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Sharing a menu del dia/ becoming a trend/ Santiago de Compostela

SabsP

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
Interesting article about what seems to be a new trend, not only amongst peregrinos but also locals who need to live in a more frugal way.
Mixed ideas from the owners of the restaurants of course.

 
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Interesting article about what seems to be a new trend, not only with peregrinos but also locals who need to live in a more frugal way.
Mixed ideas from the owners of the restaurants of course.

I also saw that article. I have been giving my dessert away anyway for years...
 
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I can totally see swapping, but I don't recall el menu del dio being so abundant that someone walking 20K per day would be able to split it (unless of corse, they had an enormous lunch 😉).
For most Spaniards (and also pilgrims on some routes), the menu del dia is lunch (or as they say in Spain, comida), served typically between 1:30 or 2:00 to 3:30 or 4:00.
 
I'll put a different spin on this (naughty Tinker)

The Menu del Dia was once the one substantial meal that most of the labouring and lower middle classes got in any given day. It slotted in brilliantly between yesterdays bread and some thin coffee and a supper of Migas and a few scraps of meat. Cheaper and easier than trying to cook at home; especially if home was common lodgings a long way from mum and a homely hearth.

If it has now become one more tick-box item on the Camino / Spanish experience and everybody wants to change it to suit their needs....

Ah, the Menu Peregrino, wouldn't feed a rat around here but at least the portions are suitably meagre ;)
 
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The Menu del Dia was once the one substantial meal that most of the labouring and lower middle classes got in any given day.
I think a Franco initiative?

I think it is perhaps not in the spirit of the idea to share something that must already be very low-profit margins for the restaurant owners though. . .(especially the wine!)
 
I think a Franco initiative?
According to the Spanish version of Wikipedia it dates from 1964: "Originally, it was an imposition of the Ministry of Information and Tourism, which in August 1964 implemented by decree the obligation to offer a "menu of the day" in all restaurants, with a price set by the State according to the category of the restaurant. In the transition , prices were liberalized, but the mandatory menu of the day was in force until 2010, when it was repealed as a result of the European directive 2006/123/EC." (Google Translate)
 
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I think a Franco initiative?

I think it is perhaps not in the spirit of the idea to share something that must already be very low-profit margins for the restaurant owners though. . .(especially the wine!)

The article in my OP gives some insight why people ask for this option.
 
Often in the US you will see at the bottom of a menu that they charge an additional fee for sharing plates, which is less than the cost of a second dish but nevertheless provides some additional income for the owner who, as noted in the article, is losing money when this is done. It seems that the same can be done for those who share a Menu del Dia.
 
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At Mirallos a couple of weeks ago we all (11 of us) had a menu peregrino and it was 13 euros. More food than I could eat. Homemade goodness. I had the raxo and fries for the main. This was one of the appetizers (Ham and melon), the plate of raxo and fries, and then dessert was home made flan, cheesecake, or cream cheese and quince jelly (which I don't eat so no photo.). Oh, and water only because the university does not pay for alcohol, but it was part of the meal if we could have had it. .



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The article does rather go on a bit.

It’s pretty clear that, from its inception, the Menu del Dia was for one consumer. It’s hard to see it being profitable in the first place. I do sympathise with the consumer in these inflationary times, but certainly where I live, catering establishments are closing their doors daily.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
If you're agreeable to sharing, I found on more than one occasion that 2 people ordering a la carte 1 large salad or vegetable dish and 1 meat or fish dish is similar in cost to a menu del dia each but you end up with more and better food.
 
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Compare the menu del dia or the menu peregrino to a fast food lunch in the US: Primero, segundo and desert SERVED on clean plates with steel cutlery on a large napkin, wine, water and bread, in a delightful bar/cafe/restaurant in Spain. Megaburger with glop and supersized fries and a big gulp in styrofoam, plastic or cardboard, plastic cutlery wrapped in plastic, thin napkins and eat in your car in the US. For about the same price or just a little less. Which is healthier, tastier and easier on the planet? Buen Camino
 
If you're agreeable to sharing, I found on more than one occasion that 2 people ordering a la carte 1 large salad or vegetable dish and 1 meat or fish dish is similar in cost to a menu del dia each but you end up with more and better food.
If you observe Spanish families or groups of friends when they are “eating out” and as opposed to the individuals ordering a menu del dia for themselves, that is exactly how things are done. A large ensalada, perhaps some jamon or a fritura, maybe a big bowl of lentils or beans. Everyone dips in. Then maybe a baked fish or a rib of beef or a shoulder of lamb. Everyone gets a bit. Think of that splatter of octopus and boiled potatoes. A bowl of fruit and a torta might hit the table next and maybe some ice creams for the kids. The wine, water whatever has been passed around throughout the meal and the breadbasket replenished as necessary. That is sharing food in Spain. Divvying up a three plate MdD isn’t.

