Granada’s food scene is undoubtedly one of the best in Andalusia, and maybe even in Spain.
With such a great gastronomic scene, it would be a waste not to enjoy a night (or several!) eating out in Granada! The city’s famous tapas culture and delicious cuisine make for a one-of-a-kind experience. However, to make the most of it, you have to know how to do it the granadino way. Not sure what that means, exactly? No worries! We’ll show you how to eat like a local in Granada with these six helpful tips.
1. The big question: Tapas or a complete meal?
Would you rather share small plates with friends or savor an entire meal of your choosing? This will make it significantly easier to narrow down where you’ll eat like a local in Granada. Tapas are cheaper (sometimes even free with your drink order!) and an integral part of Granada’s social scene. Locals crowd their way into the city’s best tapas bars, sharing small plates, drinks and good conversation with friends. Most of the time, you can’t choose the tapas—but everything is delicious, so trust your server!
On the other hand, a full meal in a sit-down restaurant will likely feel more familiar to some travelers. It’s more expensive than going out for tapas, but in this case you can choose exactly which food you want. Locals usually go with this option on special occasions.
2. Tapas it is! Decide which tapas bar is more your style
Granada’s famous tapas scene caters to diners from all walks of life. First of all, there are quite a few places that appeal to the city’s many university students. These tapas bars are appealing to students who want to spend as little money as possible. Unless you’re in the mood for hot dogs, burgers or chicken wings, look for something else.
A better option is a traditional tapas bar, like Los Manueles (Calle Reyes Católicos, 61) or Bodegas Espadafor (Calle Tinajilla s/n). These places are usually family-run and in some cases have been around for more than a century. You usually can’t choose your tapa here, and the variety isn’t as wide as in more modern places, but in some cases your server will tell you what options are available. Even so, you’re sure to get something made from a recipe that has been perfected at that bar for decades.
Another great way to eat like a local in Granada is to visit a modern tapas bar! These places prioritize quality over quantity, meaning that tapas are on the small side but the taste is unbeatable. They also usually offer a diverse array of wines and beers to appeal to all tastes. Some of our favorite modern tapas bars in Granada are Taberna los Pensadores (Calle Alhamar, 21) and La Botillería (Calle Varela, 10).
3. Pick a favorite place and stick to it
While some granadinos prefer to go on tapas crawls to several different bars, you can still eat like a local in Granada while staying in one place! Usually, the tapas keep getting better and better with each round. When you manage to snag a table at a really great tapas bar, why leave?
4. Not full yet? Order more tapas—or a ración!
Don’t be afraid to order an extra tapa. It won’t be free, but at this point they’ll usually let you choose!
If you’re even hungrier (and really enjoyed your free tapas), go straight for the raciones! Tapas are a great way for bars to promote certain dishes, so if you had something especially delicious, order a ración of it. In general, a media ración is enough to feed two people, whereas a ración entera is great for sharing among three or four.
5. Keep the drinks flowing “sin tapa”
Not hungry anymore, but want to try that delicious wine? Just tell your server “sin tapa, por favor” (no tapa, please). They won’t be offended—this way, they won’t have to throw away the food if you leave it on the table untouched.
6. Enjoy a liquid dessert!
While Granada does have some amazing desserts to satisfy your sweet tooth, they’re not typically eaten after tapas. Instead, granadinos tend to finish off the night with some sweet wine, sherry or vermouth, or even a mixed drink. Take your pick!
Want to eat like a local in Granada with us? Join us on a food tour and devour the city’s best of the best! Learn about Granada’s best-kept secrets while eating (and drinking) your way through some of our favorite family-run tapas bars and local establishments. See you there!