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Taking tapas to the next level.

18 Aug 2011

A 'tapa' is a 'lid' or 'cover'.

Hailing from Spain, in the early days of tapas, a slice of cheese or ham was given on a small plate and placed over your drink.

There are many myths about why this was done, some say it was to hide the smell of bad wine and others that it was to protect it from unwelcome flying objects like flies and dust.

I’m going with flying objects, I reckon I’d cotton on about the bad wine if I was drinking it né?

Tapas has caught on like wildfire the world over and is fast becoming a way of life in ours and many other cultures. It sways away from pretentiously smart and stiff restaurants and lends itself to more rustic and casual food.

It’s about many tastes and flavours and is such an abundant and friendly way of eating. It’s happy food.

When I think of tapas, I think of people laughing and licking their fingers, enjoying the abundant bowls of colour and deliciousness in front of them.

I think of intensely flavoured little bowls of yummy like patatas bravas with chorizo and bruschettas. I can almost picture the taste of these spicy mussels and feel the silky hollandaise draped over this pan-seared trout on my tongue. 

These aubergine slices are rolled over creamy goats cheese and spiked with rich tomato sauce – couldn't you just eat that right now?

The best thing about tapas is that anything goes, you don’t have to stick to Mediterranean-style flavours at all, go crazy and make them your own.

If you feel like venturing out on date night or with a couple of friends for a carafe of wine and some fabulous creations to share - we've rounded up Cape Town's top tapas restaurants for you. Check out our list and also our reader's comments.

Bon appetit!

- Caro de Waal

Read more on: competition  |  tapas

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