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How to order the best meat in a Spanish restaurant

Here on the Costa Blanca, paella, fish and seafood get top billing in most seafront restaurants. But meat eaters, worry not; there's plenty of variety on offer, especially as you travel further inland.

Here’s a handy translation of most of the dishes you’ll find in the CARNES (meat) section of the menu.

There's a separate section for steak and also for the different cuts of meat you'll find in Spain. In the UK, we tend to turn our noses up at offal; not here, where even the humblest cut can be transformed into something delicious (see the section on casquería below).


Buey: bull

Cabra/cabrito: goat/kid

Cerdo: pork

Cochinillo: suckling pig

Conejo: rabbit


Cordero: lamb. In the UK, lamb is defined as under one year old and anything older is mutton. Spain has more detailed definitions, but you don’t often see them on menus.

Cordero lechal, unweaned, up to 25 days old, 8 kg. See also lechazo.

Cordero recental or ternasco: up to 4 months old, less than 13kg.

Cordero pascual: slaughtered between 4-12 months.

Ovino mayor/carnero: sheep more than one year old (mostly found in the north of Spain)


Cordoníz: quail

Faisán: pheasant

Jabalí: wild boar

Lechazo: lamb (unweaned, under 35 days old)

Pato: duck

Pavo: turkey

Pollo: chicken

Perdiz: partridge

Ternera: beef. Can also mean veal (e.g. escalope de ternera)

Vaca: cow

Venado: venison



Ahumado: smoked

A la brasa: charcoal grilled

A la parrilla: grilled

A la plancha: cooked on a hot plate

Al horno: cooked in the oven

Barbacoa/parillada: barbeque

Estofado: stewed

Guisado: stewed/casseroled

Horno de leña: wood oven

Relleno: stuffed



Bistec: rump steak

Chuletón: T-bone steak

Entrecote: entrecote

Filete: fillet

Solomillo: sirloin

Poco hecho: rare

Al punto: rare

Medio hecho: medium

Bien hecho: well done



Alas de (pollo): wings (chicken)

Albondigas: meatballs

Carilladas de cerdo: pig cheeks (also known as mejillas, carrilleras)

Chuleta: chop

Chuletón: T-bone steak

Costillas: ribs/spare ribs

Escalope: escalope (of veal)

Filete: fillet steak (usually beef)

Higado: liver

Lengua: tongue

Lomo: loin, tenderloin pork

Mejillas de cerdo: pig cheeks

Manitas de cerdo: pig trotters

Molida: minced meat

Muslo de: (thigh) Muslo de pollo: chicken drumstick

Paleta: shoulder

Panceta de cerdo: belly of pork

Patas de cerdo: pigs' trotters

Picada: minced meat

Pierna: leg (usually lamb)

Pinchos: meat on a skewer (pinchos morunos are a typical tapa)

Pechuga: breast

Pluma: (literally feather) a really tender cut of pork from the neck of an Iberico pig

Poco hecho - rare/Al punto - rare/medio hecho - medium/bien hecho - well done

Rabo de toro: ox tail

Riñones: kidneys

Secreto: a cut of pork with amazing flavour from the shoulder/loin area of an Ibérico pig



Carilladas de cerdo: pig cheeks (aka mejillas, carrilleras)

Higado: liver

Lengua: tongue

Mejillas de cerdo: pig cheeks

Manitas de cerdo: pigs trotters

Patas de cerdo: pigs trotters

Rabo de toro: ox tail (see pic)

Riñones: kidneys

Sesos: brains

Tripas: tripe


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