Calle Lanzarote
The Secrets To Working And Making A Living In Spain


Pan y mantequilla

There is very little that you really have to be warned about on Lanzarote, especially as far as eating out is concerned.

But there is one thing where you really can be tricked into giving out more than you planned.

When you order your meal at most restaurants, the waiter will bring you basket of rolls and butter. What he or she does not tell you is that you will be charged for this!

Normally you will receive one roll per person, some restaurants only bring a roll for those who have not ordered a starter, but the charge is per roll.

Depending on the restaurant this charge can be excessive – around 80 cents is normal but sometimes it can be 1EUR or even more!

The trick is, of course, to say that you don’t want them (unless, of course, you do!) when you order. This may not help – I’ve told the waiter in Spanish that I didn’t want any rolls as we were sharing our starters, but he – yes, the same waiter – still brought a basket of them to the table.

So that is step 2 of the trick – send them back again!

Even then, this may not solve the problem entirely, as often they have already been entered into the computerised till and will appear on the bill.

This where step 3 is important – the word in Spanish for butter is mantequilla – not something vaguely recognisable if you don’t know it (and not like other European languages where the word for butter has some resemblance to the English version).

So make sure you check the bill to see if pan y mantequilla has appeared anyway, and if it has – get it removed.

Unfortunately, this may not be the end of the problem. When questioning a bill once (although not about the rolls) the waitress proceeded to ask the other guests at the table to confirm that they really hadn’t had the items that I was having removed. If the waitress suddenly doesn’t speak much English and you don’t speak Spanish, then it’s all too easy to say “yes” to something that you was meant a different way, only for the waitress to turn round in Spanish and say “see, I told you so” and want full payment.

That is, however, the extreme version of the problem. Normally you should be OK after the first 3 steps.

Bon appetit!

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7 Responses to “Pan y mantequilla”

  1. Calle Lanzarote » Blog Archive » Lani’s Indian Tandoori, Puerto del Carmen Says:

    […] the food is good, I find this restaurant a bit pricey – starting from the bread rolls and butter, and continuing with the size of the portions and the fact that for most things you have to pay […]

  2. Calle Lanzarote (DE) Says:

    Eine Geschichte von Brötchen mit Butter…

    Urlaub zu machen auf Lanzarote ist eine tolle Sache und es gibt kaum Kritikpunkte. Aber was man zum Thema „Essengehen” wissen sollte ist folgendes:In vielen Restaurants bekommt man bei der Bestellung eines Gerichts einen Korb mit Brötchen und……

  3. Calle Lanzarote » Blog Archive » Which language to speak Says:

    […] It can often be to my advantage as well. Some locals are more welcoming if you make an effort to speak their language. At Teguise market you can often get a better bargain for making the effort and an even better one if you are fluent in Spanish. In restaurants the waiter’s English may only extend to taking your order and presenting you with the bill – it may not extend to sorting out complaints. […]

  4. Calle Lanzarote » Blog Archive » Friendliness on Lanzarote Says:

    […] UK).  In fact, my only real complaint about restaurants on Lanzarote would be that they charge for rolls and butter without asking and somtimes feign a lack of English when there is a problem with the […]

  5. It pays to speak Spanish | Calle Lanzarote Says:

    […] it pays to speak Spanish. At previously mentioned, it can be quite useful when there are problems with your bill in […]

  6. Calle Lanzarote auf Deutsch | Calle Lanzarote Says:

    […] last year and covering many of the topics that I have written about on this site such as I.G.I.C, pan y mantequilla, as well as restaurants and places that we […]

  7. Mardeleva (Puerto del Carmen) | Calle Lanzarote Says:

    […] there some years ago, I was not particularly impressed. A combination of wrong or late food and the rolls and butter trick were enough to put me off for several years. That is, until I received a tip that the quality of […]

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