There are so many delicious dishes in Spain. The country grows so much of its own fruit and vegetables, and rears so much of its own livestock, fresh ingredients are aplenty. And the passion for cooking is strong in its culture. Chefs take to the kitchen as an artist takes to the canvas, each adding their own dash of panache – it’s evident in every meal you try. But how can you try them all? There’s just so much to choose from! One great way to sample many of the different flavours is with the ever-popular tapas.
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What are tapas?
Tapas are a selection of appetizers and snacks, often combined to make up the main meal. There is a wide variety of choices, and they can be both hot or cold, such as olives and cheese, or chopitos (baby squid). It has grown in popularity over the years and in many bars it is often the only choice on the menu. It is a social meal, encouraging conversation with the sharing of different plates.
So where can I get some?
In every part of Spain you can find tapas. In every town, village, and city you’ll find many so places that have it on the menu. And Barcelona is no different. There are lots and lots of different restaurants and bars serving it up. Here’s our top 5 in El Raval:
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5 O’Toxo 3 Hermanos
Located on Carrer del Carme, O’Toxo 3 Hermanos is a traditional tapas bar. Here you’ll find many locals, as well as a few tourists who’ve done their homework. It’s a good all-rounder and it has a welcoming feel. There is a great selection of dishes on offer. And they also have a fairly good choice of drinks. Everything is reasonably priced, with a bottle of house red at 10€, and each generously-sized plate of tapas between 4€ and 5€.
Miño is also situated on Calle del Carme. It is a tapas bar with a leaning more towards seafood. They have a great selection of paella and shellfish dishes and they also have great sangria! It’s another not-so-touristy place and you’ll find many locals frequenting it, but the waitresses still have a good command of English. They also have a decent selection of traditional tapas dishes, and some great Catalan cheeses!
Elisabets is located on Carrer d’Elisabets, from where it gets its name. It serves homemade Catalan dishes, so if you want a real genuine local experience try here. They have a great set menu during the weekend, which is 15.80€ for two people, and with it you get 10 different plates of food! It’s cash only, so that’s something to remember. And they have a wide range of choice on the menu, such as codfish croquettes and, of course, patatas bravas, and there’s a good choice of beers too!
Mendizábal is a fantastic little sandwich stand located just around the corner from La Boqueria, on Carrer de la Junta de Comerç. The place does mainly serve breaded takeaway food, but they also have tapas on offer, and the potato dish has a reputation for being the best in the area. They have a surprisingly great drinks selection too, and everything is very reasonably priced. Perfect if you’re in a bit of a rush.
Arume is a 5-star tapas bar, located on Carrer de Botella. They have a wide selection of dishes on offer, and everything is cooked to perfection, with even the smallest details tended to. They really pride themselves on serving up good food. It’s often best to book your seat as the place can be quite busy since it has a superb reputation with locals and tourists alike. The staff is very friendly and the decor is quirky, with lots of character. The choice of drinks is great too. If you want to have an all-around, memorable dining experience whilst you stay in Barcelona, Arume is a must.