Spanish Tapas

Spanish tapas words

Here, I will list some basic Spanish tapas words and words for food which will help you get the most from your tapas experience.

General Tapas Words

pinchos: bite-size portions
pinchito: tiny portions
tapas: snack-size portions
raciónes: larger meal-size portions
media ración: half a meal-size portion
fritos: fried
la plancha: sauteed
Quanto cuesta un tapa?: How much for a tapa?
aceitunas: olives
almendras: fried almonds
bombas: fried meat and potato ball
caracoles: snails
champiñones: mushrooms
croquetas de…: crispy-fried croquettes with...
empanadas: pies filled with meat or seafood
ensaladas (rusa): salads (Russian)
espinaca: spinach
gazpacho: cold garlic and/or tomato soup
guiso: stew
pan: bread
paella: saffron rice dish with fish, shellfish or meat
patatas bravas: fried potato with a spicy tomato sauce
picos: little breadsticks (usually free)
pimiento (relleno): peppers (stuffed)
pisto: mixed sautéed vegetables
queso: cheese
queso manchego: sheep cheese
rabo de toro: oxtail stew
revuelto de…: scrambled eggs with…
setas: wild mushrooms
tabla serrana: a plate of cured meat and cheese.
tortilla (de jamon/queso): potato omelette (with ham/cheese)

Fish and seafood tapas words

almejas: clams
atun: tuna
bacalao: cod
boquerones (al vinaigre): fresh anchovies (in vinegar)
boquerones fritos: deep-fried anchovies
calamares fritos: fried squid rings
puntallitas/chiperones: fried whole baby squid
cazon en adabo: marinated white fish
gambas (a la plancha, al ajillo): prawns (sauteed, with garlic)
gambas pil-pil: prawns in garlic and chilli
mejillones: mussels
pescaditos fritos: assortment of fried little fish
pulpo: octopus
rabas: squid tentacles
sardinas: fresh sardines
variado fritos: typical Andalusian plate of mixed fried fish

Meat tapas words

charcuteria: selection of cured meats
salchichon: sausage
jamón serrano: dry-cured ham
jamón iberico: best quality ham from Iberian pigs
chorizo: cured spicy sausage (usually eaten un-cooked)
lomo: cured pork loin

Tapas snacks

bocadillo: baguette sandwiches
montadito: tiny bocadillo
pulguita: small closed-baguette sandwich
flauta: sandwich made with a thin baguette
pepito: another word for a little sandwich
canape: tiny open-faced sandwich
sandwich or tostada: common sliced bread (usually toasted or fried) with a choice of fillings
con jamon/queso/mixto: with ham/cheese/both


flan: crème caramel
arroz con leche: rice pudding
helados: ice cream
fruta del tiempo: fruit in season
queso: cheese


aqua con/sin gas: bottled water with/without fizz
Un vaso de aqua del grifo: glass of tap water
Una jarra de agua: jug of tap water
refresco: soft drink
caña: small glass of draft beer
cerveza: beer
vaso or copa: a glass
vino de mesa: table wine
tinto de la casa: red house wine
blanco de la casa: white house wine
rosada de la casa: rosé house wine
un tinto: a glass of house red wine
Rioja: the best known of the Spanish wines (red, white or rosé). For better quality wines ask for crianza (old), reserva (older) or gran reserva (oldest).
sangria: a mix of red wine, brandy, fruit and anything else they might have handy. (Strictly for the tourists, this one!)
tinto verano: red wine with a light lemonade
afrutado: fruity
seco: dry
dulce: sweet
vermu: vermouth
¡Salud!: cheers!

And finally, just when you were enjoying your tapas:

la cuenta por favor: the bill please :o(

One last thing: if you are in Spain and make a small effort to say something (anything!) in Spanish, you will find that a warmer welcome and a bigger smile awaits you, wherever you go.

The very basics of Spanish

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