It is almost impossible to get through traveling anecdotes without a tale involving food, whether it be tried and tested dining experiences or perhaps daring attempts in quirky cuisine. While it is a no-brainer to figure out the signature or hallmark dishes of Barcelona, it takes a great deal of consciousness to avoid making light of dining etiquette that could either make or break your dining experiences in Barcelona.
Here are 5 top tricks for you to try local cuisine AND eat like a local too.
Master the language of knife and fork
Fear not. You are not alone. Getting caught in an awkward situation where you have to make a decision between raising your hand for assistance and serving yourself is a universal experience we all face at some point in time. Such encounters are especially prominent overseas, so picking up the universal language of knife and fork would be handy in getting your requests across. The last obstacle before you can safely exit the restaurant and conclude a successful dining experience would be to ask for the bill. As daunting as it may sound, you must take a leap of faith. Elevate your hand in the mid-air, and let por favor slip off your tongue while signing an imaginary cheque in the air. The waiters should be able to get the hint.
Freedom to Tip
Unlike other European cities, tipping in Barcelona is definitely not mandatory. That being said, tipping is not prohibited and it could be a splendid way for you to show your appreciation of an excellent service. To tip moderately, it is perhaps wise to round off your bill to a whole number, for instance, pay 20 euros if the bill reflects 19.20. For travelers that are on tight budget, you would be relieved to learn that in certain instances such as coffee order and menu del dia, tipping would be considered unnecessary. You are then free to save those few coins for a wish at the nearest wish fountain.
Wait and Watch
While it is not uncommon for travelers to receive invitations to local’s homes, committing a faux pas and driving your hosts up the wall is the last thing you want to do. A usual dining setting involves having the most honored member of the family to be seated at the head of the table, following by the most important guest situating on the right of the host. To err on the safe side, we suggest that you hold your horses and wait till most of the members to be seated down before filling in that vacant seat. Having a small gift like chocolate or wine would definitely put you in a good light as an exemplary guest.
Linger to mingle
If you are being brought up in an environment that prioritizes efficiency over anything else, and living by the principle that every second counts, you might find this teeny-weeny act a challenge. That is to stay put after you are done with your meal. Sobremesa, which literally means ‘over the table’, is the time spent after a meal to hang out with family or friends through the engagement of small talk. To do otherwise would be considered as rude and ill-mannered so you may want to start hitting the books, and read up on 101 ways to hold a meaningful conversation. Alternatively, refer to tip #5 to learn how you can master the art of conversing within a meal’s time.
Learn from the local themselves
The list above is certainly not exhaustive, and what’s a better way to acquire those dining etiquettes than picking it up from the local themselves! Dine away with local hosts in Barcelona simply by picking an experience from seafood barbecue with Nani to a sensory dining experience-dine in the dark with a local host, Pablo. Dining with the locals offers opportunities for you to get an insider’s guide of how to enjoy Barcelona. If you are feeling a bit more adventurous and hands-on, why not try learning the steps in crafting and customizing your very own Tapas with Yves.
The existence of dining etiquettes would no doubt make a huge difference in your dining experience. Hopefully, these tips will be helpful when taking the extra mile in creating a pleasant dining experience. Bon Appétit!