Eating tapas in Granada: the ultimate guide
Let’s get situated: imagine that you are in Granada, the weather is fantastic, you have just completed a guided tour of the Alhambra and are now craving something to eat. As you make your way through Plaza de Santa Ana, you see a terrace with a free table that seems to be calling out to you, so you take a seat. The waiter approaches and, after ordering a cold beer, the question you have been waiting for makes an appearance with an Andalusian accent: What tapa would you like with the beer?
Yes, eating tapas can be considered Granada’s official sport because every street corner seems to have a bar with a sign that says: Tapas. The tradition of going out for tapas in the city centre is a different way of discovering the city. Culinary tours are on the rise, so here are a few suggestions to keep in mind when going out for tapas in Granada.
The traditional tapas district
A number of places throughout the city go hand in hand with tapas tours. The first stop is the Realejo quarter and San Matías, which is home to Calle Navas and several traditional bars.
This is where you should have the first tapa of your trip (there will always be time for seconds). Los Diamantes is one of the most authentic bars in the city. It is usually overflowing with people resulting in a wait, but it is definitely worthwhile.
Making our way up Carrera del Darro, we reach Granada’s most renowned tapas bars.
Although you can choose the tapas, the tradition is to eat whatever the kitchen serves. So if you are indecisive, then this is the place for you; and even if you are not, simply put yourself in the hands of the cooks because they are the experts.
We recommend pairing tapas with a vermouth. Ask the waiter for a calicasas, which is unique to this area and can be found in bars or wineries, such as Castañeda.
This district boasts views of the Alcazaba and the Nasrid Palaces, making it a magnificent place for mid-afternoon tapas as you watch the sun set over the Alhambra.
Albaicín is another stop on the tour. The tapas route through this area stretches from Plaza Larga to the Church of El Salvador. Great stops include La Fragua and Los Jardines de Zoraya.
An area for tapas with a younger atmosphere
The city of Granada is filled with students—Spanish and Erasmus—, resulting in a young atmosphere that is very appealing. The portions are generous and the prices are reasonable.
The main spot is the area around the university. Here we can find El Establo, which features simple yet well-made dishes and large portions. You can order a hamburger, shawarma, etc. One thing to keep in mind is that the beers are served in tubos (tall, thin glasses that hold about 10 ounces) or tercios (small bottles).
This part of the city is favoured by students before they go out on the town. With a couple of beers, you can eat well and be ready to give it your all on the dance floor.
Despite being a bit further out, Calle de la Cárcel Baja in the city centre also has popular spots for young people, such as La Bella y la Bestia II. The word that describes this establishment is abundance: the tapas are larger than average and free (each is served with a drink).
With two beers, you can have a decent dinner since the tapas tend to consist of potatoes with alioli, croquetas, spicy patatas bravas with olives, ham roscas, mini-hamburgers and more. Tapas are grouped together to ensure a filling meal.
The owners have three establishments with the same name, but the most popular is in the city centre.
Traditional Granada tapas
Aside from the local Andalusian cuisine, Granada also has its own tapas that are specific to the region. The dishes you should order when eating tapas in Granada include:
Fried aubergines, and the best spot for this tapa is on Calle Alhamar. La Blanca Paloma is a traditional bar located in the heart of the city.
Since this is Andalusia, be sure to try the delicious regional favourites: fried fish, marinated dogfish and baby squids. When locals want to feast on a traditional meal (at a restaurant), they go to Casa Enrique. This establishment serves the most authentic food, and locals are aware of this. Despite its small size, the careful decor is inspired by an Andalusian tavern (barrels, photos on the walls, etc.).
This is what Enrique, the host, has to offer, and you will most likely find him behind the bar.
Roscas are another common tapa in Granada, and what’s best is that they are filled with local cured meats: ham, cheese, tenderloin and more. Choose your favourite! You can order them at Casa Julio, which exudes the personality of Andalusia, specifically Granada, from every corner. The decor has a Nasrid air, and despite being a bit overdone, it has a local feel. And yes, tapas are served. If you visit this bar, be sure to order the dogfish since their version is one of the best.
After reading this article, you are probably thinking about a weekend getaway to Granada, and we are anything but surprised.