Rest assured: in Spain there are more halal restaurants and halal food offerings than you can imagine. This cannot be said for the whole country and every corner, but it can be said for the main cities and tourist destinations and, most likely, for the places you plan to visit. Madrid, Barcelona, Granada, Cordoba, Seville, Costa del Sol, Valencia… they have numerous halal and Muslim-friendly restaurants. However, it is not always easy to identify them: some of these eateries do not have external signs or labels to identify them. So, you ask yourself: how to find halal meals in Spain? How can I be sure what I eat? How can I enjoy local food? How to travel with peace of mind?
The following tips will help you clear up your doubts.
Halal restaurant in Madrid.
We do not want to be pretentious, but this is completely true: the Halal Meals section of our website is the most complete and up-to-date source on the halal offer in Spain. Inscha Allah, our goal is to be able to bring together all establishments with halal food in our country and every day we strive to increase and update the information about it, but, we have not reached our goal yet!
Of course we are not a certifying company, but all the establishments that you will see on our website are verified by our local team to offer you the most accurate and detailed information. We are Muslims and, in addition, we have received specific training regarding food and Halal services. Using the filters in our Halal Meals section you will be able to find the establishments that best suit your tastes and requirements: from restaurants that only offer Halal food and are also alcohol-free, to others that, although all their food is Halal, do have alcohol; establishments with an approved Halal certificate; restaurants with some halal offer; restaurants specialized in fish and seafood; vegan and vegetarian eateries… You can also choose based on gastronomic criteria and other types of services. Apply the filters and choose your favorite place!
Some Halal eateries in Spain do not have exterior signs identifying them as Halal restaurants.
It may seem surprising but this happens with some frequency in Spain. 95% (or more) of the halal restaurants in Spain are owned by Muslims and have staff who are also mostly Muslim. They buy their products and ingredients from Muslim suppliers (we refer, above all, to halal butchers with duly certified meats and even products that come from Muslim countries) and prepare their dishes and recipes in a halal way. However, as the vast majority of their customers are non-Muslim, many do not bother to display any halal label or symbol on their menu or in the premises, or to obtain an approved certification that accredits their services. This is particularly the case in Indian-style restaurants (which in many cases are indeed Muslims from India, but in many others from Pakistan and Bangladesh). Also in some kebab houses and Turkish, Middle Eastern, Moroccan and Persian restaurants...
If at any time you are in a Spanish city and you do not find a restaurant nearby with a halal symbol in sight, but there is a restaurant as mentioned, we suggest you ask the staff directly, because it is likely to be an eatery with halal food. Fortunately, more and more Muslim restaurants not only serve halal meals but also identify their establishments with visible signs.
Halal and alcohol-free restaurant in Seville.
You're right. This is a great contradiction. Why does this happen? The answer to this question is similar to the previous one. Most of the clientele of the restaurants with halal offer are non-Muslim, especially Spanish people. For many Spaniards, alcohol is a 'must-have' in every restaurant; not having it is something 'inconceivable' from their point of view. 'If we do not have alcohol we will have to close,' argue the owners of this type of restaurants…
Alcohol-free restaurants are often found in areas near mosques or in neighborhoods where Muslim immigrants are concentrated. Some -few- are in central or tourist areas... Of course, you can find them on our website. There is only one type of Halal eatery in which the absence of alcohol is not so unlikely: those establishments that focus their business on take-away or delivery services. In other words: oriental style fast food establishments, kebab houses, etc.
The Instituto Halal (Halal Institute) of Junta Islámica is the main certifying entity in Spain.
Of course, there are, but they are very few and there are not in all cities. In Spain, the most veteran and important certifying entity is the Instituto Halal (Halal Institute) of Junta Islámica, which also has all the main international recognitions (EIAC-UAE, JAKIM-Malaysia, BPJPH and MUI -Indonesia, MoPH-Qatar, IMANOR - Morocco, MUIS - Singapore…). Although it has more than 400 certified companies, the vast majority of these companies are dedicated to exporting to Muslim countries. Its work in the accreditation of restaurants and accommodation is incipient. Keep in mind that they can extend their certification to an entire establishment or to some of its services or products. We refer, for example, to a specific kitchen, area or menu within a hotel or restaurant that offers other products or services that are not Halal.
