Tapas Bars in Benidorm
Tourists and visitors to the popular resort town of Benidorm are spoilt with a choice of over 2000 bars to visit including hundreds of Spanish tapas bars. Benidorm is situated on Spain's sun drenched Costa Blanca and was originally a small fishing village. As tourism to the region grew, Benidorm developed into a major tourist resort with high rise hotels and apartment blocks fringing its golden sand beaches. The original cobble paved ‘old town' area of Benidorm is home to the majority of its tapas bars favoured by the local Spanish population and more adventurous tourists.
Tapas & Pinchos
Tapas and pinchos are bite sized portions of various delicious foods served to customers with their drink in Spain's tapas bars and taverns. The word tapa comes from the Spanish verb tapar meaning to cover. So literally translated, a tapa is a cover. This originates from a time when a drink served in a glass was covered with a slice of bread or meat to keep out the fruit flies and dust. The original humble tapa has come a long way over the years and today's modern tapas bars serve a huge variety of freshly cooked local speciality foods served in small terracotta dishes along with a drink. A pincho is basically a slice of crusty bread usually topped with a thin slice of Serrano ham or chorizo sausage. The word pincho is Spanish for spike or tooth pick which is often used to secure the topping to the bread.
Historically, tapas and pinchos were offered to customers in Spanish bars free of charge along with their drinks orders. Bar proprietors purposely made their tapas salty in taste to stimulate their patrons' thirst and so sell more drinks, thus maximising profits. This is still the case in many bars and regions less favoured by the tourists. However, in recent years and especially in areas attracting large numbers of foreign tourists, the trend is for modern Spanish bars to offer a huge selection of mouth watering tapas individually priced.
Benidorm Tapas Bars
Located in the heart of Benidorm old town is Calle Santo Domingo, better known as ‘Tapas Alley'. This entire street is made up of tapas bars offering a true taste of Spanish gastronomy and is popular with both visitors and Spanish residents. For tourists unfamiliar with Spanish cuisine, the tapas bars are an ideal way of sampling several different local dishes in small portions. Groups often order a variety of tapas to share enabling them to taste a variety of regional specialities.
The variety of delicious foods to be found in the bars and restaurants on ‘Tapas Alley' is immense. Shellfish and seafood dishes include prawns, shrimps, clams, muscles, crab, octopus, sardines and various other sea fish all prepared differently, according to the establishment. Meat dishes tend to centre around Spain's famous cured sausages and hams such as chorizo and Serrano as well as tasty chicken and pork specials and delicious homemade meatballs in tangy tomato sauce. A range of tasty Spanish cheeses may also be found including the renowned nutty flavoured mature Manchego cheese. Other popular dishes include potato croquettes dipped in garlic alioli, fried potatoes, tortillas and fresh tomato, oregano and olive oil tostadas.
Some of the most popular and well established tapas bars and restaurants in Benidorm's old town are part of Grupo Aurerra. They own seven eateries in the area, each with its own specialities, decor and ambience:
- La Taperia Aurerra – modern, swish and contemporary specialising in rice dishes. Recent winner of ‘Tapas and Pinchos competition. Located half way along ‘Tapas Alley'.
- Aurerra – established for over 23 years. Offer a huge range of hot and cold tapas and pinchos with some unusual combinations.
- Braseria Aurerra – specialising in wood fire flame grilled BBQ meats and steaks.
- Pizzeria Avanti – specialising in wood fired oven pizza and pastas.
- Bodegon Aurerra – offer a wide range of tapas and pinchos with sliced hams and cheeses.
- Tabernita de Sur – small and intimate, specialising in Andalucian style tapas.
- Sidreria Aurerra – ‘top end' eatery specialising in Basque cuisine.
These are just a few of the quality tapas bars and restaurants to be found in Benidorm. There are hundreds more scattered throughout the charming old town and modern beach front district. Benidorm periodically hosts a ‘tapas tour' which gives tapas bars an opportunity to showcase their speciality dishes. Punters are armed with guide booklets and score cards to sample a variety of the participating bars' tapas along with a cold beer or glass of wine and choose their favourites. This is a great way to get a flavour of what's on offer in some of the town's many Spanish tapas bars at a very reasonable price.