Seattle, WA, June 15, 2010 --(PR.com
)-- Most people traveling to Spain for the first time will need to make some minor adjustments to their normal eating habits. This holds true both for the north and south, especially during the summer months when the days are long and don’t cool down until after 9:00 pm. Eating times come later in Spain than foreign guests are used to, especially in summer.
Desayuno – Breakfast is typically the lightest meal of the day, something simple after a late night dinner the night before. Visitors to the city for the fiesta should be able to find some sort of packaged pastry and espresso at any bar or restaurant open in the early morning hours, but during Sanfermín breakfast is not served until around 8:30, after the encierro.
During Sanfermines it’s always “bulls before breakfast.”
Be sure to try churros (fried crullers) and hot chocolate in the morning. This is quite popular in Pamplona as well as Madrid. The most lively spot for this typical Spanish breakfast is the bar in the Hotel Maisonnave in the old city.
There is also the traditional mid-morning break, called the Almuerzo, generally served between 10:30 and noon, when the first tapas (pintxos in the Basque country) of the day are served, including a tortilla espanola (a potato omelet) with pan (fresh bread) or a bocadillo (a filled baguette).
Comida – Lunch, which is generally considered the main meal of the day, begins after 1:00, but is usually closer to 2:00 for most people. This holds true during the fiesta and is often starts even later on the weekends. This is also a major social hour for time with family and friends. Note: butter is seldom served after the morning hours unless requested.
Cena - Dinner in the north typically begins at around 9:30 and is usually the lighter meal of the day unless you missed or skipped lunch. Dinner in Pamplona is often still being served well past mid-night during the fiesta. Most Pamplona restaurants will take a reservation for 9:00 pm, but not earlier. Most restaurants serve a special 4-course fiesta menu.
Gastronomy Of Navarra
Pamplona is a city blessed with more than 300 cafés, bars and restaurants to choose from, offering some of the finest cuisine in the north, on a par with the Basque country and Catalunya. More than 80 local cafés, bars and restaurants participate in the annual pintxos competition, which celebrates the best of miniature haute cuisine. While most restaurants continue to offer their standard menu during the fiesta in addition to their special “Sanfermines Menu,” the pintxos bars and cafés located in the Old City (Bar Gaucho, Baserri, Iru, Museo, Fitero, La Mandarra), by necessity, cannot offer their standard offerings of haute cuisine pintxos at the bar during the fiesta. The last night to sample their usual array of award winning pintxos will be the 5th, which is also the last night the famous and historic Café Iruña on the Plaza del Castillo serves pintxos at the bar.
Most restaurants in Pamplona are smaller, family-style, so reservations for lunch and dinner are essential, and without exception on the 6th and 7th and over the weekend of the 10th, 11th and 12th, the start of the Bastille holiday when the French Basques fill the city. It is extremely important not to break a reservation without first contacting the restaurant, otherwise the table will sit empty for the entire night. Most restaurants have only one seating at lunch or dinner and will not offer your table to someone else, as it is not unusual for Navarrans arrive late for lunch or dinner and are never in a hurry to finish a meal.
There are cafés and taverns where visitors can find a quicker meal, but most will be located outside of the old city in the 1st and 2nd Ensanche; the Iturrama, San Jan Donibane and Ermitagaña neighborhoods.
Some of Iberian Traveler's favorite award-winning bars in other neighborhoods include Casa Luis (Padre Calatayud, 11), Chelsey (Iturrama, 20), handy to Iberian Traveler's AC Hotel headquarters, Aralar (Castillo de Maya, 25) , Melbourne (Olite, 36) and Letyana (Travesía Bayona 2). These will continue to offer an ample assortment of their more elaborate pintxos during the fiesta.
Some of Iberian Traveler's Favorite Restaurants:
El Embrujo, C/ Padre Calatayud, 16
Alhambra, Bergamín, 7
Europa, Espoz y Mina, 11
Rodero, Emilo Arrieta, 3
Enekorri, Tudela, 14
Josetxo, Plaza Príncipe de Viana, 1
La Nuez, Taconera, 4
El Portal de Descalzos, Descalzos, 56
Traditional Navarran Cuisine
Otano, San Nicolás, 5
Casa Manolo, Garcia Castañón, 12
Casa Amparo, C/ Esquiroz, 22
Asador Olaverri, C/ Santa Marta, 4
La Olla, Avenida Roncesvalles, 2
San Fermín, C/ San Nicolás, 44-46
Fashion & Fusion
El Mercao, Tafalla, 7
La Trastienda del Colmado, Iturralde Y Suit 24