One of the exciting things about going abroad is sampling the local cuisine and the two things that most people associate with Spain is Tapas and Paella. The Spanish never ever eat paella in the evening – only at lunchtime as they say it will sit on your stomach. If you pass a restaurant at night and notice a paella pan on the table, you’re guaranteed that they are holidaymakers or if residents, most certainly not Spanish!
Here in Benidorm, the best place to sample Tapas is in the Old Town on Calle Santo Domingo, better known to most as Tapas Alley. Located just off the walking street, the entire street is lined with tapas bars and here you will be able to sample some exceptional top-quality Spanish gastronomy.
It is always busy, with a constant stream of visitors, both locals and holidaymakers, day and night. The fact that so many locals come here speaks volumes - they often say when you go abroad eat where the locals eat... and this is it! The Brits normally associate the word tapas with all the little snacks on offer, but officially they are categorised as either tapas or pinchos.
Traditionally pinchos are slices of bread with things on top whereas tapas come in little terracotta dishes, which can either be served hot or cold, but need to be eaten with a folk. Tapas has certainly evolved over the years and now resemble a work of art – beautifully presented it almost seems a shame to eat it!
Starting this Saturday, June 15 until June 23, Benidorm will be hosting the annual Tapas & Pinchos competition, the most popular event in the gastronomy calendar.
This year 21 establishments will be taking part, creating some spectacular and original flavour combinations that always attracts many visitors. Each participating restaurant and bar will display the poster in their window and all dishes are priced at a fixed price of €2.
If you have never been to Tapas Alley then you are definitely missing out. Everything is labelled in both Spanish and English, so you can see exactly what you are ordering, although most of the waiters speak English anyway. Just walk up and down the counter pointing to which ones you want – some will be heated up and others eaten cold… you pay afterwards.
Most pieces cost on average between €2 and €3 (most have the prices on the labels) and generally three to four are more than adequate for lunch.
Add a nice glass of wine or caña - a small beer and you'll never look back and my bet is you'll be back again the next day. It'll take an entire week to get through each restaurant anyway so you can try something different on your return.