I watched an honest man brought almost to tears one night. Pontejos, across the bay from Santander, a group of six ordered “Sardines” for 6. He brought out an enormous platter of Sardines, bread, salad, jugs of wine…. They started demanding the other 5 plates of sardines.

I tried to buy him a brandy after they’d finally left. I think we did the bottle but I’ve no idea who paid for it
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Megaburger with glop and supersized fries and a big gulp in styrofoam, plastic or cardboard, plastic cutlery wrapped in plastic, thin napkins and eat in your car in the US. For about the same price or just a little less.
Not anymore; last time I had fast food in the US (2023) it was $32 for the two of us 😕
 
If you can't eat an entire menú, either menú del día or menú peregrino, you can ask for a half menu at a reduced cost, which normally will consist of one plate/course, dessert and beverage. I would never ask to share a menú.
Some places even have "no compartir" signs posted.
 
you can ask for a half menu at a reduced cost, which normally will consist of one plate/course, dessert and beverage. I would never ask to share a menú.
This.
Thanks for saying what I wanted to after reading the OP.

We will swap! My soup for your dessert!
I'll trade soup for anyone's dessert. Unless it's sopa de ajo, then all bets are off.
 
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I was told there's a new law against food waste - if there's a lot of food left, the restaurant is supposed to offer you the opportunity to take the leftovers with you. If it's something that doesn't require refrigeration, I usually say yes, and if they don't offer, I ask if I can take the rest of the bread with me - they're not serving what was on your table to anyone else.
 
I was told there's a new law against food waste - if there's a lot of food left, the restaurant is supposed to offer you the opportunity to take the leftovers with you. If it's something that doesn't require refrigeration, I usually say yes, and if they don't offer, I ask if I can take the rest of the bread with me - they're not serving what was on your table to anyone else.
WARNING : RANT FOLLOWING!!!

If that law applies to restaurants, I really wish restaurants I go to while in Spain would stop bringing me unasked for bread that I leave untouched and then have the gall to bill me for it. It always ends up as an argument when the bill comes up.
I know it's only a couple of € that make little to no difference to me in the end, but it's just annoying and leaves a sour taste of being taken advantage of.

On a nicer note, where's that bottle of Cidra natural?
 
then have the gall
it's just annoying and leaves a sour taste of being taken advantage of.
Now that you know that this is the local custom of how restaurant meals may be organized, can you not simply informed the waiter when the items are brought to the table? Instead of blaming them so harshly for their different approach for pricing? The final bill is rarely extortionate!
 
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Now that you know that this is the local custom of how restaurant meals may be organized, can you not simply informed the waiter when the items are brought to the table? Instead of blaming them so harshly for their different approach for pricing? The final bill is rarely extortionate!
I do, and I have, and often bread still appeared on the bill.
It isn't extortionate but it's still annoying
 
I do, and I have, and often bread still appeared on the bill.
It isn't extortionate but it's still annoying
It's a common custom in several countries - France, Italy and Greece for example. Whilst I appreciate you don't want the waste, (and applaud you for it), it is a way for the restaurant to cover some of their costs. Especially important if you are alone or your table does not order much. It is frequently classed as a 'cover charge' - if you sit, you pay.
In return they bring you a little bread, or perhaps olives as a gesture of 'good will'. In some places they literally call it 'cover charge', in others they charge it as 'bread'.

It can actually be legally enforced by the restaurant, so they are not 'having the gall to charge you for it', but I'm sure they just couldn't be bothered with the hassle.
As you say, it's not exactly extortionate. Please remember you are a visitor in Spain, and do the decent thing- just pay it.
 
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I always tried to get lunch (menu del dia) around 3 and then have a snack later. It was the perfect time for me to have a full meal.
This past summer, when I was walking the Camino de Madrid and San Salvador I pretty much always had comida as my main meal with a light cena. On the other hand, when I was on the Frances/Primitivo it was more likely that my main meal was cena, like the other pilgrims around me.
 
It is a normal afternoon anywhere in Spain when I order a beer or wine and suddenly magically appears a small bowl of chips or olives or nuts. Sometimes tapas. No charge! I love it. Buen Camino
Had a couple of cañas in a bar in Lavacolla, the camarera brought olives, then fried peppers, then a couple of bbq'd ribs!
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
On my first Caminos in Spain, if bread was given with the meal there was no extra charge added. My first experience of a separate charge was in Portugal where we were always brought bread to the table and charged for it. Occasionally we would decline it and it was removed by the waiter.
I too, have had tapas served complimentary with drink orders many times.
I like Peter's post #26, and it is probably a cultural thing and gives me a better understanding of the practice.
 
There are so many subtle differences aren’t there. Menu del Dia usually includes bread, and drink, and comes at a predetermined price. Ordering off the Carta brings all sorts of possible delights to your table but bread is not included in the price of your starter, your main or your pudding. Bread is a separate serving, as is your wine and your coffee.

