The culturally diverse neighborhood of Lavapiés, Madrid welcomes all to try foods from around the world. While visitors can roam the streets and find a huge variety of places to eat, one festival displays a signature tapa from 95 different restaurants in the area. We let our stomachs do the guiding through the festival known as TapaPiés.
After hearing about the TapaPiés event, we could hardly wait to get started working our way around the vendors. As soon as Brooks got off work, we headed to the Lavapiés metro station and found ourselves early to the party. Life went on as usual at 5 o’clock on a normal day in Spain. Many people were at work, and if restaurants were open, it was just for drinks, and most stores were still on siesta, and would reopen at 6, or 8.
As this was our first day exploring the neighborhood of Lavapiés, we were happy to meander through the streets and window shop until more places opened. Along the way we noticed several restaurants had banners announcing the TapaPiés event hanging next to their door, and we made mental notes to return to those locations once they opened.
Then we stumbled across Restaurante Megha which was open and had the Tapapiés guidebook out for visitors to take with them. The guidebook included a map, images of the featured tapa at each location, and the ingredient list. From the moment we poured over the guidebook, the TapaPiés festival became an even more interactive event, challenging us to try all 95 tapas!
We were also surprised to see a list of concerts and performances throughout the week. Though we did not pull ourselves away from the food to specifically watch any of the acts, it was fun to know there was live entertainment throughout the city.
The next day we joined some friends for the event, but this time we arrived at 8pm. Between 8pm and 10pm is the traditional time for dinner in Spain, so all the featured restaurants were open and ready to serve their tapas. Lavapiés completely changed from the afternoon hours to after dark. The streets filled with people, most restaurants had a line out the door, and street performers brought entertainment to those either waiting or enjoying their tapa.
Over the course of ten days, we visited 15 restaurants, each time ordering just their featured tapa and an Estrella lager for an average of 2.5 euros toal. I’d say we made a pretty good dent in the list and we walked away inspired by foods from around the world. Here are a few of our tapas.