While answering many emails on my site about Seville the topic often comes up if the tapas are free. Well of course the tapas are not free...in Seville! When it comes to eating Granada is known for it's free tapas. Almost every place offers you a little something to eat provided you order a beer or wine. At times it will be chips or peanuts (NOT a tapa in my opinion) but many times it's something a little more filling - meats, montaditos, mushrooms, etc. When I compare this to Sevilla, where you almost always pay for your tapas, it's a nice change. Still, the beer in many cases is smaller and a little more expensive. The tapas are also smaller than what you would get in Sevilla or other cities when you pay for them. In the end I do think you come out ahead in Granada when you are tapeando, and who could really complain about free tapas! .
A short selection of bars and restaurants in Granada

Antigua Bodega Castañeda

Calle Elvira 5
We enjoyed eating at Antigua Bodega Castañeda on calle Elvira. There are actually two Castañedas on parallel streets, Calle Elvira and Calle Almireceros, of course owned by the same people. We ate at the less popular one simply because the other was packed. Then went back the next night early for the location on Calle Almireceros. Both are excellent. Especially recommended are the assorted cheese or meat plates.

Bar Casa Julio

Calle Hermosa (Plaza Nueva)
A tiny place just off of Calle Elvira, we especially enjoyed the boquerones, little fried fish which are simply excellent when prepared correctly.

Bar Oliver

Plaza de la Pescadería 12
I highly recommend for tapas, although you must get there early. It's in a nice plaza a few blocks from the Cathedral including a small number of standing only tables outside. There's more room inside, but it fills up quick.


Plaza de la Pescadería 14 - Web
Another place which fills up quick. Just next door to Bar Oliver with a very long bar and perhaps a little more space then it's neighbor Bar Oliver, although you'd never know it when it's busy. A variety of tapas come out of the kitchen during the evening, although a few times we were unlucky in what we were served, having just missed the last round of something more delicious looking. There is also a small dining room in the back should you choose to sit down (no tapas of course in the dining room).

El Tabernaculo

Calle Navas
With a name like El Tabernaculo, it is no surprise that the walls are covered with photos of Semana Santa and items from every cofrade (bortherhood) in the city. With a small bar and low ceilings, this bar either seems cramped or cozy, depending on your point of view. Small tapas come with every drink and chage often. I like the edge of the bar closest to the exit where it's easy to catch the bartenders when I want a refill!

Restaurante Corrala del Carbon

Calle Mariana Pineda 8
Just a few steps away from the the recently renovated monument, the Corral del Carbon, this restaurant offers a lot of atmopsphere. In the front, a wonderful tapas bar with stone floors and plenty of memorabilia on the walls. In the back is the dining area in a small and typically decorated patio. I am a fan of just about anything which comes off the grill, but the salads and other starters are exceellent as well.

Restaurante Balcón del Genil

Calle Luxemburgo 32, Huétor Vega (Province of Granada) - Web
For lunch one day we headed to a small town, Huetor Vega, to eat at Restaurante Balcón del Genil. You will need a car and need to look up directions to arrive, as it is perched on a hill just outside the pueblo. The restaurant has seating for what seems like a thousand people, with view of the valley below. At one time it was a small place, almost a shack. Now it has several floors a large terrace and a patio when it's warm. Order anything - I do mean anything - and it will be good. We opted for various cuts of solomillo in different sauces. Add to that a few dishes to start, dessert and a shot of orujo and we left very satisfied.

Los Italianos (ice cream)

Gran Vía 4
Los Italianos is to Granada what Rayas is to Seville. If you know neither then this last sentence might was well have been in Chinese. Like any good ice cream place in Spain, this one is a seasonal operation and open in the warm weather months, when you will often find the place to be packed. This is the best ice cream in Granada and while it's best if eaten when served you can also take it home.

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