Smart Insider’s Tapa Guide
Welcome to the land of tapas! While you might not be completely familiar, a tapa is a small snack or appetizer eaten with a drink or two at lunchtime or in the early evening before dinner. As a result, it’s customary in Spanish culture to not have a drink without eating something. Due to this, you will find waiters bringing food to your table that you didn’t order. No worries! This is normal. If you’re new to Spain this is a great way to try a variety of local Spanish dishes without getting large portions. Above all, a tapa is not about eating a snack but is thought of as a way of life, while getting people together.
Tapa Tip #1: What types of tapas can I order?
Certainly there are different types of tapas to consider based on your preferences. Whether you have dietary restrictions, don’t eat meat, or prefer hot over cold there is something for everyone. Therefore, we have listed some of the most popular dishes that you will most likely find at any restaurant while on your tapa hunt.
Chorizo a la Sidra
Tapa Tip #2: Where can I go to try tapas in Madrid?
Even more to there being different types of tapas to try, you can also decide what kind of environment you would like to eat them in. Whether you want to grab n’ go or have a nice sit down with your friends, there are many different types of atmospheres around the city to go tapa tasting.
The Mercados around Madrid.
Maybe you’ve already heard but we want to talk about the Mercados (Markets) around Madrid which are a great place to go and try some of Spain’s most amazing gastronomy. These are great places to bring friends and visitors for them to get a glimpse at Spanish food up close and personal.
Mercado de San Miguel
Mercado de San Anton
Mercado de San Fernando
Probably one of the most popular tourist attractions in Madrid, this market is located right next to Plaza Mayor. Due to the fact this establishment has been open for over a 100 years is what makes it so unique. Above all, it houses Spanish cuisine from all over the country. Certainly there is no lack of food with over 20 stalls that sell quality tapas.
Similarly, there is Mercado de San Fernando which has been open since 1944 and is located in unofficial Embajadores / Lavapiés. Most noteworthy about this market is that things change up daily with new products offered. Also, their many stalls have fresh foods, prepared foods, and tapas! Therefore, this is worth checking out if you have some time with the variety of things offered here.
Finally, we have Mercado de San Anton in Chueca. The history here dates back to the 19th century and it’s been given its name because of where it’s located which is next to San Anton parish.There are three floors, the first where you can find perishable products, the second has ten stalls where you can find the tapas to take away to shop or walk around the neighborhood, and the third floor is a cool terrace lounge where you can enjoy a cocktail. While there are three floors remember you will be able to find the tapas on the second.
The spots where you get free tapas with a drink.
Certainly we don’t mean “free” as in completely free. It’s typical in Spain in some restaurants that if you buy a drink they will bring a nice plate of tapas along with it. As we mentioned above it’s custom to have a snack with a beverage here. Because of this, we’ve listed three places that offers this kind of service, so take your friends and enjoy the traditional tapa experience.
El Rincón Abulense
Bar Restaurante Petisqueira
Most importantly, if you’re wanting to try some of the more common establishments that you’ve maybe heard of we’ve listed them as well. You can find 100 Montaditos everywhere around the city. What’s great about this restaurant is that it’s affordable, you can enjoy great tapas and drinks, and there are many options to try. Cervecería La Sureña is a similar vibe to 100 Montaditos where you get to go up to the counter, order food, are be served your drink while you wait. Also, there is a nautical feel to this restaurant with the waiters dressed as sailors and small paintings with naval aesthetics. Lastly, there is Lizarran (House of Pinchos) where their motto is pinchos, beer, gastronomy, leisure, and friends.
Tapa Tip #3: Go on a free tapa tour with Smart Insiders!
Maybe you don’t want to venture out and tapa taste alone? Smart Insiders is hosting a free tapa tour around Chueca on February 6th, 2019. Click below to learn more about how to sign up!