Tips from a Tapas Lover
My first time was during a language trip to Salamanca (Spain): eating the tastiest ‘patatas bravas’ ever! Little chunks of potato, covered in spicy tomato sauce. After that trip, I became obsessed with finding tapas equally or even more tasty than those ‘brave potatoes’. I don’t think I will ever find ones that taste better than those in Salamanca but it’s great fun trying to.
So whenever I eat tapas, I will always order some patatas bravas. But there is so much more to choose from! As a vegetarian, I also love ‘Pimientos de Padrón’, or mild green peppers. But be careful, there might be a cheeky spicy one hiding between the others 😉
Another favourite of mine is ‘Tortilla’. An omelette made from eggs, potatoes and onion. And try the Manchego (cheese), spicy mushrooms and some stuffed olives.
Every region in Spain has its own regional tapas. So just try something different every time. The Basque Country they will stick all tapas on a slice of white bread with a cocktail stick. They call these ‘pintxos’.
And if a tapa is too small for you, order a ‘racion’. A slightly bigger portion of your favourite tapa.
Menus with pretty pictures
Originally tapas aren’t supposed to be a proper meal, just a pre-dinner snack. Or a little plate to protect your drink from flies and dust. However, more and more Spaniards will now also eat tapas as their main dinner. And tourists love a tapas meal!
This is why there are many chains of tapas restaurants nowadays. For example, in Barcelona, TapaTapa and its Basque brother ‘Txapela’. Of course, feel free to eat in one of those chains, but I would advise to find an authentic tapas bar. And the ‘Number One’ rule: avoid restaurants where they use pictures in the menu to sell their food!
Next stop: Barcelona
To continue my search for the best tapas, I love going to Bar del Pi. With only a few tables, overlooking a quiet square in Barcelona’s busy shopping area. And a great view of the Basilica. The service isn’t always great, and a little grumpy. Plus the menu is in Catalan. But the tapas are delicious and the patatas bravas almost as good as the ones in Salamanca.
Tip: don’t worry if the menu is only available in Spanish, or Catalan. In most bars they’ll have a counter displaying all tapas. So you can just pick and choose whichever one you like. Without speaking a word of Spanish.
By the way, if you have found some great tasting patatas bravas, please let me know and I will be packing my suitcase to test them for myself!