answering many emails on my site about Seville the topic often
comes up if the tapas are free. Well of course the tapas are
not free...in Seville! When it comes to eating Granada is known for
it's free tapas. Almost every place offers you a little
something to eat provided you order a beer or wine. At times
it will be chips or peanuts (NOT a tapa in my opinion) but
many times it's something a little more filling - meats, montaditos, mushrooms, etc. When I compare this
to Sevilla, where you almost always pay for your tapas,
it's a nice change. Still, the beer in many cases is smaller
and a little more expensive. The tapas are also smaller
than what you would get in Sevilla or other cities when
you pay for them. In the end I do think you come out ahead
in Granada when you are tapeando, and who could
really complain about free tapas! .
Antigua Bodega Castañeda
Calle Elvira 5
We enjoyed eating at Antigua
Bodega Castañeda on calle Elvira. There
are actually two Castañedas on parallel streets, Calle Elvira and Calle Almireceros, of course owned by
the same people. We ate at the less popular one simply because
the other was packed. Then went back the next night early for the location on Calle Almireceros. Both are excellent. Especially recommended are the assorted cheese or meat plates.
Bar Casa Julio
Calle Hermosa (Plaza Nueva)
A tiny place just off of Calle Elvira, we especially enjoyed the boquerones, little fried fish which are simply excellent when prepared correctly.
Calle Navas 28
From the outside it seems there is nothing special about this place. But you only have to pass by the bar at the height of lunch or dinner service to see there is indeed something special going on! I say it for a lot of tapas bars, but for Los Diamantes you must get there early. If you don't at least the waiters are very good at helping you order over the heads of other customers. This is likely the best tapas bar in Granada for pescatio frito (fried fish). Some recommendations:
- Boquerones (little fried fish)
- Gambas rebozadas (batter fried shrimp)
- Don't shy away from anything else on the menu
Plaza de la Pescadería 12
I highly recommend for tapas
although you must get there early. Bar Oliver is located in a nice plaza
a few minutes from the Cathedral. You'll find a few standing only tables outside and there's more room inside
but again, it fills up quick. While I like this place a lot it can be hit and miss depending on the tapas coming out of the kitchen at the moment. But this could be said for many places in Granada: when tapas are free you don't often get to choose! Some good tapas:
- Berenjenas con miel (Eggplant with honey)
- Croquettas (Croquettes)
- Mejillones rellenos
- Just about any of the fish dishes!
Plaza de la Pescadería 14 - Web
Another place which fills up quick. Just next door to Bar Oliver with a very long bar and perhaps a little more space then it's neighbor Bar Oliver, although you'd never know it when it's busy. A variety of tapas come out of the kitchen during the evening, although a few times we were unlucky in what we were served, having just missed the last round of something more delicious looking. There is also a small dining room in the back should you choose to sit down (no tapas of course in the dining room).
With a name like El Tabernaculo, it is no surprise that the walls are covered with photos of Semana Santa and items from every cofrade (bortherhood) in the city. With a small bar and low ceilings, this bar either seems cramped or cozy, depending on your point of view. Small tapas come with every drink and chage often. I like the edge of the bar closest to the exit where it's easy to catch the bartenders when I want a refill!
Calle Curro Cuchares
A quirky little bar but definitely worth a visit. Beer is typically served in botellines, or little bottles instead of on tap. Tapas are also different: instead of being served with your drink you can sit back and wait for Antonio, the bars owner, to come around with a tray of different and delicious treats. The staff always seem to be friendly and with good food and cheap prices it's hard to find a better place in Granada. Recommended:
- Chipirones a la plancha (Grilled Squid)
- Pechuga de pollo a la plancha (Grilled chicken breast)
- Ensaladas (Salads)
Restaurante Corrala del Carbon
Calle Mariana Pineda 8
Just a few steps away from the the recently renovated monument, the Corral del Carbon, this restaurant offers a lot of atmopsphere. In the front, a wonderful tapas bar with stone floors and plenty of memorabilia on the walls. In the back is the dining area in a small and typically decorated patio. I am a fan of just about anything which comes off the grill, but the salads and other starters are exceellent as well.
Restaurante Balcón del Genil
Calle Luxemburgo 32, Huétor Vega (Province of Granada) - Web
For lunch one day we headed to a small town, Huetor Vega, to eat at Restaurante Balcón del Genil. You will need a car and need to look up directions to arrive,
as it is perched on a hill just outside the pueblo. The restaurant has seating for what seems like a thousand
people, with view of the valley below. At one time it was
a small place, almost a shack. Now it has several floors
a large terrace and a patio when it's warm. Order anything
- I do mean anything - and it will be good. We opted for
various cuts of solomillo in different sauces.
Add to that a few dishes to start, dessert and a shot of orujo and we left very satisfied.
Los Italianos (ice cream)
Gran Vía 4
Los Italianos is to Granada what Rayas is to Seville. If you know neither then this last sentence might was well have been in Chinese. Like any good ice cream place in Spain, this one is a seasonal operation and open in the warm weather months, when you will often find the place to be packed. This is the best ice cream in Granada and while it's best if eaten when served you can also take it home.
Editor: Jeff Spielvogel
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