Tapas Is Life, My Guide On Tapas
Tapas, What Is It? What’s The Big Deal?
After my family, my biggest love is “Tapas”. Yes, I said that.
But it is only food? And they only serve little plates of it?
That is where I will stop you. I want to make this very clear that these are my thoughts and opinions and what I’ve experienced.
To me and loads of Spanish people “Tapas” isn’t a type of food, the sort of meal you plan to go and have. “I fancy a tapas tonight“.
Tapas is more than that.
It’s walking into a tapas bar, full of locals. All chatting away, drinking and picking at plates of food. The bar displaying the food they are serving. In some traditional bars, you can tell if it is popular by seeing used paper napkins on the floor around the bar. But no all bars do this now.
Then there are the touristy restaurants, where they offer tapas meals. These are good as well, but we prefer to find the local places and try to experience as much of the true town/city.
Firstly it is said that Tapas means “Small Plates”. Servings come in different sizes, I will come onto this later.
If you were to type Tapas into google translate, it brings up Tapas as the Spanish translation!
Now in Granada (maybe other places) when you walk into a bar and order a drink, a lot of bars will give you a free “Tapa”. Could be some olives, or some bread or could be an actual dish off their menu. A drink and a Tapa for around €2-2.50 isn’t bad!
Now, this brings me on to the relationship between tapas and alcohol.
Very rarely will you see one without the other. Its the perfect partnership.
I love a nice glass of Vermouth when I start my tapas crawl.
But wine or a “Cana” (small beer) are equally perfect.
Yes, a Tapas crawl. I know your thinking, “what like a pub crawl?“.
Yes exactly like a pub crawl.
The Spanish way is to meet up with some friends and go to a bar. Order a drink and a tapas or two to share. Socialise and then move onto another tapas bar and do the same.
It’s a perfect way to spend time with your friends.
Tapas can come in different portions.
“Tapa” is a small plate with a serving. Ideal for when you are stood at the bar with a drink. And for trying something new.
“Racion” which translates into “portion”. Great for sharing or when you are extra hungry.
“Media Racion” which is a half portion. For when you want a smaller dish or a few more dishes to share.
Every bar is different, they may not have all 3 size options and their portion sizes may be different.
Pintxos or Pinchos are very similar to tapas. Which are small meals or snacks mainly served on a slice of bread with a skewer or toothpick through it. Hence the name “pincho” which is Spanish for spike. This is to hold it together with the ingredient or mixture of ingredients on top.
The skewers are also used for the bar man to keep track of what you have eaten, as different pinchos will have different colour or size skewers according price.
Pinchos are very popular in northern Spain, and the Basque country, San Sebastian is very famous for them.
Again having Pintxos is a very sociable event. Where you would meet up and drink while having something to eat.
All in all, the whole tapas/pintxos environment can change from city to city. Or even bar to bar. Some bars specialise in seafood and there are some bars who specialise in meat dishes.
Just get in there. I like to have a look at what people are eating when I walk into a bar. If there are a few locals eating “croquetas“, then chances are they are good.
So there we are. Now when you are next in Spain. You can walk into a bar and have a bit more of an idea what to do.
What do they do in Spain on Christmas eve?
Do you love Tapas? Have you got a favourite dish/bar? Do let me know.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or anything you want me to write about.