Barcelona: Spanish Meal Hours

The theme for the fourth day of our vacation in Spain is “Eat Like a Spaniard!”  We were going to attempt the meals that the people in Spain have.


At home in Canada, we eat three main meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) with small snacks in between if needed.  However, according to our travel guide, the people in Spain have SIX meals!

This is how their meals are laid out.  

Spanish-Breakfast1-150x150Spaniards have TWO breakfasts.  The Spanish word for breakfast is desayunos.The first breakfast is a quickie with pastry or toasts with cafe con leche.
Spanish-Breakfast2-150x150The second breakfast is heavier, and called the “savory breakfast”.  This will include things like ham or cheese sandwiches.  Tortilla de patatas (Spanish potato omelette) is a popular dish for this breakfast.
Spanish-Lunch-150x150The lunch (la comida) is the main meal.  It starts late by Canadian standards.  1PM is considered an early lunch.  Wine or beer often accompanies lunch.
Spanish-Merienda-150x150La Merienda is eaten after work.  This is the time when they have sandwiches, pastries or cakes with coffee.  It is like the British tea time.  A popular item is churros with hot chocolate.
Spanish-Tapas-150x150By 7PM, the tapas bars will fill up.  It’s the primary tapas time with sherry, wine or beer.
Spanish-Supper-150x150Believe it or not, dinner (la cena) starts at 10PM.  That is the time I go to bed in Canada!  Our travel guides says that in summer, sometimes dinner does not start until midnight.

How did you like my illustrations above?  I used Microsoft Visio to do that … am pretty pleased with it too.  🙂

This is what we are going to try to emulate on our fourth day. We are going to eat like a Spaniard!

What do you think?  Sounds like fun, eh?

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  1. PinoyGourmet

    Hi Ben
    Eating 6 times a day for Spanish People,Now you know why Filipinos eat 5-6 times a day,We got it from our Spanish Colonizers.A new Filipino food concept just opened in Vancouver,Its called a Goto House or A place that serves Philippine style Congee with Dimsum But Filipino style dimsum.Thats very popular with Filipinos in the Philippines for Merienda or After Dinner or Breakfast,The First in Vancouver

    1. Jonnek

      Hi PinoyGourmet, where is this GOTO house located? I’d like to try it.

  2. PinoyGourmet

    The Goto house is called Goto King located at Joyce Street at the Sky Train Station beside Cucina Manila.It opened yesterday on soft opening.

  3. Margieleow

    It’s a nice illustration. It is true about their dinner/supper time; my friends did say that the restaurants there are virtually empty if you dine before 9pm.

  4. fmed

    Ben – be on the lookout for the soon to be opened Cafe Barcelona on Granville St. This place promises authentic tapas and pinxtos. One if the owners is a Spaniard and he brought over his brother from Spain (award-winning chef Benat Ormaetxea – who won your Spanish Chef of the year in 1991) to create the menu train their staff.

    This could finally mean real taps in Vancouver (as opposed to the fusiony tapas we have here now). We may be finally catching up to the rest of the world regarding Spanish food and how truly amazing it is.


    1. Ben

      Oh wow. Thanks for the tip. It would be very interesting having just gotten back from a gastronomic tour of Spain in summer. Will definitely be high on our to-try list!

  5. Gema Sanz

    I was surprised, as a Spaniard/ Spanish, to read all these about the 6 meals. Just to clearify that we are not eating machines having to gulp something every 2 hours…I would say that the 2 breakfasts happen because people start working at 8 or 9 am and lunch time doesn´t come until 2pm so there’s a little snack in between so we don´t faint :o) Then the tapas thing after the merienda, I would say that happens mainly in the weekend, like an “aperitivo” before proper dinner, just a little snack and a drink which is an excuse to meet with some friends. Hope this makes a bit more sense than just stating that Spanish people eat 6 times a day like if it was a rule (which obviously is not).
    Greetings from Barcelona!

  6. Cristine

    THe dinner depending, sometimes start a bit son like at 9p.m or 9.30p.m, for example there are some restaurants that starts at 9.p.m, if you go to Barcelona I recomment you to go Tenorio restaurant, and if you want a good Burger go to Nello’s Bar. 😉

  7. Moire

    I use to dinner at 9p.m xxx In Barcelona when I was there I went to Divinus, so cool!

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