Experience Spain like a local with a selection of traditional tapas.
In Spain, dinner is typically served between 9 and 11 p.m., leaving significant time between work and dinner for hunger to strike. Enter the country’s beloved tradition of eating tapas, a wide variety of appetizers, or snacks, that have evolved into an important part of Spanish cuisine.
Tapas may be served cold (such as mixed olives and cheese) or hot (such as chopitos, which are battered, fried baby squid). And they can be enjoyed as a prelude to dinner or as dinner itself.
You can experience a variety of tapas at restaurants and tascas (taverns) across Spain. Because tapas are informal, and these bars are often busy, it’s not uncommon to eat standing up at the bar or at small tables. Order a caña (small beer), or a chato (glass of wine) to sip as you enjoy the selection of small bites and convivial atmosphere.
Try these 15 tapas while traveling in Spain:
Aceitunas: olives, often served with herbs, peppers or anchoview
Bacalao: salt cod, breaded and fried or stewed in tomato sauce
Calamares: fried squid rings
Croquettas: deep-fried croquettes filled with potatoes, cod, or meat
Tortilla: potato omelette
Patatas bravas: fried potato wedges served with a spicy alioli sauce
Jamón Iberico: thinly sliced salt cured ham
Pimientos rellenos: stuffed peppers
Albóndigas: meatballs with sauce
Boquerones: white anchovies served in vinegar or deep fried
Gambas: prawns in salsa negra (peppercorn sauce), al ajillo (with garlic), or pil-pil (with chopped chili peppers)
Sardinas en tomate: preserved sardines served over a crusty bread with tomato
Pulpo al la gallega: Galician-style octupus
Chorizo al vino: chorizo sausage slowly cooked in wine
Montaditos: small filled buns, often served toasted