If you enjoy a drink or two when on holiday and want to save on expensive restaurants or takeaways, yet still enjoy a taste of traditional Spanish cuisine, head for a few of the excellent tapas bars in Alicante. Tapas bars can be found on just about every street corner in the city and there are also a number of tapas restaurants including the popular chains Lizarran and 100 Montaditos that have branches in the city and in most of the large shopping complexes.
Tapas & Pinchos
Maybe you have also heard of pinchos or pintxos, depending on what region of Spain you are in, and have wondered what the difference is? Well, I could write a book on the difference between tapas and pinchos and more than likely get shot for my efforts by a Spaniard who thinks I'm totally wrong, so I will stick to a simple explanation. Tapas are usually small plates of a variety of dishes or snacks served with a fork, and pinchos usually a piece of bread with a meat or cheese topping and toothpick spiked in the middle to use instead of a fork. It really is all about what region of Spain you're in as both varieties in the Andalusian region are referred to as tapas, whereas both varieties in the Basque Country are called pintxos.
With literally hundreds of tapas bars in Alicante, the best way to discover them is to explore on foot, and if you have a drink or two in each you may have covered a couple of city blocks before it's lights out! Before the major influx of tourists to Alicante, practically every bar served a free tapa with your drink, but nowadays many will charge for their tapas. Rule of thumb generally is, if a bar has menu boards outside offering a caña (small drink) and tapa for say 1.50€ you are actually paying for your tapa in that price. Try having a drink in the small nondescript bars that don't advertise tapas and more often you will be served a free tapa with your drink. Below is a list of just a few of the tapas bars in Alicante, many serving main meals as well.
Cervecería Sento Rambla – Cervecería roughly translates to brewery and these type of bars serve traditional tapas and usually speciality or craft beers. Located on Carrer Teniente Coronel Chapuli in the centre of town, the bar/restaurant only seats 12 but the tapas and main meals in this tiny place receive rave reviews and come with a good beer and wine list.
Jacapaca Bar de Tapas – Also with a city centre location on Calle Poeta Quintana, most people in the know head for Jacapaca to enjoy their delicious croquets with a variety of inventive fillings. They serve quality wines to pair with various dishes and also offer vegetarian options.
Tapas Alicante – Centrally located on Calle Felipe Bergé 3, brush up on your Spanish before heading to this gem which is a favourite with the locals, but when you want to try traditional fare, eating where the locals eat is always a wise decision. Try the rich stews, rare strips of beef, langoustines or octopus accompanied by ice cold local beer at reasonable prices.
D'Tablas – Just 2 blocks up from the marina on Calle Rafael Altamira, tapas & cañas is what it's all about in this very popular bar where they offer a great selection of tasty treats served on little wooden blocks, accompanied by small glasses of beer or wine. Arrive early or you may be in for a wait. Their homemade bread and sausages are a delight, and prices superb with a caña costing just 60 cents and tapas for 90 cents.
El Cantó – Another spot favoured by locals and visitors in the know, El Cantó is located on Carrer Alemania, a few blocks up from the port. This is one of the tapas bars in Alicante that has been going for decades, another good sign when looking for traditional tapas. Although they serve a wide range of tapas and main meals, the pinchos are the highlight here with a wonderful variety of tasty bites served on crusty little rolls; Try the garlic prawns too.
Taberna Alioli – Named after the tasty Spanish garlic mayonnaise, Alioli can be found on Calle Miguel Soler and is well known for its excellent wine list, cured hams, sausages and cheeses that have been well aged for that intense flavour.
The vast majority of tapas bars in Alicante will not be found on the internet as they're mainly run by old fashioned Spaniards who have never heard of Google or Facebook so, as I mentioned before, get exploring the little hidden lanes and you will find the best tapas bars in Alicante.