Tapapies, the multicultural tapas route in barrio Lavapies, is my favorite Madrid festivity. The winding streets are even more lively than usual, filled with musical performances and happy crowds of people drinking and eating. Local businesses within the barrio can thrive by making themselves approachable to outsiders while simultaneously deconstructing the rampant misconception that Lavapies is unsafe.
From October 15th -25th the participating bars in Lavapies are serving a botellin of Estrella Damm and a unique tapa representing the cuisines of various countries & the regions of Spain. The abundance of tapa options in the pamphlet can be overwhelming, making it difficult to decide which locations to select. Readers be warned, the portions are quite small and the bars can get incredibly crowded so it is advised that you navigate this path strategically.
After two nights of field research, I have compiled a list of noteworthy samples worthy for your barhopping endeavors. This is an ongoing investigation and any leads from readers would be appreciated!
1. #37 La Amparito – C/ Amparo 88
The Berenjena Ay! Amparo, a tapa consisting of mozzarella cheese wrapped in thinly sliced aubergine with a pesto sauce. As the first tapa that I managed to sample, it set the expectations for the bars to follow very high. This cozy bar is one that I would return to under regular circumstances because I enjoyed their selection of swing music.
2. #44 La Fantastica de Lavapies C/Embajadores 42
Tartar con Helado de Wasabi is exactly what it translates to in English, an ambitious combination of little bits of smoked salmon and wasabi ice cream.
3. #91 Tribuexete – C/ Tribulete 23
I’ve written about Tribuexete in a previous post, the location that served the winning tapa during last year’s festivities. I applaud their gastronomic sponge-like tapa Maite this year for it’s presentation, texture and combination of flavors. The origin of this tapa is Donostia, San Sebastian. I frequent this establishment and it fuels my longing to visit the Basque Country myself some day.
4. #74 Portomarin- C/Valencia 4 (Next to the Carrefour)
This location’s tapa, Vini-Cola, was a sizeable portion of bull’s tail with bordelaise sauce.
5. #12 Bierzo Alto-C/Sombrereria, 6
A small cup of shrimp and crab chowder was served at this location.
Inside Mercado de San Fernando
The noteworthy samples below can be found at the unnumbered locations in Mercado San Fernando, also written about in a previous post. The Mercado is an excellent location to enjoy Tapapies due to the numerous stalls serving tapas within close proximity.
Bekri Meze, representing Greek cuisine, consisted of little bits of pork loin with rice, feta cheese and a white wine tomato sauce.
7. El Saja
Agasaja – two small crackers with homemade jams & Picón Bejes-Tresviso, a blue cheese typical of Cantabria.
Cerviche Nikkei – the Japanese stall in the Mercado served a Ceviche of salmon & whitefish.