Eating out - tapes!


12 Apr 2016 | Last update: 28 Jun 2019

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.

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Amazing afternoon

My sister and I spent an afternoon on Dave's boat and it was one of the best things we did on our trip. The views are amazing, the boat is beautiful and Dave is a great captain. The views from the ocean are incredible and really lets you see Barcelona from another perspective. We were able to bring lunch and cava and just lay in the quiet sun for a few hours. We were originally scheduled for a Monday but the weather was bad so Dave was very accommodating in rescheduling with us. Would definitely recommend!
avs1029 | New York City, New York | 15 July 2014

Fantastic experience

My wife and I recently had the pleasure of sailing with Dave on the Gemini. It was an unforgettable experience. Dave is a pleasure personally and a very professional skipper. The boat is beautiful as well. He stopped twice so we could have a swim. He provides water but if you want anything else to drink or eat you gotta bring it. If you are thinking about sailing in Barcelona.. don't hesitate. Book with Dave and you wont be disappointed!
mdzebar | Brooklyn NY | 29 July 2015

Fantastic sailing experience

Great sailing experience and great captain. When we first arrived at the boat the weather was not that good and the captain told us it is our option if we want to go, otherwise he will fully refund the money. We decided to wait couple of hours and then the sun got back and we went in a wonderful cruise.
Alexandru415 | Bucharest, Romania | 24 May 2015

Great sail!

This sail around Barcelona was the highlight of our trip! Captain Dave is fantastic; he made us feel welcome and at home on his wonderful boat. We loved that the sail was just our family and was so reasonably priced. We highly recommend this trip and will absolutely do it again when we return to Spain!
Elise M | Seattle, United States | 19 April 2018

Fun boat ride-a little choppy

Dave and his son Diego were great sailors and excellent guides and hosts on their lovely boat. Had great weather for as early in the season as it was. Seas were a bit choppy though, and would have been better had we followed Dave’s sound advice of taking Dramamine beforehand for a few of our group. Highly recommend the experience and the captain!
Megan T | | 1 April 2018

A wonderful evening with Captain Dave

Captain Dave and his boat Gemini were the perfect escape from the urban Barcelona. We booked an afternoon sail however he contacted us and advised we go a bit later to enjoy the sunset. It was beautiful. My love and I had the boat to ourselves and Captain Dave was a perfect balance of accommodating and knowledgeable, while at the same time leaving us to ourselves so we could soak in the experience.
braddog8 | Bozeman, Montana | 27 October 2018

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