Fast Food in Spain

Bocaterias, or fast food joints, are located throughout the Iberian Peninsula and offer many delicious alternatives to a burger and fries. Here's what you'll find at the native franchises.

Seems like Burger King, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Starbucks and Kentucky Fried Chicken are on nearly every street corner in Spain. Some travelers find those familiar eateries and their fare to be comfort food, if you will, an antidote to culture shock. But when traveling in Spain, at least consider foregoing a big and tasty Cuarto de Libra (quarter-pounder) in favor of the local delicacies.

A bocadillo is a submarine-like sandwich, only made with a smaller loaf of bread. Bocateria sells them. Pan & Company's fast food is based on the Mediterranean diet and intended for really demanding people. In other words this is quality food. The wide selection of bocadillos are made with ham, chicken, bacon and tuna. Pans & Company's Alsaciano bocadillo is made with chicken breast, olives, onions and mayonnaise. El Griego is a five-cereal baguette with olive oil, lettuce, tomato, and cheese garnished with oregano. El Fondue is a baguette with olives, olive oil, Manchego cheese, Brie and grated Parmesan cheese. Besides those three bocadillos just mentioned, there are about two-dozen other hot and cold sandwiches offered.

Hungry for a salad? Ensalada Atlantic is a basic entrée replete with iceberg lettuce, tomato and eggs, while Ensalada de Pollo adds chicken. Ensalada Verde has lettuce, tuna and green tomato. Ensalada César features lettuce, tomato, chicken and croutons. Ensalada Mediterránes is lettuce with tomato, tuna and boiled egg.






And then there's the white bread sandwich franchise known as Rodilla, named after its founder, Antonio Rodilla. Be advised this place is a veritable sleeper. In other words, do not underestimate it. At first glance the many trays of sandwiches with the crust cut off looks unappetizing. A and the cardboard-tasting vending machine sandwiches you're used to back home at the truck stop come to mind. No way they compare with Rodilla. There are big, delicious differences between them and a Rodilla. First, as I mentioned early on, they cut off the crust. And then there's the fillings. Choices are many and include various pates, ham, bacon, cheese, salami, mushrooms, anchovies, cheese, egg, tomato.

Apart from both cold and warm sandwiches, Rodilla offers filled croissants, salads, pastries and fried dishes to eat in the shop or to take away. More insider information. Inside the store the first thing you'll notice is that there are two counters. One is for take away food and the other for sit-down patrons. That’s what all the stools, chairs and the countertop are for. Rodilla boasts dozens of locations in Madrid, as well as a sprinkling of stores in the provinces of Cataluña, Comunidad Valenciana, Castilla Leon, Castilla la Mancha, Murcia y Santander.

It seems like on almost every corner you can find the restaurants of the Spanish chain, Bocatta, offering sandwiches, salads, cake and refreshments. Personally, I like the Marinero crab salad served on croissants. Also the salmon sandwich with slices so thin it only has one side and garnished with thin slices of boiled egg. The bacon and Emmentaler cheese is mouth watering as is the ham serrano. Boccata, slang for boccadillo, also offers cheeseburgers, fries, salads, deserts and ice cream.



Telepizza is number one in the home delivery and takeaway meals. When you're hungry u can place an order by iphone, android, nokia or smartphone (m.telepizza.es). Besides pizza they have hamburgers, pasta, salad, drinks and ice cream. With a crust based on a secret dough recipe, some of the more tantalizing toppings include goat cheese, smoked Swiss cheese, Edam, ground veal, tuna, and salami. Besides Telepizza's 600 pizzerias located in Spain) there are another 400





Fresc Co Salad and Grill is a buffet libre, which simply means all you care to eat. Fresc Co specializes in healthy Mediterranean food, both hot and cold. Items include pasta dishes, pizza, fruit, salads, desserts, soups drinks and ice cream. Some locations have grilled meat and fish. The franchise started up in Barcelona and has since spread all over Spain, including locations in Bilbao, Valancia, Salamanca, Santandar, Oviedo, Girona and Madrid. Fresc Co's Facebook page regularly runs money-saving discounts, coupons and other promotions.

No matter where you dine, be advised that just because an item is listed as vegetal does not mean that it is vegetarian. Instead, it means that it has vegetables and probably also tuna, ham or chorizo. And if you ask for something without meat, that means beef, it may come with chicken or pork. And finally, you also need to know the simple fact that nobody, I mean nobody but tourists drink sangria. that said, younger crowd drink Kalimotxo, a mixture of wine and coca cola.

by Timothy Banse