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How to order the best seafood in Spain

Eating great seafood by the sparkling blue Mediterranean – preferably with a chilled white wine or an ice-cold beer – just has to be one of the finer things in life. 

But there’s a huge amount of choice on offer. So here’s my guide to seafood in Spain, complete with English translations. 

You’ll find most of these dishes served as tapas – small dishes to share. If you want a bigger serving, order a ración, and you’ll get a good plateful.

I’ve included translations of different seafood cooking styles at the end of this post (or jump straight to it here).

Mariscos (seafood)

The * symbol signifies seafood landed in our town, Villajoyosa/La Vila Joiosa on the Costa Blanca.

Bogavante (lobster) easily identified by their giant claws.

                                             Langostas, identified by their long antennae

Cañaillas: sea snails
Sea urchins from Cadiz: no, you don’t eat the spines!
Sea urchins (erizos de mar) ready to eat
Galeras: mantis shrimp
Gambas blancas
Gambas: prawns. Try them grilled (a la plancha) or al ajillo – in garlic sauce. On the left are red prawns – a lot pricer.
A mixture of oysters from France, northern Spain and Ireland.
Percebes – goose barnacles
Pulpo (octopus). Pulpo a la brasa (on the grill) is a real treat
Pulpo a la Gallega: a classic tapa. Octopus spiced with pimentón and served on a bed of potato, a speciality of Galicia in Spain’s north west, but served everywhere.
Sepia (cuttlefish). Delicious a la plancha…on the grill

Scallops (aka vieras) have an unbeatable subtle flavour

Navajas (razor clams) with zamburiñas (bay scallops)

How your seafood is cooked 

More great tastes of Spain

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© Guy Pelham

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