Tapas | Discover the Spanish Tapas Experience

Tapas | Discover the Spanish Tapas Experience

Dec 21st 2022


Tapas. More Than a Small Plate of Food  

If a poll were to be taken asking people what tapas are, people would define them as a small plate of food originating from Spain. However, tapas are much more than that.

Spanish tapas are indeed a small plate of food, but that is just one aspect of what they are. This does not reflect the real concept and the magic of this most wonderful authentic food from Spain.

A small plate of food can be made anywhere. So what makes “tapas” such a beloved type of dining experience? Why has it spread and been replicated worldwide?

What Does Tapas Mean?

If you visit Spain and you go out to eat tapas (known in Spanish as ‘ir de tapas”), you are not just going for the experience of enjoying small plates of food. You are also going out to enjoy the whole experience and adventure. When a group of friends gets together in an area to go for tapas in Spain, that means that you will go walking in an area full of bars, enjoying the ambiance, streets full of people having fun, and hanging out with no hurry. 

When you go out for tapas, you are not going to be doing much more than just having fun the rest of the day. You will go to different bars, sometimes spend 20 or 30 minutes in each bar, having a cana (small draft beer served in a cylinder glass with creamy head on top) or a glass of wine, and of course, your tapa served on a traditional terracotta cazuela or Spanish cookware. Once you are done, you move to the next bar and do the same thing again. Each bar is a new experience with its own specialty. You then repeat this process as many times as you wish until you decide that it is time to finish. By that time, you will have been having tapas from 2 pm to 2 am (or later). I am not exaggerating at all. As a Spaniard, I went for “tapas” thousands of times before moving to the States. 

What Are Tapas? 

Each time you go out for tapas, you get to experience different types of food such as: 

  • Paella 
  • Confit piquillo peppers with Spanish tortilla 
  • Cod fritters 
  • Garlic shrimp with guindilla pepper 
  • Boletus mushrooms with confit veggies 
  • Galician style octopus 
  • Baby calamari fritters 
  • Ham croquettes 
  • Padron peppers 
  • Many other Spanish small plates specialties from the imagination of those anonymous great chefs hidden in those small kitchens of so many bars with soul in Spain. These people work hard using traditional tapas recipes and authentic Spanish cookware to create their culinary masterpieces

Throughout the day and evening, you could have been in 20 different bars, and you may have had as many tapas as canas or glasses of wine. About midway through the day, you can sit at a quaint “terraza” for a coffee to make space for the rest of the tapas that you can continue to enjoy. And it wouldn’t end there! After all of that, if you have not had enough, you continue the night with hard liquor drinks. But that would be for another article. 


You not only are enjoying different samples of wonderful food, but you are also getting to know your friends even more by sharing emotions, feelings, and many, many laughs and good times to remember. And probably in between all of that you will have had the chance to meet more interesting people that were once total strangers. To have that experience I would recommend Madrid. La Latina area (Cava Baja and surroundings) is the best destination for tapas in the world.