Eating tapas in Spain is a centuries-old tradition. And it still plays a major part in Spanish culture today.
This one-of-a-kind experience mixes yummy food, great drinks, and quality time with friends.
Want plenty of time to explore the best tapas in Spain?
Blueground offers fully furnished apartments in the most vibrant neighborhoods in Madrid, Barcelona, and numerous other cities around the world.
Stay for a month, a year, or as long as it takes you to eat your way through all the best Spanish tapas bars.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about tapas in Spain.
What are tapas?
Tapas are small plates of food, which can be hot or cold, and are often served with a drink like beer, wine, or sangria.
However, tapas aren’t appetizers. They’re similar to the traditional Chinese meal of dim sum.
While some people do enjoy them before eating dinner (typically late at night in Spain), tapas can be an entire meal — especially if you’re ordering several plates and sharing with friends or family.
Top types of tapas
Tapas come in all kind of shapes, sizes, and flavors. So you’ll find several types to suit your tastes.
Simple or gourmet? The world of tapas is incredibly extensive.
This quick list of eight popular tapas in Spain is a great place to start:
1. Tortilla de Patatas
- Considered Spain’s national dish, it’s a simple (and delicious!) omelette filled with potatoes. The only ingredients? Eggs, potatoes, onions, salt, pepper, and oil.
2. Queso Manchego
- This sheep cheese hails from the Castilla region of Spain. Creamy, salty, and a little sweet, it pairs well with red wines.
3. Angulas al Ajillo
- Baby eels, anyone? This classic seafood dish from the Basque region is often served atop salads or spread on toast.
- Spanish meatballs in a tomato-garlic sauce. Pro tip: After you’ve gobbled them down, sop up the remaining sauce with bread.
5. Jamon Iberico
- Thought to be one of the original tapas dishes, this cured ham is aged to perfection.
6. Pulpo a la Gallega
- Land and sea! Seasoned with paprika, this grilled octopus dish is usually paired with boiled potatoes.
- Breaded and fried on the outside, creamy on the inside, and stuffed with a variety of meats and veggies.
8. Boquerones en Vinagre
- Dive into the deep end with these anchovies marinated in vinegar. They’re incredibly tender and go well with chips or olives.
Best tapas bars in Spain
If you’re relocating to Madrid, exploring the tapas scene should be near the top of your to-do list.
Here are a few of our five favorite tapas bars in Madrid:
- Bodega de la Ardosa📍C. de Colón, 13 | $$
- Bursting with timeless charm, this tapas bar in Madrid has been around for around 130 years. It’s the perfect place if you’re a history buff craving classic Spanish tapas.
- La Perejila📍C. de la Cava Baja | $
- The definition of bright and inviting. You’ll find traditional tapas in this cozy restaurant as well as a great selection of drinks.
- Casa Lucas📍C. de la Cava Baja, 30 | $$
- A friendly-yet-upscale atmosphere, local wines, and a simple menu of tapas and pinchos. What more could you ask for?
- Mercado de San Miguel📍Pl. de San Miguel | $$
- Experience a lot in a short time at this sophisticated food hall. There are over 20 stalls to explore. Even better, they’re open late into the night.
- Casa Revuelta📍C. de Latoneros, 3 | $
- If you want to beat the crowds, you’d better get to Casa Revuelta early. Just be sure to try the battered bacalao (salted cod) fritters and slow-stewed tripe when you’re here.
Whether it’s your first weekend in Barcelona or you’ve lived there for years, there’s always another great restaurant to discover.
Check out these five amazing tapas bars in Barcelona:
- Bormuth📍Plaça Comercial, 1 | $$
- A newer tapas bar that features a casual vibe and traditional tapas. Take a seat in the intimate indoor space or, if the weather is nice, venture outside for al fresco dining.
- Jai-Ca📍Carrer de Ginebra, 13 | $
- Love seafood? This quaint tapas bar in Barcelona specializes in fishy tapas — cuttlefish, mussels, octopus, and more.
- Bodega La Puntual📍Carrer de Montcada, 22 | $$
- Come for the delicious tapas and Catalan cuisine, stay for the huge selection of wine and vermouth. With high ceilings and wine-inspired decor, this spot is a treat for all your senses.
- El Quim de la Boqueria📍Mercado de La Boqueria, La Rambla, 91 | $$
- This small tapas bar located in Barcelona’s famous La Boqueria food market uses produce from the market itself. Take a seat for lunch and enjoy the market’s natural energy while you chow down.
- Bar del Pla📍Carrer de Montcada, 2 | $$
- Boasting down-to-earth tapas that change with the seasons and excellent wine, this is one of the tapas bars in Barcelona most frequented by locals.
Hungry for adventure?
No matter why you’re staying in Spain — work, travel, or a fresh start — Blueground’s turnkey apartments help you soak up the culture.
Located in areas with plenty to see and do, our homes feature flexible terms as well.
So you can easily explore (and eat) all that you want!