By Nancy Todd
You’re in Spain. Things are different. When eating out, keep these rules in mind.
l. Butter? Fuggedabuttit. There is no butter served. And aren’t you lucky? You get a bottle of olive oil on your table. Drizzle it on your bread and anything else that doesn’t walk.
2. Water is not served. You have to buy water with your meals in most restaurants. And believe the Scoopettes, you want to buy it. Some people drink the water here. We don’t (we live in Barcelona – this may be different in other parts of Spain).
3. You may have to ask for salt and pepper. Some restaurants consider that an insult.
4. As of January 2, 2011, smoking was banned in restaurants. And it was about damn time.
5. The Scoop on the best deal on food is the Menu del Dia. Look for the chalkboard in front of restaurants. These bargains can be eaten between 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Three or four courses. Wine included. The Scoopettes love Menu del Dia.
6. If you ask for a doggie bag, the servers will think you belong back on your cruise ship.
7. Service is slow. Really slow. There will not be a chirpy server asking, “Everything okey dokey here folks?” If you need something, flap your fingers in the air and say, “Por favor” (please).
8. You will have to say Por favor to get your check. Servers don’t hurry you. You can sit for two hours over one cup of coffee. Hopefully, you can leave your Type A personality at home. Review your check. They often overcharge (and in some cases undercharge).
9. Tip 10% in a really good restaurant. Coffee and sandwiches, no tip. A euro or two for a regular meal.
10. Watch your purse. Put it in your lap. Not on the floor or hanging on your chair. Theft is a big problem in tourists areas.
11. And, por favor, have another bottle of great Spanish wine.
What other rules would you add to our list for dining in Spain?