Losing My Virginity … To Tapas.

Liar, liar, pants on fire.

I’ve actually eaten tapas before but … in Toronto and Berlin.

Does that really count? In my eyes, not really. Not at all.

No matter how much you’d like to convince yourself, nothing is ever better than than the real thing. To truly experience regional cuisine at it’s very best, you need to go to the source. Food is just one of my many motivations to travel.

So in order to lose my “tapas virginity”, I needed to head to Spain. Along came September and my birthday so I made my way to Barcelona. I was looking forward to dining on internationally renowned Spanish cuisine and sipping glass after glass of Sangria.

Thanks to suggestions from awesome people on Facebook and Twitter, I decided that my first tapas outing would be to Tapas 24.

When I arrived, the place was jammed packed and the hostess informed me that a wait for a table may be up to an hour. I shyly admitted that I was by myself. Ignoring the usual look of surprise, she said “Lucky you, we have a spot at the bar.

I’ve been traveling solo long enough not to bothered by that look anymore. One of these days, I’ll write an instructional post about how to dine alone!

Settling in, my first order of business was to order a glass of sangria and decide what I was going to eat. To my delight, the menu items were written on this cute little chalk board.

Since my comprehension of the Spanish language doesn’t extend much beyond the basics (like hola and hasta mañana) to the slightly more sophisticated (una cerveza, por favor), I required the help of my waiter in translating the details of the menu.

What did I end up ordering? A strange combination of food to say in the least. But if you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you’re already aware that I’m weird.My only vegetarian dish (fourth item listed on the above menu) was aubergines dipped in honey and lemon. Absolutely freaking delicious!

Then I had some Korean chicken wings. I’m not sure how this qualifies as a tapas item but it’d been a long time since I’d had either Koren food or chicken wings. Awesome was the fact that the bones had already been removed. I could eat chicken wings like a lady, using my knife and fork. The wings were disappointing though, as I expected them to be much spicier.

Lastly was deep fried rabbit. Yep, I went there. You do know I’ve ate horse meat before right? Gnawing on piece after piece of rabbit wasn’t easy. Unlike the chicken wings, there was no way to be dainty or elegant. I was a trooper and made it through, much like as if I were eating a messy döner kebab in front of guy! I’m not afraid to get a little messy for the sake of food. The rabbit was also bland, saved only by the slightly more tasty dipping sauce.

For the amount of money I paid to eat there, the food should have tasted much much better. If anything, I now have another excuse to return to Spain in order to make-up for this bad first time encounter with tapas. I should have known better right? The first time is never good.

Founder of cherylhoward.com. Canadian in Berlin. Frequent traveller now at 43 countries and counting.


  1. I find tapas restaurants to be really hit or miss. As is tapas in general in Spain. It’s always fresh but I don’t always like the way it’s prepared.

  2. Ahh the look you get when you say table for one… is killer lol!!! It does make things easier though….

    Im glad you got to finally eat tapas in Spain… ah they are so good & come in many shapes and forms!!!

  3. @Jaime – True, but definitely gets easier after a while. And I snagged that table.

    I need to return to Spain. Hoping Madrid next time.

  4. I’ll be traveling alone, as is my M.O., and if I wants the phoode, I’m gonna go git the food, all funny looks be damned. 🙂

    Cheryl, I’m sorry that the experience in Barca wasn’t up to par. However, it is possible to have a good first experience.

    I’m completely biased, because I broke bread in Granada in southern Spain. It was a relatively simple introduction, but I hadn’t “simple” food taste that delicious in a very long time.

    In Madrid, I had a friend take me on a “tapas tour” which was excellent, because not only I was able to try out a specialty in every joint, we ended up at a mid-sized place and we had our fill of different tapas not found anywhere else.

  5. @fotoeins – thanks for the comment. I’m long over that look and I know they think I’m weird, but I dine alone in romantic or popular places nonetheless. I’m all about the food. And it gives you a chance to people watch!

    Glad you had a better experience. Hopefully, my next visit to Spain will be a better one. 🙂

  6. I love tapas in Spain. Particularly the pintxos in the Basque region. Glad you got to experience it finally. And, congratulations – now that you’ve had it, you’ll keep craving it, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

  7. @Sherry – thanks! Glad I finally got to try it as well … just wish it had been better. So for now, no cravings. 🙂

  8. @Stephanie – Well, I aim to please and am glad I was able to make you laugh! Ha ha.

  9. Your last line made me burst out loud. I can’t believe they weren’t good. I’ve had good tapas in Germany and in Canada as well, so would have thought they would have been amazing in Spain.

  10. @Laurel – Ha ha. Glad you got a lunch time giggle. 😀

    You should’ve seen some of the weird tapas I’ve eaten in Berlin and Dresden! Really really strange. I hope to visit Madrid on my next visit and mayyybbbe, just maybe it might taste better.

  11. Well, at least all of the pictures make them look really tasty? I’m off to Spain in January and I plan to make the trip tapas-tastic….the only ones I’ve had before were in Dresden, so it’s time for the real deal!

  12. @Jackie – I had tapas at a resto in Dresden as well! Maybe we were at the same place? 🙂

    The aubergines were super good and the remaining dishes were OK! Hope you have a fun time in Spain, good tapas or not. 🙂

  13. Ha ha, Love this post! Tapas really make the world go round – at least make my stomach super happy! Glad you lost your virginity – they are addicting!

  14. @Jade – thank you! It was a fun post to write … I was giggling when I clicked on the Publish button. I’m hoping my second time will be better. It has to be … just has to!

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