Tapas culture is alive and well in Granada, and sticking true to tradition they are free. I know what you are thinking, “Aren’t tapas always supposed to be free?” The answer is a resounding YES, however in many places these days the bars and restaurants expect you to pay for your food. If you are traveling around Spain, I would not expect free tapas at most places. That being said, bars and restaurants in Granada ALWAYS give you something when you order a drink, and due to the competitiveness of the tapas culture here, they are usually pretty good.
While you will get tapas at every place you order a drink, there are a few places that do an exceptional offer which I’ll tell you now. Please note that I was only in Granada for two weeks, so that’s only about 50 or so tapas offerings I was able to review, and I’m sure there are a lot more wonderful vendors whom I sadly did not get to check out. Cody actually wrote a longer article giving an entire tapas in Granada tour with 19 of his favorite tapas if you want to see more variety.
This is one of my favorite places to get tapas in Granada because they give huge portions. It’s so easy to go there for a few drinks and actually feel full. Not to mention the quality of the tapas offering is extremely high. I went here on my second day in Granada and stayed for two drinks. The tapas offered were a chicken curry dish and a creamed spinach crostini.
Location: Calle Tundidores, 18001 Granada, Spain
In my two weeks in Granada, I’ve been to Casa Colon get tapas as well as “racions” four times. The best thing about this restaurant is they let you choose the tapa that you want when you order your drink. This is quite unusual since most places give you whatever they feel like. Casa Colon has a list of about 12 tapas you can choose from and I have to admit, I’ve tried them all. My absolute favorites were the ratatouille with octopus and the salmon with caviar blini (I know right, never expected caviar on a free tapa).
Los Diamantes is probably the most famous tapas restaurant in Granada and while it is completely overrun with tourists, that does not make it a tourist trap. Los Diamantes is primarily a seafood restaurant, and you’d never expect to get seafood for free, but here you do.
The first tapa I was presented was a heaping plate of fried baby sardines and I was immediately impressed. I’ve probably gotten 6-7 tapas here during my stay, and they ranged from sautéed champignons to fried calamari. You’ll never be able to complain about them skimping on quantity here, as the tapas plate you get for free is about a quarter the size of the racion you would pay for. That means if you can make it through 4 drinks (about $10) you’ve basically got yourself a free dinner.
Location: Calle Navas, 28, 18009 Granada, Spain (There are currently 4 Los Diamantes, but this is the original).
This is another place similar to Casa Colon where you can pick your own tapas. D’Platos is a little more upscale and modern than your traditional Granada Taberna but it is still a fun place to go.
They have an excellent selection of great beers and wines, as well as my favorite, Manzanilla. One of my favorite tapas there is their salmorello, a tomato gazpacho thickened with bread and topped with cured pork and egg yolk. D’Platos also has a menu of tapas you can pay for, which are also delicious, but then that means spending money on food, which I try not to do on a tapas hop.
This is a place I had tried to go to twice and couldn’t get in due to the crowd. Granted it was a Friday and a Saturday but that just told me this is one of the places to be. When I finally was able to get a seat at the bar I planned to stay for more than one tapa.
This turned out to be the right choice, as EntreBrasas is one of the best places to get tapas in Granada. This is a very meat-centric place, so almost every tapa is meat based. I’ve now gone three times, and I believe the first tapa is the same for everybody (grilled pork with pyramid salt) and it is absolutely delicious. The second tapa and continuing is at the discretion of the chef and none of it ever disappointed. From hearty pork stews, to Albondigas to morcilla in tortilla, every tapa is a delight.
Location: Calle Navas, 27, 18009 Granada, Spain
Casa de Todos is a good example of a classic tapas bar in Granada. It’s a tiny bar with limited space, good drinks and great tapas.
Casa de Todos has a great atmosphere and really fast service. The first tapa was the best one, we got a small bagel sandwich with delicious meat. I noticed that even though this is in an area with a ton of tapas bars and tourists, most of the people inside Casa de Todos seemed to be locals, which is always a good sign.
Location: C. Pan, 2, 18010 Granada, Spain
Bodega La Mancha is a popular tapas bar. This place is quite big with a very nice wooden bar, but very few sitting places. Here you should try a sherry or a vermouth.
The service here is fast, which is impressive, because the place sometimes gets very crowded. We spent an entire evening at Bodega La Mancha ordering drinks and trying different tapas. Here, like in most of the Granada tapas bars, you don’t know what tapas you’ll get. What surprised me is that we got such a variety of food from stewed vegetables, to seafood and cured meat.
