All you need to know about tapas in Barcelona: tips, recipes, history, how to eat, where to eat and more!
First of all: what are Tapas?
is the collective name for a variety of dishes and it is very famous in Spain and around the world. The most famous tapas are the tortilla de patata
(spainsh omelet), calamares a la romana
(fried squid rings) and croquetas de jamon
are served in little plates of different foods and traditionally with some wine or beer.
The tradition of Tapas comes 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 of eating tapas has spread up all over Spain, but they aren't free everywhere!
are eaten between meals in order to avoid hunger and to accompany Spanish wine.
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 is a tale about Alfonso X, King of Spain in the middle ages. The king was suffering and his doctors prescribed him some medication. What kind of medication you ask? Wine of course! After all, it was the middle ages - alcohol was the answer to everything!
In order to avoid getting a little tipsy from all the 'medication' he ate snacks between meals. People say that once he was fully recovered, he ordered all taverns to serve these same snacks,“tapas”, with wine. That way drinkers were less affected by the alcohol.
Another legend says that tapas
comes from Alfonse XIII (XVII century). The king stopped by an inn one day and decided to sit on the terrace. Unfortunately, it was a very windy day and 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. Apparently he liked the Wine / Tapas combination so much that it became 'a thing'!
Other stories say that peasants that use to drink wine before lunch and it was better to drink wine with some snacks so as not to be too affected. In Sevilla for instance the cups were served with some cheese or ham.
So, where does the tradition of Tapas bars come from?
No one really knows for sure.
But what we can be sure about is that its always better to eat and drink at the same time, and if ham really is the best way to protect your wine from dust then we've all learnt something new today!
Tapas world: the 10 commandments on how to eat tapas in Barcelona
- Thou shall not eat more than 2 tapas in the same bar.
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. Because eating tapas
is also a social activity! That brings us to the second commandment…
- Thou shall enjoy your time when eating tapas.
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. So bring some of your good friends and have a great time in some of the many tapas bars in Barcelona
- Thou shall eat tapas in the right way
And the rightway is standing in front of the bar, tapas on the counter and drink in your hand. Don't worry if it gets crowded, everyone's used to it and besides, its all part of the fun! Then, one person can pay for each round of tapas - no need to start splitting cents, after all, you are here with friends!
- Thou shall eat tapas at the right time.
The best time for tapas
is after a stressful day of work and when you have a few hours to kill before going to bed. They say 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 for something a little more filling
- Thou shall try the most famous tapas and then learn how to cook your own tapas.
That’s means you have to cook
tortilla de patatas and patatas bravas. Finding the best ones is truly an assault course, but hey, where there’s a will, there’s a way! Once you've found your favourite, try to replicate it by cooking your own. Start easily with pan con tomate and level up with chiquitos!
- Thou shall eat pintxos at Maitea and go to La Flauta and Los Toreros in Barcelona.
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. If you'd prefer something a little more fancy how about checking out the best Michelin starred restaurants in town
- Thou shall try a new tapas bar or restaurant in Barcelona every week.
Barcelona is full of tapas bars
and restaurants. To live your gastronomic experience to the max, you should try at least a new one every week. Taste their specialties and chill out in different atmospheres, from modern and trendy to traditional and friendly.
- Thou shall do a tapas tour in Barcelona: free tapas with one drink.
To save some pennies during your tapas night in Barcelona
, you should hunt around for free tapas in Barcelona
. You pay for one drink and you get one pintxos or tapas totally free. There's no excuse for skipping this tapas tour!
- Thou shall try catalan tapas.
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.
Now, you have all the tips you needed to eat tapas like a pro and spend an amazing time in Barcelona with your friends!
Where can I eat tapas?
You can eat tapas on nearly every street corner of Barcelona but to give you an idea of where to get started check out our blog post on our favourite tapas bar in Barcelona
, the best neighbourhood to find tapas
, our Basque tapas tour
, tapas for 3 euros
and where to get free tapas
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