croquetas
pincho tortilla

Going out for tapas (ir de tapas) is a typical Spanish habit, comparable with the happy hour consumed in the afternoon, from approximately 18:30 to 20:30 pm, before having dinner; or with brunch, from approximately 10:30 to 12:30 a.m.

Tapas are prepared with local ingredients; in the center of Spain there is a great consumption of meat, for this reason there is meat in many Tapas; in the north and in the south they eat enough fish too, so you can find a lot of Tapas with fish.

The word tapa comes from an old habit of covering (in Spanish tapar), the wine glasses in taverns with a piece of bread or ham, to avoid insects or dust in them.

But it is also common to use the word pincho or pintxo, referring to a slice of bread with one or more ingredients (meat, fish, ham, cheese, omelette …). The name comes from the tradition of holding together the ingredients on the bread with a toothpick. The pincho is traditionally associated with the gastronomy of the Basque Country, but has also spread in the rest of Spain.

Nowadays the variety of tapas is endless, many are accompanied by a slice of bread, and there are some that can be found almost everywhere:

Usually tapas are served in small portions with strong or soft drinks, and they are consumed at a bar or restaurant. The habit is to go out for tapas (ir de tapas), it means consuming a couple of tapas in a bar, being on your own foot and then going to another bar and tasting other tapas.

Sometimes tapas replace dinner, especially on weekends when people have time to spend with friends.