Love free, tasty snacks when you go out for a drink? Umm…who doesn’t want this? Here’s my guide to the best tapas in Granada Spain.
I’ve lived and worked in Granada frequently as I’ve travelled through Spain – and every time I land in the city, I binge hard on the amazing tapas. This tapafest lasts for about two weeks until I can’t bear to look at another triangle of Manchengo or shovel another forkful of vege paella into my face.
Granada is one of those few, rare gems in the world where you get a free plate of food with every drink you order. And most bars and restaurants in the entire city keep up this tradition.
If food is one the highlights of travel for you, and you plan your adventures around snacks and trying out all the traditional foods in every country, city, and suburb that you visit – then Granada in the south of Spain should be firmly on your list of places to go.
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What Are Spanish Tapas?
Tapas are essentially an appetizer or snack that’s served alongside your beer, wine, sangria, or any other type of refresco that you order at a bar or restaurant. Typically you’d have to pay for this in any other part of the world, and in any other part of Spain, for that matter.
But Granada is one of the cities that still upholds this tradition – and both the locals and tourists take full advantage of it. From breakfast til late you can find locals drinking cañas and snacking on a never-ending stream of tortillas, stews, ham and bread, cheeses and olives, and boquerones.
When you order a drink here, your waiter will bring you either a random tapa, or a menu that you can choose your tapa from.
You’ll seldom get the same tapas twice at one bar sitting. You’ll hear the waiters calling out tapas primero, segundo, tricero etc, which will correspond with each subsequent drink you order. I can rarely get to three drinks to find out what the tricero tapa is, but I try my best.
You can expect your drink with free a tapa (bebida con tapa) to cost you 2-5 euros (depending on your choice of beverage and the fanciness of the bar).
I have no idea how bars can break even on the cost of serving free tapas to people every day – but I am really glad that they still do this! It’s one of the things I love most about Granada.
Traditionally tapas are only served with alcoholic drinks to help line your stomach and keep you on the more sober side of things. But as I’m drinking less alcohol these days, I’ve also tested buying bottled water and soft drinks to see if I still get free snacks.
In most places you’ll be fine if you order a bottle of water or a Coke instead of a wine or beer – but ordering tap water won’t get you the tapas you came here for!
It’s important to note that tapas are served pretty much at random in most places, so you eat what you’re given. We always do a table scan to see what other people are getting with their drinks – if it looks nasty, we can casually walk on to another bar!
If you don’t eat meat or shellfish, you’ll either need to take a meat-lovin’ friend with you on your tapas crawl, OR specifically tell the waiter when you order your first drink that you don’t eat meat, fish, dairy, or whatever.
Otherwise, you might be in for a bit of a shock when your tapas arrives. Blood pudding? Um no thanks. Brains on toast? Hmm…also nope.
And…whatever this is… *internal screaming* …was also a nope:
Solve this “tapas roulette” problem before it happens. You’ll save yourself the embarrassment of being the ungrateful tourist who turns their nose up at free stuff – and you’ll save the bar staff from throwing the good food they prepared for you in the bin.
Best Tapas In Granada
These are the best Granada tapas we found during our many visits to this gorgeous city. Most bars can’t get their balance of a great vibe and great food quite right – but these ones we’ve mentioned especially stand out for both.
- Best tapas restaurants and bars
- Best vegan and vegetarian tapas
If you’re vege, vegan, or gluten free – you’ll be pleased to know there are a growing amount of tapas options to suit your needs.
Here’s where to find the best free tapas in Granada.
Any local (or any seasoned Granada tapas fan) will tell you that Los Diamantes is a must visit for a traditional tapas experience and a great local vibe. They specialize in seafood.
While our favorite branch of this tapas bar (Calle Navas) was closed temporarily at the time of writing, the other branches were there to serve us up seafood, eggplant, mushrooms, squid, prawns, and boquerones to our hearts content.
