Tapas Madrid – Gourmet Madrid: Tapas and Wine Tour

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.

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Tapas Madrid

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. However, 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.

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, 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. First stop was part of a cheese shop called Casa Gonzalez.

Tapas Madrid - Gourmet Madrid Tapas Stop
Here they had Iberian ham (Jamón ibérico) and a Basque sheep milk cheese called Idiazabal.

Tapas Madrid - Idiazabal cheese and Iberian ham
Tapas Madrid – Idiazabal cheese and Iberian ham.

Of course, that is served with wine and yummy olives. Hmm…this is the first stop and I already see three bottles of wine!

Red wine and olives served with tapas
Red wine and olives served with tapas

Next stop was La Casa del Abuelo or Grandpa’s house, with that name you know it ought to be good!

La Casa del Abuelo Madrid

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!

Tapas Madrid La Casa del Abuelo Madrid
La Casa del Abuelo in Madrid.

Shrimp a multitude of ways, like with garlic, olive oil, and red pepper:

Tapas Madrd - Shrimp from La Casa del Abuelo Madrid
Shrimp from La Casa del Abuelo Madrid

And simply grilled:

Tapas Madrid - Shrimp from La Casa del Abuelo Madrid
Here they serve their food with sweet red wine that is made in-house as well as a vermouth that is served draft-style (of course Mr. Misadventures tried both!):

Tapas Madrid - Vermouth from La Casa del Abuelo Madrid

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 a 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:

Tapas Madrid - Salmon and crab pintxos Madrid
Salmon and crab pintxos.

Or crab with mayo and capers:

Tapas Madrid - Crab and caper pintxos in Madrid
Crab and caper pintxos.

And eel, yum!

Tapas Madrid - Eel pintxos in Madrid
Eel pintxos.

How did these guys eat all these? This one looks like it would have been one of my personal favorites, ham, cranberry, and brie:

Tapas Madrid - Ham cranberry and brie pintxos in Madrid
Ham cranberry and brie pintxos.

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!

La Trucha Madrid
Always the chef, Mr. Misadventures just had to check out how the ladies in the kitchen were cooking up their specialty.

Cooks at La Trucha Madrid

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 real “happy”).

Tapas Madrid - Torta from La Trucha Madrid

The interior looks moist and delectable!

Tapas Madrid - Torta from La Trucha Madrid

They also served croqettas which are fried with bechamel and ham.

Tapas Madrid - Croqetta from La Trucha Madrid
Croqetta from La Trucha.

Last stop was Restaurante Taberna Parrilla which had a little bit more exotic tapas.

Tapas Madrid - Restaurante Taberna Parrilla

Like callos (tripe) and garbanzo beans and lentilles with chorizo:

Tapas Madrid - callos (tripe) garbanzo beans and lentilles with chorizo

As well as fried shark:

Madrid Tapas - 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!

No tapas experience in Spain would be complete without also doing a Barcelona tapas and traditions tour. 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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10 Comments

  1. Kasia Dietz
    February 23, 2012

    Oh! I would love to take a tapas tour! Looks and sounds like quite an experience. Looking forward to part two…

    Reply
    1. Andi
      February 23, 2012

      @Kasia, I never thought about taking a tour, didn’t seem that complicated of a thing to manage, but just like everything else, there are good spots and bad. The thing that decided it for me, was that a *native* was impressed and he is going back to some of the places – that is a good seal of approval!

      Reply
  2. This is SO amazing!!! I’m obsessed with Spanish food! I wish we had something like this in Charlotte. We have a couple of Spanish restaurants but the tapas suck. GREAT pics!

    Reply
    1. Andi
      February 24, 2012

      @AndiP, you must also get to Spain and try the real thing!

      Reply
  3. Hey-ho!!

