Tapas in Barcelona, Spain | A Food Guide Culture & Cuisine / Travel

Have you all heard the Jim Gaffigan joke that a vacation is just eating somewhere you haven’t been yet? It’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I often feel like a lot of my trips revolve around food. But for me, a big part of travel is experiencing the culture of a new place and I personally feel that one of the best ways to really enjoy a different culture is through food (and another is through language).

I’ve written about some of my food adventures in France, in China, and those I’d like to one day have in Korea and I thought it time that I share one of my favorite things about our trip to Spain – tapas.

What are Tapas?

Tapas are a wide range of dishes that are comparable to appetizers, but really, they are so much more than that. They have even evolved into their own “sophisticated” cuisine.

Tapas can be hot or cold dishes, and they are often combined to create a full meal. Common tapas dishes are olives, calamari, patatas bravas, croquetas, chorizo, and cheese.

Tapas in Barcelona

Cafes and restaurants that serve tapas line the streets in Barcelona, so it’s quite easy to find somewhere to stop and enjoy a quick meal. We really enjoyed Onofre (so much so we went twice), but since we were there several days, we had the opportunity to try out a few additional spots.

Some of Our Favorite Tapas

This first dish was kind of like bruschetta. It was a small toasted piece of bread, topped with lettuce, brie, cranberry, caramelized onions and it packed just a ton of flavor. We ordered this from TapaTapa.

Tapas in Barcelona, Spain | Eurolinguiste

Also from TapaTapa, are these two delicious dishes. The one on the left is fried eggplant with a tomato based dipping sauce and the one on the right is fried manchego cheese on top of roasted peppers and a small piece of toast.

Tapas in Barcelona, Spain | Eurolinguiste

This trio of mini beef patties are each topped with something different. One is paired with caramelized onion, another manchego cheese, and the third with old style mustard. It was hard to pick a favorite!

Tapas in Barcelona, Spain | Eurolinguiste

On our first trip to TapaTapa (yes, we went more than once because it was delicious, inexpensive and near our hotel), we ordered fried artichoke, patatas bravas (which quickly became my favorite dish), and cheese croquetas.

Tapas in Barcelona, Spain | Eurolinguiste

Popular Tapas in Spain

Spanish English
Aceitunas Olives (sometimes with anchovies)
Bacalao Salted cod
Calamares Calamari
Chorizo Sausage
Croquetas Croquettes
Empanadillas Turnovers
Queso frito Fried cheese
Gambas Sautéed prawns
Patatas bravas Fried potatoes served with salsa brava

Spanish Bakeries – Not Quite Tapas

And while I’m sure they don’t count as tapas, another delicious place to stop while in Barcelona are their bakeries. I mean, just look at some of these treats!

Tapas in Barcelona, Spain | Eurolinguiste Tapas in Barcelona, Spain | Eurolinguiste Tapas in Barcelona, Spain | Eurolinguiste

Tapas in Barcelona, Spain | Eurolinguiste Tapas in Barcelona, Spain | Eurolinguiste

What about you?

What are some of the dishes that you just couldn’t miss when you were traveling?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!



I’m a language lover, traveler and musician sharing my adventures and language learning tips over at Eurolinguiste.

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  • Bea

    Yummy yummy! 🙂
    As you say a ‘tapa’ can be many things, but one thing you did not mention is that they can often be free!
    There are restaurants which base their menu on them, which is what you are talking about here, but it’s also very common for bars to just give them to you for free along with the drinks you’ve ordered.
    Ham and ‘tortilla de patata’ (as well as the things you listed) are usually included in those, so I absolutely love it 😀

    • Yum! All this food is making me hungry. In my experience, the best place for free tapas was Granada. Order a beer and they’ll bring you enough food to have lunch if you order two drinks. I remember I got a whole Morcilla in one place!

      • Wow! Thanks for the tip James. I’ll have to add Granada to my “foodie destination wishlist”. 😉

    • I did not know this! None of the restaurants we visited in Spain offered us tapas when we ordered drinks. Now I know to keep an eye out for this the next time we’re there.

    • I did not know this! None of the restaurants we visited in Spain offered us tapas when we ordered drinks. Now I know to keep an eye out for this the next time we’re there.