If you think about Spanish food, I am sure ‘Tapas’ will be in your top 3 of most common food in Spain.
But why do we eat it so much? And probably a better first question: “What are they exactly?”
Tapas are a wide variety of appetizers, snacks and finger food.
They may be served cold (such as mixed olives and cheese) or hot (patatas bravas, garlic mushrooms…). Furthermore, Tapas come in many different forms and can vary from town to town!
Tapas can be practically anything from a piece of tuna, onion and an olive skewered on a long toothpick, to hot meat with sauce served on a small plate. You can get them in every café and bar in Spain and it is really a part of our culture!
The origin of Spanish tapas remains a bit a mystery.
It is said that the Spanish king Alfonso the 10th had to take small bites of food with some wine between meals due to his illness. Eventually king Alfonso recovered from his disease and immediately declared that nobody in Spain could serve wine unless it was with a little bite to eat. This was a good solution to counteract the effects of alcohol on an empty stomach and that’s how Spanish tapas were born.
Another story says that tapas appeared because of the need of farmers and workers to take a small amount of food during their working time. It was impossible to work for many hours after a large meal at lunchtime so the workers took small portions of food that they ate during the day.
There was also no lunchtime break in those days and that’s why the workers just took regular short breaks with some wine and of course tapas.
Others say that to prevent fruit flies from hovering over a drink, the glass would be covered (tapar) with a piece of bread or slice of ham..
I am sure you will hear also a lot of other stories, but the most important question for you is:
Where to eat these little tasty tapas in Valencia?
We usually eat them at night, because after our big lunch around 3 PM we’re not that hungry anymore ;). So, if you’re going for a small dinner you definitely have to try one of our many local authentic tapas bars!
Here are my favorite places:
1) Tasca Angel
C/ Purisima 1,
+34 96 391 78 35
As a tourist you probably would walk across this little bar without paying much attention to it. It doesn’t look like a common restaurant and it certainly has not a lot of space, but the tapas are just fantastic! Tasca Angel provides deliciously fresh tapas dishes, cooked with simplicity to accentuate all the natural flavours. And if you like fish, you are surely at the right place, because the bar its signature dish is sardines. It’s just really traditional and very popular among locals.
2) Bar Pilar (La Pilareta)
Calle del Moro Zeit, 13
46001 Valencia (El Mercat)
This place founded in 1918 is very authentic and lively. You can eat here like a real Spaniard and the service is friendly and Spanish. The bar is really famous for its Valencian mussels(clotxinas). You will notice that if you stand at the bar, because there are buckets below that are filled with discarded mussel shells and you will realise how popular they really are. The atmosphere is made by the waiters that yell the orders to the kitchen, not a place for romance but definitely a Spanish classic vibe.
3) Las Cuevas
Calle del Conde de Almodovar, 8
If you’re looking for a nice family restaurant with lots of space and a nice atmosphere, Las Cuevas is your place! The interior is really cosy as it is built like a cave, just like the restaurant’s name. The place has all sorts of tapas (over 100 choices) and also really good paella. You can either sit outside at a quiet, lovely square in front of the restaurant or inside and enjoy the ‘cave feeling’. It is really one of my favourite restaurants, and it is mostly on my tapastour.
Calle del San Vicente Martir, 23
Here you can find another kind of tapas, called Pinchos. Pinchos are originated from the north of Spain and always served on a piece of bread with a toothpick. Mostly cold, but they go around with the warm pinchos. The variety of Pinchos is so big that it will be hard not to try them all 😉 You can pick whatever you want and afterwards they will count your sticks and add to your bill. I can assure you the food bites are amazing, the service is good and the location is very nice.
Mmmmm I am getting hungry writing this all, don’t you?
And if you like to have a nice evening out and discover some of these real authentic tapas bars with a guide, I can take you on a Tapas Tour where you will really get to taste Valencia.
So, hopefully we meet soon and try some tapas together!