Eating out - tapes!


12 Apr 2016 | Last update: 23 Dec 2020

Tapes is Catalan for tapas. You pronounce tapes as... tapas! Easy.

There are at least three main styles of tapes. Pintxos are very popular in Barcelona. They're very artistic little snacks presented on a small piece of bread and pierced (pinchado) with a cocktail stick. Take what you fancy, save the cocktail sticks, and when you're all done, the waiter will count your sticks and charge you accordingly. Yes, really.

In some parts of Spain, and in a small number of bars in Barcelona, a tapa is a small, free snack served with every drink. Many bars will give you some chips or nuts with your drink, but true tapas will be something a bit more interesting. But as I say, it's not very common in Barcelona.

The main style of tapes you'll come across is a carta (menu - but more on this word below) listing many individual dishes. These are not "courses" but are individual items. Generally, a dish will be more than you'd want to eat by yourself. You'll want to share, and that's the point. A group of 4 might order say, 6 or 7 different tapes to share. It's a lot of fun, and you get to try a variety of dishes. Some things to look out for include:

  • Pimientos al padron (tiny green peppers). Roasted on a hot plate (a la plancha) and sprinkled with salt. Once in a while there'll be a random spicy one!
  • Pan con tomate (bread with tomato). Most places will just bring you this ready prepared. Toasted bread, with garlic and tomato smeared over, then drizzled with olive oil. In some places they bring you the makings and you do it yourself.
  • Chipirones - tiny baby octopi, fried until crispy in batter.
  • Patatas bravas - chips with allioli and spicy sauce. In my opinion, pleasant enough but wildly overrated, but a lot of people love them.

What our customers say

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A sunset sail with David!

After a long day of walking the streets of Barcelona, our group of 8 (seniors) took a cab to meet David for his last sail of the day. Unfortunately for David, his classic sail boat was down for repairs, however; he had a backup plan in place when we arrived. We spent a relaxing evening enjoying our wine and snacks while sailing in a 42' sailboat overlooking the magnificent city of Barcelona. Seeing the sunset over the water...priceless! The best advise I can offer is to book a sail with David. David is a first class captain and we (really) enjoyed his company. David was not only easy on the eyes, he was a delightful captain to talk to. David left nothing unanswered if you had a question about sailing or the city of Barcelona. What an enjoyable evening...thank you David for adding your personal touch to a beautiful evening! You're the best and we wish you much success!!!
nchurchill | Houston, Texas

All add my 5 star review to our sunset sail

One of the nicest things we did while in Barcelona and that's saying quite a bit. It was just really relaxing, literally smooth sailing and great views of the city. The Gemini was easy to find - less than a 10 Euro cab ride from the Gotic Quarter. We booked the sunset cruise as a private sail for our wedding anniversary. It may be helpful to know that David is Scottish so it was, for us, a plus to have a native English speaking guide.
dogs_in_heaven | Berlin, Maryland

Excellent experience

The experience is highly recommended. The Gemini is a very nice boat to sail on, Dave is very kind and the price very competitive. Largely matched our expectations!
Marounistan | London, United Kingdom

Pretty sail in Barcelona

We enjoy our chartered sail trip. Very flexible with timing as we asked to leave earlier then booked and was very accommodating. It rained the last 20 minutes of the trip which kind of made it fun! Very nice experience
MSCA2015 | San Francisco, California

The most relaxing adventure of our trip!!

I would highly recommend taking a sailing trip with Dave!! He is wonderfully laid back and lets you make the very most out of the experience (unlike some of the larger/corporate excursions where they do not give room for a flexible schedule and you end up feeling like your on a school field-trip ), yet Dave is a safe and experienced sailor. My husband and I had been traveling for two weeks and this was the PERFECT break! We enjoyed the views, swam in the ocean, and even took a nap (yes, I was that relaxed)! If you are in Barcelona and want to have a great time out on the ocean, book with Dave!
Jaclyn P | Austin, Texas

A lovely way to spent an afternoon!

The whole thing was very straightforward; we emailed Dave asking about certain time slots then reserved one on his website and paid a 30 Euro deposit. We arrived at the dock ahead of time and identified his boat. Dave himself was lovely and very interesting to talk to. It was a bit choppier than we would have liked but what a lovely way to cool down. It was very hot when we were there, about 30 degrees so we enjoyed the break on Dave's boat. All in all a good experience!
Gaynor H | Horsham, United Kingdom

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