One of my favorite parts of visiting a new country and culture is to experience the food! In Spain, tapas are a way of life. These little dishes are meant to be shared in a family style meal, each little plate ordered throughout the night and adding something new to the meal.
In the south of Spain, Andalucia, tapas also come with an extra gift- a drink! Below are some of my favorite tapas to help you make your way through Spain!
These fried potatoes are served with a garlic aioli sauce, with a tomato/romesco sauce as well. Depending on how garlicy the sauce is, sometimes they can be a little spicy. This is my go-to tapas staple, and a pleaser for the picky eater or culinary expert alike.
Pimientos de Padron
Sprnkled with salt, these Padron peppers are special to the northern region of Spain called Galicia. They are sweet, tart, and (very rarely) sometimes spicy. They’re simple, addictive, and delicious!
Pa amb tomaquet/Pan con tomate
Another simple tapa is simply toasted bread drizzled with fresh Spanish olive oil and spread with fresh tomato puree across the top. These simple tapa reminds me of breakfast in my host family’s kitchen, sunny lunches in the plaza, and bocadillos by the beach.
These delicious croquets are potato and meat filled goodness surrounded by a crispy breaded outside. Spanish tapas traditionally have ham inside the croquets, though they can have a variety of meats and spices inside. Below are two croquets from a bar across the street from my apartment that served some of the best (and biggest) tapas in the city!
This world famous thinly sliced meat is a Spanish treasure. So much so, that people train for years to learn how to carve the thin slices to perfection. It’s rich, mellow, and melt in your mouth delicious. I preferred the meat as it’s own, but it can also be served on bread or with cheese.
These Spanish meatballs are of the pork or beef variety, but delicious nonetheless. They are often served with a side of bread to sop up the delicious garlic tomato sauce.
Unlike the Mexican variety, Spanish tortillas are composed of eggs and potatoes, with additional meats or vegetables depending on the region. When I traveled through Andalucia, my friend and I ate one that had pig’s brain in it! They are often served in slices for individual consumption and can be described as fluffier omelettes.
Red Pepper and Manchego
This simple dish features a slice of goat cheese atop slightly grilled peppers. It’s simply, refreshing and delicious.
These mini sandwiches feature slices of fresh bread topped with cheese, sliced meet, cheese, tortillas, or pretty much anything you can think of. Popular in the Pais Vasco, I found thousands of types of fresh bocaditos in San Sebastian, each a euro.
While paella is traditionally not a tapa, some restaurants will make large portions and serve them individually. My favorite kind of paella was paella Valenciana. Instead of having seafood, this traditional dish had chicken, rabbit, and snails.
On one of my first outings, I asked for what I thought were onion rings. In reality, they were fried calamari rings. Served best with a tomato or garlic aioli, these are refreshing and light.
My favorites for a chartrucerie include Manchego, a soft sheep’s cheese, is buttery, nutty, and creamy. It’s great served in slices, or cooked atop red peppers. My other favorite is Mahon, a cheese from the Spanish island of Menorca. This denser cow’s cheese is sharper, harder, and slightly salty. It goes great with sandwiches, or on its own as well.