That Portuguese thing of bringing breadsticks, pickles, cheese etc to your table and then having the gall to charge you for it… Não, obrigado will suffice. Just do it when they bring the stuff to the table rather than later when you’re full of good food and a little too much wine and up for a fight over the bill. In Spain, if you’ve ordered a couple of tapa and the bread basket appears you can always try and decline it but realistically it’s just the same cover-charge you’ll suffer anywhere in Europe. “Ah, you are not from around here? That will be €2 please” 😉
 
I have seen pilgrims order the typical spaghetti bolognese only as a meal. One woman last year came into Casa Lixa for Lunch ordered only the spagetti, but then put almost an entire bowl of shredded Romano cheese (not exaggerating) on top of the Spaghetti
and then asked half way through the meal for more cheese? I thought at the time, well she is getting her protein requirements and free of charge! I noted she that she had good equipment and was well dressed? Was this right? Sometimes I struggle between minding my own business, and knowing when to make an intervention, and then, am I, perhaps, offending someone by offering assistance? In the end there needs to be a balance between generosity of owners, honest needs of and assistance to other pilgrims, and when are we take advantage of owners!?
 
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@Marbe2 , you raise a valid point. As a customer it's hard when you see somebody else being greedy at the restaurants expense. Speaking from experience restaurants try and achieve a balance - a handful of greedy customers, vs a larger number of 'good' ones. If the balance tips too far in the wrong direction they do of course have options. For instance the restaurant can bring smaller bowls of cheese, and of course charge for the extra should they wish to do so. These eventualities - like the cover charge - are often in the small print somewhere in the menu.
Some restaurants simply choose to be generous in the hope of attracting a good review, and return clients - if they're lucky, with less greedy companions!
 
In the US, many restaurants charge an extra plate charge if two people want to share the same meal. That seems fair to me and it seems would help solve the problem being discussed here.
I've never seen this in any restaurant in the U.S., but I haven't been to the east coast yet. In California, the southwest, and the midwest this is absolutely not common practice. But our set menu prices are not as generous, so I understand why it would be a thing in Spain.
 
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If that law applies to restaurants, I really wish restaurants I go to while in Spain would stop bringing me unasked for bread that I leave untouched and then have the gall to bill me for it. It always ends up as an argument when the bill comes up.
I know it's only a couple of € that make little to no difference to me in the end, but it's just annoying and leaves a sour taste of being taken advantage of.

On a nicer note, where's that bottle of Cidra natural?
I am from a small town located on the Camino Vasco / via Bayona. Few pilgrims here and even fewer foreigners. I can assure you that with the attitude you have just described you will only ensure that the next foreign pilgrims who arrive at the restaurant after you will be greeted with looks of distrust. In the same way, if you are well received in a restaurant, it is because somehow your previous customers have behaved and have been friendly and close to the restaurant workers. Arguing for the bread when paying is rude. Otherwise, menú del día are not shared, you order one per person. If you want only one dish, look for a plato combinado. But ask to the waiter if they have that choice. Traditionally when ordering la carta we sometimes share first course and then each one orders a second course for eachone. It is literally how @Tincatinker described it 👍.

Touch of humor: I have never seen a foreigner complaining with the waiter over the plate of olives they received for free when having a glass of wine or beer. In fact this is a custom of inland Spain. At least in the Basque country you will have to order and pay for the plate of olives.
 
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@Mendizale, it is the unfortunate result of a cultural difference. What is normal in one land is most definitely not in another, should you not have learned about it, it is easy to be offended by it.
I recall it happening on numerous occasions when I worked in Greece in the 90s. I also occasionally saw it in France and Italy, where it is also normal to bring - and charge for - bread. As posted above I am well aware as to why they do it.

However to somebody new to the land it appears as though the restaurant is trying to 'rip them off'.
 
In the US, a bread basket was nearly always served with a full "meal" ordered at no extra charge, but naturally its cost was included in the price of the meal; it was not a separate charge. What I have noticed over the past 5-10 years, is that often bread no longer comes with higher end meals, yet costs are rising when eating out. I sometimes miss the bread, but do not really need it to fill full when finished eating.
 
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The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
A Sunday lunchtime, 1964/5, the Four Horseshoes, Nursling. Charlie and Min have put their usual spread of hot roast potatoes, cold pork, cheeses and pickles on the bar. My little brother can just reach high enough to snaffle a spud or three. “Oi, Charlie” someone shouts “he’s not bought any beer.” “He will” says Charlie “give ‘im time and he will.”
 
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Let’s play trumps: the little bar in Carbajal de la Legua out of Leon, and again a Sunday. A tapa in a little brown bowl. Could have been pasta in tomato sauce: “es Callos” said with a smile. “Buenas” also said with a smile 😎
 
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Yeah... and in the Jewish Delis it was challah rolls, pickles and pickled green tomatoes....
sigh.....
And on Sundays there'd be copies of the NYTimes laying all over the place, and while eating your bagel and lox (matzoh brei during Passover), you'd exchange sections with the table next to you.

double sigh....
 
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