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A Guide to Spanish Tapas in Almería How to experience Tapas in Spain's Andalucía province

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Have you ever heard about Almería? I hadn't until autumn 2020 when I moved to that city for a volunteering project for ten months. In the hot and dry south of the Andalucia region of Spain, the city of Almería and the surrounding province maintains its amazing tapas culture.

If you visit, you won't be surprised that Almería was declared a Spanish Capital of Gastronomy 2019.

Getting to Almería and Accommodation

If you plan to visit and experience the original tapas culture and all its flavors, you can either fly to Málaga and then take a bus (approx. 3,5h ride) or you can fly directly to Almería. There is a small airport with a regular international and domestic flight schedule. In summer, the offer of flights is quite broad. If you search for cheap options, go to Málaga first (you can take 1-2 days there to explore because Malaga is worth visiting!)

There are many accommodation options in Almería — from AirBnB, to 3 star hotels, to luxurious accommodations. However, you do not meet many tourists there, especially outside the summer season. I spent Christmas there and I can't complain about the offer.

What is Tapas and how does it work?

Anyway, let's go back to food.

If you are not familiar with the word and meaning of tapas, let me share:

"Tapas are a variety of small savoury Spanish dishes, often served as a snack with drinks, or with other tapas as a meal. To “tapear”, going from bar to bar for drinks and tapas, is an essential part of the social culture of Spain, especially in the south, and is something that every visitor to Spain should experience. Because tapas are informal, and the bars are often busy, they are commonly eaten standing up at the bar or at small tables or even upturned barrels, and the atmosphere is convivial and noisy." (source: www.azahar-sevilla.com/sevilletapas/tapas-101/)

To experience the real meaning of tapas you have to go to Almería province. What's the main difference between ordering tapas in Almería and other cities outside of the province? If you go to a tapas bar for example in Malaga you always pay extra for a drink and for a tapa (approx 3-4 EUR/tapa) and the list of options is limited. If you go to Granada you will find some places with a similar "tapas politics" as in Almería, but usually, the list of options is very short or you order a drink and you get a free tapa without an opportunity to select. So you might get something you don't like!

In Almería, you first order a drink (an alcoholic drink or soft drink) and then you select from a list of tapas (usually a very long list, with no pictures and English translation). One drink -> one tapa. So you do not pay anything extra for a tapa. However, in some places, you will see that there are so-called "tapas con sumplemento" (for example +1 EUR). This means that you will have to pay a bit more for a given tapa (usually this happens when the tapa is bigger or special - more expensive meat etc.). If you are hungry do not worry that you have to get drunk to fill your stomach. You can always order a "tapa extra". Usually, you will find a price for an extra tapa on the menu (between 2 - 3 EUR).

What kind of drink includes a tapa?

• caňa (small beer)
• a glass of wine
• tinto de verano (mix of wine and soft drink)
• mosto (non-alcoholic drink from grapes)
• soft drink
• in summer in some places even a glass of water :)

Reading The Menu

Now, we are getting to the menu. That's an adventure for a beginner. If you don't speak Spanish you will feel lost, I can guarantee. When I arrived in Almería, I couldn't say almost anything in Spanish!

There are not many English speakers in Almería, however, they will be patient with you. They will maybe make some fun of you but in a good way. So I recommend at least using a dictionary or, faster, using Google Maps to check photos from the tapas place (called usually: tapas bar). As I mentioned usually the list of tapas is very long including meat tapas, fish tapas, seafood tapas, and so on.

In most of the places in the city do not expect to get a paper menu! Get ready with your phone, since you will need to scan a QR code on the table to see that offer. I recommend you get some internet data before because do not expect to connect on free wifi. If you ask for the wifi password, the staff won't give it to you so easily. So better use your own connection. QR codes became a reality during the covid-19 pandemic and to be honest it is convenient. If you are lucky there are also some pictures in the online menu. If you would like to check an online menu before you enter a place, you might not be successful, most of the tapas bars do not have a webpage.

It took me a few weeks to enter the first tapas bar alone to order, but do not be afraid and choose even randomly your tapas! It can happen very easily that you receive something that you have never imagined, confusions are fun (in case you are not a vegetarian or allergic to something).

This is another point. If you are a vegan or vegetarian you might experience difficulties in Almería. Yes, there are some vege-friendly places and there is always something without meat on the menu, but the offer is very limited and if you are vegan... well this is not a place for you.

A Few More Tapas Tips...

During my 10-month-long stay in Almería, I became a Tapas explorer, I can say that I have tried more tapas bars than a regular local. I became famous among my friends for my passion for tapas!

In terms of money, I was able to have a good lunch or dinner for about 10 EUR. When going out with friends and staying longer it was a bit more, but depends on your eating habits.

If you start scrolling down the streets you will see so many tapas bars that you just can't enter. Be aware that for "tapear" you usually cannot make a reservation. These are made for those who order "raciones" - main dishes, which are usually quite pricy if not shared with others.

One more TIP: Do not expect a tapas bar to have paella, "arroz negro" or "migas" in their list of tapas in the evening. These meals are offered only for lunch and after 2PM ! I don't know, I wouldn't have a problem eating it in the evening.. Also, do not expect to have a cold soup gazpacho in winter. There are more common rules, but better if you explore by yourself.

When going for lunch in Almería, do not try to enter a tapas bar before 1 PM, most of the places open for tapas at 1 PM and the locals usually go around 2 PM for lunch, then it closes again around 4 PM. I had difficulties getting used to this schedule.

Another big topic would be a typical breakfast in Almería, but I will leave it for next time :)

¡Provecho!

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Community Manager, Event planner, Tour leader, Almería Wonder

In 2020 I discovered the amazing tapas culture in Almería, Spain. Let me share with you my experience and encourage you to visit this amazing city and region, to enjoy local Spanish food but also the sea, natural park Cabo de Gata, flamenco, and much more!

1 year ago (edited)
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A Guide to Spanish Tapas in Almería

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A Guide to Spanish Tapas in Almería was posted by Monika Zuberova in Article , Spain , Andalucia , Almeria , Food . Featured on Feb 8, 2023 (1 year ago). A Guide to Spanish Tapas in Almería is rated 5/5 ★ by 1 member.
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