By Christine Medina
Tapas seem to cause a lot of confusion with people. One largely held belief is that tapas are a type of food, when, in fact, they are a way of eating food. Tapas can be anything. From piping hot patatas bravas, to crispy San Jacobos. The unifying theme behind all tapas is that they are small portions served on either small plates or atop a piece of bread, pierced with a toothpick (also called pinchos).
Tapeando, or going out for tapas, is a quintessentially Spanish experience. The normal procedure is to gather a group of friends, pitch in a few euros together (this is called the bote), and hop from bar to bar, sipping and sampling all of the delicious Spanish treats in front of you.
So you have a craving for Rioja wine and savory Spanish food, your friends are gathered, and you’re ready to take on this Spanish experience. Where are the best places to go for tapas in Andalucía? Here’s a handy guide for some of the South’s major cities:
Bless your heart, Granada. Not only are you packed to the rim with tapas bars, you also have upheld the seriously amazing tradition of including a free tapa with every glass of tinto I gulp down.
C/Navas, next to the Ayuntamiento (town hall) is a tapas-lover’s dream. Head down here around 9 p.m. (remember, Spaniards enjoy a good late-night meal) and relish in the fun of picking out a tapas bar amidst the buzz in the air and clinking of glasses.
Though in Sevilla, the free tapa with drink idea isn’t true, you’ll still find delicious dishes nearly everywhere you go. Check out C/Betis in the Triana neighborhood for bites and drinks, or stay in the enchanting Santa Cruz neighborhood for an authentically Andalusian feel.
If you love cava, Spanish champagne, trade in your wine glass and try La Cava del Europa (Puerta de la Carne, 6). If you find yourself near the Cathedral, head for Casablanca (Adolfo Rodríguez Jurado, 12), a truly classic Sevillana tapas experience, well-known by locals for its mariscos and tortilla al whisky.
The historic center has a large variety of tapas bar. A popular choice with unique, high-quality tapas, friendly staff, and a large wine selection, is Tapeo de Cervantes (C/Carcer, 8). In the Plaza de Uncibay you’ll find a famous Malagueño bar serving up traditional Andalusian fare like ajo blanco (the name of the bar, too), a white garlic soup, and gazpacho, a cold tomato soup, plus smoked meats and patés.
In the seaside city of Cádiz, traditional tapas bars and restaurants are to be found in the area around the Plaza Juan de Dios, crammed into its narrow alleyways and winding streets. Ventorillo del Chato (Vía Augusta Julia, S/N. Ctra San Fernando) is a bar credited with historical documents for introducing the modern day tapa.
So now that you know how to tapear, as well as uncover these cities’ popular tapas areas; so march up to the bar with confidence and order. ¡Buen provecho!
Christine Medina, originally from Seattle, Washington. She shares her travel advice, anecdotes and photographs at: http://www.christineinspain.com/