Top 7 Must-Try Spanish Tapas to Enjoy a Culinary Adventure

You Have to Try These Tapas

Spanish tapas, a category of food often enjoyed alongside beverages, has a fascinating history. The term “tapas,” which translates to “top” or “cover,” originated during the reign of Alfonso X, the king of Castile and Leon. It referred to small plates used to cover glasses of drinks to prevent flies from entering. In response to the king’s decree, taverns started placing a small portion of food on top of the “tapa,” giving rise to the tapas tradition we know today. A staple across Spain, exploring the world of tapas is a delightful culinary adventure, discovering the true essence of Spanish cuisine and its rich gastronomic tradition. Here is a curated list of delectable tapas, recommended by the locals in Madrid.

Patatas Bravas

Highly recommended by locals, patatas bravas is a quintessential Spanish tapa that never disappoints. This dish features cubed potatoes fried to perfection and served with a spicy tomato-based sauce named salsa brava. It is a staple in most bars and restaurants and a must-try for any tapas enthusiast.

Bocadillo de Calamares and Calamares a la Romana

A true Madrid specialty, Bocadillo de Calamares is a delicious creation where deep-fried squid rings are packed into freshly baked rolls of bread, often accompanied by aioli and a lemon wedge. The combination of crispy calamari and soft bread is a delightful texture and flavor experience. You can also switch it up and enjoy Calamares a la Romana, featuring golden fried squid rings without the bread.

Jamón Ibérico

Jamón Ibérico

No exploration of Spanish tapas is complete without savoring jamón ibérico. This iconic delicacy is made from the hind legs of Iberian pigs, known for their unique diet of acorns, which lends the meat a distinct nutty and rich flavor. In Madrid, you’ll find large legs of jamón ibérico readily available for slicing and serving throughout the city. Its salty and savory taste is simply irresistible.



A popular choice among tapas lovers, croquetas are small, round, breaded rolls filled with a luscious béchamel sauce. While various fillings are available, the traditional option is ham. The combination of crispy coating and creamy filling is a delightful treat to bring joy to your taste buds.

Boquerones en Vinagre

Boquerones en Vinagre is a delightful tapa consisting of anchovies marinated in vinegar and seasoned with garlic and parsley. The Iberian Peninsula is known for its exceptional seafood, and this particular tapa exemplifies the freshness and flavors of the region.

Tortilla de España

Tortilla de España

A classic Spanish dish, Tortilla de España is an egg-based creation often served as a tapa or side dish. It is made with eggs, potatoes, onions, and olive oil. This hearty and satisfying dish has gained popularity among locals and tourists alike for its comforting flavors and simple yet satisfying preparation.

Queso Manchego

A tapas experience is incomplete without indulging in Queso Manchego, a semi-firm cheese made from the milk of Manchega sheep in the La Mancha region of Spain. With its distinctive flavor and slightly salty taste, this cheese is a popular ingredient in numerous Spanish dishes. It is often served cubed, alongside other tapas, such as olives, bread, and jamón ibérico.

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