Wrapping it all up, there is little doubt that dTapes is getting more and more popular every year which is a credit to the fantastic organisation behind this event and the many great restaurateurs of this city.
Started in Tarragona, it has now been copied by many other places including the mighty Barcelona, but I have yet to see the same high standard replicated to equal measure – Tarragona still holds the crown.
Cost: each tapas will set you back a mere 2.50 euros and the dTapes passport/guide, (called the Tapodrom which you can pick up at any of the eateries taking part) is 1.50 euros. You don’t need a taxi or bus to get around, just use your legs as everything is in walking distance.
Area: the festival tapas are grouped in 3 distinctive area of the city: the Serallo, Central Tarragona and the Part Alta (the Gothic quarter). For the sake of tapas strategy it’s a good idea to target one are area at the time also because each has a distinctive character from the tapas point of view.
If you are planing to join the dTapes route next year here are seven handy tips:
- Don’t be a fussyeater (this comes from a temporarily reformed vegetarian): if you want to embrace the culture of a country you got to eat the food.
- Get your Tapodrom: even if Catalan is not your forte you will get the jist. This mini guide/passport (called the Tapodrom) is your rutemaster with maps and visuals of what is what, opening times, eateries websites and descriptions. You get it stamped for every tapas you eat (if you get them all you will get a certificate, goody bag and serious clout) – the guide also makes a handy souvenir.
- Tapas times: you can go tapas hopping at lunch from12:00 to 14:00hrs and again later on, from 19:00 to 23:00 hrs. Lunch is quieter but you only get two hours of glut / the evenings a lot busier but also more atmospheric. Weekends can be quite manic as tapas hopping becomes de rigour.Give your self about 20 minutes between tapas hop; this includes getting to the next eatery, merrily asking for a tapita while waving your tapas passport (so they know you are there for the special one), waiting for the order to arrive, drink and savour, move on to the next one.
- Don’t be impatient: some places get very busy as demand is high, but this is all part of the fun and you always get a handy drink while you wait.
- Look around you: the dTapes route runs through the three distinctive areas of Tarragona which are the Serallo, Central Tarragona, and the Gothic quarter. The Gothic quarter, with its lantern and ancient streets and Roman ruins is wonderful at night and, after a few drinks, it becomes almost spell bounding. Hit Central Tarragona for lunch and the Serallo for either lunch or dinner.
- Feed your addiction: eating tapas full trot plays strange tricks on the mind as you keep wishing for more. It’s quite human to go for a full course after a tapas spree, I have seen it and done it.
- Time is the essence: if you are on borrowed time with a vast appetite you can polish off all 38 entries + the three liquid tapas in three days flat. There is actually a race to become the first Tapejador d’or(golden tapas eater) each year – if you do, you get your picture taken + interviews in the local papers, diploma and goody back worth 60 euros!
The top 10 creme de la creme as choosen by Tarragona Blog & friends as our absolute favourite tapas at the 2012 dTapes festival
- Visca la Terra! by El Llagut Taverna Marinera in Placa del Rey, Part Alta
- Knelo Cric Crak by Restaurante Barhaus, Part Alta
- Bacala’ al Miro‘ by Piscolabis, Part Alta
- Tapa la Cova, La Cova, Part Alta
- Quina Castanya at La Botifarra, Central Tarragona
- Nebraska by L’Orangerie du Marais, Central Tarragona
- Te Suena il Rin Ran by L’Anap Tapes, the Serallo
- Tritapa la Botiga by La Botiga, the Serallo
- Delicia de Senglar by Pernileria Sidreria Serrano, the Serallo
- Trifasic de Tonyna at L’Onata Restaurant, the Serallo