The Madrilenian scavenger hunt for tapas and beer - Madrid's Tapapiés

From Amsterdam to Madrid, newbie Marieke takes us on a Madrilenian scavenger hunt for traditional quality food.

Published by Marieke on 29/10/2015

The past month I have been reshaping myself from an Amsterdam local into a Madrid one. Four weeks I have wandered this city, street by street; indulging myself in every aspect of Spanish culture this city offers. And when talking about Spanish culture, there is one event that cannot be missed…..

In the old, former Jewish neighborhood Lavapies (literally ‘wash feet’, coming from the Jewish tradition of washing feet before entering the Synagogue), this festivity arises every year from the 15th till the 25th of October. The uphill-downhill old town setting offers the perfect location for this Spanish food palooza. The concept? Tapas, tapas, tapas… As far as the eye can see. 

As soon as you leave the metro and reach street level the hum and buzz of the Spanish night hits you - in the best way possible. Local bands have adopted the streets as their stage, while the Spanish gather, pretending it’s still a mid summers night. Even the downpour of autumn rain does not seem to create a sense of haste. Rain or no rain, the Spanish night culture shall prevail and on the streets we shall sit. 

The moment you have acclimatized to the dimly lit atmosphere and the crowd, start the quest for the Tapapiés booklet. It seems to be a mystery where these can be found, but somehow everybody has one. A quick snatch from an unwary table keeps a healthy circulation of the Tapapiés booklet circuit. 

The booklet shall be your bible for the next few hours; it offers a map that guides you and your empty stomach through the abundance of tapas bars. With the booklet held tightly in your hand, you set off into the crowd. 

What happens now is best described as a food scavenger hunt. Every bar has their own speciality, which they show off on the facade of the bar. Found one that makes your mouth water? Head on in and order a single tapa for 1,50 or one accompanied by a small beer (caña) for 2,50.  

The food catalogue offers an overview of the most thought through, mouth watering, fusion and contemporary tapas you can imagine and where they can be found on the map.  There are to ways to go: have an easy stroll and walk in where ever you see an opportunity to order (Yes. Tapapiés is good, so good that the whole Spanish capital seems to gather in one neighborhood), or plan out a mapped out tapas journey. 

You may find that some tapas are more commendable than others…. most of the one-bite snacks on offer leave you desperate for more, less can be said for the cheese ice-cream that gave quite the opposite effect. 

So don’t deprive yourself any longer, get involved in this unmissable Spanish scavenger hunt for delicious delicacies and free-flowing beer. You may find yourself staggering home as opposed to walking. But ultimately, it’s a night that definitely deserves a sequel.

Thank you Marta for the beautiful pictures of a fun night out!


- Marieke -

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