After a bit of exploring on our first day, we headed to Bodega La Bella y La Bestia as we read they had good, ample tapas. Eric had a white wine, then a Mahou beer while I ordered a rose (very full, pretty much a light red) then a rioja. Bagel sandwiches were our first tapas (with fried potato and herbed pasta salad), then a second course of fried sliders (meat was waaaaay overcooked) with more fried potatoes and olives. Overall, generous tapas for a good setting and tasty drinks but next time I would only stay for one round unless we were very hungry.
After a great view of Alhambra from St. Nicolas Square we looked for another tapas place. The beer hall on our list was closed (no posted hours either), so we went to Bar Poë. Eric started with their house white and I had the rioja. We ordered #3 and #6 for first round, two stews that were both very tasty, a chicken peri-peri pork stew and chicken in spicy thai sauce (this one brought some heat!). For round two, we opted for the Porteguese-style salt cod (which I had to myself) and chicken in coconut sauce – both were delicious. For the second round Eric switched to rose and I followed up with another red.
We had breakfast at the hotel restaurant, Bodega Vitola, since they had several tostadas on the menu along with coffee and OJ for a reasonable price. We were fine the first day with a ham and cheese sandwich and pate tostada but they ran out of almost every topping (how can you run out of Nutella for multiple days?) on the next two mornings. Somehow they managed to get us some kind of a jamon tostada (still good) each day, and the fresh-squeezed OJ was great as well as the doble cafe con leche.
After a full day exploring Alhambra, we stopped at Taberna La Tana for a tapas lunch. The place was empty as it was approaching the end of lunch, so we grabbed a table by the door and perused the menu. The bartender didn’t speak much English but we managed to get our orders across with no trouble. Eric had white wine from Granada and I had a rose from Navarro. The first plate of tapas was toasted bread heaped with homemade guacamole — heaven! Also included were two small slices of potato tortilla. We ordered a plate of aged manchego to make sure Eric would have something he liked. We still had plenty of cheese left after finishing our first drink so I ordered a tinto verano, basically red wine mixed with lemon soda. The second tapa came out and it was a very rich tapenade of sorts on more bread. I scoured the menu and finally figured out it was morcilla — blood sausage. I am not one to shy away from strange foods, but everything was so filling that I could still only eat one of the generous portions.
Around 10pm (this is Spain) we went out for dinner. Once again the beer place was closed so we wandered down to Oum Kalsum, a North Africa style tapas place. Eric was tired of wine, so he ordered a limon fanta and I ordered a glass of rose. Like Bar Poe, you selected from a list of tapas, so Eric choose a chicken samosa and I opted for the falafel. Both were good but very small portions. This place was packed with families and friends so it really had more of a local vibe.
After a morning of shopping, we needed some refreshments and grub, so we opted for lunch at La Cueva de 1900 near our hotel. Jamon croquetas for the win, with a local Alhambra beer for Eric. I had a rose and enjoyed the tapas meats that came with it. We also admired the countless hams hanging from the ceiling.
Later that afternoon, we stopped into Rey Fernandos, a pastry place to try a pionono (little apple cake with cinnamon) and churros. The cake was good but it’s a little misleading to show a huge photo of these traditional cakes in the window and then get one on your plate that’s an inch tall. The churros were hard (stale/overcooked) and I had to ask for chocolate sauce. Many people seemed to be getting ice cream and they had a ton of creative flavors for shakes so that’s probably their strength.
Our first ‘tapas’ place of the night was Bodegas Castenada – Eric opted for a lemon fanta while I had a glass of sangria. A plate of salmon, lemon and cream cheese on bread plus olives (of course) came out before our drinks were even ordered which was a bit odd. However, after we ordered a second round and no more food arrived we realized that the first dish was a courtesy and this place was expecting us to order off the menu for additional food. Truly a rarity in Granada for a place calling themselves a tapas bar. Additionally, the waiter service virtually non-existent, so we decided to just pay and leave. It didn’t help that the English menu translations were pretty bad and I clearly ordered a tempranillo for my second glass (even pointing to the photo on the menu) and when the bill came, the tab confirmed he had brought me a tinto. Not recommended. Sidenote: we sat on the alleyway, while the other side of the restaurant seemed much busier, so we may have picked the ‘tourist side’…
Casa Torcuato — The only time on the trip where my meager Spanish did not suffice. One waiter had already taken our order, but another waiter showed up and would not budge it became a silly pantomime act to let him know his co-worker had already been by. Eventually we got it straightened out and we enjoyed a plate of fries with our glasses of wine. I noticed that the second tapas coming out of the kitchen were fried fish and squids, so for Eric’s sake we moved on to a different place! We were lucky to get an outdoor table in the courtyard which had a great atmosphere.
Taberna 22 — We passed by this small place several times on our treks through El Albaicín to the Alhambra overlook and it was always busy, so we figured that was a good sign. We started indoors on stools at the bar, and the friendly servers behind the bar let us know when an outdoor table opened. Their small terrace has a great vantage point on San Gregorio so we enjoyed the people- and dog-watching plus enjoyed the cool evening air. Eric started with a Barbadilla, white wine with moderate acidity, clean finish, good with tortilla. I ordered the Rueda (white) but wound up with the Riberra (red) which wound up being tasty. The first tapa was chickpeas in a tomato/pepper sauce — very good flavor. Eric really wanted a tortilla so we ordered a half portion and it was huge – fluffly and filling. Since it was our last evening in Granada we decided to stay for another round, this time I ordered (and received) the rioja and Eric had the Rueda. The second tapa was a noodle dish with ham, cheese, and olives. Tasty but we were both pretty stuffed at that point.