The GranadaSpain Tapas 10

by Feb 3, 2014Blog, Food and drink

Years and years ago – long before the doom and gloom of la crisis – all tapas were served on the house in Spain. The trend allegedly emerged during the 13th century, after King Alfonso attributed his speedy recovery from a grave illness to the prescription of small helpings of food served with his wine. So convinced was he of his grub’s healing powers, he actually decreed it law that all alcoholic beverages be served with a side of food from then on. It was – essentially – the birth of bar snacks. Hurray for King Alfonso.


Al Sur de Granada* | Andrew Nash

However, what with the advent of tourism, the ‘free’ part of this tradition has been lost throughout most of Spain. Leon, Salamanca and certain areas of Madrid still do it, but none are as synonymous with the notion of a free tapa as Granada is. Some – mainly Sevillanos – say that a free tapa yields low quality, yet there are in fact countless, terrific tapa bars scattered around the city, all offering a delicious and eclectic range of authentic styles.

I should know; I’ve lived there for three years and munched my way through scores of them. So, in no particular order, let’s have a look at ten of the best, shall we?

1. Al Sur de Granada

For an inventive selection of tapas using locally sourced ingredients, few tapas bars compete with Al Sur de Granada. It is small and rather crowded by its entrance, but the food, interior design and range of beer available more than compensates for that. There’s always something different on the menu but the end result is always the same: that you want more and more and more. They also stock a selection of delicious albeit pricey homemade jams – the pumpkin variety is definitely worth the money.

One drink and a tapa: €2.20

Location: Calle Elvira, 150

2. Babel World Fusion

This aptly named student hotspot borrows, blends and brings new-fangled life to flavours from all corners of the globe. Treat yourself to the Japanese-Italian fused sushi de risotto negro con salmon or the veggie-friendly Makuta Africana (fried, potato based veggie burger).

Alternatively, you might like to chip in for an €8.50 pitcher-and-platter combination. The menu is extensive, and should be rigorously explored.

One drink and a tapa: €2

Location: Calle Elvira, 41


3. Om Kalsoum

Given the city’s Moorish roots, Moroccan-style tapas are a common sight in Granada. The Albayzín barrio is strewn with kebab houses and tetarías, but for the real deal, you’ll have to veer off the tourist track a little. Om Kalsoum boasts winning dishes such as the bravas glazed papa yunnani, the pitta wrapped shawarma de pollo (not like the rotten stuff you get from takeaways) and the crispy, suave-centered faláfel.

There’s plenty of Arabic charm, character and buzz about the place, to make the hunt all the more worthwhile.

One drink and a tapa: €2

Location: Calle Jardines, 6



Falafel, kebab, papa yumani at Om Kalsoum | Josh Taylor


4. Casa Lopez Correa – NOW CLOSED

Ask a Spaniard about Lopez and you’ll be met with a “¿Donde?” and a look of befuddlement. Ask a guiri (slang for expat), and you’ll have your auricles chewed off, unless of course, they’ve just eaten at Lopez. Ironically, the Spanish-sounding joint is run by an English expat couple who’ve no affiliation with the name Lopez. Whatever its name though, the tapas here are divine, owing to a unique take on classic European dishes. Ever had a tapa de Lasagna? Unlikely. What about tapa de Shepherd’s Pie? Nor had I, until I ate in this warm, welcoming and family-run bistro.

One drink and a tapa: €1.80

Location: Calle Molinos, 5


5. Moa Gastrobar

Amble further along Calle Navas, past all the fried fish humming tapas bars and beyond the crossroads, and you’ll come to a much quieter section. Here, a cluster of trendier bars – among them Moa – draw a discernably younger crowd.

Moa stands out from the rest on account of its impressive menu and slick décor. The bombas are gigantic and the selection of burgers innovative and mouthwateringly good (though sadly not free). It’s a step up from the average tapa bar for sure.

One drink and a tapa: €2

Location: Calle Rosario, 10


6. Poë

Another guiri favourite, albeit one with an oriental twist. Run by well-travelled Englishman Matthew and his wife, typical dishes include the now infamous Pollo en salsa Thailandés (Thai Chicken Curry) and the delicious Bacalhau á Gomes de Sá (Portuguese style salt cod).

The standard of service at Poë is every bit as good as the quality of its tapas, despite how many bodies there are to squeeze past.

One Drink and Tapa: €2

Location: Calle Verónica de Magdelena, 40



Thai chicken curry and bacalhau at Poë | Josh Taylor


7. Papaupa

Despite being a newbie to Granada’s tapa scene, the retro-looking Papaupa has risen toward the top of the pile with all the swiftness of a high speed Renfe train. This can be attributed to a tangible display of style, knowledge, fantastic fare and excellent customer relations. Typical tapas on the menu include the goat’s cheese and honey glazed crepe, meat-filled empanadas and chicken fajitas. And – the pièce de résistance – there is a table that doubles as a table tennis table in the back. Cool or what?

One drink and a tapa: €1.80

Location: Calle Molinos, 16

8. Los Naranjos

Not to be confused with naranjas (oranges), the secluded Los Naranjos (The Orange Trees) is a real gem and a huge hit with the locals. The rickety furniture and quirky clientele give the place real character, and the tapa served is bang on the money, particularly the homemade Tortilla and aritas de pollo (chicken wings).

The staff here are also well informed on Granada’s current events if you’re looking to party later on.

One drink & a tapa: €1.80

Location: Capilla San Andres


9. Los Diamantes

It’s not all carne and salsa; many of Granada’s bars prefer to exhibit their knack for frying – Los Diamantes, found on the permanently bustling Calle Navas, being a classic example. Plates come heaped with fresh pescaíto frito (fried fish), large gambas (king-sized prawns) or freshly prepared paella among other greasy yet delectable dishes.

Despite the modern exterior, there’s a very traditional feel to the place, thanks to the animated locals who frequently occupy the bar space. Lots of fishy food here.

One drink and a tapa: €1.70

Location: Calle Navas, 26


Los Diamantes
| Daniel Lobo


10. Manila – NOW CLOSED

Believe it or not, vegetarian tapas bars do actually exist in Spain, and Manila is the pick of Granada’s. Here, the funky décor will lure you in and the laid-back vibes will keep you there. The vegetable melees and luscious goat’s cheese salads are a big hit, but the all-conquering veggie burger is the star of the show. Sadly, this doesn’t come for free, but it is a meal you won’t regret pushing the boat out for.

One drink and a tapa: €2

Location: Plaza de las Descalzas, 3

Honourable Mentions

Given Granada’s inexhaustible stream of tapas bars, whittling it down to just ten is quite the challenge. There are countless others that also ought to be investigated, El Espejo (Calle Elvira, 40) and La Buena Vida (Calle de Almireceros, 12) for example. And there are new ones popping up every week.

So ditch the ritzy restaurants and get yourselves on the next flight to Granada. What, after all, is better than an endless supply of free food?

For more information on what to expect and how to get a handle on tapas hunting in Granada check out our All About Tapas section and our tapas vocab – the essential selection.


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