How much I love going out for dinner.. I am a real foodie, I eat almost everything and I enjoy trying new things. There are so many restaurants and tapas places to find here in Madrid. Almost too much choice to make a decision on where to go. There is an amazing eating culture here, people love to go out and spend time together while drinking and enjoying their meal or tapas. Not only during the weekends but basically the whole week you find that restaurants and bars are full. Even kids are drawn into this cultural habit at an early age. Families come together on Sundays for endless lunches and BBQ's for everyone to enjoy. In general they are very family oriented and that is quite notable. Food and drinks bring people together here. You will not easily hear a Spaniard say that he is not hungry or that it is not the time to eat, there is always an occasion for food.
Lunch and dinner times are normally quite late compared to the rest of Europe and the world in that matter. Lunch is not before 2:00pm/ 3:00pm and dinner starts at about 9:00pm, in the weekends often even later! People meet up around 10:00pm (ish) and restaurants are used to these time schedules. Kitchens are usually open until after midnight. For most of us these times are in the first place odd, and we get hungry already waaaay before food is served here. But it does fit the whole style of living. After work they would go to the gym before dinner, or meet up with some friends or even go shopping. Yes, also the stores are open until late at night. From my own experience I can say, you get used to it and in the end adjust to the lifestyle. I've actually start to love it! :)
Spending time with loved ones is of such importance and enjoying a good meal adds to the get-together experience.
Many families nowadays are living in the same house but unfortunately not spending that much time together. Everyone is busy, working, school, doing sports etc. But meals is what bring us together, where we sit on the table together, talk about our days and happenings in our lives. Same counts for friends, you might see them at school or on the way to work, or maybe they are your colleague. But when we really take the time, the quality time to enjoy together, that is when we feel appreciated, listened to and supported. Some of you might think otherwise, but I see the point of the Spaniards.. Of bringing people together with food and drinks, chit chatting, having the kids play around while the adults talk and laugh. So when you ever come out to Spain or maybe you live here, take a good look at what is happening beyond the food and those drinks.. Cause you might see a lot more than just a table full with glasses and plates.