Tapas. A Dying Art?

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15 Sep 2015 01:25 by mariedav Star rating in Ciudad Quesada. 1112 posts Send private message

Years ago (I won't mention how many as I'm feeling old enough as it is) we used to really enjoy having tapas in the local bars. A glass of wine or beer with a dish of olives, cheese, crusty bread, strips of crispy pork, some prawns and octopus either in ink or breadcrumbs. Lovely way to spend an afternoon near the port or the beach.
End of the day, bill of quinientos pesetas, por favor.

Wind on a couple of years and then it was still good with pots (and remember tapas means lids) of octopus or magra (always with the crusty bread) but now stuck in the microwave to heat up. Still good, still cheap and tasty.

Now. it seems tapas means anything on bread. Chains of tapas restaurants (Lizarran comes to mind) with a bit of cheese and olive on bread, a small piece of crab meat (on bread), a piece of squid (on bread) and so on. At the end of this day they count the toothpicks and charge you a euro a stick.

We have found a lovely one near us where 10 dishes (and a drink) comes to 20 euro a couple which is good and the dishes seem a bit like the old ones (although bigger).

The port restaurants now try and push their full English, burger and chips, pseudo Italian dishes and so on. Just asking for a plate of Serrano and melon seems a dish too far for some of them. In one place we were offered croquet potatoes with mayonnaise as the only "tapas" they had.

Anyone else managed to find the old fashioned type tapas anywhere? I'm sure they must still do them but the places we used to know seem to have been taken over by the fast food (not quite as bad as KFC, Burger King or McD but close) which do the same-o, same-o stuff. I think it a shame a lot of these places are disappearing or am in the minority?


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15 Sep 2015 10:29 by acer Star rating. 1416 posts Send private message

There are plenty of good Tapas bars around Murcia, in the city itself there are lots of marvellous tapas bars around the cathedral.  But the only problem - and perhaps their reason for their decline is that if you are hungry the menu del dia is far better value. 

I thought the concept of tapas that it was a freebie to keep you in the bar buying drinks, occasionally in some places you get nuts or olives, but if you decide to select a few the cost seems disproportionate.  For a balanced diet I like something like a Patatas Bravas with a couple of fish or octopus dishes - but you can easily pay €10/12 or more, the cost of a menu del dia.  But I'm still easily tempted.

Nomination for favourite Tapas Bar - La Venecia. Avenida Miguel Cano, Marbella yes

Don't argue with an idiot, he will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

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15 Sep 2015 14:22 by Hephaestus Star rating in The Peak District Na.... 1235 posts Send private message

Circa 20 years ago we were in Albir in December and having never been to Benidorm decided to take the local bus there. Well I was so struck by the amount of mobility scooters that we saw I re-christened it disabledthorpe, we had a stroll on the front, taking our lives in our hands, and managed to escape injury from geriatric scooter pilots,  until we came to the harbour and noticed a building with Cafeteria written on it's roof, there were a well dressed couple eating out of tiny dishes, we went in and discovered that they were selling tapas by the portion, we had circa 6 portions each, they were superb and very cheap. yes 


I'm Spartacus, well why not?

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15 Sep 2015 15:14 by Fartharder Star rating in Loriguilla.. 172 posts Send private message

Fartharder´s avatar

There are plenty of tapas bars in Valencia too but it doesn't seem to be a common way of eating here. I think the Andalucians enjoy tapeando more than the rest of Spain. The last time I was in Almeria, I struggled to find a proper restaurant as everywhere seemed to be doing tapas. It was actually quite good, they charge you a little bit extra for a beer and give you a 'free' tapa which in all fairness is always a substantial one. In one place it was half a jacket potato with ajonesa. 

I think acer makes a good point about the price of menus compared to the price of tapas. A beer and two tapas could cost around €8 but for that price, many bars will do a three course meal, drink and bread included. It's part of the Spanish culture to eat out often and with the economy the way it is, these menus represent good value while tapas not so much. We were in a small town called Campo de Criptana in Castilla la Mancha last week and just with an order of two diet cokes we got two empanadas along with some pisto (on bread of course) so the tapa lives on in some places, just not as much.

