A glossary, along with phrases and explanation of terms where literal translation is not useful is my end goal of this project. In my earlier versions I simply sought out glossaries, anywhere I could find them on the Net. This resulted in several problems: 1) often there are errors in other peoples’ glossaries, often in spelling (esp. diacritical marks; also is singular or plural and genders, that is not using the base word one would find in proper dictionaries; 2) regional differences within Spain lead to confusion in either different spellings (or words) for the same food item or different items from the same word; 3) “Spanish”, of course, includes a lot more of the world than just Spain and often there are severe contradictions between different countries and I really want to stay focused on Spain (although hongo (mushroom) has appeared in Spanish menus and this is primarily a Latin American term, so even the Spanish are inconsistent on this); 4) many words don’t really have a translation to English because either they stand for themselves (e.g paella, chistorra) or a literal translation is not helpful (as already mentioned, see post on revuelto); 5) some colloquial or slang terms are used in Spain just as they are anywhere and these don’t translate easily; and, 6) sometimes food items are modified with brands or regional terms (de Tuledo) that are quite relevant but not terms that can be converted to English.

So many glossaries you find, as I did (the hard way) are fairly inaccurate and/or fail to provide much help for menus. This is the main reason I’m starting my v3.0 effort from menus of restaurants in Spain. While I could look for all restaurants I could find I’m tying my search to my virtual walk along the Camino de Santiago. I started this project when I’d reached just west of Pamplona. So I’ve now covered about 20 miles looking at every restaurant along the way (they have to have webpages and then menus at the website to be useful). So I’ve covered the towns of Cizur Menor, Zariquiegui, Uterga, Muruzábal, Obanos, Puente la Reina, Mañeru, Cirauqui and figured I had enough raw material for my first cut at a glossary (English translation mostly based on Google Translate with some lookups in This is a fairly complete list based on no more than extractions from menus. Some words I’ve left off this list as they take more research to get them properly defined (e.g. “beef”, lots of different names for this, and cuts of meat). Other words the literal translation and/or quick searches are insufficient to get a useful (if there is one) definition.

So this is v3.1 and I have a lot more to do to even begin to have anything approaching the final list but already my list is better than many of the others you can find on the Net.

a elección of your choice
a la parrilla grilled
a la plancha grilled
a su gusto to your liking  (as in how well done)
aceite oil
aceite de oliva virgen virgin olive oil
aceitunas olives
acompañado accompanied
agua water
ajetes tiernos young garlic
ajo garlic
albóndigas meatballs
alcachofas artichokes
almejas clams
almendras almonds
almíbar syrup
alubias beans
anchoas anchovies
anís aniseed
aperitivos fríos cold appetizers
arándanos blueberry
aros de cebolla onion rings
arroz rice
artesanos artisan
asado roast, roasted
atún tuna
avellana hazelnut
azúcar sugar
bacalao cod
baja temperature low temperature
bandeja tray
bebida drink
beicon bacon
bellota acorn
besugo sea bream
blanco white
blando soft
bocadillos snacks
bocatas sandwiches
bogavante lobster
borraja borage
brasas barbecued or fire grilled  (also a la brasas)
cabra goat
café coffee
calabacín zucchini
calamares en su tinta squid in ink
caliente hot
callos tripe (even ‘guts’)
campo propio our own field
canela cinnamon
canelone cannelloni
cangrejo crab
caramelizada caramelized
cardo cardoon
carnes meats
carrilleras cheek pieces
caseras, caseros homemade (gender based on modified word)
cebolla onion
centollo spider crab
cerdo pork (or maybe just pig)
chipirón squid
chistorra chistorra  (it is what it is, no translation)
ciervo deer (venison)
ciruelas plums
cítricos citrus
cochinillo suckling pig
cocido boiled
coco coconut
codornices quail
coliflor cauliflower
compota compote
confitado confit
consultar disponibilidad check availability
copa cup
cordero lamb
cordero lechal suckling lamb
costillas ribs
crema cream
croquetas croquettes
crujiente crispy
dulce sweet
duro hard
ensalada salad
ensaladilla salad
entrante starter
esparragos asparagus
espárragos enteros blancos white whole asparagus
espinacas spinach
espuma foam
fiambres cold cuts
frambuesas raspberries
fresas strawberries
fresca fresh
frios cold
fritas fried
fruta fruits
fundido melted
gambas prawns (medium size, other names tied to size)
guarniciones garnishes
guisadas stewed
helado ice cream
huertas gardens, orchards
huevo egg
huevo duro hard-boiled egg
incluido included
ingredientes ingredients
jamón ham
Jamón Ibérico de Bellota acorn Iberian ham
lasaña lasagna
leche milk
lechuga lettuce
lenguado sole
limón lemon
lomos loins  (cut of meat, sometimes short for pork loin)
loncha slice
lubina sea bass
macarrones macaroni
maíz corn
manitas de cerdo pork trotters
mantequilla butter
manzanas apples
mariscos seafood (generic)
mayonesa mayonnaise
mejillón mussels
melocotón peaches
melosas sweet
membrillo quince, quince jelly
menta mint
merluza hake
mermelada jam
mero grouper
mero salvaje wild grouper
miel honey
mixta mixed
morros snout, lips, cheeks, nose
mostaza mustard
nata cream
natillas custard
negro black
nueces nuts
nuestras especialidades our specialties
oporto port
otros other
pan artesano artisan bread
pasas raisin
patata potato
patata panadera baked potato
pato duck
pechuga breast (as in de pollo)
pepinillo pickle
perdiz partridge
perejil parsley
pescados fish
picatostes croutons
picoteo snack, nibble
pimentón paprika
pimientos peppers
pimientos de temporada seasonal peppers
pimientos del Piquillo Piquillo peppers
pimientos verdes green peppers
piña pineapple
piña caramelizada caramelized pineapple
piñones pine nuts
plátano banana (term in Spain, other areas use different)
plato fuerte main entree
pollo chicken
postres desserts
precio price
precio fijo fixed price
puerro leek
pulpo octopus
purés de patata mashed potatoes
queso cheese
queso de cabra goat cheese
racione serving
rape monkfish
rebozada breaded
refresco soft drink
rellenos stuffed
revuelto scrambled egg dish (other ingredients than egg)
rodaballo turbot
rojos red
rosa pink
rúcula arugula
salsa sauce
salteada sautéed
salvaje wild  (referring to animal)
segundo plato Second course
sepia cuttlefish
setas mushrooms
sidra cider
sidrería cider bar
sopa soup
surtido assorted, assortment
templada warm
típico typical
tomate tomato
torrija French toast
trufas truffles
turrón nougat
unidades units (as in pieces)
uvas pasas raisins  (or just pasas)
vaca cow (terms for beef get complicated)
vainilla vanilla
variados varied, assorted
ventresca belly (of a fish, sometimes also means filet of fish)
verde green
verduras vegetable
verduras de invierno winter vegetable
vinagreta vinaigrette
vino wine
vino tinto red wine
yema yolk
yogur yogurt
zanahoria carrot
zumo juice  (as in of a fruit vs jugo???)