On Let’s go Halal you will find all the restaurants and accommodations that have an approved certification and, applying the filters, you will know if all their offer is Halal or only a part of it.
A group of Indonesian tourists enjoying a halal paella in Spain.
Of course, discovering new flavors and enjoying the local gastronomy is an important part of the travel experience. Spain is a gastronomic paradise, very varied and with quality restaurants, but, unfortunately, there are very few that have any Halal offer. You can find some on our website.
Although some of the most popular dishes in Spanish gastronomy are based on halal ingredients (gazpacho, salmorejo, honey aubergines, potato omelette, squid sandwiches ...) or have Halal versions (such as fish or seafood paella) they may have suffered cross contamination when you consume them in establishments that are not Halal.
Spanish cuisine is not usually the specialty of most restaurants owned by Muslims, but some of them have incorporated some popular dishes, such as paella, precisely so that Muslim tourists visiting Spain can enjoy them.
Two mixed portions of grilled fish and seafood, very typical in Spain.
Here we have two good news. The first: Spain is the main consumer of fish in Europe (ahead of Portugal and Sweden). Each Spaniard consumes almost 43 kilos of fish a year, especially fresh. This means that quality, fresh fish is quite common in Spain. There are practically no bars and restaurants with local cuisine that do not have delicious fish dishes on the menu... The second good news. There is a golden rule that establishments usually follow: fish, especially if it is prepared fried or grilled is 'never' mixed with meat, so that its penetrating flavor does not contaminate other foods. Of course, it is not possible to ensure that this always happens like this but it is the usual and the most generalized.
Such is the Spanish predilection for fish that you will find many restaurants specializing in seafood even in cities like Madrid, far from the coast. Being a restaurant specializing in fish or seafood (seafood restaurant) does not mean not having meat on the menu.
Fried fish in very popular in Andalusia, specially in Seville and Cadiz.
There is a type of specialized fish establishment that is very popular in some Andalusian cities where the probability of cross contamination is reduced to a minimum: they generally do not serve meat specialties (perhaps, at most, some croquettes with ham or chicken, which are usually fried separately)… We refer to the especially typical fried fish shops (called ‘freidurías’) in Seville and Cádiz. Here you will find very fresh fish with a fine coating of flour and deep fried in olive oil. Boquerones, calamari, shrimps, hake, cod, usually served in paper cones, are just some of the specialties offered in these popular fried fish shops. The ‘freidurías’ are like fast-food of the highest quality and always with fresh fish. Really delicious! The fish is sold by weight, generally to take away, or also to be eaten in the premises. If you want to order it like a local call it “pescaíto frito” (which means fried little fish).
A group of Muslim girls enjoying halal burgers in Barcelona.
Yes, we are referring to big brands like MacDonalds, Burger King, KFC... In Spain, at the moment, they don't offer Halal meats. But you will find burgers and pizzerias with Muslim owners and halal foods.
Salmorejo is a delicious kind of cold vegetable cream.
The ham (cured pork leg) is one of the star products of Spanish gastronomy, a true national pride! It is without doubt one of the most popular and most ubiquitous products (called ‘serrano ham’ and ‘Iberian ham’). In many restaurants and bars it is usually visible, anchored in a type of wooden structure that allows it to be cut into thin slices, or even hung from the ceiling!
Spaniards usually consume cured ham, uncooked, cut into thin slices and portions, so it is not likely to contaminate other dishes ... However, it is sometimes used as a “topping” in some unexpected dishes. This is the case, for example, with salmorejo (a delicious dish typical in Cordoba, a kind of cold cream based on tomato, olive oil and bread), to which they are usually added ham shavings. (We recommend that you try salmorejo, it is delicious, but always insist that they do not add ham ‘toppings’…).
Sometimes, some vegetable or legume creams or soups may have been cooked with an animal bone, to make them more tasty. If you are in a Spanish restaurant that is not vegetarian or does not have a Halal offer, it is advisable that you ask if the dishes have been prepared by adding some type of meat, bone or lard even though, at first glance, they are made with Halal ingredients.