Best Tapas in Barcelona

Tapas in Barcelona

History of Tapas

Tapas, or small plates, have become one of the most integral elements of Spanish culture and have been woven into every social gathering for centuries. So where did tapas come from? There are many different theories behind the origins of tapas and nearly every source disagrees on the truth behind the iconic dishes. 

One popular explanation is that King Alfonso XIII stopped at a tavern for a glass of wine. Upon delivering the king’s wine, the waiter covered the glass with a slice of cured ham to keep out sand from the windy beach. The king loved the accompaniment of the snack with his wine so much that he ordered another glass of wine con la tapa. This legend explains the origin of the word tapa, meaning ‘lid’ or ‘cover.’

According to another popular legend, tapas began in the 13th century under King Alfonso X. The king fell ill and his doctor prescribed him large amounts of wine and small snacks to heal him. To the king’s surprise, it worked! Because of its success, the king declared a new law for all restaurants to serve tapas anytime someone orders wine.

Typical Tapas in Barcelona

Jamón Ibérico

Jamón Ibérico is a staple in Spanish cuisine and cannot be skipped. Often served as a tapa, Jamón Ibérico is a ham that comes from Iberian pigs and is sliced thin enough to melt in your mouth with a smooth, rich texture and savory flavor. It is the perfect pairing with other light tapas like bread, marinated olives, and manchego cheese.

Patatas Bravas

In Barcelona, patatas bravas rank as one of the most beloved tapas, gracing nearly every bar. Renowned for its bold flavors and comforting simplicity, this quintessential Spanish dish, translating to “fierce potatoes,” features crispy, bite-sized potato chunks fried to a golden brown perfection. It’s then generously topped with a vibrant, spicy tomato sauce known as bravas!

Tortilla Española

Another must-try tapa is the popular tortilla española. This hearty dish is made with only a few ingredients: eggs, onions, thinly sliced potatoes, and oil. Though it is often eaten as a larger dish for breakfast lunch, it is also commonly found sliced into smaller wedges, served as a tapa! Its comforting simplicity makes the tapa a favorite among both locals and visitors alike.   

Customizing Tapas

The great thing about tapas is you can choose the dish that pairs the best with your drink. Not only are there a wide variety of options for taste and flavor, but there are many options to fit with any dietary restrictions you may have. Some favorite gluten free options include marinated olives, fried padron peppers, grilled meats and seafood, creamy ensaladilla rusa, and more!

Classic Spanish Drinks

It is impossible to discuss tapas and not mention some of the favorite drinks that are paired with them. As the national drink of Spain, Sangria is a perfect summer drink (though it is enjoyed year round!). With its fresh fruit, sweet taste, and hints of cinnamon, it is a refreshing choice to enjoy with some tapas. 

Tinto de Verano is another refreshing option similar to sangria. This drink is also made using red wine but it is mixed with soda! It is equally as refreshing as sangria but does not have the fruity flavors. Often served with a lemon slice over ice, it is another popular choice.

Interested in experiencing tapas?

Flamenco and Tapas Barcelona

Looking to taste amazing tapas with an unforgettable flamenco show experience? LivTours Tapas and Flamenco Semi-Private experience gives travelers a taste of the local culture. Your guide will take you through the Gothic Quarter, stopping into local tapas bars and ending the evening with a live flamenco performance. It is an amazing way to fully immerse yourself in the local culture by tasting a variety of popular tapas, experiencing the Gothic Quarter with an expert, and seeing the passion in a mesmerizing flamenco show. 

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