Best Bars and Restaurants for FREE Tapas in Madrid
Tapas are a broad assortment of snacks or appetizer in Spanish cuisine. They are served either cold or hot along with a drink at a local bar. In some Spanish bars, tapas have developed into a whole, stylish cuisine. The idea behind serving tapas with a drink is to encourage a conversation between people as they are not focused on eating the whole dish in front of them.The word “tapas” comes from the Spanish tapa, which means “cover” or “lid”. Before the 19th century, the roads were in a bad condition making traveling slow and exhausting. Due to this, the inns and taverns were located along the road offering meals and rooms for travelers. At that time most people were not able to write or read, so the venues offered its customers a taste of the meal available in the venue and were served on a “tapa”, lid. So the tapas culture comes from here and represents a small portion of any Spanish meal. Since then, tapas have changed through the country’s history via integrating new ingredients.
As dinner in Spain is served between 9 and 11 pm, it is common for a Spaniard to go bar hopping and eat tapas before dinner cooked at home. Having eight to twelve different types of tapas is a widespread phenomenon for a bar here. Usually, those tapas are strongly flavored with chilies, garlic, paprika, cumin or saffron along with olive oil.
In Andalusia region, it is very common to get free tapas if you order a drink at a bar. So is in Madrid. Generally, free tapas are a small plate of olives, slices of chorizo, potato chips, potato omelet or mini-burgers and sandwiches even. However, the variety depends on the bar and region itself. The whole concept of tasting as many tapas as possible on your trip to Spain turns into a fun activity of treasure hunt. Who would say not to this? So here are the top bars and restaurants where you can get free tapas in Madrid.
Taberna la Tia Cebolla
The bar is famous for its tortilla de patatas; however, it also offers tasty pies and omelets together with a wonderful menu. La Taberna la Tia Cebolla is a great place for a light snack, lunch or dinner at any time of the day. But more importantly, you can get a free tapa with a beer for only 1.50 Euros.
Taberna Las Brasas de Vulcano
Taberna offers wonderful atmosphere and great service to its customers along with its well-known chicken wings. Similarly to Tia Cebolla, a glass of a beer or other beverage comes with a plate of tapas. And the prices will not rip your wallet either. Come hungry, as plates here are generously portioned.
El Tigre is probably the most well-known, classic tapas bar in town, where you can enjoy a glass of beverage with a gigantic plate of tapas. The price per drink varies from 4 to 6 Euros; however, remember that 6 Euro cups equal to two drinks. Croquettes, patatas bravas, and Spanish tortillas are served with your drink.
La Blanca Paloma
Once in Madrid, you have to come to La Blanca Paloma, situated at Espíritu Santo, 21. It definitely is a must-visit place. Despite the fact that beer is not cheap, the huge portions of tapas compensate it. The venue offers a wide variety you can choose from, and more importantly, they are of best quality for the money you pay.
El Rincón Abulense
Best place to get together with friends. It’s quite popular with locals who like to hang out after work. Tapas here are tasty and good both in quality and quantity. However, do not expect any complex meals. These plates are a right portion to start your evening. Its proximity to the center plays a big role if you’d like to continue somewhere else afterward.
Located at Calle San Bernardo, 46, Spaniards call it ‘a bar that has been in the neighborhood forever’. Similar to the places mentioned above, Padrón offers a good portion of free tapas with a glass of beer. The fact making this your go-to venue is that once you finish your tapa, the waiter brings you another one! Hard to believe, right? Friendly atmosphere and great staff will make you come here every day during your trip to Madrid.
As you probably already noticed tapas is an important part of Spanish cuisine and everyday lifestyle. There are special bars and restaurants that specialize in only tapas and offer even more varieties and types than the typical, local, neighborhood bars.
Before you hop on your treasure hunt for tapas, you would remember that tapas are served with an order of an alcoholic drink or ‘mosto’ a grape juice. It might come with Coke or soda, but never with coffee, brandy, mineral water or spirits. Usually, the tapas cannot be chosen, but some places do give its customers this privilege. And sometimes it can be different with a second drink.
So are you ready to taste all the delicious tapas Madrid can offer? If you need more assistance with your itinerary, feel free to drop us a line or ask for any recommendation, we are more than happy to help you out!