At this point in your wine drinking career, you probably know what tapas are. These delicious, shareable snacks are killer any time of year for lunch, dinner, or a light happy hour, especially when paired alongside a glass of crisp white wine (we’re thinking Verdejo). In Spain – where tapas were created – a tradition known as the tapas crawl exists, and we’re obsessed with it.
The Tapas Crawl began in San Sebastian, located in the Basque region, which is famous for its Pinxtos, or small bites, and the locals have practically made a sport out of this lively activity. The Spanish make full meals out of tapas crawling, grabbing delicious savory bites paired with refreshing glasses of wine as they hop from one food and wine purveyor to the next. Today, tapas crawls are on offer in many places beyond Basque country, with most of Spain taking part in the beloved pastime. You can, too.
While we may not have designated streets (or salty Mediterranean air) to completely recreate the experience, thanks to public transportation and taxis we’ve created our own versions in six of our favorite U.S. cities. So come hungry, thirsty, and ready to add a little more Spanish flare to your life. Pair your tapas alongside a glass of Spanish Rueda Verdejo to drink like locals do!
Casa Mono – This Michelin starred spot set in the cozy Gramercy Park neighborhood comes from a team more famous for Italian food than Spanish, but trust us, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich know their way around tapas. Be sure to check out the extensive jamon and cheese selection.
Boqueria – After Casa Mono, make your way over to Chelsea for churros, boquerones, and all of your other classic favorites. With multiple locations in the city, you could even visit twice.
Sangria 46 – Head to the theater district for an extensive list of meat, seafood, and vegetarian options. We like to grab a seat outdoors on warm-weather days. Nothing beats patio sipping.
Adella – From Sangria 46 you’re a short walk to Adella, a farm-to-table tapas purveyor hidden away in Hell’s Kitchen. Don’t miss the Figs in a Blanket — small, Serrano ham-wrapped figs that are the perfect combination of sweet and salty.
La Fonda del Sol – End the night by upgrading your tapas in this lounge-style setting in Midtown. It’s a longstanding NYC staple, and by the time you get here, it will have died down from being swamped by all the commuters who hang out here after work before catching their train out of the city.
Dona Habana – Start the night at this colorful Cuban joint with an extensive menu. Yes, you heard that right. Cuban tapas. The surtido de la Habana sampler allows for maximum tasting options, all served on the same plate and perfect with a Rueda Verdejo.
Publico – Move from Dona Habana to this gorgeous garden bar with an insane cocktail list in South Boston. Fire pits and TVs make it a great place to spend a few hours. Grab a nightcap and enjoy the outdoors.
Barcelona Wine Bar – Make your way to Back Bay for this Catalonian wine bar. They have an extensive list of small plates with champinones, smoked sweet potatoes, and jamon and manchego croquettes topping our list of favorites. Open late, in true Spanish style.
Baco Mercat – Start the night in Downtown LA at Josef Centeno’s renowned spot for Spanish fusion cuisine. Don’t miss the Baco sandwich, the signature house specialty.
The Bazaar by Jose Andreas – Then head to Beverly Hills for world-famous flavors from Jose Andres. Jamon, caviar, and sea urchin will definitely add a unique twist to your crawl.
La Paella – After having your fill, hop across the street for tapas, paella, and sangria in a low-key setting. Steamed clams, Torrat, and Pan con Tomate make a deliciously diverse spread.
Manchego – End the night on the beach at this adorable tapas spot in Santa Monica. Mac and cheese, braised beef empanadas, and baby kale salad are some of our faves. What’s better than empanadas on the beach?
This crawl will rely on taxis a good bit, but it’s worth it!
Patagonia Grill and Café – Start at this upscale café with a heavy Argentine influence. Steaks, empanadas, and crab cakes are all great here, but since this is the first stop, just stick to the empanadas.
Costa Brava – Hop in a taxi and head over for Spanish tapas with a French influence. They serve paella, escargot, and everything in between. Who doesn’t love a little duck confit with their jamon iberico? Both go great with a glass of Verdejo.
Ibiza Food and Wine Bar – Hail one more taxi to reach one of our favorite tapas spots in Houston. Known for its small plates and a huge wine list, we recommend the whole roasted cauliflower, fried oysters, and cremini mushroom risotto.
Oporto Fooding House and Wine – If you’re not already stuffed, top off the crawl by walking over to Oporto Fooding House. This Portuguese influenced tapas bar is popular for its piccante pizzette, grilled chorizo, and lulas fritas.
Taxis will be necessary with this crawl, but stick with us — you won’t regret it!
Casa Rubia – Start the night at this Catalan tapas bar by grabbing a glass of Verdejo and digging into the beefsteak tomato-rubbed bread (also known as pan con tomate, a tapas classic). If you’re in the mood for sweets, the Manchego cheesecake is also divine.
Si Tapas – This is the perfect location to spend an hour or two sitting outside and enjoying the bohemian vibe. There is nothing like sipping a nice white wine alfresco, alongside sea scallops in au gratin sauce or marinated baby shark (if you’re feeling bold).
Café Madrid – End the crawl with this staple that has been in business for over 25 years. Lamb skewers, grilled artichoke hearts, and fried anchovy stuffed olives are just the beginning. Move on to fried goat cheese with honey and caramelized onions, and for the adventurous, marinated grilled quail is an option.
Café Iberico – This bustling tapas café near the Magnificent Mile has been around for 25 years, and still draws crowds for it Spanish-style potato salad and empanadas.
Emilio Tapas – Take a short walk over to Emilio Tapas for the perfect combination of traditional and modern tapas, including roasted duck leg and crispy patatas bravas. Soup, salad, and paella also available for those with a bigger appetite.
Salero – Walk off what you’ve already consumed by heading to Salero in the West Loop, known for their modern pintxos. Opt for the tuna tartare and chorizo stuffed quail, both inventive dishes that pair perfectly with Verdejo.
Cruz Blanca – Just a short walk down the street you’ll fine Cruz Blanca, Rick Bayless’ brewery/taqueria hybrid that’s perfect for wine and beer lovers alike. Tlayudas, AKA, Oaxacan tostadas, are a specialty and not to miss.
Vera – Finally, a short walk takes you to Vera, whose laid-back vibe is perfect for ending your day. Crab-stuffed peppers and grilled octopus are at the top of our list. We love the cozy exposed brick interior, too. End the night here with a glass of Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero– we highly recommend it.