Tapas Madrid or Tapas Barcelona? Spain is famous for its tapas. And whether you have tapas in Barcelona or tapas in Madrid, you are in for a gastronomic treat. Mr. Misadventures and I have tried them in both cities (plus Salamanca!) and love them all!
However, going for tapas for the first time can be intimidating so I've always found the best way to do it is with local friends or on a tapas tour. Having lived in Madrid and traveled to Barcelona several times for business, I am well-versed in the ways of tapas. When Mr. Misadventures was tasked to do business in Madrid he was a tapas newbie, so he booked a tapas tour with Gourmet Madrid and also invited a colleague and native Madrileño to come along.
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Mr. Misadventures, his colleague, and I got to meet up for dinner while in Paris and I had the opportunity to interview them both about their experiences with tapas in Madrid.
Before I dive into the tour details and photos, I was curious about what my husband's co-worker thought of the tour. Being a local I wanted to know his impressions. Similar to my discussions with a few friends living in Paris who have taken these types of tours, he learned a few things that he was completely aware, of and new spots to come back and try out again. He felt the tour was very authentic and not touristy at all.
Apparently, they had a very good time because the tour which is normally two-and-a-half hours in duration lasted nearly doubled that and they returned to my husband's hotel sauced! The two of them insisted I would have ended up that way too, but there is just something about a bunch of guys going out for tapas that I think would never happen with a group of women…
The general concept is that a group of friends (or co-workers) will get together and visit several tapas bars, each specializing in a specific type of tapas. Then the group will travel from place to place, enjoying the house specialty and wine until the early morning hours.
Enough background, let's get to the food!
Each place has its own personality and own style of how they serve their food. The first stop was part of a cheese shop called Casa Gonzalez.
Here they had Iberian ham (Jamón ibérico) and a Basque sheep milk cheese called Idiazabal.
Of course, that is served with wine and yummy olives. Hmm…this is the first stop and I already see three bottles of wine!
The next stop was La Casa del Abuelo or Grandpa's house, with that name you know it ought to be good!
Their specialty is seafood particularly shrimp and langoustines which they have several varieties of. They tease you with their wares from the window, no way to resist!
Shrimp in a multitude of ways, like with garlic, olive oil, and red pepper:
And simply grilled:
Here they serve their food with sweet red wine that is made in-house as well as vermouth that is served draft-style (of course Mr. Misadventures tried both!):
Not only does La Casa del Abuelo specialize in seafood tapas, but they also serve another variety of tasty bites called Pintxos, which are the Basque form of tapas.
The main difference between Pintxos (also known as pinchos) is that they are usually ‘spiked' (which in Spanish is pincho) with a skewer or toothpick, often to a piece of bread.
Enough with the food lesson, let's get to the food, and these little babies look glorious! Like this salmon and crab pintxos:
Or crab with mayo and capers:
And eel, yum!
How did these guys eat all these? This one looks like it would have been one of my personal favorites, ham, cranberry, and brie:
The next stop was La Trucha, a place that specialized in tortas and two-fingered glasses of beer called zerritos. Tortas are wedges of potato and egg and are always a favorite selection at tapas bars, probably because they are pretty heavy and soak up the alcohol!
Always the chef, Mr. Misadventures just had to check out how the ladies in the kitchen were cooking up their specialty.
Their finished product is amazing and a perfect accompaniment to a nice glass of Spanish white wine (although mixed with red wine, vermouth, and zerritos, I now understand why at the end of the night my hubby and his friend were really “happy”).
The interior looks moist and delectable!
They also served croqettas which are fried with bechamel and ham.
The last stop was Restaurante Taberna Parrilla which had a little bit more exotic tapas.
Like callos (tripe) and garbanzo beans and lentilles with chorizo:
As well as fried shark:
I don't know about you but I gained at least five pounds writing these two posts! I can tell you that Gourmet Madrid puts on a good tour with lots of great choices and excellent knowledge of food history and wine. Mr. Misadventures and his co-worker had a great time and insist that I need to go right away!
Spain is such a wonderful country to eat in. Tapas are essential to the experience and no trip would not be complete without also visiting Barcelona and doing a tapas tour there. Barcelona is such a fabulous food city where eating local is the only way to go. The best way to do that is with a local and on a food tour in Barcelona, You've got to do both cities!
What do you think? Like tapas (or pintxos)? Ever had them? Have you ever done tapas in Spain?
[All photos by Mr. Misadventures]
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