Classic Tapas and the Best Places to Get Them in Spain, According to José Andrés
Little fritters full of chicken or ham and béchamel. I grew up eating these at the end of the month when our money was running low and we had to make the most of our leftovers.
Potato salad with tuna, carrots, peas and mayonnaise. We call it Russian salad.
Where: La Tasquita de Enfrente in Madrid (Calle de la Ballesta, 6; 011-34-915-325-449) or La Taberna del Gourmet (Calle San Fernando, 10; +34 965 20 42 33) in Alicante.
So simple, so delicious—fried potatoes served with spicy tomato sauce and aioli.
Where: Docamar in Madrid (Calle de Alcalá, 337; +34 913 67 83 17) and Sant Antoni Gloriós in Barcelona (Carrer de Manso, 42; +34-934-240-628).
The Best Tapas Streets in Spain
No reservations needed—just go from place to place and try everything!
- Calle Laurel, Logroño
- Rúa do Franco, Santiago de Compostela, Galicia
- Calle Pizarro, Cáceres
- Calle 31 de Agosto, San Sebastián
- Calle Ponzano, Chamberí, Madrid—especially Sala de Despiece, literally “the cutting room.” This place re-creates a slaughterhouse, but is far away from a real cutting room. You can go from place to place and never be bored.
- Calle Gascona, a.k.a. Calle de Sidra, Oviedo, Asturias
More Tapas and Ingredients That Make Spain Worth the Trip
Jamón ibérico (Ibérico ham)
While Andalusia and Extremadura are the heart of Ibérico production, there is nothing like eating it in La Alberca outside of Salamanca, one of the most beautiful towns in Spain.
Pimientos de Padrón (Padrón peppers)
The monastery in Padrón was one of the original places where peppers landed from America in the 16th century—creating a new pepper in its own right. Visit Herbón in August, the first weekend of the month, to enjoy the harvest festival, the Fiesta del Pimiento de Herbón. Everyone claims that they have Padrón peppers in America, but to taste the true Padrón, you must eat one in Herbón.
Erizos de mar (sea urchin)
I absolutely love to be in Oviedo in December, drinking cider with freshly caught sea urchin—my favorite pairing in the whole world.
Torta del casar (sheep-milk cheese)
When a hard cheese becomes liquid inside the rind in Cáceres, they call it torta. While you can eat an exported version, it’s nothing like spooning into this delicacy in Spain.
Lechazo asado (roast suckling lamb)
If you like lamb, you will love baby lamb, no more than 35 days old, simply roasted in a wood-burning oven. You can get it anywhere in Castile and León. Two great places to try it are Restaurante Mannix in Campaspero and El Ermitaño in Benavente.
The octupus is the highlight of A Pulpeira de Melide in A Coruña.
Elkano in Getaria makes a whole grilled rodaballo; it is life changing. You never knew that a single fish had so many different tastes.
Gambas rojas (red shrimp)
The best are found on the east coast of Spain, up the coast from Barcelona. Try them at at El Faralló in Dénia, or at Rafa’s (011-34-972-254-003) and Cal Campaner, both in Roses. Cal Campaner makes suquet de gambas, a famous stew from the Catalan region.
Go to Restaurante El Campero in Barbate. It’s best to visit from April through June, when fishermen catch tuna using the traditional net-fishing technique known as almadraba.