A Guide to Spanish Tapas in Almería


What are Tapas and how it works? 

If you're not familiar with the term and concept of tapas, here's a brief explanation:

Tapas are a variety of small savory Spanish dishes, typically served as appetizers with drinks, or combined with other tapas to form a meal. "Tapear", the act of moving from bar to bar for drinks and tapas or just going to a tapas bar to enjoy various tapas, is a fundamental aspect of Spain's social culture, particularly in the southern regions, and is an experience every visitor to Spain should have. Due to their casual nature and the often bustling atmosphere of bars, tapas are usually enjoyed while standing at the bar or sitting at small tables, creating a lively and noisy ambiance.

To truly understand the essence of tapas, you must visit the province of Almería. How does ordering tapas in Almería differ from other cities? Well, let's compare. In cities like Malaga, when you visit a tapas bar, you're typically charged extra for both your drink and your tapa (usually around 3-4 EUR per tapa), and the selection is often limited. On the other hand, in Granada, you might encounter places with a similar "tapas policy" to Almería's, but the variety of options is usually more limited, or you might simply receive a free tapa with your drink without being able to choose. This means you could end up with something that doesn't quite suit your taste!

In Almería, the process typically starts with ordering a drink, most often an alcoholic or "mosto" or non-alcoholic beer, followed by selecting from a menu of tapas. This menu is usually extensive, lacking pictures and English translations. The rule is simple: one drink equals one tapa, and there's no additional charge for the tapa. However, in some establishments, you may notice "tapas con suplemento" (for example, +1 EUR). This indicates that you'll need to pay a little extra for certain tapas, typically larger or featuring more expensive ingredients, like premium meats. If you're feeling particularly hungry, don't fret about having to indulge in excessive drinking to fill your stomach. You always have the option to order an extra tapa, with prices typically listed on the menu (usually between 2 - 3 EUR).

What kind of drink includes a tapa?

  • caňa (small beer)
  • beer
  • a glass of wine
  • tinto de verano (mix of wine and soft drink)
  • mosto (usually a non-alcoholic drink from grapes or apples)

Deciphering the Menu

Now, let's dive into the menu. It's quite an adventure for a beginner. If you're not fluent in Spanish, you're bound to feel a bit lost – that's a guarantee.

English speakers aren't too common in Almería, but don't worry, they'll be patient with you. They might even poke fun at you a bit, but it's all in good spirits. Advice? Consider bringing along a dictionary, or better yet, utilize Google Maps for a quick check of photos from the given tapas bar. The tapas menu is usually extensive, covering everything from meat and fish to seafood and more.

tosta con queso de cabra
tosta con queso de cabra

In most establishments around the city, don't count on receiving a traditional paper menu! Make sure your phone is charged and ready, as you'll likely need to scan a QR code on the table to access the menu. We suggest ensuring you have sufficient mobile data before heading out, as relying on free Wi-Fi may not be an option. If you ask for the Wi-Fi password, don't expect it to be readily provided by the staff. The use of QR codes became widespread during the COVID-19 pandemic and, frankly, it's quite convenient. If you're fortunate, you might even find some photos in the online menu, if the place has a webpage. 

It's quite common to receive something completely unexpected, and these surprises can be enjoyable (unless you're a vegetarian or have allergies).

Another consideration is that vegans and vegetarians might encounter challenges in Almería. While there are a few vegetarian-friendly spots and typically at least one meat-free option on the menu, the selection is often quite limited. If you're strictly vegan, Almería might not be the ideal destination for you.


A Few More Tapas Tips... 

In terms of cost, you can enjoy a satisfying lunch or dinner for around 12-15 EUR. If you go out with friends and stay longer, the bill was a bit higher, but it all depends on your dining preferences.

As you stroll down the streets, you'll encounter numerous tapas bars, each beckoning with enticing aromas and lively atmospheres. However, it's worth noting that reservations for "tapear" are generally not accepted; these spaces are reserved for those ordering "raciones" – larger main dishes that can be quite pricey if not shared among a group.

One more TIP: Don't anticipate finding "paella", "arroz negro," or "migas" on the tapas menu in the evening. These dishes are typically served only during lunch hours and after 2 PM! Also, don't expect to find cold soup "gazpacho" in winter. There are other customary rules, but it's best to discover them as you explore on your own.

Local tradition: when it rains, local people eat "migas" for lunch.


When heading out for lunch in Almería, avoid attempting to enter a tapas bar before 1 PM. Most places serving tapas open around this time, and locals typically start heading out for lunch around 2 PM. After a bustling lunchtime rush, many establishments close at 4 PM and reopen for dinner at 8 PM. Adapting to this schedule can take some time.  

So good luck and enjoy your meal! Aprovecho!