Here’s an excerpt of my piece on Granadino tapas that just came out in Wine4Food. Yes, what you’ve heard is true, at most tapas bars in Granada, tapas come with your drinks. And ordering a drink, lingering over crusts of bread and pools of oil and salty local ham, forces even the most high-speed New Yorker to soak up the moment and treat a meal the way the Spaniards do—as an experience.
“In the US, we’re more accustomed to tapas as a size distinction, if not a national one. We’ve come to understand tapas as small plates, or as shared dishes that pile up between friends. In much of Spain, you’ll probably order a selection of tapas to share from a restaurant menu in much the same way you would in New York or Los Angeles. But in Granada, tapas are done differently.
As a southern city in Spain’s Andalusian region, tapas bars in Granada serve a free tapa with each drink you order. That means a glass of wine, una caña (a small beer), or even un refresco (a soda) comes to your table with a tapa on the side. We’re not talking chips or bar nuts either, these are real Spanish tapas. You might start with a sandwich-style pintxo (open faced and held together with a toothpick) or a montadito (more like a small roll stuffed with toppings), and make your way through tortilla de patatas (a Spanish potato omelette) and cured meats and cheeses, from fried sardines and brined anchovies to housemade meatballs or juicy roasted pork that melts from the bone.”