Linda Hall – Food for thought

Image - Menu del Dia: EDUARDO_JONGMIN/shutterstock

Image - Menu del Dia: EDUARDO_JONGMIN/shutterstock

SOME say the Menú del Día was made compulsory by Franco in the 1950s so that workmen could have a reasonably-priced square meal.

I’m not convinced, because they generally took food from home in a tartera or lunchbox, and I’ve heard the Menú was cooked up in the 1950s by the Minister of Tourism, Manuel Fraga Iribarne, so that tourists were assured of a reasonably-priced square meal.

Either way, the following is intended to help when you don’t opt for a Menú:

         Could I see the menu, please…..¿me trae la carta por favor?

Except in deepest, darkest Spain, linguistics are rarely needed when getting something to eat, and even inland some attempt will be made to translate what’s on offer.

Thanks to translation programmes, the results are less hilarious than in the past, although I recently saw Sod Fish when Cod would have done, although that was probably a typo anyway.  The menu will be divided into four sections:

First course, starters…..primer plato

Main course…..segundo



I’d like a well-done, medium, underdone fillet steak/entrecote…..quiero un solomillo/entrecot muy hecho/azul/poco hecho

I’d like local fish…..quiero pescado del día/pescado de la bahía

If it’s that kind of restaurant and if you don’t like bones, ask (assuming the fish is big enough):

         I’d like my fish filleted, please…..¿me puede quitar la espina, por favor?

Sometimes things don’t work out the way you’d like:

          This isn’t what I ordered…..esto no es lo que pedí

         We’ve been waiting a long time…..hemos estado esperando much tiempo

This is too hot/too cold/too small/too big…..esto está demasiado caliente/frío(a)/pequeño(a)/grande

There’s lipstick on this glass…..hay pintalabios en este vaso

After which, whether the experience was good or bad you’ll need to pay:

         The bill, please… cuenta por favor

Do be circumspect when ordering eggs-huevos because eggs are balls in Spanish – not the kind you play tennis with – and referring to them can be the cause of much merriment even in the staidest establishments.

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at