EatWith Review: Dining with Locals in Spain and Beyond

Dining with locals is an amazing foodie experience to do while traveling! Click to read my EatWith review for everything you need to know about EatWith.

Disclosure: I was given a complimentary cooking class in exchange for this review, but as always, all opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links.

It was noon on a Saturday in Madrid. My friend Meg was visiting me and I wanted her to experience a variety of Spanish dishes while she was in town. Although we ate at our fair share of tapas and pinchos bars, I knew that the most memorable way to get a taste (ha!) of Spanish history and food was to take a cooking class.

Global dining experiences with locals

Enter EatWith. EatWith doesn’t just offer your run-of-the-mill cooking classes. Rather, they offer food experiences in over 110 countries – everything from five-course dinners to food tours and beyond. And the best part? ALL of the food experiences are hosted by locals.

If there’s one thing I’m obsessed with finding abroad, it’s opportunities to connect with locals and their experiences. Where are they hanging out? What are they eating, doing, and discussing? The tourist track is definitely fun, but the best way to get the feel for a culture is by meeting locals.

So, I did a little digging and found the perfect food experience for us: a cooking class by Gabriela, an incredibly talented catering chef in Madrid. I had already done a Madrid food tour a few years prior.

And so, that’s how we found ourselves entering one of the most beautiful kitchen spaces I’ve ever seen that Saturday. Gabriela made us feel at home immediately, offering us drinks and snacks and flitting around the kitchen, setting up various ingredients.

I loved cooking with Gabriela! She reminded me a bit of my mom – talking while cooking, and always moving. She explained the history of the various dishes and even shared her personal story on how she got started cooking. She was tasked with helping with family dinner parties as the eldest child – a role I’m all too familiar with!

Before cooking, Gabriela made sure that Meg and I were hydrated and had plenty to snack on (this involved an impromptu olive oil and olive tasting session!). She also informed us that most Italian olive oil that we buy in the United States actually comes from Spain….the Italians are just better at marketing!

Dining with locals is an amazing foodie experience to do while traveling! Click to read my EatWith review for everything you need to know about EatWith.
Impromptu olive oil tasting

Naturally, we started cooking one of the most important dishes first – dessert. I was super excited because it would be my first time trying torrijas – the Spanish version of French toast that is only served around Easter. And we were trying it homemade too…how lucky is that? Being the incredibly resourceful chef that she is, Gabriela froze the remaining milk that we’d used to soak the bread, telling us that we could use it for ice cream at the end. Win!

Dining with locals is an amazing foodie experience to do while traveling! Click to read my EatWith review for everything you need to know about EatWith.
Making torrijas!

After dessert, we circled back to cooking some of the appetizers: chicken skewers (called pintxos in Spanish) and Spanish tortilla. I’m obsessed with Spanish tortilla (essentially, a thick omelet made with potatoes and onions) and had failed miserably at making one back when I was in Los Angeles. Needless to say, I was incredibly eager to learn how to make the perfect one – and the tutorial did not disappoint. Isn’t this photo mouthwatering?

Dining with locals is an amazing foodie experience to do while traveling! Click to read my EatWith review for everything you need to know about EatWith.
Montaditos, cheese and olives, pintxos and tortilla!

The skewers were also delicious as well. The spices made them flavorful and slightly sweet, and we even had enough leftover chicken for a few montaditos (basically, open-faced sandwiches). Gabriela was constantly inspired to add to the menu as we went along…not that Meg and I had any complaints about that!

After a short break, we put together the last few dishes: strawberry gazpacho, Mallorcan seafood salad, and the torrijas. The strawberry gazpacho was definitely one of the easiest dishes, thanks to the handy Thermomix – an expensive and magical device that can basically cook and stir to precise temperatures and textures. Seriously guys – magic. Anyway, we threw in all of the ingredients into the Thermomix and ended up with perfect strawberry gazpacho.

Spain has definitely taught me to love seafood in all forms, and the Mallorcan seafood salad was no exception. It’s actually served warm and made with shrimp, squid, garbanzo and veggies. So good.

We pan fried the bread for the torrijas at that point as well, so they would have plenty of time to cool down. Then it was time to FEAST!

And feast we did! There was SO much food and it was all spectacular. Gabriela kept us entertained with stories about Spain, her life, and her past travels. Because I’m me, we also talked about politics, history, and the refugee crisis…needless to say, the three of us had many interesting discussions.

Dining with locals is an amazing foodie experience to do while traveling! Click to read my EatWith review for everything you need to know about EatWith.

Late and long are the best way to describe lunches in Spain, so our ice cream was ready by the time we wanted dessert. I kid you not…I’m dreaming about those torrijas as I write this. They were cinnamony and surprisingly light, perfectly balanced by ice cream and strawberries. DROOL.

Dining with locals is an amazing foodie experience to do while traveling! Click to read my EatWith review for everything you need to know about EatWith.

Meg and I wandered out of Gabriela’s kitchen at 5 pm with two food babies in tow. We had such a fun day learning how to make some of Spain’s traditional dishes and I know that I’ll be doing more Eatwith experiences on my upcoming travels!


The Review

As you can see, my experience with EatWith and Gabriela was spectacular. Gabriela was an attentive and entertaining teacher and knew everything about food culture and history in Spain. She was also flexible with the time that we started and easily accommodated my dietary restrictions. There was only one thing that I’d change about the class: the amount of time Meg and I cooked. We helped a little bit with prep, but we both agreed that we wanted more time actually cooking in the kitchen. Gabriela was clearly comfortable cooking for others (since it’s part of her job) but we would have loved to have been a little more hands-on. Besides that, I wouldn’t change my experience one bit.

