Today I’m back with a little mini project that I’ve been working on for the past few weeks, especially when my dad was here with me. Granada is the home of tapas, and what I mean by that is that pretty much every single bar you go in offers a free tapa dish with each alcoholic drink you buy. These small dishes range from rice to anchovies, and you generally have no choice in what comes out so it’s like a Russian Roulette- if you get something you really don’t like, just order another drink and hope something better comes out next time! In general, the dishes are really yummy and I have compiled a little list of my favourites down below.
TORTILLA DE PESCADO
These are quite rare, I’ve only ever had them in one bar before which is the Cafe Futbol in one of the little plazas in the centre. If you specifically ask for no meat, you’ll get a fish or vegetarian option and this time we got little fish cakes, sort of like potato latkas with fish. They came with a pickled tomato side salad and tasted quite nice!
Most of what you’ll get in the more touristy bars will include some form of bread; brioche buns with sliced salami inside, slivers of chorizo with crusty bread, or hot dogs. Yes, HOT DOGS. It’s very bizarre to receive these in the middle of Spain but there we go. I’m not a huge hot dog fan anyway but these came from the same Cafe Futbol and weren’t that bad to say they came free with 2 beers which cost 4 euros!
As I mentioned above, you’ll often get something in bread. This is because bread is so cheap to buy in the supermarkets and can make two little slices of processed meat look like a grand offering. Even the cinemas in Spain have little bars which serve beers and free tapas, so when I went to see Havana Moon with my dad we got a pre-Rolling Stones beer each and were served these toasted panini! As you can see, there are crisps on the side. The cheapest little bars will often serve you salted crisps as the tapa, which is very stingy as these are a couple of cents for a huge bag, so I’m giving you a fair warning! Others will use them as a little garnish which I found pretty funny.
This, apart from anchovies and olives, is my least favourite tapa. It’s a ball of mayonnaise, potato, pepper and tuna which just reminds me of pre-made sandwich spread from cheap supermarkets. It normally comes with some breadsticks adorned like horns on top to make it look more inviting, and to be honest this dish is like Marmite; you either love it or you really really hate it. My dad was on the love end of the scale, I thought it tasted like sick. Good luck!!
In terms of veggie options, there aren’t many. Sometimes you’ll get a plain potato and onion tortilla slice but this is pretty rare. However I found these lovely tempura aubergines at a bar called Bella y Bestia, which are fried and then drizzled in honey and balsamic vinegar. They’re quite sickly so it’s better to share this one, as I could only get through one and a half. In other bars I’ve seen they do them a lot smaller which is easier to handle, but they are delicious nonetheless and make a great meat alternative.
My favourite little bar for tapas is the one directly below my apartment building, called Sacacorchos or Corkscrew in English. You can buy a gorgeous bottle of their homemade Rioja for 15EUR (or take it away for just FIVE!!!!) and with that you get 3 free tapas. One of the yummiest are these little fajitas which are usually chicken and tomato. They’re just the right size to share between 2 people and not get sickeningly full; good thing because you normally have patatas bravas and then deep fried camambert afterwards so you’ll need to save space!
Don’t be put off if you’ve tried couscous at home and decided you don’t like it. This stuff is out of this world, it’s honestly nothing like what you’ve tried before. I’m not entirely sure how it’s made differently to the normal stuff, but this is so fine, light and fluffy, so flavoursome and also it almost clumps together which makes it so easy to eat without spilling the grains all down yourself (I’m a very messy eater…). It normally comes with red or green peppers and a tiny bit of sausage meat as you can see in the photo, and is so delicious that I broke the rules and specifically asked for it as my next tapa straight after!
This is popular in cafes more than restaurants, as they can have huge dishes of it cooking away in the kitchen and just grab a ladle full to serve up to customers. The rice dish normally comes with pork, peppers and a whole lot of flavour. It’s quite filling so don’t be disappointed at a seemingly small amount, especially if you’re ordering with beers as you’ll just get so hot and stuffed really quickly. This kind of food is perfect if you’re about to have a siesta in the middle of the day- this is a very widely practised custom as it’s the hottest part of the day and becomes unbearable to walk about in, so people take refuge inside and sleep for a couple of hours after a big lunch which tides them over until a light dinner at about 9/10.
Beware, not many places serve this as a tapa because they’re more expensive for the bars to make. However I added them on at the end because “calamari” are just bloody gorgeous; with the right amount of crispy batter, salt and lemon… I could eat them for days!!
So there you have it, my favourite tapas (and that ball of mayonnaise which I feel duty bound to warn people about). Tapas are a great way to get a (sort of) free lunch, as you can have a couple of beers and some really delicious food for around 6 euros. Even if you order a main dish from the menu, they will still bring tapas along with it if you’re ordering alcohol with that too. It’s a miracle all of these places make enough money to stay open, but I’m definitely not complaining! I’m going to be so confused and disappointed when this custom ends when I go back to London- and I have to pay a fiver per beer!!
My advice though: try everything, you might discover a dish that you fall in love with that you never thought to try before. Until tomorrow!
Lots of Love,