What do you get when you tapa-hop in Lavapiés, one of the barrios in central Madrid? Tapapiés, of course!
This collaborative effort to drum up business wasn’t a bad trade–for 1 Euro, I was given something to nibble and a chance to check out an area I’d never explored before. A handy map steered us around the neighborhood, pointing out the 31 participating restaurants. The idea was for the tapas to be international; I tried Mexican chile con carne, a Palestinian-inspired tosta, and Basque bacalao at a Lucía-Etxebarria-approved restaurant. Keep reading to discover my fav tapa!
Italian flag bread with pesto, Parmesan, and a….clam
The quality of the tapas was hit or miss. The first afternoon of the ruta, our group was confused by a neon-yellow with a mousse-like texture we couldn’t wrap our tongues around. Later we found out it was corn.
Kebab-ette with veal, prawns, and roasted veggies
A few days later I went out with fellow bloggers Lauren and Shana on a chilly Thursday night. It was my first time to meet Lauren, and the first time I’d seen Shana since June. We chatted over eggplant, papas con mojo, and goat cheese. “Better not take my camera if there’s a chance of rain,” I thought, but later had camera regret. I know the trip was well-documented by those two ladies. You can find Lauren’s thoughts on the night here.
No ham, I swear: Zucchini topped with yogurt and falafel
Megan messaged me on Sunday with the idea of going to Tapapiés one more time. Her argument was a good one–it was the last day, after all. I checked the weather, grabbed my camera, and set off to meet her and Jenny. We checked out some new places, then returned to one restaurant I raved about–La Otra Casa, which offered a crispy doblez de berenjena. Should it surprise you that my favorite tapa would be wrapped in eggplant? Thin slices of aubergine were wrapped around ground beef, fried, and drizzled with oyster sauce. At one Euro a pop, we had no problem repeating the experience one last time.
Luckily, the doblez de berenjena is on the carta year-round!
Conclusion: Though the quality of the house special often fell short of expectations, the experience was still a positive one. It introduced me to new sitios as well as provided an entertaining way to eat out this weekend. Moving from place to place also meant that the place never grew dull, with none of that trying-to-flag-down-the-waiter-for-15-minutes nonsense. I’d recommend this type of ruta to anyone with an adventurous palate, lunch-money to burn, and/or a short attention span.