On June 21, the World Tapas Day is celebrated. The tapa is a sign of identity of Spain, a reference in miniature cuisine, and at the same time the object of attention of innovative chefs. In our country there are about 260,000 bars, some of the most recognized and important areas in search of the best temples of good tapas.
La Latina district, Madrid
Start here to explore one of the city’s most traditional districts. Streets like Cava Baja, Cava Alta and Humilladeros are home to some of the most historic tabernas, and are always brimming with people enjoying tapas, especially at the weekend. Madrid’s local specialities are patatas bravas, potato omelette, croquettes, olives, mature cheeses, and offal dishes. It’s usual to find them offered free to accompany your drink. You might be interested to know that this district was actually the original town of Madrid in the Middle Ages.
The old town centre of Donostia – San Sebastian
If you’re out having tapas in San Sebastián: here they call them pintxos (pinchos). Visit the old town centre and streets like Calle Pescadería, Calle 31 de Agosto and Calle Fermín Calbeltón. Try as many different ones as you can, from the classic gilda (olive, hot pepper and anchovy) to more creative ideas. In this area, you can’t go wrong with any of the pintxo routes.
Granada, tapas city
Many people regard Granada as one of the best cities for wandering from bar to bar enjoying the tapas, which are often free with a drink. Local specialities include tiny fried fish, pinchos morunos (pork skewers), montaditos of sausage on bread, patatas bravas and potatoes with alioli. You can find them practically everywhere in Granada, but it’s lovely to snack and admire the sights at the same time, in the area around the Cathedral and streets like Calle Navas, Calle San Mateo, Calle Elvira, Plaza Nueva and Plaza Campillo.
Valladolid, a tapas route in the city centre
The old town centre is easy to cover from bar to bar enjoying the delicious tapas of Valladolid. Most restaurants are on the squares near the Cathedral: Plaza de Portugalete, Plaza Universidad, Plaza San Martín and Plaza Martí y Monsó. Tapas are so important to the city that every November it hosts the National Tapas Competition, when Michelin-starred chefs choose Spain’s best tapa. Here you can try a few of the winners, such as the “Lechazo Taj Mahal”, “Bocata de calamares envuelto en obulato” and “Tigretostón”.
The Barrio Húmedo district in León
Did you know León is the city with the most bars per inhabitant in all of Spain? It’s probably thanks to its famous tapas, and the Húmedo district is the main area for enjoying them. Many places serve them for free to accompany drinks. The area is very close to essential sights like León Cathedral and the Casa Botines (designed by Gaudí). So, the best thing to do is to make quick stops between the sightseeing tours to taste the most classic snacks.
Bilbao old town
We’re still in the Basque Country, land of the pintxo. Although you can enjoy them anywhere in Bilbao, it’s traditional to go to the old town centre and streets like Calle Somerda, Calle del Perro and Plaza Nueva for pintxos of squid, mussels, mushrooms, cod, omelette, etc. The options here are practically unlimited.
The Tubo district, in Zaragora
Little narrow streets full of bars famous for their delicious tapas: croquettes, anchovies, migas, mushrooms, pasties… This area, on and around Calle Estébanes and Calle Libertad, is very busy at lunchtime and even more so in the evenings. As the custom is to wander from bar to bar trying a wide range of tapas, the area is always lively. There is another very popular area of Zaragoza for tapas: La Magdalena, where bars have special offers every Thursday.