Granada is the city of free tapas.
Yes, I said F-R-E-E. You order a drink, and voila! A scrumptious free tapa arrives at your table.
As a broke, hungry food & travel blogger, must I say more as to why I adore this city?
While tapas are free, there are certain secrets and tricks of the trade on how to maximize your free tapas potential.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “the food is already free! How can you possibly get more?!” Well, my little tapita trainees, low and behold; After two years of extensive field research, I’ve mastered the perfect potion to getting the most free tapas per drink you order, plus the best quality. Ready to tapa ’til you drop?
Secret #1: Shop before you plop.
Before you pick a place to tapear, peruse what other tapas people are eating (and try not to be creepy about it). Typically, a tapas bar gives out the same tapas all at once. For example, they will make a big batch of carne con salsa, and that’s the tapa everyone will get for their first round of drinks. Don’t like the looks of the tapas on the tables? Go somewhere else!
Secret #2: Order cañas, not tubos.
A caña is a small beer and tubo is a big one (or normal sized, for us Americans). If you’re hungry and your main objective is to get the most free food possible, order the SMALL beer! It might seem counterintuitive, but it’s simple math. The tapa is the same size regardless of the drink, so with a caña you’re getting a higher food to drink ratio. However, you will finish the caña sooner and then order another caña. The result? More tapas! Now…this system isn’t perfect if you’re thirsty. If you want lots of beer and food…order a tubo and chug.
Secret #3: DO NOT order food from the menu until you’ve ordered your round of drinks. And received them.
When a waiter sees you eyeing the menu, they may think you’re going to order food. As in pay for it. HA HA! Here’s the secret: Even if you are planning on ordering something on the menu, WAIT. Order your first round of drinks and wait to receive your complimentary tapas. Then order your POC (plate of choice). Strategy kids, strategy.
Secret #4:If you have a preference, tell them.
Vegetarian? Tell them. Carnivore? Tell them. Have an irrational fear of mayo? Tell them. (Yes, I speak from personal experience. My third grade crush chased me around the playground with a jar of mayo. I never recovered…) Avoid that free tapa of ensaladilla rusa tossed in a jar full of mayo before it’s plopped down on your table!
And Finally, #5: Know the good spots.
Ok, ok, easier said than done. However, there are a few general rules to follow to ensure you’re picking the right place.
- For one, leave the touristy plaza or main street. Those are tourist traps and often won’t give you a free tapa! Fuc*ed up, I know, but it’s a cold hard world out there in the land of free food!
- Next, check for the busy spots bustling with locals. A local from Granada will never accept a drink without a tapa, so follow them!
- Know the good barrios: Realejo is known for its tapas district, right in the center of Granada. There, you’ll find less tourists and more locals! Here are a couple of my all-time faves in downtown Granada: El Aviso, Shambala and Chantarela. Also, the Granadino classic Castañeda, where all these photos were taken. In the Albaycin, here‘s a post on a few good spots I scoped out last year! As for the rest of Granada’s hidden tapalicious gems? Stay tuned for my new column to come in Fall, “Tapas Tuesdays”, where I’ll feature a new tapas bar, you guessed it…every Tuesday!
- For more secrets on how to find the best local, budget friendly spots while traveling in any city around the world, follow this guide!
Now, here’s my question to you.