Tapas are one of the best inventions that the Spanish have come up with. Small (or large) plates that come with any drink, tapas are compulsory in nearly every bar in the Andalusian city of Granada in the south of Spain. Just imagine, you go to a bar to have a cold Alhambra beer and the next minute you have a plate of papas bravas in front of you. Have another beer and out comes fresh slices of jamón ibérico y queso manchego. You pay 5€ for two drinks and a full meal. The restaurant is full of customers who are happily drunk without becoming too rowdy. Everyone is happy.
Of course, there are the good tapas places and there are the bad. As a student studying abroad in Granada, it is of extreme importance to find the best places to get quality food, large portions and good prices. The following are the top places to “tapear” in Granada.
Why It’s Great: 9 International Tapas to Choose From, Great Environment, Speaks English, Vegetarian Options
Keep In Mind: Kitchen Open From 8:30-12:30, Closed Mondays, Small, Popular for Study-Abroad Students, Small Tapas, No Wi-Fi
Poë is one of the best-kept secrets for young foreigners in Granada. The owners are kind pair of expats from Great Britain who came to Granada for vacation and ended up opening up their own tapas bar. The bar is located on a smaller street near Plaza de Gracia, and the interior is quite small as well (standing room for about 30 people). Come and order #5–The Coconut Curry Chicken.
Why It’s Great: Large Portions, Quick Service, Favorite of Spaniards, Vegetarian Options
Keep In Mind: Healthy Options Slim, Far From City Center
I went to Cafe Brasilia with a group of Spanish girls to practice their language. They had really talked up the chicken burgers and when we sat down they ordered “tinto de verano” and the famous burgers for all. I rarely eat chicken and usually prefer not to drink the sugary tinto. However this was a delicious exception. Not going to lie, the chicken patty was definitely frozen before, but the method of cooking it made for a tasty burger. You will definitely leave full after one drink.
Why It’s Great: Delicious, Outdoor Seating, Vegetarian Available, Wi-Fi, Favorite of Spaniards
Keep In Mind: Can Get Busy, Smaller, Lunch is Cheaper
Come to Shambhala to enjoy the artsy side of Granada and disfrutar their fresh food. There is a large focus on organic foods and wines for those who are interested. Meat eaters should not fret–there are plenty of meat dishes, pastas and risottos to enjoy as well. If you feel like having a full meal I recommend Shambhala for lunch. The menu of the day includes a drink, bread, a first course, a second course and dessert—all for 9€.
Why It’s Great: Delicious, Cheap, Lots of Food, Favorite of Spaniards, Small, Vegetarian Available
Keep In Mind: No Wi-fi, Small, Not Meant for Tourists
Getting in to La Bodega de Vinny is a bit of a challenge. Vinny opens his doors at 8:30 p.m. and a line begins forming at 8p.m. A line for a bar the size of a large walk-in closet. A line for a bar that appears a bit too shabby to be truly amazing. But, there is no mistaking, La Bodega de Vinny is amazing. My friends and I like to order two glasses of white wine and feast on the huge tapas. One night we got wine, shrimp paella, manchego cheese, vegetarian omelettes and roasted chicken and potatoes for only €14. We have theories floating around that Vinny is a millionaire who prefers to spend his retirement feeding the people of Granada (we are skeptical he is breaking even). However, if you choose to come it is important that you respect the culture of the bar. Do not bring more than four people and make sure none of your friends will turn obnoxious. Never ask if there is Wi-Fi (there’s not) and make an effort to speak Spanish (no English is spoken).
Why It’s Great: Tasty International Food, Wi-Fi, Intercambio Nights, Speaks English, Vegetarian Available
Keep In Mind: The Spanish Bartenders Can Be Rude, Strong Wine, Small Tapas
Casa Lopez is run by a British couple in the Realejo of Granada. They are open for lunch, dinner and drinks and offer tasty dishes like Vegetarian Lasagna, thick french fries and Chicken Curry. If you are looking for a meal that will definitely please, Casa Lopez is always a safe bet.
Why It’s Great: Chill, Mojitos, Dancing
Keep In Mind: No Wi-Fi, No Choice on Tapas, Weird Hours
If you are looking for a place with a Latin American vibe, Casa Cubana de Nancy will allow you to travel to Cuba for a night. Nancy and her daughter are both from Cuba and fix mojitos and other mixed drinks with a friendly smile. Tapas consist of fresh fruit and some sort of hot sandwich which are laid out for anyone to take. Bachata music is always playing and most nights with couples dancing between mojitos.