Crawling Through Palamós, Spain, For Tapas.

By Posted in - Spain & Travel Blog on September 5th, 2013

I didn’t get the allure of tapas before setting foot in Spain. Even then, it took a trip to the country’s Costa Brava region for me to fully understand Spain’s tapas culture.

I’d been scorned by costly Americanized tapas menus–not really understanding its draw, just like I don’t get the fascination with Pandora Jewelry. Come to think of it, Pandora tapas charms could be huge this holiday season. And why stop there? Burger King, McDonald’s and Subway could all get in on this action too–foot-long BLT charms anyone? Look, I’m not one to judge. I get into plenty of weird things. Currently, I’m obsessed with a Facebook group dedicated to my childhood mall, which was destroyed for a behemoth Wal-Mart a few years back.

Ah, but I digress–back to the topic at hand: Spanish tapas.

Costa Brava tapas tavern in Palamos, Spain.Our crawl started shortly after sundown in the seaside village of Palamós. The town is revered for its fresh seafood and fish, so I expected to eat well. What I didn’t expect, however, was how much I would enjoy this Spanish tradition, which was born in Andalusian taverns. At that time, sherry drinkers used meat and bread slices to cover their glasses as a way to keep fruit flies away. Joining us on our tour was regional expert Alba Plana of the Costa Brava Tourism Board and a few of her friends and colleagues.

During the evening we visited three Palamós tapas bars–Godard, Tauèrnes Urtau and El Galeo–sampling at one and then moving onto the next; each providing a tasty array of tapas, wine, cerveza and aperitifis. The taverns ranged from narrow cafes to large three sided wooden bars all crammed with tapas. Prices ranged from 1 to 3 euros, hinging on how taverns presented its bite-size cuisine. El Galeó, for example, used wood skewers for its simplest tapas, while larger specialized pieces were placed on different style plates–you eat what you want, when you want, paying at the end of the evening when your empty plates and skewers are added up.

El Galeó was our final stop and the largest of the three taverns. In a lot of ways it reminded of the Irish pubs that fill city spaces and suburban track malls. Flat screens hung behind the bar, pictures filled the walls, and the crowd swayed and smiled as drinks and tapas flowed steadily. If we had just stopped in for a drink, I would have dismissed the tavern as just another feel good bar, but this was no appetizer fueled happy hour at Applebees. With Alba and her friends at the helm, I finally got it; this was my kind of night out–a fairly inexpensive sampling frenzy wrapped up in good conversation and good times.

Seafood egg tapas at Tauèrnes Urtau.
Costa Brava tapas in Palamos, Spain.
Jamón serrano on bread, it doesn’t get any more classic than this.
Costa Brava tapas in  Girona, Spain.
Mmmm… tasty sea urchin.
Sea urchin tapas in Palamos, Spain.

Want to visit some of these places yourself?

Goddard

Av. September 11 91B
17230, Palamos (Girona)
godardpalamos.com/

Tauèrnes Urtau

C / Pagés Ortiz, 49
17230, Palamos (Girona)
www.urtau.com/

El Galeo

Mauri i Vilar, 3-5
17230, Palamós (Girona)
tavernaelgaleo.com/

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(16) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Michael W Travels -

    September 5, 2013 at 5:17 am

    That looks awesome! When I visited Spain years back I wasn’t willing to try anything different. I’d love to go back and do a little tapas tour one of these days!

    • Randy Kalp -

      September 9, 2013 at 8:05 am

      Over the last couple of years I’ve made an effort to be more adventurous with my eating on the road. I think it’s a great way to connect with a local culture, plus it’s a good excuse to have a glass of wine or beer. If you’re ever in Venice, Italy, the Venetians have there own form of tapas called cicheti, which is really tasty too.

  • Andi of My Beautiful Adventures -

    September 5, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Ummmm tapas! My favorite food!!!

    • Randy Kalp -

      September 9, 2013 at 8:11 am

      Well tapas isn’t my favorite food, burritos top that list, it is one of my favorite ways to spend an evening out with friends. I only wish more U.S. bars would adopt Spain’s tapas lifestyle for their nightly events.

  • Rhonda @Laugh Quotes -

    September 5, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    We spent 10 weeks in Palamos last year and loved it. It was our first stop in Spain and where we also learned to enjoy tapas. Great shots. Great memories.

    • Randy Kalp -

      September 9, 2013 at 8:14 am

      Oh wow! That must have been a good time. I really liked the vibe in Palamos and would love to go back for an extended stay.

  • Rebecca -

    September 5, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    tapas- really simple! try as many different awesome and amazing tastes as possible! that is how all dining should be! love it!

    • Randy Kalp -

      September 9, 2013 at 8:15 am

      Yep, I couldn’t agree more! I’m a huge fan of sampling, which is probably one of the reasons I loved our tapas crawl so much.

  • Kenin Bassart -

    September 6, 2013 at 5:09 am

    The American version of Tapas, (like most Americanized things) are usually too big, too expensive, and overdone. When we were in Spain we went out for tapas several times and fell absolutely in love with them. That seafood and egg one looks incredible.

    • Randy Kalp -

      September 9, 2013 at 8:22 am

      Couldn’t agree more! Though, it has been a few years since I had tapas in the states, so I think it’s time I gave it another shot. However, like you said, I just don’t think U.S. bars really understand tapas culture. BTW, the seafood egg tapa tasted as good as it looks in the photo.

  • Colleen Keyes -

    September 6, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    If you don´t want to upset the locals, don´t call jamon serrano prosciutto!! When in Rome, and all that…… 😀

    • Randy Kalp -

      September 9, 2013 at 8:29 am

      Thanks Colleen! I thought I had corrected it but I guess I forgot. Appreciate the reminder.

  • YJ @ thefancyvoyager -

    September 10, 2013 at 4:24 am

    Yum! The sea urchin looks awesome!

  • YJ @ thefancyvoyager -

    September 10, 2013 at 4:25 am

    Yum! The sea urchin looks awesome!

  • Katherina -

    September 10, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    I just returned from a week travel around Costa Brava… and now I regret not stopping for a longer time at Palamós – this looks delicious!

  • Will -

    April 5, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    Never knew that sea urchins made for good eatins … usually I’m scared of them when I go snorkeling!