There's something very social about going for tapas and shooting the breeze for a few hours with a cold beer.
Plus, the beauty of tapas is you don't have to decide on any one dish when the waiter asks you for your order. If you're eating with a gang, you're well within your rights to order 10-15 different things off the menu without feeling any guilt.
So here are 12 of our favourite tapas spots in Ireland, consider it your 'Tapas To Do List'...
1. La Bodega
La Bodega on Ranelagh Rd has some serious chops when it comes to the provenance of their chefs. From all over Spain, the restaurant’s three chefs cover tapas styles including Bilbao, Barcelona and Córdoba, meaning their menu is authentic and traditional, with monthly specials from these areas adapted for the availability of ingredients and to the Irish palate. Very tasty times!
South William Street, Dublin
A busy city-centre spot with more of a café- than tapas bar-ambience, Zaragoza’s cuisine is a fusion of contemporary and traditional Spanish. You’ll find plenty of innovative dishes here, and their fish (which comes from Wrights) is super high quality and really delicious.
3. Cava Bodega
Middle Street, Galway
A firm favourite for any Galwegians in the know, Cava has been on the go for over 8 years. You can expect the freshest local produce here, with over 50 regional tapas to choose from on their menu.
A relative newcomer to the tapas scene in Ireland, this spot opened last summer and it has been rammed ever since. Super inventive food combinations on the menu here, including sweet burger and chips on the dessert menu. Get involved!
5. Jacques Restaurant
Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork
This snug little restaurant serves up perfect tapas and Mediterranean sharing plates. They've been in the business for over 30 years so there's no messing around here, just great food at brilliant prices.
6. Las Tapas de Lola
Wexford Street, Dublin
Lola is owned by a half-Spanish, half-Irish duo, who brought their creative tapas recipes from Barcelona. Clean plates of simple but extremely tasty food at extremely reasonable prices. The staff and owners are so friendly too, and really know their stuff: if they recommend something for you, trust them.
7. The Olive Tree
The Mall, Waterford
You'll get serious attention to detail in every single dish at The Olive Tree. Combining local delicacies with some of Spain's best tapas, the menu is as diverse as it is massive. Their 'Tacos Bravas' are the clear winner, however - a taco fries take on patatas bravas topped with manchego cheese. Unbelievable scenes!
Eustace Street, Dublin
This is the perfect late night tapas spot: dark and candlelit – great for long evenings grazing on brilliant tapas. Part of the Port House restaurant group, they have a huge menu, including the style of dishes that gives the restaurant its name: pintxos are a type of tapas from the Basque region, often served on bread.
9. Il Padrino
Cook Street, Cork
Technically an Italian restaurant but they also do some mean Spanish and Mediterranean tapas. Amazing calamari, and a goat's cheese salad that has far more cheese than green bits - always a winner!
10. Las Rada Wine & Tapas Bar
You can expect whopper portions at Las Rada. They've put an Irish spin on some more traditional Spanish tapas dishes for anyone feeling adventurous. Try the scallops with Clonakilty black pudding or the roasted red peppers stuffed with salmon and crab for something a little different.
11. The Market Bar
Fade Street, Dublin
The old building that houses The Market Bar used to be a shoe factory so it is high-ceilinged, bright, and for some reason has walls lined with shoe moulds. It's a huge airy space so perfect for grabbing a few tapas and catching up with old friends.
12. Black Cat
What more could you want than tapas and jazz by the sea? One of Galway's best kept secrets, Black Cat have a wide range of tapas with everything Greek to Mediterranean as well as Irish tapas and a heavy emphasis on seafood. Amazing presentation in this place - the plates look so pretty you almost don't want to eat the stuff, almost.