Alcalá de Henares’ gastronomy is famous due to its traditional dishes and its classical confectionery. But not everything is tradition in Alcalá nowadays, the city is alive and dynamic city and its inhabitants fancy to live every moment surrounded by his friends and family.
This street culture is perfectly reflected in one of the most famous and popular events that Alcalá’s population daily carries out en masse: Ir de tapas (to go out for tapas).
What does “Ir de tapas” means?
[quote align=”right”] If you do not know Tapas in Alcalá, then you do not know Alcalá or its inhabitants. Ir de tapas in Alcalá is much more than gastronomy, it is a social action, a proper life style. [/quote]
It just takes to go to some of the many city’s bars and restaurants to taste “a Tapa” in company. A Tapa is not more than a little portion of food served with some drink (with or without alcohol), though the most frequent combination is to take it with a beer. The concept is simple, but leads to one of the most important social action of our culture. In our region, it is quite an affair regularly practiced, as frequently as possible: going out from work, Sunday mornings, Friday nights, any festivity… any occasion at all is good to go out in good company to eat some Tapas .
If weather allows and the company is pleasant, Ir de tapas is frequently called Ir de Tapeo (to go out for Tapeo). Basically, it means that you repeat the ritual time and again in different bars of the same area. It is ideal to spend a Saturday evening or Sunday midday, and it can be a good alternative to traditional food.
The etymological origin of the word “Tapa” comes from the old costume of taverns and inns, of covering wine glasses with a portion of bread—with or without a ham slice—in order to avoid flies or mosquitos to get into the glass or to prevent dust to fall inside. Fortunately, the situation has changed…
Nowadays, Tapas are authentic expressions of creativity, small and exquisite bites. In several occasions, the Tapa upstages the drink itself, so it is not a side anymore, but the real star.
Tapas have come to be a true Spanish identity sign and are offered in reception feasts for the highest dignitaries (in the so-called Tapas meeting).
How a tapas bar is supposed to be?
Find a real Tapas bar in Alcalá in the first video showed here (upper right corner). In general terms, it is a nice and casual place, highly informal, as the main aim of that place is to get is to have a nice chat while sharing experiences with your friends. In many of them, you may see an exposition of selected Tapas for you to taste on the counter. In some places you can choose the Tapa you want to eat from a selection list. In others—with lower prices—the waiter simply gives you a standard Tapa chosen by him and served with your drink.
Following, several kinds of Tapas can be appreciated in the Gallery. There are countless types, from the simplest ones to the most refined. Many of them are for free while others, you have to pay for them separately.
Notwithstanding, all of them will achieve that you have a nice time in an animated environment.
Recommended places to go out for Tapas in Alcalá:
- La Taberna de Don Rosendo
- La taberna de Rusty
- Cervecerías Maimónides
- Casas regionales de Alcalá