Learning Spanish – Tapas Bars

What is the fastest way to learn Spanish?

I have actually complied a whole article on this subject, which I have included on another page,  as when I first moved to Fuerteventura ‘What is the fastest way to learn Spanish?” was I question I found myself asking all the time. I was in a rush to learn and so I tried various things including books, audio lessons, apps etc. and eventually managed to go from a few words to full sentences. However, these were limited and didn’t allow conversation to flow freely. But at least I had confidence in what I was saying and even though I often got words muddled up and often inserted English words (as I didn’t know or couldn’t recall the word in Spanish), it was clear that people could understand me on some level and were encouraging. So, with trial and error as my new best friend, I carried on speaking Spanish whenever I could. But, when it came to speaking on the phone…..I realised that I needed to understand how to form sentences correctly and really get to grips with the language, so I invested in a course, and the rest is history. However, if you want to try your hand at a few words and phases, then to get you started I have put together some little exercises for you. This is what we at The Voice Fuerteventura like to call ‘Speaking Spanglish’ .  We have complied various articles for you to have a go at and they are all based in different settings that you will likely find yourself in, whether on holiday or living here, and contain vocabulary that is specific to each situation, for example: At the airport, In a chemist, at the Carnival etc. Give these as go as they really will help build yiour confidence.

However, if you are already a little Spanish savvy and want to take your learning to the next level, I used Rocket Languages.

Spanish Phrases – Food and Drink

For the purposes of this exercise, we have included some phrases that you would need if you decided to try tapas for lunch or dinner. A good way to pick up the languge is to immerse yourself in it, and a tapas bar full of local peole chatting happily away, is a great place to start.

Give some of these words and phrases a try and see how you get on. You may just suprise yourself.
Food and drink has always bought people together, so here are a few common Spanish words and phrases to get you started. 


In The Tapas Bar

¿Qué me recomienda? – What do you recommend?

¿Puede darme…? Can you bring me…?

¿Cuál es la comida típica de las canarias? – What is typical Canarian food? 

Quisiera… – I would like…

Camarero (a) – Waiter (Waitress).

Quisiera hacer una reserva para 2 personas

I would like to make a reservation for 2 people

¿Me puede dar un poco de…? – May I have some…?

Una tapa de… – A tapa of… /

Media ración – Half portion  / Ración – Full portion

La cuenta, por favor – Can I have the bill, please

Tengo alergia a…  – I am allergic to…

Soy vegetariano (a) – I am vegetarian

Propina – Tip 

Albóndigas – Meatballs

Gambas – Prawns

Jamón – Ham

Tortilla de patata – Spanish omelette

Chorizo – Chorizo sausage

Puntillas – Fried Squid

Calamares – Calamari

Pulpo – Octopus

Papas arrugadas – Canarian potatoes

Patatas bravas – Potatoes with spicy sauce

Agua sin gas/con gas – Still/sparkling water

Cerveza – Beer   Caña – Small beer

Café (con leche) – Coffee (White).

Vino – Wine

Refresco – Soft drink

Con/sin hielo – With/without ice

Mesa – Table / Silla – Chair

Tenedor–Fork / Chuchillo – Knife  / Cuchara – Spoon

Pan – Bread

Aceite de oliva – Olive oil

Sal y Pimienta – Salt &Pepper;

Gambas Al Ajillo

There is one dish which is always popular with the locals and holidaymakers and that is 

Gambas Al Ajillo or hot, sizzling, garlic prawns. 
Garlic Prawns

Delicious with Crusty Bread

Do not be fooled by the simplicity of this dish. It may look unsophisticated and a little thrown-together, but the aromas that it emits and the robust flavours it produces are nothing short of incredible. This is one of those dishes that you can smell wafting down the street and immediately gets your mouth watering. It is simple to make, easy to eat and just the perfect tapa to enjoy with a nice glass of crisp white wine, whilst gazing out over the ocean.

2 Ways – Your Choice

There are two ways in which to make this dish. If you want a traditional looking dish then peel the prawns beforehand and cook them in an ovenproof terracotta dish. But if you prefer your prawns served with the shells intact, then don’t peel them and cook them in a frying pan on the stove top instead. Either way tastes great, it just depends on how you prefer your finished dish to look. Serve it with a few chunks of crusty bread and away you go! Simply Delicious!

Easy Gambas Al Ajillo Recipe



• 12 Large prawns (washed)

• 3 Cloves of garlic ( thinly sliced )

• 100ml Good quality olive oil

• 1 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes

• Sea Salt for seasoning

• 1 Tablespoon of chopped, flat leaf parsley

• A splash of white wine (optional)


Peel the prawns but leave their tails intact (or leave all of the shell intact if you are using the frying pan method). Sprinkle a little sea salt on the prawns to season them. Take an ovenproof terracotta bowl or frying pan and add in the olive oil and sliced garlic and place over a hot heat. (Always use sliced garlic, not crushed, as it can withstand higher temperatures and does not burn as easily.) When the garlic begins to turn golden in colour, add in the chilli flakes and the prawns and cook for 1 minute. Optional: add a splash of white wine, this will stop the garlic from burning and give the dish an extra level of flavour too. Fry the prawns for about 1 minute on each side, or until they turn a nice pink colour. When they are ready, carefully remove from the heat and place on a serving plate. Take care, not to burn yourself as the oil will be really hot. Lastly, sprinkle with parsley and serve with fresh, crusty bread.

Make a meal of it

If you prefer something a little more filling, then these plump and juicy prawns work exceptionally well with another Traditional Canarian dish, called Papas Arrugadas or wrinkly potatoes. They are salty potatoes, which are eaten with the skin still intact and served smothered in local sauces called Mojo’s. And if you would like to try and recreate those at home too, then here is another simple recipe for you to have a go at.

And…. for those of you who enjoyed learning a few phrases and want to take your learning journey to the next level, then Rocket languages is a great place to start.

Buen Provecho!

What do you think?

Have you tried these? Have you made them yourself?

Get in touch and give us your comments below.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Please spread the word :)