Lunch is normally the main meal of the day in Andalusia; it’s served 1.45-3.30 p.m. and usually involves a set menu or à la carte meal. Set menus tend to be cheaper – and sometimes nastier – although they can be excellent value for money and often throw in cheap plonk as part of the deal. As for ordering your food, it’s important to remember that many restaurants will hand you an à la carte menu when you walk in, but have a set menu available if you ask. N.B. The carta is à la carte, while the menú is set!
The starters are usually larger than in the U.K. and may involve a stew or salad, while the main course is invariably meat or fish with a very limited range of veg. Don’t forget that veggies struggle in Spain, and Úbeda and Baeza are no exception. Even peas or artichokes are served with diced ham, while pulses are popular, often as a starter, but in stews that also contain meat or sausages of some description.