How to Order Tapas in Spain

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How to Order Tapas in Spain

As a agent who has worked for 10 years at, I have entertained many clients over the years, and almost all of them have requested to try the local tapas. In the UK, usually late-night snack food means chips, cookies and leftovers, but in Spain, they do it right! Tapas are traditional Spanish food served in small portions, similar to how Americans serve appetizers. They are served either before dinner or as a late meal.

Find a tapas restaurant or standard restaurant you enjoy. Most Spanish restaurants have an entire tapas menu, so almost every dining location will accommodate your needs. Many locals and visitors prefer tapas locations near downtown, as they will go out and enjoy the nightlife immediately after their meal.

Choose a variety of tapas to share with your table. As tapas come both hot and cold, try a sampling of each type. Tapas may be different types of seafood, vegetables, sausage, pork or cheese prepared highly spiced and often doused with olive oil. Determine your table’s tastes and order a few different dishes to appeal to everyone.

Upgrade your choice to a half or full meal portion if you wish. Most tapas can be served as a main course.

Accompany your tapas with a traditional Spanish wine or a pitcher or delicious sangria. As tapas are meant to precede a meal or an evening out, think of your meal of tapas as a cocktail hour. Light food and drinks should be enjoyed with company.

Enjoy your meal slowly, as having tapas is meant to be a leisurely experience.

Order your standard dinner after tapas, if you prefer. However, you should have no qualms about making tapas your supper.

Remember to pay your bill and give your server a generous tip, unless your check includes a service charge. Many European restaurants include a service charge in your check.


Enjoy tapas from many different locations throughout any given night. Tapa tasting can sometimes take on the effect of “bar-hopping,” where friends travel from place to place, trying different types of food.

Make sure to try many different types of tapas. Even if you don’t usually enjoy a certain type of food, the freshness and preparation is different in a foreign country. You will get the most out of your experience by soaking in all of the culture, food included.

Don’t drink too heavily with your tapas! You still have the whole night ahead of you!

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