Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Almería: Spain’s Hidden Tapa Paradise

Like I mentioned in my last post, Road to Almería, I had a great two years living there. I have always known that Spain is famous for its tapas but I had no idea that I was placed in the secret culinary mecca of Spanish Tapas.

Almost every single restaurant in Almería is a tapa restaurant. There during the mid day meal you can order the menu del dia. Which consists of a drink, first course, second course, bread, coffee or dessert for less than 10 euros! Since I am a vegetarian most of the time I was not able to enjoy the menu del dia. I always went for the tapas instead.

So, what makes Almeria’s tapas different from tapas in the rest of Spain? They are technically free! That’s right. Free. You decide what you want to drink (beer, wine, soda, tinto de verano) and your tapa comes free with the drink. The most I ever paid for a tapa there was 2.60. You can go out for a night on the town and have 3 plates of food and 3 drinks and pay less than 10 euros!  Since Almeria is on the coast, it has some of the freshest seafood you will eat in Spain, and everything costs the same.

This is a typical Almerienese tapa called migas, literally crumbs, it is made of bread crumbs that are fried together.
It is usually served with a few small fried fish and a fried pepper, this one was made with ham.
I have a few favorite restaurants there. But my most favorite just happens to be the first place my parents and I went to for lunch on the beach. It is called La Cabaña del Tío Tom (Uncle Tom’s Cabin, why? who knows…) Get there early if you want to be seated right away because there is always a line for both lunch and dinner services.

My favorite! Last time I went to Almeria to visit a friend I went with a guy who was visiting his
girlfriend in Almeria. On the way we were talking about where we wanted to go first when
we arrived....we both said Tio Tom's.
This restaurant is great because it has a massive menu that includes everything from paella, sandwiches, toasts, baked potatoes, meat (even half a chicken!) and lots of seafood. Here, there is something for everyone. And, did I mention, that the tapas are huge? When you can get half a chicken and a beer for 2.50, I think that is the definition of a good deal!

My friend Alaina and me. She is just as much a foodie as I am. She sent me a picture of a tapa she and her boyfriend
had one night....sauteed blood and onions.
My go to tapa here is called El Probe (The taste/sample). It has 1 or 2 fried peppers, french fries, a fried egg, bacon, caramelized onions, bread and ali oli sauce. For me, it is the perfect start to a meal after spending the day on the beach.


So, if you are ever in need of a beach/foodie vacation look no further than Almeria, Spain. You will not be disappointed.

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