Get What You’re Given in Granada
Another kind of tapas…
What is Tapas Like in Granada?
Tapas in Seville and San Sebastian (see the previous pages) is about well prepared, small dishes that can look like a course at a top class hotel. Tapas in Granada is a different affair. Every tapa in Granada comes for free. This means the plates can’t be as extravagant as in Seville, but don’t expect you’ll just be getting olives or a slice of ham.
How Should You Eat in Granada?
Go for tapas!
It’s best in Granada if you, firstly, are not fussy when it comes to what you eat and, secondly, have a good appetite for alcohol.
Usually, you get what you’re given in a tapas bar in Granada: either the bar will give you whatever is fresh from the kitchen, or they’ll have a system where you get bigger and better dishes the more rounds of drinks you buy. But a lot of the younger bars are starting to have a menu you can choose your dish from, so look around for a chalkboard when you walk in. If there are no prices, everything you see comes for free (with your drink order).
To keep your alcohol consumption down, order a caña (the smallest beer size, usually around 200ml or around 6oz) or a tinto de verano (half red wine and half sparkling lemon).
Traditional Dishes in Granada
Granada’s cuisine is classic Spanish, with fish and seafood, rice dishes and stews.
The local jamon, from the Alpujarras mountain range, is particularly good.
Pintxos in San Sebastian
Spain’s most cutting-edge city for tapas.
Traditional Dishes in San Sebastian
You don’t eat in San Sebastian for ‘tradition’. Basque chefs pride themselves on inventive uses of ingredients, mixing sweet and savoury, local and exotic, to make gourmet morsels of food at a fraction of the price you’d expect.
What is Tapas Like in San Sebastian?
Pintxos come in two styles in San Sebastian: the classic Basque bar-top pintxos (see the picture above) and freshly cooked little dishes ordered from the menu.
Wash it down with red wines from nearby La Rioja or locally produced Txakoli whites.
How to Eat in San Sebastian
Make sure you have at least one afternoon or evening of pintxos. The old downtown, particularly around the street Calle 31 de Agosto is the best place to go.
But San Sebastian food is not just about pintxos. It also has the highest concentration of Michelin stars of anywhere in the world (per capita). Plus, there are the Basque Cider Houses (see later in this article).
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Fried Fish in Cadiz
Cadiz is fried fish heaven!
Traditional Dishes in Cadiz
In Cadiz, it’s all about the fish: usually deep fried. You will get all sorts of fried fish all over the city, including cazon en adobo (dogfish in a vinegar batter and my personal favourite),bacalao (cod), gambas (shrimps) and huevas (fish roe, which I personally think tastes horrible when deep-fried).
What are Tapas Like in Cadiz?
The availability of tapas per se, as portions for one, vary wildly.
In some places they will do you small portions, in many others you’ll need to order raciones, not great if you are traveling alone.
How to Eat in Cadiz
If you don’t know which fish might be your favourite, head to Freiduria Las Flores in Plaza Topete (also known as Plaza Las Flores) or their sister establishment on Calle Brasil, and ask for an assortment, or point to the ones that appeal most, as it is all served up to you from a British-style enclosed glass warmer.
For a sit-down meal with friends, visit Calle Virgen de la Palma, a fantastic tree-lined street in the Viña part of town, where every restaurant has tables outside and you can sample all sorts of fried fish.
If you’d like something that’s not fried, check out Taverna La Bombilla, a fish restaurant next to the market. Though they have a full menu, their unadvertised specialty is the fact they will cook anything for you that you’ve bought yourself from the market!
And if you don’t like fish, well, um, I can’t help you, I’m afraid.
Have you heard of McDonalds…?
Go for lunch and Cadiz and then make the trip to nearby Jerez for the evening, where you can try sherry in the city it was invented, in the most wonderful vintage bars you’ll find anywhere in the world. Read more about Where to Drink Sherry in Jerez.l
Hearty Meals in Segovia
Segovia is a long way from the sea (and doesn’t benefit from the twice-daily flights of fresh fish to Madrid) so the diet here is heavy on the meat.
Classic Dishes in Segovia
The signature dish in Segovia is cochinillo asado – roast suckling pig. If you don’t manage to get it at El Botin in Madrid, get it in Segovia.
Cochinillo takes nearly three hours to cook, which means a restaurant needs to know they will have diners who will order it when they put it in the oven in the morning.
Only order cochinillo asado at restaurants that are known for it, such as at Restaurante Claustro de San Antonio El Real or Mesón de Cándido.
The classic three-course meal of Segovia starts with Judiones de la Granja, a stew/soup of white beans and various pork cuts, in a similar vein to Asturian Fabada. If you’re not full after your cochinillo, try ponche segoviano, a dense sponge and cream dessert .
What’s Tapas Like in Segovia?
Surprisingly good. A free tapa with your drink is common in many bars in the city. La Tasquina in Segovia’s old town is one of the best free-tapas places I’ve ever been to.
Something gourmet in Logroño
The new king of tapas in Spain?
Traditional Dishes in Logroño
Logroño has adopted San Sebastian’s inventive gourmet style, so there aren’t really traditional dishes here.
What’s Tapas Like in Logroño?
In the past five years or so, Logroño has risen to be a genuine contender for best tapas city in Spain, perhaps even beating San Sebastian to the number one spot.
I say a lot more about my new favorite tapas city here: Wine and Tapas Bars in Logroño