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Restaurants in Spain

I have a few questions about eating in Madrid and Barcelona
1. I have a child who is underage and I want to have tapas so how can I do it considering most places are tapas bars where alcohol is drunk?
2. Between what hours is the lunch specials (the menu price for a cheap lunch)
3. Do I need to make reservations for the restaurants?

Posted by
7710 posts

One: Most restaurants, I do not think a child will be a problem. Spain has no laws that prohibit children from being in an establishment that serves alcohol. I have been a few places that are crowded with people, to the point I would not want a child there, but if the place has table service, or tables and you order at the bar, no problem.

Two: Cheap lunch specials do not really ring a bell with me, at least not something common across much of Spain. Many places might offer a set menu (usually two courses and maybe a dessert), but "lunch" is usually the main meal of the day, and served about one or two PM.

Three: You may need to make a reservation for a popular restaurant for midafternoon, or one at dinner after 9:00 PM. These would be more formal sit-down places. A Tapas bar likely will not take reservations.

Posted by
5407 posts

Don't worry about children in bars, Spain, like most of Europe, is child friendly and there are no issues about children being in bars or places where alcohol is served. I've been taking my kids to Spain since they were babies and I've taken them to bars and restaurants ever since. Tapas isn't only served in bars, you'll find it in restaurants as well so you'll have no problem finding a table to sit with your child and receive table service.

Posted by
3985 posts

When we were in Spain last October, except for one meal at Botin, we only ate tapas. They are served everywhere at anytime. And, we saw many families with small children all over.

Posted by
2267 posts

The lunch specials, or "Menu del Dia" is always good value, but not necessarily a 'cheap lunch'. Even higher-end restaurants have a menu del dia. You'll generally find them offered from 1/1:30 to 3-4 on weekdays.

Posted by
2581 posts

The menus del dia is not the cheapest lunch -- the cheapest lunch is often a sandwich and a beer for a set price.
You do want the menu del dia anyway because it's often the best deal and uses whatever is in season.
You also want to browse and munch through tapas selections whenever you can to get the most yum for your euro.
Note that many items are available in three serving sizes: tapa / media / racion, meaning snack-size, half-plate, full plate.
A racion and two tapas would be enough for a real meal for one person (imho) but only go that way if you have a favorite item -- most of the time you share a racion among a few people and the tapa portion just gives everyone one bite.
Some items in some places may only be available in racion size portions because they are using a fryer basket for each order -- that's a good sign because it means they are making things to order rather than holding a huge batch of something in reserve.

No worries about taking your kid to tapas bars in Madrid and Barcelona! Lots of them are family-friendly, especially during the day. Just look for places with options for the little ones, and you're all set!

Lunch specials in Spain usually run from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. Great for grabbing some budget-friendly bites, even at tapas bars. Just watch out for signs advertising "menú del día" as you wander around.

As for reservations, they're handy for fancier joints or big groups, especially at dinner. Weekends can get pretty busy, so it's smart to book ahead. But for more laid-back spots and tapas bars, you can often just walk in and find a table, especially during quieter times. Enjoy your food adventures in Madrid and Barcelona!