A selection of the best free tapas
You might have heard that in the rest of Spain it is common to serve free tapas with your drink (order a beer, to fit in with the locals: a sangria will immediately mark you as a tourist), but in Barcelona that doesn’t happen. Or… at least not very often! First thing first, what does it mean a “free tapa”? That doesn’t really mean a full platter of tapas, of course, but a small cheap appetizer most of the times cold. But if you keep ordering drinks, it’s likely that your waiter will choose to bring better food, and even something warm as well. Because it’s the waiter who gets to choose what free tapa you get: since it’s complimentary, you don’t get to choose.
Still, free food is always fun, isn’t it? As I said, it’s not a common thing in Barcelona, but some bars do serve tapas for free in Barcelona: you just need to know where to go. And to make things easier for you, today we are sharing our favorite places. Enjoy!
There you can find free tapas in Barcelona:
La Bocateria de Mitre. If you want to experience the real Barcelona, a sandwich bar like many around the corner, serving rich sandwiches with loads of cheese, and meats and sauces, and some good local beer, that’s the place to go. But the good thing is that they’ll give you a free different tapa for each drink you order. And they have really decent prices, too! You won’t find tourists here: just neighborhood people enjoying some good time with friends.
La Xula Taperia. Madrid is another Spanish region where free tapas with your beer are the norm, and La Xula pays tribute to the Madridian tapas tradition with a local touch. It has become a must in the Gracia neighborhood, because besides the usual tapas, they specialize in “tapas de autor”, creative recipes such as Catalan coca bread with their celebrated tuna tataki, or mixed sausages with mushrooms… Their draft beers, by the way, are said to be some of the best in town, with their frothy foam. It isn’t very big, and they have turns for the tables: so unless you don’t mind being rushed to finish up and leave the table for the next guests, we recommend to seat on a stool by the counter, get a few tapas while enjoying the atmosphere, and move on. Avoiding Friday and Saturday night is also a good idea, as it’s often very crowded.
Cal Chusco. Located in the heart of the Barceloneta quarter, the old fishermen district, deep fried fish is of course one most popular free tapas served in this good old neighborhood homely bar besides patatas bravas and other delicious stuff such as bombas (mashed potato balls stuffed with spicy minced meat) that are also a favorite here – It couldn’t be otherwise, as this tapa is said to have been invented in this district. The owner, Isabel, makes sure to have 5 to 6 different options available to keep serving, and sometimes you are even allowed to choose. Go on a match day if you like soccer, to enjoy your tapas while watching La Liga or the Champions League on their TV.
Bar Raspall. Back to the Gracia district, the area around Plaça del Raspall is where traditionally has lived a community of gypsies very well integrated in the local society. From here have come out famous flamenco and rumba musicians and dancers, and here you’ll find this tapas bar that is basically a long counter serving beer with free tapa for a couple of euros. They have their tapas offer on a blackboard and the cool thing is that you can choose what tapa do you want.
Birras & Tapas. Taking the AVE fast speed train to Madrid? Leave your luggage in the station lockers for a couple of hours and head outside: very close by you’ll find this local tapas and beer bar that serves a free tapa with each drink in the late afternoon – early evening time frame. Classic tapas, informal athmosphere, decent food and the opportunity to go off the beaten path and mingle with the locals.
AND BONUS! These are our most favorite free tapas in Barcelona:
Gata Mala. Lost in the alleys of the Gracia district, you’ll find this tapas bar that serves tapas for free in Barcelona with your beer, but only in the evenings. The quality of their free tapas is quite spectacular, and they do adapt if you tell them you are vegetarian. The venue is tiny, so arrive early or you’ll be disappointed to find it really crowded. Not a place to hang out and relax, though: you are there to keep eating and drinking, or just leave your stool to someone else. They are famous for their gin & tonic, according to many one of the best in town (they have their own secret recipe for it!). The first tapa they serve is usually cold, the warm ones come after the second or third order. In any case, the food is spectacular.
So what about you? Head to the comments below and tell us: Did you know you could get free tapas in Barcelona?