Get there early to get a seat, as all of these bars pack out fast once it gets to 9pm – especially at the main tourist stop in Plaza Nueva. The vibe at Los Diamantes is great, the food is served hot, fresh, and fast, and you’re guaranteed to have a great tapas experience.
Los Diamantes have vegetarian tapas, so let the bar staff know – otherwise you’ll be served anything from mussels to meatballs!
- Plaza Nueva 13
- Calle Navas 28
- Plaza de los Campos 1
- Plaza de Bib-Rambla 2
Cafe 4 Gatos
This is our local go-to cafe for amazing coffee, fresh orange juice, and next-level tostadas loaded with things like smoked salmon, roasted eggplant, peppers, queso de cabra, Spanish tortillas, and manchego. Yummmmmy.
Aside from the great menu – if you visit after midday for a drink here – you’ll also get served free tapas. And they are GOOD.
Tell the (very cool) bar staff here if you’re vegetarian or vegan – they’ll know exactly what you need.
Here’s a small selection of the tapas we’ve eaten here!
We love the buzz of sitting at the bar here, but there are a handful of tables outside that have a view of the Alhambra – so no matter where you end up sitting, it’s a win!
Website: Cafe 4 Gatos
Location: Placeta Cruz Verde 6, Albaicin, Granada
Taberna Mas Que Vinos
Tucked away in a small lane in the center of town, you’ll find this cute taberna. It’s a popular spot for locals and visitors, so you might need to wait a little while if you arrive at peak time. Most of the seating is inside here, but you can snag one of the few tables in the laneway outside if you’re lucky!
Ask for vegan or vegetarian tapas here if you need to – I recommend the manchengo cheese situation pictured below (I know cheese and honey is a weird combo, but trust me it’s excellent). They also serve great fried eggplants and vege croquettes if you’re looking for a more substantial snack.
Website: Taberna Restaurante Mas Que Vinos
Location: Calle Tundidores, Granada Centro
I only discovered this cool little place during my current stay here – and then they promptly closed for a month for summer vacation, so I couldn’t try as many tapas as I wanted to *SOB*
The tapas we did try were exceptional – and if you’re a bit tired of the traditional tapas fare, this is a great place to head to.
Bella Kurva also has a tapas menu – so you can tell your server exactly what you’d like when you order your drinks. There’s a lot of asian fusion options, and plenty of stuff for vege/vegans as well. I enjoyed the Thai green curry and the chicken Tikka was apparently excellent too.
Facebook page: Bella Kurva
Location: Calle San Jerónimo 19, Granada Centro
Next door to Bella Kurva is the equally fabulous La Morocha. You can sit outside in the laneway here, or inside if you prefer. Both areas are perfect for catching up with friends and doing some people watching.
This bar has a cool, modern vibe and also serves a specialty ring-shaped sandwich (Rosca) which is HUGE – it’s great if you’re coming here with a group and you need a substantial carb feast.
Let the bar staff know if you’re vegetarian/vegan and they’ll bring your tapas accordingly.
Instagram: La Morocha
Location: Calle Postigo de Zárate, Granada Centro
Bar Los Arcos
A few doors away from Bella Kurva is Bar Los Arcos – a local institution that’s been serving up tapas since 1975.
Here you’ll find classic Spanish tapas like jamon tostadas, pork schnitzels, and tortilla patata. I haven’t personally eaten any tapas from here except the potato chips – but I have it on good authority that everything served up was excellent. I love coming here because it’s always packed with locals, and it has a great “feel the steel” vibe with its shiny steel bar.
Facebook: Bar Los Arcos
Location: Calle San Joaquin 3, Granada Centro
Located just down the hill from Cafe 4 Gatos in the Albaicin is Taberna 22, which has been around since 1922. It’s the perfect place to start your evening and watch the sun set before you head into the center.
The sangria here is (in my humble opinion, having tried most of the sangrias I can get my hands on) the best in the city. It’s the perfect flavor, has a sprinkle of cinnamon on top, and tons of fruit. Best of all, it lasts for ages and it definitely has alcohol in it.
