Within Ávila’s fortified walls, you’ll find a wealth of history, heritage, culture…and cuisine. From grilled meats to local sweets, these are the specialties that every visitor should sample!
Located just over 100 kilometers (70 miles) northwest of Madrid, Ávila makes for the perfect day trip from the Spanish capital. Its impressive medieval walls have been standing for several hundred years, preserving a powerful sense of history. There are also several churches and monuments to explore—and, of course, traditional dishes to try.
After a day of walking around (and on top of) Ávila’s walls, you’re bound to get hungry. For such a small city, this place has a surprising number of local specialties—so if you only have a few hours, you’ll need to make every bite count. These are the dishes you simply can’t miss when eating in Ávila, along with tips for the best places to try them!
The most famous food in Ávila
If you’re a meat eater, you’ll be happy here. The legendary chuletón de Ávila is a delicious, locally produced steak, grilled and served rare. It’s the city’s most iconic dish, and every restaurant competes to serve the best version. It’s also worth sampling other grilled meats here, such as goat, lamb and suckling pig—all raised in the surrounding areas.
Although meat plays a starring role in the local cuisine, it’s by no means the only attraction. The city is also famous for Judias de el Barco de Ávila: beans with a protected geographic destination. These large legumes are usually served in a hearty stew with chunks of chorizo, pig’s ear and trotters. There are seven different varieties, all equally delicious.
Other local specialties to sample
You’ll find that much of Ávila’s cuisine is rich and heavy, perfect for keeping warm on a chilly winter day. Order a bowl of Castilian garlic soup or a plate of roasted potatoes, both prepared with local paprika. Indulge in cuchifrito, a flavorful stew made with pieces of refried pork. Compare the famous judias with other local legumes: chickpeas or carillas (small white beans with black spots). And if you’re craving fish, try the famous trout or cod, cooked in various ways.
Complete your day trip with a sweet treat
No trip to Ávila is complete without dessert. The most legendary local treats are yemas de Santa Teresa, made from egg yolk and sugar. These little yellow gems are super sweet and simple, with a unique texture that’s oddly addictive. You’ll find them at shops all over the city, but the most typical place to buy them is La Flor de Castilla in Plaza José Tomé.
If your sweet tooth still isn’t satisfied, there are several other candies and pastries to try. We especially love mantecados, rich little sweets made with sugar, eggs, flour and lard (they taste better than they sound). For something healthier, try the fresh fruit grown in the area, especially peaches, apples, cherries and figs.
The best bars and restaurants in Ávila
Ávila has an abundance of incredible eateries. You’ll find several places claiming to serve the city’s best chuletón; we recommend Los Candiles and Restaurante Bococo. Make sure you accompany your steak with sides and salads, so you can taste as many local products as possible.
Another exceptional restaurant is El Almacén, located outside the city walls. It’s perfect for a more upscale dinner, offering creative takes on traditional flavors, plus wonderful views. Order the fried eggs with giant prawns to start, followed by suckling pig with nuts and dried fruit. The wine cellar here is also spectacular!
Where to find Avilá’s most authentic tapas
Although Ávila is known for its heartier dishes, it’s equally famous for top-notch tapas. We suggest hopping from bar to bar, enjoying a round of drinks and a few delicacies at each place. Common tapas include callos (tripe), tortilla española (potato omelette), empanadillas (little tuna pies), mollejas (sweetbreads) and all kinds of cured meats.
The area around Ávila’s cathedral is packed with traditional tapas bars, especially near Plaza Nalvillos and Calle Doctor Fleming. Hit up Bar La Cigüeña (Calle Cristo de las Batallas, 10) for great prices and a wide selection of beer, or Gloria Bendita to pair your tapas with lovely views. Taberna de los Verdugo offers a glass of wine and a tapa of your choice for €2.50, plus sharing plates like croquettes with basil aioli, peppers stuffed with goat cheese and amazing cheese boards.
It’s easy to eat well in Ávila—the real challenge is making time for everything it has to offer!
Melissa first moved to Madrid to explore her interests in linguistics and communication, and quickly fell in love with the city’s culture and cuisine. She’s particularly passionate about Spanish vermouth and canned seafood, and makes it a point to drench absolutely everything in olive oil.