Granada, Spain: The Land of Cheap Beer and Free Food

And then there were seven.

John, his mom and dad, his grandmother, his sister, her husband, and me.
Just look at the look on his face. Tapas really are exciting. Sukie seems dubious, Eric is simply disinterested.
Show of hands: How many of you actually like the idea of being the outsider prancing around a foreign country with most of your significant other's family?

That's why you'll understand how lucky I am to be able to say it was a beautiful time.

Beautiful because of the personalities involved. Beautiful because of the scenery. Beautiful because of the food.
A mixed plate of Iberican meats: serrano ham, salchichón, chorizo, and lomo.
An assortment platter of tapas with a cheese and pate selection and paella in the background.
I'd been to Spain before. How did I forget how amazing its food could be?

Granted, three of the six months I'd spent in Spain were studying in Valencia during my earliest of 20s where I had been at the mercy of cafeteria food so oil-soaked even South Georgia would balk.

And the other three months I was a lonesome girl in Barcelona, working 40 hours a week for about $900 a month. Heyyyy canned tuna. So perhaps I didn't get a proper introduction to real Spanish food.

And that's where Granada comes in.
Did somebody say Granada? Fancy that, here's a picture of the place. The snow-capped mountains in the distance? Sierra Nevada. BAM.
In the hallowed town of Granada, order a caña of beer (about eight ounces) for around one dollar and you'll receive free food. That's right.
A traditional tapa: fava beans and serrano ham. America, get yoself on the fava train, fast.
Despite the poor picture quality, this creamy cheese stuff over smoked salmon was out of this world good.
Free. Food. And not just with cañas, a glass of wine will work too. Sometimes, but not often, they'll even reward you with a tapa if you order a liquor drink (I know, the logic doesn't quite follow that you get less when you spend more on a drink...).

These are those "tapas" things you've heard of. But I'm not talking about the expensive yet minuscule dishes you receive at some chic downtown bar that's trying to imitate the tapas thing. I'm talking about authentic Spanish tapas. Which America just doesn't get.

Razor clams. Perhaps our ultimate favorite tapa, no matter how...peculiar...they might look. Since I was a bit too busy eating to take a picture, I must thank an unknown person from for their picture.
It may be a couple slices of cured chorizo on toast, perhaps a piece of cheese. Maybe simple potato chips or french fries.
Patatas bravas: transaltion, fried potato wedges with a spicyish sauce. Something like a toned-down Frank's.
Miguel's Bar, where two huge fresh sardines per every caña  were served doused in EVOO & salt
But it also might be stuffed squid, a heaping portion of fresh paella, some plump ham and cheese croquettes, a pile of baby eels with sauteed garlic, or maybe a beef slider.
I must thank ScottyBoy over at the Egullet Forums for this wonderful picture of baby eels over smoked salmon (left) and anchovy and tomato on toast, two tapas similar to what we encountered.
It's a one-to-two person appetizer, and it's free. Well, as long as you pay for an unimaginably cheap beer (as in less than $1). So it's as good as free.
Traditional ham and cheese croquettes and miniature empanadas
Some sort of potato-y salad and roasted red pepper atop a baguette slice. Mayo-based salads=popular tapa :/
In my mind, Granada is the land of cañas y tapas. It's the end-all-be-all. It is the first place where I experienced this beautiful phenomenon, and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

Nonetheless, it seems that you can find similar bars in all of Spain, especially in the south, so keep your eyes peeled and your belly hungry. Beer and free food  take no prisoners.
Loads of tapa varieties served over slices of bread.
Spanish tortilla (which is more like a thick omelette-meets-fritatta) and some mayonaisse-y salad over bread. Health!
We only have about three days to spend in this amazing town of free-ish food, beautiful scenery, and cheap beers, so I can only hope that Ronda and Córdoba can measure up (although something tells me that this won't be much of a problem)...
Overlooking one of Granada's old mosque-turned-cathedrals

Up next, we learn why nun's buns are the best buns...

Stay tuned!


  1. Best trip, and yes, I am going on the record for posterity here -- best dinner ever! And absolutely best companions on the road....And let me just add, I'm looking at razor clams in Duxbury Bay with a different eye...
    love, Sukie

  2. Just "beer" ...? I've always thought of tapas as great beer food but the beer has to be interesting also in order to be a compelling match.

    Gypsy you've exposed yourself as the beer slut you are, "using" the noble barley pop just to get the free food!!

  3. muahahaha, I've been ousted for who I really am!

    Look, I can't demand good beer when I'm hungry. When I want good beer, I'll focus on that and that alone (unless of course I have an excellent piece of cheese or something of that ilk to pair with it).

    So yes, some of the beers just tasted like urine & soda water. Spain isn't exactly caught up to American craft beer, and Heaven forbid you find anything artisan on tap down here. So for now, it is sadly only the food that has been compelling. Perhaps we'll find better in big cities...(by the way, I recently tried Grimbergen Optimo Bruno and it was aaaamazing)

  4. I find your blog looking for something...and I should to write you. I like very much your post about Granada, my Universitycity. So, have a nice days in Andalusien.


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    Lloret del mar villas

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