Tapas in Cal Pep
Photo by robertpaulyoung, on Flickr
A part of the charm in visiting a place lies in doing what the locals do; nothing can beat a firsthand experience of a vacation destination. And when that experience is something like Tapas in Barcelona, you'll start wishing you were Spanish. Bar hoppers in particular have much to celebrate because Tapas gives you an excuse to visit and linger at the bar before or after meal hours.
A Tapa is an appetizer that is served with your drink in Spanish bars; there are usually several snacks served with your drink in small portions and can be anything from roasted nuts to pickled octopus. If you are new to Tapas, before you Google to find out the best Tapas bar near your Barcelona hotel, find out more about this delightful Spanish tradition so that you can Tapas like a pro.
By tradition, Tapas should be free. Yes! The snack that accompanies your drink need not be paid for. Though rare, this practice still exists in Barcelona; so if you want you can enjoy free Tapas. However, remember, paid Tapas usually has better choice of snacks.
Pack your appetite before you set off to Barcelona for your Tapas tour. An empty stomach will help you appreciate the snack and drink combination better.
Don't get overwhelmed by the crowd at Tapas bars. A part of the charm in ordering Tapas lies in queuing, or rather crowding around to get your order. This is a fun way to get to know the locals. You don't have to pay when you place your order; the waiters here have an uncanny billing sense that calculates the cost of each order no matter the crowd or the size of orders.
Here is a roundup of Tapas bars in Barcelona ranging from free to high-end. Each one can offer you a different Tapas experience; so make sure you make the right bar selections.
Best free bars
The Ambiente Del Sur with its Tuesday special Paella and Thursday special sardinas offers the best of Andalucia on a plate while Atrapatapa has very attractive homemade tapas to accompany their cava. The Sesamo near Sant Antoni market is a veggie haven where you can sample free tapas every Tuesday; but make sure you book your space through their Facebook page in advance.
Inexpensive Tapas Bars
For the budget conscious, Inopia with its bite-sized tapas, Quimet & Quimet with their tinned delights and sharp flavors and Ziryab Fusion Tapas are exciting options where you can have your full at very affordable rates. For the authentic experience, try the Bar Celta in Barri Gotic and La Cova Fumada in Barceloneta.
Though by principle, Tapas is meant for the mass, Barcelona's restaurant culture has brought in the class aspect to this tradition. So if you want your Tapas served to you in fine restaurant setting, consider these options.
Taller de Tapas is multilingual and tourist-friendly while Tickets is a trend setter where you have to book your table at least 3 months in advance. It's a privilege to sample the Tapas here as well as in Pla in Barri Gotic and Cal Pep where the seafood is said to be excellent.
The tapas tradition is just a part of Barcelona's culinary charm; the city has much more to offer to foodies with varying tastes. But that's another story!