The Top Ten Tapas in Spain

Food is a hugely important part of the cycle holidays that we run in Spain. And on all of them we regularly enjoy eating tapas style. Small plates filled with tasty dishes or quality produce are the most common way to dine in the evening in Spain.

Simple Tapas with Drinks

Simple tapas served with drinks



They can be ordered individually with a drink, or combined to form a substantial meal. Throughout the country there are hundreds of different variations; and the following are just a small selection of those that we recommend trying.

Below are what we believe to be ten of the most classic dishes. They are among the most traditional tapas and they best represent the different regions of Spain.



10.) Albóndigas

Albóndigas were introduced to Spain during the period of Muslim rule, which you may find kind of surprising considering that they are a meatball often made from pork meat.

The best though are the original ones made from beef or lamb and smothered in home-made sauces. Often tomato based or slightly spiced, the sauces are the real star of the show, and are packed with flavour that covers the juicy meat underneath.
Albondigas



9.) Calamares a la Romana

More commonly known as fried squid rings, this dish is another one that needs to be well prepared.

Good tapas bars will used fresh squid and a light batter. This will result in a finished product which is deliciously crisp on the outside but tender in the middle.

Calamares a la Romana



8.) Chorizo a la Sidra

Chorizo poached in cider is a favourite in Northern Spain.

The end result is like a very intensely flavoured and juicy pork and apple sausage.

Chorizo a la Sidra




7.) Pulpo a la Gallega

Galician Octopus is simple but very tasty. It consists only of octopus, olive oil, paprika and salt, but the key is in the preparation - making the octopus beautifully tender.

The dish is found throughout Spain, but the best are from Galicia. This is a must try if you go on our Camino de Santiago Tour to the region.

Visit our page about Pulpo a la Gallega for more details on how it is made and how it is best served.

Pulpo a la Gallega



6.) Gambas Al Ajillo

Prawns in garlic is every bit as delicious as it sounds. The dish can be very garlicky, so be wary of your evening plans before trying it!

The prawns are normally eaten with a piece of bread and washed down with beer or wine. This is also the kind of tapas that would typically form part of a larger, more formal meal.

Gambas al Ajillo



5.) Cod Dishes

Cod, or bacalao, is used in tapas in many different ways, particularly in the north of Spain. Some of the most common dishes are pimientos rellenos which are red peppers stuffed with cod and a bechamel sauce.

Croquetas are another staple of Spanish tapas, and are commonly filled with cod to give them a more nutritious profile. And, increasingly in higher end restaurants, steamed cod is now also popular, served with home made sauces.

Tapas Selection

A fancy tapas selection including a prime cut of bacalao





4.) Manchego

Manchego is probably the best known Spanish cheese. It is a sheep cheese with a strong flavour and robust texture (like a cross between mature cheddar and parmesan).

It is usually served as tapas in its curado (aged) form. The tangy umami taste is enough to really whet your appetite, and it goes fantastically well with a glass of red wine.

Cheese Tasting Manchego

Tasting at a cheese producer on our Historic Andalucia holiday.





3.) Patatas Bravas

Patatas Bravas is the most eaten tapas throughout Spain; you will find it in almost all tapas bars.

It basically consists of fried chunks of potato smothered in a spicy tomato sauce. Bravas are not a particularly sophisticated dish, but, when done well, they are very tasty. They go very well with a beer or to fill you up as part of a larger meal.

Patatas Bravas



2.) Tortilla de Patatas

Tortilla, also known as Spanish omelette, is certainly one of the most classic tapas. A simple dish consisting of egg, potato and olive oil (some bars also add onion, pepper and all kind of other fillings), tortilla has been feeding the Spanish for generations.

Don't waste your time with the ones you can buy in a supermarket. For the classic tortilla, you have to try it in a real tapas bar. It's great value, filling and extremely tasty!
Spanish Tortilla



1.) Jamón Ibérico

This is a special kind of ham, produced from pigs eating completely natural foods. The ham is then cured for at least two years.

The finest Jamón Ibérico comes from pigs which exclusively eat acorns and has a unique flavour. Known as Jamón de Bellota, it has an exquisite flavour and a texture that really melts in the mouth.

It goes particularly well with a glass of full bodied red wine from the Rioja or Ribera del Duero regions.
Jamon Iberico




If you like the sound of Spanish food, and also like cycling, you may be interested in our cycling tours. Food is an important part on all of our tours, as we believe it's a really important part of the culture and identity of a region.

The beauty of cycling tours also is that you can eat a fantastic variety (and amount) of food completely guilt free. After all, you need energy for the next day!

Check out the links below for details of some of the holidays we run with a particular gastronomic focus.



Basque Coast Beach
Basque Flag Spanish FlagSpain


Guided Cycling Holiday
Length: 7 Days
Level: Difficulty Easy to Medium
Price: €1,540 EUR
*Bike Hire Included

Costa Brava Beach
Catalan Flag Spanish FlagSpain

Guided Cycling Holiday
Length: 7 Days
Level: Difficulty Easy to Medium
Price: €1,580 EUR
*Bike Hire Included

Avignon City Walls
French FlagFrance

Guided Cycling Holiday
Length: 7 Days
Level: Difficulty Easy to Medium
Price: €1,670 EUR
*Bike Hire Included

Rioja Vineyards
Basque Flag Spanish FlagSpain

Guided Cycling Holiday
Length: 7 Days
Level: Difficulty Easy to Medium
Price: €1,390 EUR
*Bike Hire Included

Navajas Reservoir
Spanish FlagSpain

Guided Cycling Holiday
Length: 7 Days
Level: Difficulty Easy to Medium
Price: €1,440 EUR
*Bike Hire Included

Rioja Vineyards
Basque Flag Spanish FlagSpain

Self-Guided Cycling Holiday
Length: 7 Days
Level: Difficulty Easy to Medium
Price: from €1,240 EUR
*Bike Hire Included