Having Spanish tapas is so much fun for foodies in Spain to do. There may be a bit of misunderstanding about what exactly tapas means, but regardless of that, you have to try them! The Spanish tapas I tried were bite-sized morsels of food that ranged from tiny serrano ham sandwiches to prawn cones to quail eggs, as well as amazing desserts. So many of the Spanish tapas were on a stick. You name it, the Spanish have figured out how to make it tiny or to put it on a stick!
They even had things like fried brie with raspberry sauce, pimientos de Padron (tiny green peppers), and an amazing assortment of olives. On my last night in Spain, my group decided to have a Spanish tapas pub crawl! What fun! We wanted to get to know the “real Espana”.
✦ Spanish Tapas Can be A Variety of Things
Each pub/restaurant that we went to had every type of small hors d’oeuvre that you could imagine, even ones you can’t imagine! Look at this photo below, a sea urchin gratin with cava cream! This is something I never would have imagined! Sorry for the dark photos, but it was night and hard to get a good shot!
They even had steak on crusty bread with a slice of potato!
and pizza on a stick! (oops, blurry photo!)
Spanish Tapas and Spanish Cava
The Spanish tapas are made to be eaten with cocktails (or wine, beer, or their traditional drink: cava) and are linked with both the culinary and the nightlife scenes in Spain. Pretty much anywhere you go in Spain, you will find these tasty delights.
Spanish Tapas in Palamos, Spain
Each tapas in Palamos, Spain was typically on a large toothpick so that you can eat it with your hands. The waitresses can count how many toothpicks you disposed of on your plate so that she can total your food bill for the night! What a great system! I only wish we had tapas in the USA. It would be the perfect combination, as you can eat as much or as little as you want, depending on how hungry you are, how much you drink, and what your budget is for the night. So instead of going out and spending a lot of money on an expensive meal in one restaurant, as we do in the USA, you could go to several places, all within easy walking distance from each other. Each with different and fun atmospheres! (Oh, and at half the price! This reminds me of when I was in my 20’s and bar hopping!)
✦ Spanish Tapas and Being Social
Also, I find that Spain is much more social than the USA. Maybe it’s the fact that they eat like this, which is more like sitting or standing at the island in the kitchen in one’s home than it is actually sitting at a table with only the people you came to the restaurant with. Spanish tapas pub crawls work out to be easy if you are single and traveling thru Spain without a companion, as you can move along at your own pace, yet be with others you meet.
✦ Spanish Tapas: Stop one Taverna El Galeo
Our first stop was in the heart of the old town of Palamos, Spain at Taverna El Galeo. It was a tiny little place where we could barely fit into, but the bartender and owner could not have been nicer. Their motto was “Taverna El Galeó: hot and cold tapas, wines and cava. Quality, value, and friendliness. Visit us.” It was a nice warm up to the entertaining evening. Next up was Godard Taverna, which a great array of foods and had many customers waiting for more. Unfortunately, it has since closed. The last place for our Spanish tapas pub crawl was my favorite, Taverna Uru. It had the most variety and when they heard we were coming, they opened their doors wide!
The food just kept coming and coming and coming!
They were busy, busy, busy and we barely had enough room for our group and all the other partakers. It was a loud and boisterous night.
(Oops! Someone snuck two deserts right as I was about to snap my photo! Maybe in Spain, they don’t actually take pictures of their food, but actually, eat it! ha!
✦ Where to stay in Palamos, Spain
So myself, and my new friends pub-crawled through the town of Palamos in the Costa Brava area of Spain. We frequented three Spanish tapas restaurants each close to the Mediterranean Sea and our hip, seafront hotel, Hotel Trias. With the likes of Truman Capote and Ava Gardner staying here at one time, I knew we were in good hands!
Too bad I had a 4:30 am driver scheduled to pick me up for the airport in Barcelona or it really could have been a great ending to a great trip. Little did I know that in fewer than 4 hours from then, I would have two Spanish men fighting over who was to drive me to the Barcelona airport, but that is another story!!
✦ Spanish Tapas at Home
Once I got home to the USA I couldn’t wait to make my own Spanish tapas and scoured the internet to find a few simple recipes. I found this one Last Minute Tapas and this one Turn 5 Easy Tapas Recipes Into a Party! One of my favorite from these recipes was the recipe for garlic shrimp.
Gambas al Ajillo or Garlic Shrimp
This is one of the most common and popular tapas in Spain. I found that this dish is quick to make and easy.
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 10 large cloves of garlic (finely minced)
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 pound shrimp (25 count to a pound; deveined, shells left on)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 to 3 ounces Spanish brandy or dry brandy
- 1 teaspoon sweet Spanish paprika
- Salt (to taste)
- Fresh ground pepper (to taste)
- 3 teaspoons fresh parsley leaves (chopped)
- 1 fresh baguette
In a frying pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for about one minute. Turn the heat up to high and add the shrimp, lemon juice, and brandy and paprika. Stir well to coat shrimp, then sauté until the shrimp turns pink – three minutes should do. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Then transfer the shrimp with the sauce to a plate. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with the fresh bread.
Disclosure: As is common in the travel industry, I was provided with accommodations, meals and other compensation for the purposes of review by the Costa Brava Tourism Board. While it has not influenced my review, PointsandTravel.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. All Photos were taken by the author/or were given permission from the photographer. Affiliate links may be located in this article.
About Dr. Cacinda Maloney
A value-luxury adventure traveler at heart, Dr. Cacinda Maloney shares her experiences as someone who has traveled every six weeks of her life for the last 20 plus years. Being a travel writer, blogger and social media influencer, she now travels more than that! She is Phoenix, Arizona based, but maintains an apartment in Santiago, Chile. She is a member of the Professional Travel Bloggers Association (PTBA), Media Kitty and the International Food, Wine and Travelers Association (IFWTWA). Read more...