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Granada, Spain: A Culinary Destination for the Student Budget

August 14, 2019
by CEA CAPA Content Creator
fresh juice and vegan cake from Mimimi Café

For many students, including myself, one of the best parts of traveling is trying local, authentic food. But sometimes it can be hard to know where to go. Online review sites are sometimes helpful, but recommendations from locals are always bound to be the best. Well, that’s what we’re giving you here: a preemptive guide on the best places to eat in Granada, Spain. And what’s even better is that Granada is an extremely student-friendly (read: affordable!) place to live. Many of our students reported spending about 25€ a week on food, but not more than 50€. So you can rest easy knowing you can try all the things without breaking the bank.  

Breakfast (9 a.m.-Noon):  

A typical breakfast at a café in Granada consists of either café con leche or freshly squeezed orange juice with a tostada or maybe a croissant. The good thing is that these are no Starbucks prices. You can easily have breakfast for only 2-4€.  

A favorite spot with CEA students is Potemkin. Right next to our partner school, it’s the resident provider of coffee and tostadas to professors and students alike. For something a little more substantial, try Baraka Café. They have gourmet tostadas, as well as scrambled eggs and bagels, if you’re craving a more American-style breakfast. 

Lunch (1-4 p.m.):  

Very popular among students for lunch as well as dinner is the menú del día. Many restaurants have a select menu where you can choose a starter, main course, and dessert for a reasonable price. This could cost anywhere between 6-12€, depending on if it’s a take-away place or a casual sit-down restaurant.  

take-away migas for lunch
Take-away migas for lunch


Merienda (4-7 p.m.): 

Merienda simply means an afternoon snack, usually coffee or tea accompanied by a sweet treat, which together could range anywhere from 3-6€. While coffee shop culture is very different in Spain than in the U.S., Granada does have some unique cafés where you can sit, relax, and stay as long as you like.  

Take a group of friends to Mimimi and play a board game while enjoying eco-friendly coffee, tea, juice, and vegetarian- and vegan-focused bakery treats. Or, head to La Qarmita and grab a book off the shelf while you enjoy a slice of red velvet cake or cheesecake. Baraka Café is also great for merienda. Take a seat in the lovely open-air patio where you can indulge in a sweet or savory crepe or tortitas (American-style pancakes). But don’t ask for maple syrup – instead choose from white or dark chocolate drizzle, caramel, Nutella, fresh fruit, homemade jam, and more as your toppings. And if you’re craving something really indulgent, you can go for classic churros con chocolate at one of the two mainstays in town: Café Futbol or Churrería Alhambra.  

churros con chocolate
Churros con chocolate


Dinner (8 p.m.-Midnight):  

Probably the most popular thing among students in Granada are the tapas bars. Why? Because with every drink you order, you get a free tapa (appetizer) to go with it, and most drinks only cost between 2-3€.  Many people make this their dinner, either by trying multiple tapas at one place, or “tapa-hopping” to several different bars. There are countless tapas bars in Granada, but here are a few of our favorites: 

If you love fish, La Esquinita de Javi and Los Diamantes are must-trys! Los Diamantes is a staple among Granada locals with three different locations. Both places serve quality tapas at local (aka not tourist) prices.  

La Sitarilla, Bar POE, El Asturiano, and Om Kalsum are all tapas bars near the main residence hall. All are equally delicious experiences, whether you choose a delicious Moroccan tapa at Om Kalsum or are surprised by a different tapa every round at La Sitarilla.  

first round of tapas from La Sitarilla
First round of tapas from La Sitarilla

If you want an authentic Granada tapas bar experience, head over to Bar Soria, a tiny, family-owned bar with a lively atmosphere and standing room only. But watch your glass – if you don’t keep an eye on it, you’ll get a refill before you know it. 

While many bars and restaurants stick to the local norms for operating hours (meaning they close after lunch and open again for dinner around 8 p.m.), some places such as Siete Gatos, Lemon Rock, and Botánico Café keep the kitchen open all day, so if you’re not sure where to go, hit up these places and you’re bound to find something on the menu to satisfy your cravings.  

drinks and tapas to share with friends
Drinks and tapas to share with friends


Gelato (All day and late at night, too!):  

Last but certainly not least, you can’t forget to end the perfect day with gelato! Everyone has their favorite gelato spot in the city, but you can’t argue with the locals – Los Italianos is the best (and they won’t let you forget that the Obamas visited there). Don’t get sidetracked by the tourist-filled Starbucks right next door. Instead, squeeze your way into the narrow ice-cream shop and choose either a cone or cup to fill with your favorite flavors, or try the popular cassata or tarta – two types of ice-cream cake served in a cone. 

While these cafés, restaurants, and bars are just a small sampling of the culinary finds in Granada, if you’re ever in doubt of where to go, always check the reference guide; it’s chock full of the best recommendations from our resident foodie (and Student Life Advisor), Jorge. But don’t be afraid to also branch out and try new places with your friends! Who knows -- maybe by the end of your time in Granada, you’ll be the one giving Jorge a new recommendation.  

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