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Where to Get the Best Tapas in Zaragoza Spain (From a Local)

Updated: Apr 1

I've owned a home in the historic center of Zaragoza since 2021, and I can't believe I'm only just now sitting down to tell the world my little secret...Zaragoza is a hidden treasure trove of authentic Spanish tapas, historical buildings from the Moors to the Romans, and a bustling alley of tapas that even San Sebastian can't top. Discover the secret of street food in Zaragoza, from the famous El Tubo tapas alley to the charming pedestrian streets of Don Jaime and Calle Alfonso.


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First, I'm going to skip the introduction to Zaragoza, because if you're already reading about what to eat there, then you know of its famous Pilar towering over the historic central square, you're aware that the current governmental seat of Aragon is housed at the magnificent Aljaferia palace, and you've probably read a thing or two about my first hand knowledge on the city in International Living Magazine.


So, let's get down to business. What to eat, where to eat, and how to eat your tapas like a Spaniard! Vamos!



How Tapas in Zaragoza Work


It's important to understand the Spanish way of going out for tapas. Yes, mostly everyone is aware that tapas are small plates, but especially in Zaragoza, there is a "way" to do a tapas night, and things to consider.


Time of Day

Tapas in Zaragoza are served from 1-4pm and from 8pm-Midnight (typically, some are open later). This allows for a casual boozy-snacky lunch or an after work bite and a drink.


Meal time in Zaragoza follows these same hours, peppering in morning almuerzo and so on. All they do is snack and eat, really!


Lunch time is the big meal, so it is typical to do your tapas roaming in the evening.





Ordering and Paying


You know in the movies when the protagonist enters a bar, puts up two fingers and says, "Two Beers"? It's like that in Spain. You don't say, "two Coronas" or specify a brand, you just ask for beer or wine.


So, in some places you can approach a table and get service, but others you order from the bar. Ask for your non-branded drink of choice and specify the size, if you are ordering a beer.


This is important! In El Tubo, the famous tapas alley in Zaragoza, a caña is the smaller beer you get with your food order. There's also a Copa, which is larger.

Traditionally you'll order a caña and a montadito (food on bread) or tapa for a fixed cost of only a euro or two.


If you are ordering wine, ask simply for vino blanco (white wine) or vino tinto (red wine).


Pay as you go, unless they tell you otherwise.


If you want to be like a Spaniard, choose someone to be the captain of the evening. That person collects funds from everyone at the top of the night and pays the bills at each place. The remaining funds are divided up evenly at the night's end.


This is a pretty fair and common way to track things throughout the evening, since for the most part all dishes are shared and everyone drinks at the same pace - one drink for one establishment, or, one drink per one shared plate.




busy alley in spain


Where to Find the Best Tapas in Zaragoza


Choosing Your Locations


In Zaragoza, there are several hubs for tapas, each offering a different type of experience.


Plaza Santa Marta

Where I live, this central spot is often challenged against El Tubo as having the best tapas in Zaragoza. Known especially to locals, there are several residential alleys dotted with tapas bars all leading to a small central plaza full of outside seating. In the plaza you'll find a quieter, slower pace for tapas versus the popular El Tubo alley.


You'll find numerous places opening out onto the plaza offering mostly tapas, but some offer full service meals as well.



El Tubo Zaragoza


The spot listed on every 18-35 year old's Contiki itinerary, the bucket list must for all bussed in visitors seeing Zaragoza for the day, and the absolute starting point to showing my friends what Spain is all about - El Tubo.


The famous tapas alley is fairly compact, so it's easy to find and navigate. It's not so small, however, that you could pull off a complete stop-by-stop pub crawl, so you have to be choosy about where you end up.


El Tubo is the lively area for standing room only type of nights. Expect musicians on occasion in the street, boisterous people and unfortunately, a good bit of smokers in the outside corridor. Don't let that deter you though!


musicians play in an alley in spain


Other Places for Tapas in Zaragoza

Along Don Jaime and throughout side streets between the pedestrian zones of Calle Alfonso and Don Jaime you can find one-off establishments.



Let's dive into what to get where next.




Must-Try Tapas Dishes in Zaragoza (And Where to Get the Best)


Beside location and vibe you are also choosing based on the food offered.


Each tapas bar offers different items that they are known for. You may find only seafood, or only cheese. This makes your stroll to different spots varied and enjoyable to all palates.


Keep in mind that tapas are light bites or shareable plates. Typically a montadito is served alongside a drink and you can order several at a time. Montadito are essentially baguette slices with some kind of something on top. It could be anchovies or peppers, or perhaps a tuna spread. Here's some other items to seek out and try.


Migas

A Zaragoza specialty, it's literally bread crumbs with jamon bits and grapes. A must try.