We are quite sure that you have heard about the classic and popular Spanish dish of tapas. A tapa is much more than just a way of serving food, it has its own place in the history of Spain, in our culture, and it has grown into something which characterizes this country all around the world.
Tapas represent Spanish customs and culture — a way of eating, and above all, a way of living.
Spain loves its marvelous tapas, and so do we. That is the reason why we have created this tapas guide for you to come and enjoy the best tapas in Gran Canaria and the best bars and restaurants where you can find them.
This way, we want to help you to decide what to do on your next visit to Gran Canaria!
What are tapas?
Tapas are generally small Spanish savory dishes typically served with your drink at bars or restaurants.
There is a lot of misunderstanding about what exactly tapas mean. A "tapa" is defined as an appetizer or snack in Spanish cuisine, and people think that it is always translated into a small portion of any kind of Spanish cuisine. But most of the people are wrong.
If you are really wondering what tapas are, you should know that they are a lifestyle. Going out to eat tapas is one of the most popular activities in Spain. It's generally understood that a “tapa” is small, but some of them could make a full meal. If not, you just have to combine a couple of tapas and that will be enough.
Tapas may be cold or hot. In some bars and restaurants in Spain, tapas have evolved into a more sophisticated cuisine.
Typical tapas in Gran Canaria
We want you to find out about the best typical tapas in Gran Canaria in case you want to try them, but we are sure you do. So, these are some of the delights you will find and the ones we recommend in Gran Canaria:
Papas arrugadas andmojo. This Canary Islands specialty is frequently served with meat and fish, but it is as well served as tapas. Papas arrugadas are wrinkled potatoes boiled in very salty water, drained and tossed in sea salt.
They fit perfectly with mojo rojo (a red spicy sauce) and mojo verde (a savory green sauce made with either coriander or parsley).
Pimientos de padrón. These are the fun guys of Spanish tapas. Pimientos de padrón are a very special variety of peppers which are fried in olive oil and sprinkled with coarse sea salt. Their name comes from the Galician town of Padrón, but most of these peppers are grown locally in different islands of the Canaries. But there is a secret.
What makes pimientos de Padrón rise above a simple dish of fried peppers is that some of them are terribly spicy, which adds a certain element of suspense while eating them.
Churros de pescado. If you visit the Canary Islands and you don't want to be considered a bad tourist by seeking out a fish and chips dish, you should look out for a traditional restaurant that serves churros de pescado. They are basically fish goujons coated in batter.
Churros de pescado are often served with alioli (garlic mayonnaise), which is an accompaniment that ramps up the flavour factor even more.
Croquetas caseras (homemade croquetas). This is another tapasdish for fried food fans, due to croquetas are homemade crispy breadcrumb coated balls that can be filled with almost anything. The most popular croquetas are the ham ones, but also those filled with white fish mixed with béchamel sauce.
But there are other ingredients like chicken, tuna or spinach that can also turn up at the filling. Often croquetas taste quite similar regardless of the filling if they are overpowered by too much béchamel sauce.
This is why it is important to look for homemade croquetas.
If they are homemade, they are definitely more likely to have a better balance of ingredients. One thing is for sure, they are delicious!
Chopitos. These tiny fried squids are delicious and wonderful as tapa. Chopitos are ideal for those people who think that squids are rubbery. They are too small to be nothing but crispy. Moreover, it is a tapa with a deliciously salty seafood taste. And if you want more flavor, you can squeeze some lemon juice over them and eat them. We can just say, enjoy your meal!
Escaldón de gofio. This is that kind of tapa that you can just love it or hate it. There is no average point! Gofio, which is basically toasted grain flour, is considered a "superfood" because it is full of vitamins, nutrients and many other positive effects on our health.
It was eaten by the Guanche, who were the original inhabitants of the Canary Islands. In essence, escaldón is gofio mixed with a stock that is usually, but not always, fish based.
Sometimes it comes with huge onion wedges for scooping it up. You will have to try it to decide if you love it or you hate it!
Carne fiesta. This tapa will make your nose twitching curiously for sure. Carne fiesta is a spicy mix of cubes of pork marinated in garlic, oregano, thyme, salt, spicy peppers, paprika, wine vinegar and maybe even white wine.
Most of the times, they are accompanied by fries. When the blend is added to a frying pan and the aroma is let loose, you feel something inside.
This is an extremely good tapas dish that tastes even better if you enjoy it with a glass of the country wine. There are no words enough to describe it, don't you want to live this amazing tasting experience?
Ensaladilla rusa. If a Canarian restaurant serves tapas, undoubtedly it serves ensaladilla rusa. It is one of those tapas dishes that is always on the counter of traditional bars in Gran Canaria. But it is seldom prepared the same way, so it doesn't really taste the same at different bars and restaurants.
The essential ingredients that cannot be missing are always potato, tuna, carrots, peas, and mayonnaise.
But every chef tends to do his own thing. It is also very common to find boiled eggs, olives and peppers regularly showing up in the mix in this tapa. Don't doubt about trying it!
