La Ruta del Tapeo may take different routes but the idea remains the same – to enjoy small amounts of the Mediterranean Diet in friendly, and often noisy company.
As well as being enjoyable, eating the right tapas can be an easy way to ensure your daily recommended daily intake of oily fish and meat and plant based protein.
However, it’s likely that selecting and enjoying tapas is more often done for taste and appeal rather than to maintain good health, with increased well-being a significant part as well.
A busy tapas bar takes on a dynamic of its own as the morning or evening progresses and customers arrive, and some leave.
A tapeo ruta is in itself flexible, with longer or shorter times at each stop being a question of flexibility, with the flexibility increasing in line with the time enjoyed on the tapeo.
These days because customers are required by Covid restrictions’ compliance to remain seated while served at the table strangers no longer jostle happily at the bar while deciding which is their next choice of tapa.
Purists will say that covid has changed the essential part of enjoyment of the tapeo, the crowding at the bar looking at and discussing the tapas on display.
A way to deal with this is to watch what neighbouring tables are enjoying and request some of the same.
Tapas from the kitchen
Some tapas establishments have larger kitchen availability. In earlier times, and still now in places, the tavern tended to have a grander kitchen and therefore a greater possible range of dishes and tapas than a small bar.
The meson, the taberna, the tasca, and the bodegon can give a feeling of tradition and authenticity not only because of the food dishes but also the wine and the surroundings with tapas prepared in the kitchen, rather than shipped in ready-prepared to microwave.
Although familiar to tapas regulars, for the newly-initiated the names of the different tapas available can be a little tricky to master. From gambas al ajillo to items that are relleno, remojada or perhaps in salsa, there are many variations on how fish and meat are presented as tapas.
Those tapas enthusiasts just starting out, and maybe old hands looking for something new to try, can be intrepid by arming themselves with more info from the Tapas Glossary on their phone!
Tapas establishments in La Linea, and in the area around Campo de Gibraltar, provide several opportunities to try traditional tapas that may have been enjoyed over many years as well as modern variations and new ideas and specialities.
From La Linea’s Plaza de la Constitución step in to Plaza Cruz Herrera to visit Chaboo which has a wide range of traditional and new tapas and a Lounge, plus a Sunday roast.
Also in the Plaza, Hacienda Patagonica (which also has a restaurant in Gibraltar) is well-known for its high-quality Argentine beef grill, available as a tapa and as a main dish.
From the Plaza across to La Bodeguiya in calle San Pablo is only a few steps.
La Bodeguiya maintains the jamon tradition with fine slices of ham being carved available as tapas and raciones, together with a range of meat and fish dishes, tapas and montaditos from the kitchen.
A direct line through calle Carboneros leads to Meson El Patio which provides a fine range of classic and new tapas and a Habana bar.
In the same street Arabia provides Moroccan specialities including spicy pinchitos and tajine.. just nearby are two of the other main squares Plaza Fariñas and Plaza de la Iglesia.
Barbas, with a terrace on the corner of Plaza Fariñas, offers its popular specialities like bocata de calamares, flamenquines, and cuernos de langostinos, tapas with a twist, reservations is a must.
On the other side of Plaza de la Iglesia Meson Alfredo in Lopez de Ayala offers traditional tapas and grill and specialises in jamon products and in calle Isabel la Católica La Chacra also offer an argentinean grill and tapas.
Meson de Lolo nearby in calle Méndez Núñez has a wide range of fish and seafood as tapas and as main dishes.
Crossing through the Market to the other side of the Plazas in calle Clavel Hassan’s Eden Bar is open all day until late and has a fusion of specialities such as pollo con limon and Moroccan spiced pinchitos – Saturday morning their fresh-made arroz de mariscos, a paella, is popular with Saturday shoppers ready for a welcome rest and and some tapas before lunch.
For details of the tapas places and their location as a plan for a Ruta del Tapeo find more info at Tapas Bars
Jon Lewes @clicGibraltar