Free tapas are a privilege NOT a right

Madrid is not Granada. Madrid is not Granada. Madrid is NOT Granada. So, being that I love, love, LOVE  tapas. One thing that has been blatantly obvious for me in Madrid is that tapas aren’t awesome here. They just aren’t. Unless you are cool and know all the cool places to get the greatest tapas. The problem here is that I am not cool. Thus I do not know all the cool places. Super unfair. In Granada, you don’t have to be cool to get great tapas, almost every bar has great tapas and they are ALWAYS free. Let me reiterate. Tapas GRATIS in Granada. That’s FREE tapas for all! ALL day, every day, no gimmicks, no nothing. Just free tapas. GOOD tapas, great tapas, tapas for one and tapas for all. Tapas over here and tapas over there, tapas EVERYWHERE. In Granada, it isn’t like a scavenger hunt to ensure that you get the best tapa with your tinto de verano, tapas are just there and amazing and asking you to eat them.

Here is the idea I have in my head of what tapas should be. In the south of Spain, these types of tapas come with your drink. You order a drink and they give you these, for free. Simple as that.

Tapas at La Medina in Motril
Tapas at La Medina in Motril
We didn't have this tapa, but I imagine it would have been fabulous. I am a tourist, I needed a pic.
We didn’t have this tapa, but I imagine it would have been fabulous. I am a tourist, I needed a pic.

Now that you understand what I think tapas should be, Let me enlighten you as to my first adventure for tapas in the big city.

Pilar (a friend, fellow blogger and fellow Granada enthusiast) and I were in Chamberí on c/Bravo Murillo on a Monday night in search of tinto and tapas. We both have this notion that tapas should be free and should be amazing, so we want to find them in Madrid. We saw a bunch of bars along this street so we decided, hey, if there are a lot of people at one bar, let’s go in. I mean, if there is a bunch of people in one place, it must be awesome, right? Well, usually right, however, this particular evening we were VERY much WRONG. In Madrid, you have to KNOW where to go to get the good tapas or you lose at life. Ok, you don’t lose at life but it sure does feel like it. So, here in Madrid, I am going to scavenge the best…and more than likely, the worst, tapas. Here is a glimpse into my first night of scavenging for tapas with Pilar. Although we didn’t find anything amazing, we had a lot of fun reminiscing about our different adventures in Granada and our excitement for our futures in Madrid! Here is a glimpse into our night in Chamberí…

Glaicia Importa

photo

With two round of drinks we first got olives, then we got a potato, onion & green pepper mix. I can’t remember what it’s called. These were definitely NOT the type of tapas we were looking for. Then we ordered croquetas…and paid for them…even though croquetas totally should be a tapa and should be free!

You want delicious croquetas? €1 each at this bar!

Blurry, but delicious croquetas at Galicia Importa.
Blurry, but delicious croquetas at Galicia Importa.

Taberna Arga

Taberna Arga
Taberna Arga
Taberna Arga
A close up on the sign (yes, we sat on the terraza, no it wasn’t tuesday or wednesday)

It was a Monday and we sat outside on the terrace here, so those advertisements did not apply to us. You’d think that they would change the specials daily…to apply to that particular day of the week…false, they do not do that. The thing is, it was a beautiful night and terraces are always jam packed, so when you find a table, you have to just cross  your fingers and hope for the best! At this place, the terrace was practically empty, I am guessing because cañas next door were €0,40. Anyways, the service was fast and the waiter was attentive. The problem? He said we can’t order just a caña, you have to get a “caña doble”, which cost €2,50…and came with a shrimp potato salad as a tapa. Fail.

photo 2
A double caña with a shrimp potato salad tapa (that tapa was supposed to be for TWO people!)
photo 3
Pilar is definitely unhappy with this caña and the tapa that came with it

Did I mention, that next door there were a million people? Could have been their €0,40 cañas. We couldn’t find a table there so that’s how we ended up at Taberna Arga. Apparently next time we should just wait for a table to open up for the €0,40 cañas, so then we won’t feel so bad about the awful tapas.

