The first thing that every backpacker in Spain knows is that tapas (delectable little portions of Spanish food) comes free when you order a drink in Granada. This, in fact, (along with the host of other great free things to do) is practically the main reason that most go to the city!
The city, it’s claimed (largely by proud Granadinos who don’t care that Seville says something very similar) has more tapas bars per capita than anywhere else in Spain. But it goes without saying that there’s tapas, and then there’s tapas.
As we mentioned in an earlier post, one of the HostelBloggers crew has spent quite a bit of time in the city. So while this list of five tapas bars in Granada isn’t a definitive list, by any means, it’s a personal list, and some of the places below are like old friends…
1. Chopp; Calle Abenamar
When it comes to going for tapas in Granada, there are few better places to start than Chopp. A stone’s throw from the tourist traps on Plaza Nueva, Chopp is a tiny broom cupboard of a place that specializes in little grilled sandwiches. Plonk yourself at the bar, order your drink, and before you know it you’ll be staring at a very tasting looking (and very free) little sandwich.
They’re not grand, and they’re not exactly haute cuisine, but they really hit the spot and make it well worth staying for a couple… Which is precisely what HostelBloggers did, chasing a pair of grilled tuna affairs down with a few ice cold beers.
2. Bodegas la Mancha; Calle Joaquin Costa
Just around the corner is a real institution of a Granada tapas bar: Bodegas la Mancha. Much more of a typically old-fashioned Spanish place than Chopp, the crowd is often on the ‘mature’ – and male – side. During the day, especially, you usually can’t move for old men bellowing at each other over a glass or two of vermouth.
The food served is a selection of old Spanish favorites, from jamon serrano (as evidenced by the swinging pigs’ legs in the photo above) to manchego cheese. Elbowing our way to the bar, HostelBloggers, incidentally, ordered a large portion of morcilla (black pudding), before sidling on to the next place on our itinerary…
3. Bodegas Castañeda; Calle Almericeros
There’s no two ways about it: Bodegas Castañeda is a classic. Not to be confused with its sister restaurant on Calle Elvira (which isn’t terribly good), it’s noisy and crowded, the floor’s filled with crumpled up napkins, the wine’s excellent and the atmosphere’s unique… In short, it’s everything that’s so great about tapas in Granada! At this point in proceedings, HostelBloggers switched from beer to calicasas (a potent house specialty that’s made up of vermouth and a couple of other local wines); then we wolfed down a couple of free tapas, before ordering a small tabla (board) of smoked fish and cheeses.
On this note: it’s a common mistake to think that all tapas in Granada is free. When you order a drink, it’s the custom to be given a small dish of food to go with it. This can be anything from ham, cheese or olives up to a full plate of stew, but it is (usually) quite small. As such, it’s often necessary to supplement what you’re given for free with some actual – shock horror! – paid for dishes.
4. Casa de Vinos; Calle Monjas del Carmen
Over on the other side of Plaza Nueva (tucked away into Calle Monjas del Carmen), Casa de Vinos is not exactly a tapas bar in the strictest sense of the word. It sells food – very nice food, in fact – but it is (as the name suggests) a wine bar, and the focus is firmly upon the wine. It’s also, incidentally, HostelBloggers’ favorite bar in Granada.
How to describe Casa de Vinos? A cozy, wood-paneled nook of a place; the sort of place where whole evenings can slip by without you noticing, in a haze of wine and conversation. The wines, by the way, are absolutely fantastic, and for the most part, pretty affordable.
After the calicasas in Castañeda, we were feeling a little bit too well lubricated for such an early point in the evening(!); so we sat at the back, (carefully) sipping a couple of glasses of rioja and munching some more cheese and paté.
5. Loop Bar; Calle San Matias
Having stayed a little too long at Casa de Vinos, we wound our way down to Calle San Matias. Now beginning to feel a little worse for wear (as given away by the blurry image), we bundled into a place we’d never been to before: the Loop Bar.
Totally different from the other places on the list, Loop is a seriously cool spot that doubles up as a record shop during the day. HostelBloggers gobbled down some delicious free tortilla (if memory serves…) and got stuck into a few beers.
So far, so good. The night had started in typical Granada tapas tour-style and we’d blazed a trail of eating and drinking through some great bars. But for now, it was about midnight, the music was cool, the bar was rammed and a long night lay in store… It was good to be back in Granada.
Check out our Granada hostels — you’ll need somewhere to sleep the tapas off.