Out for Tapas in Madrid

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A tapa is a small snack or appetiser served with a glass of beer, wine, etc., in bars and restaurants. So, how was this tradition born?

The history of tapas

Legend has it that back in the 13th century, Alfonso the Wise, king of Castile and Leon, ordered owners of taverns to serve glasses of wine with small bites of food so that patrons wouldn’t get intoxicated.

With time, tapas have become a veritable culinary art and a feast for the senses. Serrano ham, callos madrileños (tripe dish), patatas bravas (potatoes with paprika sauce), tigres (mussel croquettes) or calamares fritos (deep fried calamari rings) are but a few of many traditional tapas. In Madrid, you can also try traditional tapas from other parts of Spain like Valencian paella, fabada (bean stew from Asturias), pulpo a la gallega (Galician style octopus with paprika), Andalusia-style pescaíto frito (fried fish), patatas alioli (potatoes seasoned with olive oil and garlic mayonnaise), croquetas (croquettes), gambas (shrimps) or sepia a la plancha (grilled cuttlefish)

Time-honoured taverns

Spending an evening eating tapas with friends in centuries-old taverns is a popular pastime in the Spanish capital.

Located near Puerta del SolCasa Labra which was established in 1860 is a popular choice, particularly for its cod served in fried strips and in croquettes.

Open since 1892, Bodega de la Ardosa serves traditional tapas such as oreja frita (fried pig’s ear), tortilla de patatas (potato omelette) or marisco en preserva (preserved seafood).

Casa del Abuelo, opened in 1906, is another tapas specialist where you can enjoy shrimps and langostinos (prawns) just like Andy Warhol once did.

Good food never goes out of fashion. Proof of this is the fact that Lhardy has been a must visit for over 170 years.

Established in 1886, El Anciano Rey de los Vinos, a tavern next to the Royal Palace and La Almudena Cathedral, serves traditional tapas with a modern twist

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