A tourist could most certainly enjoy the sites and atmosphere of many Spanish-speaking countries without knowing much more than a few token Spanish words to throw around as a courtesy. But it would be a shame not to go a bit deeper, especially when it comes to dining out. Whether it be at a roadside cart, an outdoor cafe or a dimly-lit and smoky restaurant, few activities encapsulate the feel of the lifestyle in a Spanish-speaking country like eating amongst the fellow gente (people). These are the places where people often spend their siesta time noshing on tapas (small plates/appetizers) or get ready for a big evening out with a late-evening cena (dinner). As such, mealtime represents social time, and great opportunity for you absorb the culture and have fun through speaking to and making nice with the locals, or your fellow travelers. The staff at your dining spot is also an excellent source of information for what to do and see around the area.