Tenerife cheese. The last tapas choice is a simple plate of local cheese. Tenerife cheese is exceptionally good, it was chosen as the best cheese in the world at the World Cheese Awards a few years ago. Look out for ahumado (smoked) coated with paprika or gofio or any semicurado (semi-mature). The curado (mature) is probably best left for true cheese lovers as only true love can be so strong to stand their flavors.
So, if you are a cheese lover, don't doubt about trying this tapa!
8 places to eat tapas in Gran Canaria
In order to help you to discover the amazing world of tapas, we have put together a guide to our favorite Gran Canaria tapas bars. It doesn't matter if you’re visiting the north, south, east, west, or, indeed, the center of the island - we will show you where to yummy down on tapas. Where will be your favorite Gran Canaria tapas bars?
This place is thought for tapas and wine lovers. The Tasca Galileo is a must stop during your visit in Las Palmas. It is a restaurant located in Playa de las Canteras, at the north of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. It is a small but very cozy establishment with an amazing variety of creative tapas, accompanied by splendid local wines. And for dessert, you cannot miss the “Polvito Uruguayo”, one of the best things ever! Enjoy!
Mestizo Tasca is located in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. It is, as its name suggests, a mixture of different ethnic groups and their culinary customs that give rise to an assorted menu of different flavors. Here you will find the best of Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Argentinian and Mediterranean food and, of course, amazing tapas. But this is probably not the right place to go if you are used to McDonald's or that kind of fast food restaurants. So, if you want to try new experiences and vibrant flavors, this is the perfect place for you!
Allende Triana is a restaurant located at Triana street in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. It is near San Telmo Park. This establishment is the confirmation of our concept of quality food at a good price. Allende Triana aims to feed not only the body but the soul of its diners.
This restaurant opened its doors for the first time in December 2010. Taking advantage that it is located in the commercial area of Triana, it invites local workers, tourists and shopping lovers in general, to make a stop along the way to enjoy a casual and cozy atmosphere.
So, if you decide to have a walk along Triana, remember to try this place and its characteristic dishes and tapasto share.
La Travesía de Triana
La Travesía de Triana is a restaurant which was opened in November 2014. It is located in the well-known and acclimated passage of the Lagunetas, in the area of Triana, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. Here we find this small typical Spanish bar — it is simple, a nice place to have good tapas, and it also has a big board on the wall with the menu written, where you can choose from a wide variety of traditional and simple dishes and tapas.
About the food, this is not a place where you will find dishes from other countries, sophisticated tapas, or colorful presentations. Nonetheless, it is still a nice place to enjoy a good fresh beer, wines at a good price, and tasty, traditional homemade food.
If you are walking around Triana it is a good option to quench your thirst and your hunger while you enjoy with your family or your friends.
La Vegueta de Colón
La Vegueta de Colón is a Spanish bar and restaurant located in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, not so far from the well-known Museo Canario. If we have to point out something about this place is that this is a bar specialized in preparing and creating mojitos.
Food is also amazing at this restaurant, and its tapas are delicious. If you try La Vegueta de Colón, then it would probably turn to be your favorite place to enjoy your mojito due to its cozy, cheerful and fun atmosphere, and of course, its marvelous mojitos.
Taberna de Don Manué
The Taberna de Don Manué is located at the north of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. If you are planning to visit Santa Catalina Park, which is very close to this restaurant, you should know that it takes a lot of time and efforts.
So, if you feel hungry afterward, go to the Taberna de Don Manué for a tasty meal and restore your energy levels. Mediterranean and Spanish cuisines are the main characters in here. Many guests come to enjoy its amazing tapas, like ensaladilla rusa or croquettes.
La Taberna de Don Manué also offers delicious wine among its wide variety of drinks.
The staff is said to be terrific here. The fabulous service demonstrates a high level of quality at this place. Prices are in the average of restaurants of Las Palmas. The ambiance is lovely, cozy and very nice. If you are still wondering why it is so good, you should come and discover it by yourself!
La Taberna del Monje
La Taberna de El Monje is a restaurant located in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, quite near the Museo Diocesano de Arte Sacro. Do you know what that means? Of course, you do. If you are planning a visit to this museum, you must have a meal at this restaurant.
La Taberna de El Monje offers you its delicious tapas, its mouth-watering pies, and its fresh fish. You really have to order the cheesecake because it is amazingly appetizing. It is a must while visiting this place to taste delicious lager or good wine.
Cortado is great too, so you also have to try it.
The terrific staff shows a high level of quality at this spot. The fine service is something these restaurateurs care about. The prices here are not expensive, and most of the time, this restaurant provides you with a pretty and cozy ambiance. Come and visit La Taberna de El Monje, and don't forget to try the cheesecake!
Tasca 7 Viejas
To complete and end up the tour, we will visit the Tasca 7 viejas. This bar is located at Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, not so far from Saint Ana Cathedral. It is the perfect spot to have a great and cheap meal. Its food and its tapas are terrific, and they have a wide variety of beers and wines too.
The staff is very friendly and polite, and they always try to help you just in case you need to translate the menu. There is not much more to say about this cozy place - you must enjoy Tasca 7 viejas by yourself!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our post about tapas in Gran Canaria. So, if you want to find the best accommodations on the whole island do not hesitate to contact us through our website! We will help you to choose the best option.