What is tapas and how do you order and eat it!
If you have not ventured into a tapas bar in Spain, here is some information, along with a couple of tips, that should help you to get the most out of your Amparian dining experience. (By the way, there are a few photos on this page showing some of the many tapas dishes available at Amparian)
First of all, tapas is a traditional way of getting friends or family together and combining conversation with an informal meal made up of a number of different dishes, dishes that you share.
The basic idea is that, rather than each person ordering separately and then eating from a single plate, the group select a combination of different “small portion” dishes and just pick away at them.
This way everyone gets to try a number of different tapas, mixing flavours, textures and eating experiences. It means that you never look enviously at one of your fellow diners plates because you get the chance to pick away, or graze, on everything. (You can also leave anything that is not to your personal tastes.)
The best way to get the most out of a tapas night (or lunch) is to base your selections on an order of between two and three tapas per person, i.e. four people would typically order eight to twelve tapas between them.
If you all like the sound of a particular dish, then order two portions, but if you just want a taster, stick with one - you can always add more as you go along.
Importantly, the order will not arrive in a single serving, but rather two or three dishes at a time. This gives you the chance to try different tapas, whilst chatting, drinking and spreading the evening out.
The emphasis is on sharing and being casual and relaxed. The food is often a talking point and you all get the chance to compare notes on everything that you eat.
What you choose to eat is a highly personal choice, but because each tapas is a small portion, you can be adventurous and try out things that you might otherwise be reluctant to order – if you don’t like something, one of your companions invariably will. If you try something that you really like, just order some more.
Tapas can be hot or cold, finger food or eaten with a fork or spoon, it just depends on what you order. At Amparian you will also get to choose from a specials board which has an ever changing selection based on seasonal specialities and Ian’s daily whims. In summer you will see things like pimientos de Padron and often Ian’s superb empanada (a Spanish pie).
To really get a taste for what is available, make a reservation and speak to Amparo before you order. She will give you helpful and honest advice on what, and how much, to order based on your party size and any eating preferences that you have.