It can get busy here as its in the main tourist thoroughfare up to the Mirador San Nicolas and Sacromonte, so avoid peak time if you don’t want to wait for a table.
Note: If you’re feeling hungry – the vege tabouleh here is excellent! They also do vege tapas on request
Facebook: Taberna 22
Location: Plaza San Gregorio 29, Albaicin, Granada Centro
You’ll find this on a popular restaurant on the corner of Calle Elvira in the centre of town. This busy laneway is one of the “tourist trap” areas of town, and is packed with traditional bars and cafes serving up tapas, buskers, and tourists, obviously – but if you’re a people watcher this is a cheap and cheerful place to sit and chill out.
Pro tip: if you’re here in the summer, grab a table outside and enjoy the cooling water misters as you hydrate and refuel. Their tortilla and salad tapas are particularly tasty
Location: Calle Cetti Meriem 10
El Origen – Buena Vida Tapas
Unlike most of the other tapas bars in Granada, you get to choose your tapas here from the menu – and there’s a great selection for both meat lovers and vege lovers. Portions are also on the generous side!
There’s inside and outside seating here – but this place is always busy unless you get here early.
The best thing about this tapas stop is that it’s open every day from midday to midnight, so you’ll never be caught out when it’s siesta time or Sunday. If everything else is shut when you try and visit – put this on your list as a safe bet.
Location: Calle Elvira 33, Granada Centro
Puerta del Carmen
When we want to go fancy, we go here for tapas. Puerta del Carmen is a grand old lady, complete with carved wooden everything, and an amazing ceiling (don’t forget to look up when you’re there!).
I love this place because they serve up a bowl of nuts and candy as your first tapa. And I’m still eight years old inside, so this makes me very happy!
They serve vege tapas here on request – so don’t forget to ask. And if you get their mushroom croquette – consider it your lucky day 🙂
Website: Puerta Del Carmen
Location: Plaza del Carmen 1, Granada Centro
La Tabernilla del Darro
This is another of our regular tapas stops. It overlooks the river and is a great spot for people watching. I’m in love with their hummus on crunchy toasts, and they also do a good, standard manchengo tapa as well.
If you want one of the three tables that overlook the laneway below, it’s best if you book in advance. Otherwise, it’s best to arrive early or you’ll be sitting inside. Also – sitting inside is ideal if you visit in winter because it gets REALLY COLD here.
Website: Tabernilla del Darro
Location: Puente de Espinosa 15, Granada Centro
Cafe Bar El Arenal
If you want to get out of Granada central and check out one of the local barrios (suburbs) – I recommend you head out to La Chana. This suburb has a reputation for great tapas – so of course we had to check it out!
You can buy a ticket and catch the bus that goes out there from Stop #4 on Gran Via. It will cost €1.40 each way.
El Arenal has a local reputation for serving the biggest tapas around (they’re not kidding about this either) – and it has a crazy good local vibe in the evening. So if you prefer somewhere with fewer (if any) tourists, this is worth the trip.
Note: The tapas here are mostly on the meat spectrum!
Location: 2, Calle Virgen del Monte, La Chana
La Esquinita Del Güejareño
Another great little “locals only” spot that was recommended to us when we visited the La Chana district. They serve tasty traditional tapas, and have vege options if you need. Go early if you want the place to yourself, and later if you want to experience the local vibe of this barrio.
Location: Ctra. de Málaga, 71, Portal 2 local 4, La Chana
Conclusion – Best Tapas In Granada
If you’re looking for the best tapas in Granada Spain – trust me, they are literally everywhere. From iberico ham to Spanish tortillas, olives to potato crisps, grilled eggplant to garlic mushrooms, and traditional paella to the not-so-traditional bowl of brightly colored candies with your drink – the free tapas in Granada are off the chart.
My regular tapas stops are Cafe 4 Gatos, Taberna 22, and Los Diamantes – don’t forget to check these out during your stay!
Remember: Tapas are usually served up randomly. If you want to make the most of your tapas experience, make sure you take a friend with you so you can eat the things they might not like, and vice versa!