    I finally made it here. 😀

    I remember reading this one, the beginning of it, anyway. You know, when it comes to food posts, I tend to skip over a lot of them on just about everyone’s blogs, unless it is a great recipe for gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, vegetarian fare (these days). It’s perhaps like an alcoholic not wanting to read about booze, or an infertile woman not wanting to read about babies. *cringe* Kind of harsh examples, and yes, there are times I am able to read food posts with enough detachment/Zen non-attachment to objectively be in a “good place” about the stuff I miss out on. Other times, like with Tapas (which I have always wanted to try but likely now will never do so), I just feel a little bummed out. I remember this post because I got here: “Here they had Iberian ham (Jamón ibérico) and a Basque sheep milk cheese called Idiazabal”, started to sigh, and gave up.

    Sometimes it is just too hard for me to be objective enough and distanced enough about the food issue to keep going!

    So, I know that was my reason for not going further with the posts! That probably does not explain the majority of people, though… Although it might be an interesting analysis to see which categories of posts get the most readers! I wonder if there is a pattern or not. Perhaps a little statistical analysis is in order?

    xoxo, Andi. I still love your blogtastic self, overall. 🙂
    Karin

    Reply
    1. Andi
      February 29, 2012

      @Karin, thank you for your thoughtful feedback and I am so sorry that your life is so negatively impacted by food, I think I would suffer greatly too if I had to be gluten-free. I will look for some gluten-free options to include in my Friday Food Foto when I offer up other people’s post on food and recipes!

      Reply
  4. Thanks, Andi. 🙂 You know, it is not that life is so negatively impacted after three years of changing the way I eat — I eat pretty well now & there are more and more places that make dining out a pleasure and not where I am full of fear of how it is going to hit me later. It’s settled into mostly a good place. But it is a bit like grief. When you lose someone, after the first couple of years, the mourning has settled mostly into that place of acceptance, but a profound sense of loss can hit you out-of-the-blue, even years after the fact, usually by something small that reminds you of that person and reminds you of how that person is no longer around. Mostly I am okay with it at this moment in time. There was a point, for example, though (maybe for about 8 months?), where I could not read David Lebovitz’s blog *at all* or I would get so bummed out by all the wonderful foods that were no longer mine to enjoy! I’m past that now, but every so often there is something that just hits me — “Wow, I can’t eat that anymore” — and I feel the loss of it. This was one of those times. And once I am feeling “emo” about it, I lose all objectivity in reading a post just for the merits of it beyond the food.

    Thank you for considering gluten-free foods or other options when you post about food! But seriously — it is your blog and I think you should stick with what you are doing! One thing that could be interesting, though: have you ever thought about, as an experiment, going gluten-free for a period of time, say a couple of weeks, and write about what you eat and how you feel about it? It could make for some interesting posts!

    Reply
    1. Andi
      February 29, 2012

      @Karin, you nailed with the mourning process, I have seen it happen with my grandparents, and that is precisely how it “works”. Gluten-free is something that is becoming more and more prevalent, I see it everywhere in stores and restos. My close colleague is gluten-free and manages to eat quite well, I do have to remember that. I think it is an interesting challenge to make tasty gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan dishes, so adding those to my series will probably enhance it! It would be an interesting experiment to do, but if I can’t get Mr. Misadventures on board it will never happen as he is the cook in the house. I could do gluten-free breakfast and lunch, but when I got home it would all go to hell every night and weekend, so that is a bit half-in/half-out right?

      Reply
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    February 29, 2012

    Our family(with 3 teens 14,17 and 20) had a lovely, informative and enjoyable tour with http://www.privatetoursinistanbul.com He was so knowledgeable(former art history professor) and really brought the art to life for our family. His special anecdotes and information made the enormity of the museum manageable, plus provided an excellent introduction to Spanish history.Afterwards, we had a stroll through some of the older neighborhoods and ended up in a typical local restaurant for lunch. Later in our trip, when we went through the Picasso museum in Barcelona, my children were very interested in Picasso’s interpretation of Velasquez’s works-thanks to all they learned from Mr Satt. That is a great success to me!

    Reply
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