You won’t find tacos here, just tapas…
About two weeks into my time in Barcelona, I began craving Mexican food—badly. While I assumed that Spain and other Latin American countries would have some overlap in their food offerings, the city proved me wrong. Rice, beans, and corn are not staples in Spain as they are in many Latin American cuisines, and the Spanish have a love of bread, well, baguettes to be exact. Tortillas as I knew them were those fluffy, chewy, round flat wraps, but in Spain, the name refers to a potato omelet. Alas, my go-to comfort food no longer consisted of burritos and tacos, but rather tapas, or little dishes. Below are five dishes that are sure to hit the spot.
1. Pimientos de Padron
The stars of this tapa are little peppers that look like jalepenos, but don’t have nearly the same punch of heat. Neutral in flavor, these pimientos are deep or pan fried and then sprinkled with sea salt. Healthy french fries? Maybe.
2. Patatas Bravas
Probably the most well-known and popular among foreigners, patatas bravas are simply fried cubes of potatoes, topped off with a garlic aioli. Need I say more?
3. Escalidava con queso de cabra
Grilled eggplant and roasted red peppers topped with a lightly fried slice of goat cheese make this tapa a wondeful collaboration of tastes and textures. Spread a little on a toasted piece of sliced baguette for some heartiness and crunch.
4. Camembert Lollipop
Not the most obvious choice, but after my cheese-loving roommate raved about these, I had to try them. Imagine a stick of melty brie rolled in chopped almonds and topped off with a drizzle of berry jam. Heaven on a stick…
Calamari is served virtually in every cafe throughout Spain, making it one of the most sought after and often affordable tapas. As a true fan of squid, I was able to get my fix whenever and however often.
6. Sepia a la plancha
This dish is my all time favorite tapa. Sepia means cuttlefish, which belongs to the same family as squid and octopus and is both similar in taste and texture. These bulbous delicacies are grilled (a la plancha) to perfection, then topped off with garlic infused olive oil and fresh herbs. It’s hard to have just one savory plate of sepia a la plancha, which gives foodies a true taste of the sea.
Have any favorite tapas you’d like to share? Tell us what they are below!