One of the pleasures that living in Spain offers is the chance to eat out regularly at reasonable prices. Whether you go out with friends for tapas or for a menú del día for lunch, you’ll always find good food that doesn’t cost the earth. If you feel like staying in one evening and cooking yourselves a good meal, though, how much will you have to spend?
In the UK, ready prepared or partially prepared meals are widely available – and a famous “dine in for two for £10” advertisement seems particularly tempting. You should know that such opportunities are rare in Spain, as most people cook from scratch and the Spanish like grilled meats and fried food. So, let’s see how much you might spend on the “dine in for two” model.
Most people cook from scratch and the Spanish like grilled meats and fried food.
Starters: 3.50€ + 0.60€ for bread
Tapas – of course. You can make tapas easily and cheaply if you have the time, but most supermarkets offer readymade morsels. For around 1.50€ you could buy a small pot of “boquerones”, or anchovies marinated in vinegar, and another 2€ or thereabouts will get you “pimientos de piquillo” which are stuffed red peppers, usually with a cod filling. These are really delicious with crusty bread.
Main course: 2.25€-3.95€ for meat, 1.70€ – 2.30€ for vegetables
Are you a supermarket fan or a local butcher customer? Here there will definitely be a price difference. Let’s take pork as an example, a favourite meat for the Spanish and available everywhere. For as little as 2.25€ you can buy four thinly sliced pork steaks in supermarkets. At your butcher, expect to pay 3.95€, but the slices should be a little thicker and it really will have more taste. You could just grill them, or barbecue them, but cooked in olive oil and herbs in the oven and served with lemon slices, they will be more succulent.
Potatoes in all forms are popular in Spain, so why not buy some in your local market at 0.70€ a kilo? Bake them, fry them, sauté them, even boil them. Half a kilo would be plenty for two people.
Both markets and supermarkets sell vegetables in season and this is what you should go for, as it is likely to come from close by and is of course much healthier for us. You could choose broccoli, which is particularly fresh just now – although not for much longer. Expect to pay 1€ for a medium sized head, more if you are buying from your local market stall (but it probably won’t have been sprayed with loads of pesticides).
Spain is your oyster when it comes to wine, with regional options selling from as little as 1.95€ a bottle.
Dessert – 2,60€ + a little honey or 1,75€ for a tub
Spain is not a country renowned for desserts, unlike France. Their repertoire is quite limited, at a restaurant, choices will usually boil down to crema catalane flan, fresh cheese with honey or ice cream. For your evening in, why not treat yourself to requeson, fresh cheese with a little honey, or red fruits? You will find it in the supermarket, but in Catalonia it is called recuit and you can buy it from specialist shops and delicatessens, individually wrapped in muslin. You would pay 1.30€ each if sold in this way.
Wine – 3.99€
Well, Spain is your oyster when it comes to wine, with regional options selling from as little as 1.95€ a bottle, to whatever you want to pay. For our evening in, however, I am going to plump for a very pleasant red Rioja from the cellars of Carmelo Ortega, called “Saxa Loquuntur”, which I found at my local Lidl on special offer at 3.99€ a bottle.
Well, how much is your evening in for two going to cost you?
Supermarket shopping only: 13.98€
Mix of supermarket/butcher/market: 16.94€
At the current exchange rates (GBP/EUR: 1.24*) a £10 dinner in for two would cost 12.40€, so for just a little more, you can have a meal in for two with tapas, bread, fresh pork, potatoes, broccoli, fresh cheese with honey and a Rioja.
*rate found at SmartCurrencyExchange.com