There are actually a few bars la Antigualla and although they are all located really close to each other, they have different Google ratings. We didn’t specifically try to go to this bar, we just happened to notice one empty table during a very busy time.
We visited Bar La Antigualla III and from my experience, the service was quite good. We ordered vermouth and got for our first tapa, a very good burger that put this bar on my list. However the second tapa were sausages, that were just okay. We also talked to some local tourists that came from another city and they got their first tapa as paella which they said was no good. So, I guess it depends on how lucky you are.
Location: Pl. Nueva, 2, 18010 Granada, Spain
La Buena Vida is a cute little place that is almost always crowded. For such a small space, they have quite a lot of sitting areas inside and outside.
La Buena Vida is one of those tapas bars in Granada that have a tapa menu. So, every time you order a drink, you can choose what tapa you want.
We tried a few tapas here. Most of them are sandwiches and toasts. It’s a charming place with good prices and delicious tapas. La Buena Vida is a great place to stop for some carbs while bar hopping.
Location: C. Almireceros, 12, 18010 Granada, Spain
Bodegas Castañeda was one of our stops during a night of tapas bar hopping. We got dry sherry and as a tapa were served fried shark.
The atmosphere at the Bodegas Castañeda is very relaxing. They have a big outside sitting area, where you can enjoy some peace and privacy, although not too much as Bodegas Castañeda is a popular, crowded place.
Casa Julio is a must visit place if you like seafood. This tapas bar is a charmingly small place that is always crowded since you get great drinks and great tapas here.
There are no sitting spaces, you will have to stand next to the bar or outside. You better come here earlier, since 20 minutes after the opening, there is almost no space at Casa Julio.
For tapas we got a variety of seafood: breaded shrimps, fried fish, and seafood salad.
Location: C. Hermosa, 5, 18010 Granada, Spain
Ávila Tapas has become one of my favorite tapas bars in Granada. It is located a bit out of the way from all the bar streets, and thus frequented almost entirely by locals, but nevertheless, this place gets crowded due to the amazing tapas they serve here.
There are two Ávila Tapas bars that are located close to each other, so if one is very crowded, check out the other one.
At Ávila Tapas they have a quite big tapa menu, so you can choose whatever tapa you want. We actually tried a few of them, and loved everything. Especially good ones are the meat dishes.
Location: C. San Isidro, 11, 18005 Granada, Spain
Bar Santo Domingo is located right next to the beautiful church of Santo Domingo. They have a huge outside terrace that is especially nice during a warm sunny day.
Here we got a few glasses of vermouth and our tapas were croquettes with salad and mini hot dogs with ketchup and mustard, which surprisingly were quite good.
It’s a perfect place if you are looking for a nice sitting area to have a conversation or just people watch and enjoy some tapas.
Macondo is another place that is located out of the way, but deserves your visit. This is a small bar that actually reminds me a bit of Balinese restaurants (it has the same chill-out atmosphere).
All the tapas in this bar are toasts with delicious toppings. Even now when I am writing about those tapas, I am getting hungry.
This bar specializes in vermouth cocktails, so if you are a big cocktail drinker then this tapas bar is the place for you.
One of the places that surprised me the most was a small sushi restaurant – Potemkin. I wasn’t looking for a sushi tapa bar in Granada, just a regular sushi restaurant. Potemkin was just 2 minutes from our hotel (Marquise Urban) which made it a very convenient place to get some sushi. When we sat down and ordered some beers we were served some sushi tapas – and then just decided to keep drinking. Well, we ended up visiting this place 4 more times and not because of the convenient location, but because of the amazing sushi tapas.
At Potemkin sushi bar, as with almost every bar in Granada, you will get free tapas when you order a drink (any drink including water). The sushi is exceptional here and it makes a nice change from meat tapas.
Prices: beer – 2,1€, sushi set – 15€.
Bar Candela is another tapas bar that serves toasts with toppings (in Barcelona they call these Pinchos). The prices here are good, and the food is delicious.
You’ll have to get here early if you want a good spot because this place fills up quickly with plenty of locals and students (a university is a block away).
Don’t expect to be comfortable as people pack like sardines to get their drinks and tapas, but it’s well worth the visit if you are on a tapas bar hopping night.