Dining with locals is an amazing foodie experience to do while traveling! Click to read my EatWith review for everything you need to know about EatWith.
Gabriela, me and Meg


How EatWith works

What I love about EatWith is the wide range of experiences they offer. There’s everything from food tours to cool events to cooking classes. Their website makes it simple to search for the perfect event. Start by entering the city you’re visiting. From there, you can filter by date, price, the number of guests in your group, and more. It’s also worth noting that you can filter by “special diet,” which means you don’t have to worry about missing out if you eat halal, are vegetarian, or have food allergies – something I appreciate. You can also filter by the map function, which is useful if you don’t want to travel far for your experience. For cities with lots of hosts, EatWith also curates lists of their favorite experiences. Awesome!

Once you find your class of choice, enter the date(s) you’d like, the number of people, and hit request to book. You can add in an introduction and any special requests or questions you have as well. Your card won’t be charged unless your host confirms the experience. Any other questions you might have can be found on the FAQs page.

Although each person is bound to have a unique experience using EatWith due to the variety of hosts, cuisines, locations and experiences available, I can honestly say that I wholeheartedly recommend this platform. The ability to interact with locals through food is one of the greatest joys of travel, and EatWith makes it incredibly easy to do just that. I’m confident that I’ll be using their platform again during upcoming travels – and you should too! Book your experience HERE

More Spain Resources

Planning a trip to Spain soon? Check out ALL my posts on Spain below:


Tell me: Have you ever participated in a food experience while traveling? What did you learn from locals?


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22 thoughts on “EatWith Review: Dining with Locals in Spain and Beyond

  1. Kavita says:

    I totally agree that a cookery class with a local is such a good way to connect with the cuisine and culture of the place. I hadn’t come across VizEat before but will look them up right now!

  2. Nix says:

    WOWWWW That food looks incredible!! Nothing in the world beats home made food, and by the looks of it you really enjoyed yourself. So great to see food bringing people together 🙂 thanks for sharing xx

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      It really was! We had a great time learning how to make the different dishes and I love how food always manages to bring people together!

  3. Laura Nalin says:

    I’m reading this having not yet eaten breakfast and I CANNOT DEAL. This food looks so incredibly delicious — do you think you’ll recreate them often at home? I took cooking classes in Cambodia and Thailand and love recreating the dishes – or at least attempting to 😛 I had no idea about the olive oil being Spanish! Learn something new every day!

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      HAHA I know what you mean…I’m responding to comments while I’m hungry which is a bad idea too. I got a copy of the recipes and I think I’ll be able to recreate some forsure :). Oh that must have been so fun – I love SE Asian food!

  4. Megan Indoe says:

    I absolutely love the idea of eating with locals! What a cool experience and that food looks divine!

  5. Thelittlelai: Beyond limits says:

    Just like me, whenever I visit new places, I always find out where are locals mostly gather and take some chance to know them as well. Anyway, I like your cooking experience here and the kitchen really looks so spacious and clean. I wish to have a cooking session as well with that master chief. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

    LaiAriel R. Samangka

    • Sally E says:

      Yeah definitely! Locals know where all the good food is :). This was a great place to cook – and I was lucky that my host was a professional chef too!

  6. Stella says:

    I am drooling looking at those torrijas too! Thanks for introducing me to VizEat. I also love food experiences and doing things with locals, so I’d love to try it. Food tours are my jam!

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      Mmmm I’m hungry and responding which is a bad idea. Haha. You’ll have to check them out! I love food tours as well…I’m pretty much all about ANY food experiences 🙂

  7. Vyjay Rao says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading about your cooking experience. The kitchen looks so nice. I truly believe that it is always good to mingle with the locals to get to know their culture and tradition and also learn what they do.

    • Sally E says:

      Absolutely agree with you! Locals are the best source of knowledge at a new destination, especially when it comes to food!

  8. Paige Brown says:

    Oh my gosh. That looks amazing. A lot of times I see a review of food tours or cooking classes and think, wow that looks really heavy, but that one item looks good. However this class looks like every single thing you prepared would be so delicious! That dessert makes me want to drool!

    • Sally E says:

      YEAH. It was amazing. Such a delicious mix of dishes so we were able to learn about (and sample) a big variety! I’m definitely going to be making the dessert again soon 🙂

  9. Aubrie Engman says:

    Wow I have always wanted to take a cooking class and doing it in another country with a local would make it that much better! I am glad I learned about this! Everything looks so good, especially the desert! haha!

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      Hahah dessert is always a good idea, right? I highly recommend doing a cooking class or food tour on your next trip – it really makes it unforgettable (and delicious)!

  10. Nisha says:

    Great! I always try my hand at local cooking but never so much! You have done a whole of cooking in a day 🙂 . The beautiful images make me hungry . Bon Appetit!

  11. The Boozy Backpacker says:

    What a great idea! I love food tours & cooking classes! Probably, next to sightseeing at temples, etc., it’s the most “touristy” activity I like because it’s a little more real and grounded. I’m making a mental note to try your VizEats program, it sounds really cool!

    • Sally E says:

      Same! I honestly don’t consider it super touristy because you still get to meet cool locals! And it’s such a fun and delicious way to get to know the culture. Definitely check out VizEat – they’re in SO many countries 🙂

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