Tapas are really famous in Spain, it refers to a variety of dishes. The most famous ones are the tortilla de patata (spainsh omelet), calamares a la romana (fried squid rings), croquetas de jamon (ham croquettes). Tapas are served in little plates of different tapas and traditionally with some wine or beer.
Tradition of Tapas come from Andalusia, where it is inconceivable to go have a drink in a bar without eating something. Most of the time in Andalusia, Tapas are served with drinks for free. Nowadays the custom has spread up all over Spain.
Spanish tapas are eaten between meals in order to avoid hunger and to accompany Spanish wine. Tapas are more than a simple meal ! They help the conversation around a table because traditionally everyone share Tapas and it makes a convivial atmosphere.
They are many legends about Spanish Tapas:
The first one tells about Alfonso X, King of Spain in the middle age. The king was suffering and his doctors prescribed him some medication. What kind of medication? Some wine! Actually, he was drinking wine to recover from a disease (Did your doctor ever prescribed you some booze to recover?). In order to avoid alcohol effect he was eating some snacks between meals. People tell that after his medication time, he ordered all taverns to serve “tapas” with wine. Through this measure, consumers were less affected by the alcohol effect.
Another legend tells that tapas come from Alfonse XIII (XVII century). The king stopped one day in an inn, he was sitting on a terrace and blew a lot of wind. In order to avoid dust in the King’s cup, the inn’s landlord covered the cup with a ham slice. The king ate the slice and he asked for more. He liked the Wine / Tapas combination.
Other version of the Tapas History tells about some peasants that use to drink wine before lunch and it was better to drink wine with some snacks. In Sevilla for instance the cups were served with some cheese or ham.
So what are Tapas? Where comes from the tradition of the Tapas Bars? What we can be sure about is that is always better to drink wine and eat in the same time. I think all of these legends can be true, Tapas can be a way to reduce drunkenness, and sure someone did protect the beverage with some Tapas one day.
Most of the tapas bars in Barcelona have their own specialties. That’s why you shouldn’t spend all your night in the same bar. Have a beer in one, eat some tapas, and then go to another one, have a glass of wine and some tapas, and keep going. You will be able to try a lot of different tapas and to meet a lot of people. Becauseeating tapas is also a social activity! That brings us to the second commandment…
When you go tapear (this is the Spanish word for eating tapas), you’re supposed to have fun and relax with friends or nice people. This is a cool moment for talking and chilling out after work for example. This isn’t supposed to be stressful or boring. So bring some of your good friends (not too many) and have a nice time in one of the numerous tapas bars in Barcelona!
And the only right way is standing in front of the bar, the tapas on the counter and your drink on your hand. Keep talking with your friends and don’t be afraid if it’s crowded. People are used to it and they won’t be moaning. Then, one person will pay for each round of tapas, no need to start splitting up bills, remember it’s a friendly time!
The best tapas time is during the aperitif, you’re done with your stressful day of work and you have a few hours before going to bed. Best time for tapas! People say that you shouldn’t have a big meal before sleeping, so tapas are exactly what you need!
Another great time for tapas is just before lunch, in order to whet your appetite…
That’s means you have to cook the tortilla de patatas and the patatas bravas. Finding the best ones is truly an assault course, but hey, when there’s a will, there’s a way! The next step will be to cook your own tapas. Start easily with pan con tomate and level up with chiquitos!
Pintxos are good and pintxos at Maitea are excellent! For around 8€ you can have 5 or 6 pintxos. The restaurant is nice and the food is awesome. You should also go to La Flauta or Los Toreros, two of the best tapas restaurants in Barcelona. It’s a safe bet, believe us. You can learn more about these places on our top 10 Barcelona Restaurant guide.
Barcelona is full of tapas bars and restaurants. To live your gustatory experience to the maximum, you should try at least a new one every week. Taste their specialties and chill out in different atmosphere, from the very modern and trendy one to the very traditional and friendly one.
To save some coins during your tapas night in Barcelona, you should have a look to our blog about the free tapas in Barcelona. You pay for one drink and you get one pintxos or tapas for free. What else?! You will find this kind of tapas bar in every neigborhood of Barcelona. No excuse for skipping this tapas tour.
Tapas in Barcelona are everywhere, you already know that. Tired of wondering what tapas are behind Catalan words? Check our vocabulary section and you will become a pro at ordering what you want!
Barcelona has its own specialties concerning tapas, and you have to taste them! Just a few names to make your mouth water: sofregitin, escudella, zarzuela… and of course, aioli! People also say that you can find the best fish tapas on Barcelona beaches. With this last info, you have all the tips you needed to eat tapas like a pro and spend an amazing time in Barcelona with your friends!
We hope that this tapas guide will help you to feel Spanish, and even Catalan, when you’re eating tapas in Barcelona! If you liked it, do not hesitate to share it and give us your own tapas tips! Adéu!