized cocktail sticks and different sized serving bowls on your table and calculate your bill.
TIP: If you have young children, make sure they are not collecting stray cocktail sticks from other tables or on the floor or you may end up paying for more than you have actually eaten.
What are your favourite Spanish fast food joints? Have you eaten in either of these two? Do you have any tips to share? Just add your comments below and share with us all …
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