Delicious little portions for you to snack as you enjoy your drink, the word Tapa is derived from ‘Tapar’ (to cover) and was originally a piece of cheese or ham to cover the wine. Our guide for the walking tour also told us another tapa origin story that many farmers when choosing what to choose from after a day of hard labor between food or drink would always choose drink and the productivity of the country went down. After the law was introduced, that a small portion of food should be served whenever anyone ordered a drink, the farmers could enjoy some drinks and still be able to work the following day.
We spent about 2 weeks of our month long summer vacation traveling from Madrid to the South of Spain and then along the coast to Barcelona. The scenery was absolutely stunning. Aside from walking tours, seeing the beautiful beaches, visiting many different mosques turned cathedrals, and touring a few Alcazars like the amazing Alhambra, we tried as many tapas places as we could find!
The first stop on our España trip was the capital city, Madrid. On our first night, we went to a random bar right conveniently located next to our hotel near Plaza de España. We ordered beer and they brought us whatever the kitchen had, which included, chicken wings and bread w/ jamon (free included with our drinks!). We wanted a bit more and ordered a plate of green peppers (pimientos) which wasn’t spicy just delicious.
Then there was another random tapas place we tried on the recommended ‘tapas’ street.
The boquerones, fried anchovies, were deelish!! I think this is when we started getting addicted to these things. Fried little fish, nice to snack on and quite satisfying.
We celebrated one of our anniversaries in Madrid. For our anniversary dinner we went to a restaurant near Calle San Simon. There you could order tapas size portions as well. The grilled squid was one of my favorite dishes during our time in Spain.
Fried egg, with eggplant and tomatoes on a bed of homemade fried potato chips
Delicious grilled squid mmmmm
Beef and potato chips
From Madrid we made our way south by train to Seville. This city is an amazing place to visit not just for all the tapas but also for all the different things to see including the Alcazar where they filmed Game of Thrones and the beautiful grand cathedral.
One great place for tapas in Seville is Las Columnas. The tapas were around 2 or 3 euros and the menu was on the wall in chalk. As soon as something was gone, it was scratched out. You could stand at the bar, at a table outside or find a seat in the corner area of the bar.
The co-pilot’s turn to order!
Atun con tomate (Tuna and tomato sauce. It was so delicious we had this a few times)
We tried a fanicer tapas place where we met a Swiss guy who is now living in Seville. He gave us some great recommendations for places to visit in Andalucia.
La Bartola, is a Tapas place that was near our hotel in Seville. It doesn’t stay open as late as the other tapas bars but the food was excellent and reasonably priced as well.
Zuchini flowers, Jamon Iberico, grilled fish
These boquerones in were sprinkled with lemon rind adding some extra zest to the anchovies. Mmmm so good.
And of course we had to stop in at the oldest tapas place El Rinconcillo. It was pretty crowded and we stopped there for a few more drinks and tapas.
Our last tapas bar of the night for a few more snacks and dessert!
Lambchops, anchovy on a fresh tomato, and tuna and tomato
We even tried a flan dessert that was similar to Filipino Leche Flan but more creamy, really thick and heavy. It was one of the most delicious desserts we tried on our vacation!
A few places we wanted to try were unfortunately closed while we were visiting Granada. On our first evening we found two tapas places right next to each other. One was full of locals and the other was full of brits. Guess which one we chose hahaha. This tapas bar was full and everyone was standing enjoying their drinks and tapas. You had to shout your order to the bartender and he brought you whatever tapa the kitchen prepared. And it was free with your drink!
One place we visited was well reviewed for the tapas but when we finally found the place, they weren’t serving tapas. I can’t remember why exactly, but we got a drink anyways and they gave us some candy and peanuts to go along with it.
During our time in Granada we had some laundry to do. We decided not to let our hotel to do it in order to avoid the the ridiculous hotel laundry prices which included 3 euros a shirt…
While waiting for our laundry at the self serve laundry mat, we wandered in the area nearby. We found a park but it was mostly pavement and hardly any trees. It was also quite hot and we wanted to go indoors with AC.
Most of the restaurants in the area were closed for Siesta, but we found one bar that was open and serving nice cold beer and tapas! Free tapas does exist in Spain but it’s not everywhere. It was great that we found a few places that served them but we were expecting many more. I got a tuna sandwich and Yoni got fried egg over potatos. Really nice sized portions.
From Granada we made our way through Andalucia and Almeria and we stopped whenever we pleased. That’s one of the advantages of renting a car and going on your own. Here are some photos of the other tapas we tried along the way.
La Bodeguita de Plocia
Toro del toro
Meatballs and potatos, and tuna belly
We went on a tapas tour with the same guides who held the free walking tour. For 10 euros we visited 3 different tapas places, for one beer and a tapa. We also tried the Agua de Valencia drink which was pretty strong. Haha
The Bartender preparing the Aqua de Valencia
Spanish omelette on toast with salsa (Look at how mini our beers are)
One tapas bar we visited was recommended to me by my aunt who traveled in Spain. This place was very popular. A bit of a fancier tapas bar, the unique sandwiches and delicious offerings made it well worth the trip out here.
Foie gras and beef sandwich
Mmm keep those tapas coming!
A Korean tour group came in while we were there. Sooo many people, this place sure gets crowded but it’s not a surprise, the tapas were fantastic.
Full of history, gorgeous beaches, amazing scenery, incredible palaces (Alcazars), beautiful cathedrals and of course, delicious food, Spain is a wonderful place to visit and there is definitely something for everyone. Our trip was everything I hoped for and more and I discovered even more of my favorite Filipino things were influenced by the Spanish. We visited Spain in early July and the weather was extremely hot averaging 40C most days. It was nice to sweat after the cold, rainy weather in Sweden so we didn’t complain too much. I would love to visit Spain again!
When you visit Spain be sure to practice ordering your tapas in Spanish! You will soon get the hang of it and sometimes it’s easier than trying to make them understand what you are saying in English. There were tapas menus in English in some places but after awhile, it’s just easier to order the daily tapas on the menu written in chalk. Who knows, you might even end up enjoying ordering in Spanish 🙂
Tapas places we visited in Spain!
Calle de la Torrecilla del Leal, 12, 28012 Madrid, Spain
Calle San Jose 24, 41004 Seville, Spain
We stayed just down the street form this place. Unfortunately it doesn’t stay open that late.
Plaza Alameda de Hercules, 19, 41002 Seville, Spain
La Bodeguita de Plocia
11006, Calle Plocia, 9, 11006 Cádiz, Spain
Taberna la Tana
Placeta del Agua, 3, 18009 Granada, Spain
La Bodega Vinny
18002, Calle Sol, 13, 18002 Granada, Spain
Quimet y Quimet
Poeta Cabanyes 25, 08004 Barcelona, Spain