The best tapas bars in Cadiz, Spain

Little plates or snacks served to accompany a drink are called Tapas in Spain. These days, it seems every city around the world has at least one Tapas joint. But, Cadiz specifically lays claim to the invention of Tapas.

Tapas origin story

Of course there’s no way to determine definitively where the idea of Tapa came from, but Cadiz makes a pretty good case.

Patatas Bravas (photo: Brent Petersen)

Cadiz, being on the Atlantic Ocean is a windy place. Sand blows around and a sandy glass of Sherry isn’t appetizing. So, bartenders began placing a slice of cured meat on top of the glass to keep out the sand (and flies). In additional to keeping the drink sand-free, the salty meat made customers thirsty for more Sherry. A win-win!

Sherry (photo: Brent Petersen)

This topping on the glass (Tapa in Spanish) became popular when King Alfonso XIII (1886-1941) was supposedly passing through Cadiz and was served his drink with a slice of Jamon (cured pork) on top of his glass. After that, King Alf, ordered another glass “con la tapa,” or “with the top.”

Where to get Tapas in Cadiz

La Tapería of Columela is one of my fave Tapas spot in Cadiz. They do a twist on Patatas Bravas (roasted potatoes with a spicy sauce) where the potatoes are cut thick like steak fries with the skin left on rather than the traditional dice cut with no skin.

But, the star of the show is the Salmorejo, a galicky tomato soup thickened with bread. They add a dollop of olive oil ice cream that adds a rich and creamy flavor to the already tasty soup. Highly recommended!

Sampling Salmorejo (photo: Karen L. Campopiano)

Restaurante El Faro de Cádiz is a tapas bar and sit-down restaurant taking up an entire block. The sprawling tapas bar is spread out over several rooms that are jammed with hungry patrons. El Faro has an excellent wine list and the potato salad (a local favorite) is made with olive oil (not mayo) and parsley.

Potato salad at El Faro (photo: Brent Petersen)

For a more modern take on Tapas, La Candela has great dishes like the Smoked Eggplant with Goat Cheese. I especially love their cocktails. Listed as a dessert, the Strawberry Mojito Sorbet is served layered in a tall glass with fruit. Delicious!

Mojito Sorbet at La Candela (photo: Brent Petersen)

Bar La Tabernita is an awesome spot in the lively La Viña neighborhood. Family run, La Tabernita is a tiny space, so you’ll get to know your fellow diners! Plus, the food is good and comes out quickly. I like the shredded zucchini and garlic in a white wine sauce that comes on a hidden bed of French fries.

Wine tasting at La Tabernita (photo: Karen L. Campopiano)

Not really a tapas bar, but we can’t leave without dessert, so I highly recommend Le Poeme. They are known for the gelato, which is very good, but I really love their cakes. Delicious!

Cake at Le Poeme (photo: Brent Petersen)

About the Author

Brent Petersen is the Editor-in-Chief of Destination Eat Drink. He currently resides in Setubal, Portugal. Brent has written the novel “Truffle Hunt” (Eckhartz Press) and the short story collection “That Bird.” He’s also written dozens of foodie travel guides to cities around the world on Destination Eat Drink, including in-depth eating and drinking guides in Spain to Madrid, Cordoba, Jerez, and El Puerto de Santa Maria. Brent’s podcast, also called Destination Eat Drink, is available on all major podcasting platforms and is distributed by the Radio Misfits Podcast Network.

Author: Brent