€0,40 cañas. We missed out.
€0,40 cañas. We missed out.

Doña Pulguita

First off, our waitress was so adorable! Second off, why don’t Spanish bars have amazing hamburgers? Is it THAT difficult to make a hamburger? Either way, this is definitely a place I would come to again!

photo 2

Menu
Menu

Pilar had a caña and I had a water. We got some chips and random frutos secos with this order, better than olives I guess! Not to mention, it was a big tapa (if you can consider chips and frutos secos a tapa), and I didn’t even order a beer, just a water!DSCN0203

We also ordered a hamburger to share. The hamburger didn’t get eaten, let’s just say it definitely tasted like Spanish hamburger. The waitress asked us if we didn’t like it and we told her we liked it but we were too full to eat it. Ok, that is a lie. I didn’t like the hamburger. I wanted to like it but I just couldn’t. However, I now know that Spanish hamburgers just aren’t my thing. This particular hamburger was great by Spanish standards, so if you like Spanish hamburgers then I would definitely say to order it. If you dislike Spanish hamburgers. This particular hamburger will not change your mind about Spanish hamburgers.

Tiene buena pinta, but it is very much a Spanish hamburger.
Tiene buena pinta, but it is very much a Spanish hamburger.

After all of that, we departed ways and I made my way back up north and back home! My belly was full…but my desire for tapas still was unsatisfied. Until next time tapas bars in Madrid, I will find you, I WILL!

Katelan

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7 thoughts on “Tapas in Madrid? Get real.

  1. Ha I felt the same when I first got to my town (which is not Granada) after studying abroad in granada and having high expectations. I’m still in Andalucia but def no free tapas (unless you count olives and frutos secos). However tapas are cheap and good and shareable here. But soon I’m moving to merida (extremadura) and we found a bar there that gives you legit free tapas with your cañas!

    I legit loled at “doña pulguita” in the Disney font. Little miss flea! So cheerful and deserving of one of the most famous and recognizable fonts ever.

    Spanish hamburgers got taken a bit to literally on the HAM front. They are rarely (read:never) made of beef at restaurants. Always pork in my experience.

    Good luck with the tapas search!

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    1. We were spoiled in Granada and didn’t even know it, at least I didn’t know it! At one point, I thought that most of Andalucía had free tapas, so basically i am just confused. I wish there was a map of the Iberian Peninsula that stated what parts of Spain had free tapas. Are the free tapas ONLY in Granada? Because in small cities around Granada they are free too, but maybe because that is technically in Granada?

      Also, I definitely noticed the Disney font too and thought it was funny and was hoping that at Doña Pulguita there would be waiters dressed in Disney costumes, that didn’t happen! However, our waitress was very nice (especially compared to the bartender at Galicia Importa, she was awful)! Yeah, Spanish ham-burgers are not my thing. Yuck!

      I will be sure to post if I find amazing tapas in Madrid…or I will keep them all to myself! jajaja! Also, thanks for commenting, I appreciate it!
      Katelan

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  2. Hi! My name is Mitzi and I am in Madrid teaching English with the auxiliaries program! I have kept up with you blog, thanks for all the advice! My friend and I were thinking about going to Seville and Grenada next week, and I was wondering if you could give me some tips on traveling to Grenada!.. What bus stop to choose, where to eat or stay, really anything! Thanks for the help! Mitzi Morgan

    Sent from my iPad

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    1. Hey! Thanks for following my blog. We should meet up in Madrid sometime! As for the bus to Granada from Madrid, there is only one bus station in Granada so that is where they will drop you! I would say look for a hostel or hotel somewhere in between Camino de Ronda and Gran Via (near the Cathedral). Around this area you’ll find a bunch of great tapas bars, look for the bars that DONT have the menu also translated to English. If the menu is translated to English it will be touristy. Try to find a bar that looks worn, those are always the best and have the best bartenders and tapas! My friend who studied in Granada too told me that if you like fish to go to Los Diamantes in Calle Navas, she said it should be packed but is great! Really, anywhere should be great, it’s Granada! Hope this helps! Suerte!

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