How to Order Tapas in a Restaurant?

Last Updated on October 4, 2022 by Lauren Beck

If you’re looking for a truly authentic Spanish dining experience, then you need to know how to order tapas in a restaurant. Tapas are small plates of food that are typically served as appetizers or snacks. They can be anything from simple dishes like olives or cheese, to more complex fare like seafood or meats.

When ordering tapas in a restaurant, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. First, tapas are meant to be shared, so don’t be afraid to order a variety of dishes for your group. Second, it’s perfectly acceptable to eat tapas with your hands – no need for utensils! And finally, don’t forget to enjoy a glass of Spanish wine with your meal.

What Are Tapas?

Tapas are small, bite-sized dishes that originated in Spain. They are typically served as appetizers or snacks, and can be found in restaurants all over the world. Ordering tapas can be a little bit different than ordering other types of food, so it’s important to know how to do it.

The history of tapas is a bit of a mystery, but there are several popular theories about how they came to be. One story says that tapas were first served in taverns in Spain, and were used to cover drinks so that flies would not land in them. Another story says that tapas were originally served as a small snack to accompany wine or beer. Regardless of how they came to be, tapas are now a staple in Spanish cuisine.

Are they free?

One of the most common misconceptions about tapas is that they are free. This is not the case! Tapas are dishes that you order and pay for, just like any other menu item.

When Is the Best Time for Tapas?

Tapas can be eaten at any time of day, but they are most commonly served in the evening. This is because they are typically served as appetizers or snacks, and people usually eat them before or after dinner.

Where to Find the Best Tapas Streets?

Tapas topped with red and white fish, lemon and parsley

Here are some of the best places to find tapas:

in Madrid

  • Calle de Cervantes, 3
  • Calle de Jesús y María, 6
  • Calle del Prado, 21

in Barcelona

  • Carrer de Blai, 1
  • Carrer de la Mercè, 13
  • Carrer del Paradís, 10

These are just a few of the many great places to enjoy tapas in Spain. Of course, you can also find them in restaurants all over the world. So whether you’re in Spain or not, be sure to try some tapas the next time you’re looking for a delicious snack!

What’s the Difference Between Tapas and Pintxos?

Tapas and pintxos are both small, bite-sized dishes that originated in Spain. However, there are a few key differences between them. First, tapas are typically served hot, while pintxos are served cold. Second, tapas are usually served on a plate, while pintxos are served on a piece of bread. Finally, pintxos are usually skewered with a toothpick, while tapas are not.

What Should I Drink Alongside Tapas?

There are a few different types of drinks that go well with tapas. Wine is always a good choice, but you can also try beer, cider, or even sangria. If you’re not sure what to drink, just ask your server for a recommendation.

Which Are the Best Tapas Dishes to Try?

Some of the best tapas dishes to try [1] include:

  • Patatas bravas: fried potatoes in a spicy sauce
  • Croquetas: fried balls of dough filled with meat or cheese
  • Calamares: fried squid
  • Chorizo: spicy sausage
  • Tortilla española: Spanish omelette
  • Gambas al ajillo: garlic shrimp
  • Paella: Spanish rice dish with seafood, meat, and vegetables

These are just a few of the many delicious tapas dishes that you can try. Of course, there are many other great options out there, so feel free to explore and find your favorites.

How Should I Order and Pay for the Tapas?

In most cases, you will order tapas from a menu and pay for them just like you would any other dish. However, there are some places where you can order tapas directly from the counter. In this case, you will typically pay for your tapas when you’re finished eating them.

Can I Choose Which Tapa I Want?

Yes, you can usually choose which tapa you want. However, in some cases the chef will choose for you. This is usually done in tasting menus, where the chef will select a variety of different dishes for you to try.

How Many Tapas Dishes Shall I Order?

This is up to you! If you’re just looking for a snack, one or two tapas should be enough. However, if you’re looking for a full meal, you may want to order three or four dishes. Of course, you can always order more if you’re still hungry.


Tapas are a great way to try a variety of different dishes. They’re also perfect for sharing with friends. In ordering tapas, you should consider the time of day, what you want to drink, and how many dishes you want to order. Most importantly, though, just enjoy yourself and don’t be afraid to try something new. Bon appetit!


Lauren Beck
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