You may know Granada for the spectacular Alhambra palace, but chances are you didn’t know about the Granada province LAW that every bar, cafe or restaurant is required to give customers a FREE Tapa with purchase of beverage. This is The Best part of my former home in Spain. After 3 trips to the Alhambra you might be over it, but ‘free tapas’… that never gets old.
In the province of Granada giving free tapas has been the law for several hundred years, from a time when you needed a piece of bread to cover your drink to keep the flies out; essentially to “Tapar” or ‘cover’ your glass. Now is it possibly the greatest part of Granada, over shadowed by an old castle.
While eating lunch in Plaza Nueva a few weeks ago I found myself surrounded by American tourists. Every time the waiter set down the tapas they said “We didn’t order this!” the waiter had to explain it was free with the drink and then had to answer the inevitable “What is it?”
I asked myself how did these tourists make it to Granada and miss the part where you get free food with your drink? Checking my travel usual reference materials I found it woefully lacking information about Granada’s free tapas law.
Before you dismiss the free food for the bowl of nuts at your local tavern; this is Spain, foodie capitol of Europe and the tapas are wonderful. Typically you get a few pieces of the same food you can buy in larger portions. The locals know the places to go and have a tradition of “ir de marcha” meaning to walk from bar to bar drinking and making a meal of the free tapas.
When you get a second glass of wine you get a second, different, tapa. Third drink comes with a third unique tapa and so on. It’s heaven.
Granada is my favorite city in Spain for several reasons, but #1 is the tapas. If you make it here and are faced with a small plate of yummy snacks you didn’t order, just eat it and say Gracias!
Top 3 Tapas Bars in Granada
- Mariscal Delicatessen – locals only at this deli and bar next to Corte Igeles and celebrating 100 years of outstanding food (tapas photos above)
- Los Diamantes – Fried Seafood two locations: Plaza Nueva and Calle Navas (tapas street)
- Bodegas Castaneda – locals favorite for hearty tradition food near Plaza Nueva.