In our city, the tapas scene is all about playing the field and keeping our options open throughout the night. For those of us afraid of commitments (you know who you are), the perfectly executed "tapas crawl" means loading up on as many plates across as many different locales as possible. Sure you can ask for a table, but we like to stay mobile and make the rounds. That way, it's easier to swoop in and grab the last bite on our teammate's plate.
When we want to get our crawl on, we head to Calle Elvira, where the side streets are jammed with hidden spots. To truly have your mind blown (not to be confused with brains, which we'll get to shortly), check out Babel and try their fried eggplant and honey dish. Of course, one great bar doesn't make a crawl, so we advise loosening your belt a notch and heading down the street to the following spots. Be warned: This is hard work, people.
1. Oleum Gastro Bar, Calle San Anton 81. Looks vs. personality, blondes vs. brunettes – have trouble making decisions? Fear not, all of the tapas are out on display at the bar, so you can basically play “tapas piñata” (i.e. close your eyes and point) and still be a winner.
2. Casa Lopez Correa, Calle Los Molinos 5. Okay, so you’ve already over-eaten, not a big deal. Stop off here for a drink (this place has a great selection of Irish ale and cider from Somerset) and take a few laps around their back room to get your hunger back.
3. Bar la Almaciga, Calle Pedro Antonio Alarcon 69. If you’re reeling from a skewed drink-to-tapas ratio after the last stop, we’re sorry about that. But you can load up on the huge servings here and get a good base for the long night ahead. Bonus: Double your pleasure on Thursday or Friday, when a drink with tapas is only €1.25.
5. Los Diamantes, Calle Navas 26. If you really want to go for a local delicacy, try the brains tapas. Our take: If you truly are what you eat, you might gain some IQ points, right?
6. Ramírez, Avenida Doctor Olóriz 14. Looking for old-school Spanish culture? Check out this bar next to the bullring where matadors come drink away their pain. Go on, just try and keep up with them.
7. La Cueva del Gato, Calle del Cristo de la Yedra 18. With regular live music, make sure to hit up del Gato for a nightcap and an opportunity to shake off the impending food coma.
This is only the tip of the iceberg, and once you're mid-crawl, you never know what other hidden gems await. Sometimes, you just gotta go where the food and drink take you…like, say, toward brains.
Photos courtesy of Flavia Giudice.