Prevalent in all of Spain, it’s near impossible to travel here without trying a meal of Barcelona tapas. But, as with any country proud of its cuisine, there is an art to properly savoring the dishes and delicacies.
This isn’t appetizers in America: you’re not buttering your bread here, and you’re not scoffing down a plate of sliders in anticipation for the main course. For an idea of what else is different, as well as what all you should order, read on for a crash course in the art of enjoying tapas.
First and foremost: Spain operates on a different time table when it comes time to eat. Dinner occurs late—crowds don’t start arriving until 9 p.m. This distinction is critical: having dinner at a restaurant at 6 or 7 p.m. means that they’re specifically open to cater to tourists, aka your meal is likely to be some degree of inauthentic.
Equally important to understand is the pacing of the meal: eating in Spain is an unhurried endeavor—a time to socialize, a time to savor morsel-sized delicacies, the epitome of living in the moment. As such, you’re not ordering all the dishes at once. Order a few plates a time, take your time enjoying them, and discuss with your table what the next round of tapas should be. The meal is about the journey, not the destination.
With the near-limitless options available, you can spend hours deliberating over the menu and still not know for certain what sounds the tastiest. For a good starting point, you can’t go wrong with some of these Barcelona tapas classics:
While wine and beer pairings with meals are prevalent in all of Spain, pay attention to what the locals order! If it’s not a Spanish wine, it’s an indirect insult to the country. Also, as delicious as sangria may be, locals often opt for lighter wines with tapas—a cava (the Spanish equivalent to a champagne) or a vermouth are the usual go-to’s, as red wines tend to dominate taste buds. Keep it light, preferably chilled, and you’ll be perfectly prepped to make the most of your tapas’ flavors.
Looking to land in Barcelona and commence sampling every dish they offer? Speak with one of our travel agents. Not only can they offer exclusive insights, thanks to their unparalleled knowledge and expertise, but their close relationships to industry-leading cruise lines like Crystal Cruises enable you to sample all of Europe with utter ease on your journey, tapas-style.