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15 Sep 2015 16:04 by lorraine56 Star rating in Granada Spain. 50 posts Send private message

In Granada if you order a drink you will get a free tapas and most of the bars compete to see who serves the best so there is a great variety. Biggest tapas we haxe found so far is in Marrianos  bar in El Chapparal. There is even a conducted tour called the Tapas Trail in Granada where you can partake of a few beers or glasses of wine and enjoy a variety of tapas at each bar you visit. So no here in Granada the tapas is very much alive and kicking and part of the culture and long may it continue.

Life is an adventure so live it.

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18 Sep 2015 20:02 by eos_ian Star rating in Valencia. 496 posts Send private message

eos_ian´s avatar


From what I can see, Tapas is still very strong and I live in Valencia (city). All bars and Spanish restaurants offer tapas only they call it 'raciones' here on the menu and they are larger portions to be shared. The 'quinto y tapas' which is typically Andalucian is still very much alive in Madrid and of course Andalucia, there are also many 'Quinto y tapas' bars in Valencia, they are quite popular. When I say 'Quinto y tapas' I mean every time you buy a small beer they give you a little tapas free.

However when you say that all tapas seem to be anything on bread, that is in fact a 'Pincho' not tapas, although tapas is very generic term some might consider a Pincho to be a type of tapas. The restaurant you mentioned, Lizarran, is a Basque franchise, a region where 'pinchos' are very famous. In fact The basque country is considered the homeland of 'pinchos' and every year they hold competitions and the like.  Due to the fact that they are very popular and easy to prepare many bars are including them in their tapas offering. It's become a  fashionable so to speak. But Tapas as always is still very much a live.





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18 Sep 2015 21:45 by GuyT Star rating. 497 posts Send private message

In Extremadura you always get  free tapas when you buy a beer or a glass of wine in a bar. The average standard is two or three pork albondigas/meatballs (per person) in sauce and a few chips or wedges of bread. At the top end you get a few slices of serrano and bread. Sometimes just a bowl of olives, but the gesture is always there. All bars also do raciones and half-raciones, which are large portions which you pay for. (€12 & €6 on average). As people have said, the menu del dia is better value but they generally don't do menus del dia at night, so you fall back on a couple of raciones/half-raciones, usually jamon Iberico. torta del Casar, etc.


We spent some time in San Sebastian in July. I'd heard it was famous for its tapas/pintxos. The bars were fabulous, very crowded, hundreds of them. But the tapas were beautifully laid out on trays but very disappointing. Nearly all just thick slices of baguette with a dollop of Russian salad, or mayo with a prawn on top: and all about €3 a pop, so two glasses of wine and a couple of tapas €10....after we'd spent €50 we were getting gunned but still starving. lol. Perhaps we're just spoiled by Spain and the great value we get in Extremadura. (Though we find Madrid very good value for inexpensive food). San Sebastian was full of French from across the border a few km away...where prices for everything are double.

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19 Sep 2015 22:25 by anthomo16 Star rating. 104 posts Send private message

I love tapa and look forward every day to going out for this, neither ,my husband nor I eat breakfast but we are ready to eat a little by 1pm we live in what some people call "Blackpool on Sea" Puerto Banus but would never ever eat tapas there we go up into the hills to a wonderful village community and eat with the locals practising our Spanish, the food is excellent although you never know what is on the menu until that day be it prawns, octoupus, calamari plus various meat dishes all scooped down with a couple of wines over a number of hours - what better way to live? We then go home and I have a siesta - evening meal is usually something very light with vegetables this fulfills all our needs. 

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20 Sep 2015 10:01 by acer Star rating. 1416 posts Send private message

"Blackpool on Sea"?  There must be a bit of irony is intended - there's not quite so many 50 foot gin palaces in Blackpool's marina.   But yes I suppose equally glitzy, but lacks the sophistication of Blackpool cheeky.

I used to stay at Puerta Banus in the 80's when there were no tappas bars and far fewer restaurants, all of which were very pricey for a family.  But San Pedro or Buena Havis were the places to go for a bit of reasonably priced local cuisine.

Don't argue with an idiot, he will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

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20 Sep 2015 12:36 by dustyjack Star rating in Near Gandia, Valenci.... 9 posts Send private message

You can't really beat the tapas in Tapas Alley, Benidorm Old Town.  So long as you don't mind paying the food is extraordinary in its variety and quality.  Reasonably priced wine too.  HUGELY busy at the start of lunchtime.

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