Los Diamantes is a tiny - blink and you'll miss it - local watering hole and tapas bar hidden on a bustling street full of touristy restaurants. The scrumptious smell of fried seafood, ubiquitous in Granada, is almost intoxicating on Calle Navas. If your attitude to good food is anything like mine, don't be surprised if it has a pavlovian effect on you. It certainly made me jiggle on the spot with anticipation and go "mmmm! mmmm!" This place was recommended by Lonely Planet as "reason enough to go to Granada" (I wholeheartedly agree, with the caveat that the Alhambra is, of course, the top reason to go to Granada, followed by a soak and massage in the excellent arab baths - Aljibe de San Miguel.)
The crowded, noisy, bar looked quite daunting at first but we boldly strode in, still clutching our Lonely Planet. We stood our ground and found a small space by the corner of the bar reasonably easily, considering the circumstances. Luckily we had brushed up on our Spanish food words and were ready to order such tasty tapas as "almejas" (clams), "gambas planchas" (grilled prawns) and "chipirones fritas" (deep fried baby cuttlefish). The lady standing beside me was much amused. She pointed at our Lonely Planet which we hastily stowed, "Is this place in the book?" I had no choice but to confirm this. "The food is very bad. I live in Granada and I never come here," she said with a mock frown. "Don't tell your friends about this place, ok?" said her gentleman friend. We laughed at the joke but I knew there was real worry under the smiles.
As is the practice in Granada, we got a complimentary plate of tapas with our cervezas to start. It was a generous portion of pulpo (octopus) which my boyfriend, who does not like octopus, wolfed down faster than you could say "I thought you didn't like octopus". The food did not disappoint. The clams were small and sweet (the way they should be), the prawns fresh and garlicky, the cuttlefish juicy, their tentacles crunchy. We resolved to go there again the next night. The entire meal, with three beers and bread, came up to slightly over 30 euros.
I left wishing I could bring all my friends to Los Diamantes, partly for selfish reasons - so that we would be able to order a greater variety of tapas to try as two dinners at this excellent tapas bar really wasn't enough.
This is the real tapas experience and tremendous fun. Great atmosphere and very friendly guys behind the bar and cooking the tapas. Each time you order a beer (a cana of approx 33cl draught Alhambra poured expertly) a shout goes up and a few minutes later a hot tapa plate will appear from the kitchen (the more beers ordered the larger the plate, a shared experience). A new one comes every 10-15 minutes and as long as you order every now and then you seem to get more plates than glasses, though by that stage you don't care. The food is really good - great seafood cooked beautifully and in huge variety, with occasional extras.
We loved the place: it's friendly, efficient and high quality. There's more room at lunchtime and seats outside.
Calle Navas, 28, 18009 Granada, Spain
+34 958 22 70 70
Google map: bit.ly/NXQ4T6
This is a great little tapas bar/restaurant within a cool walled garden perched at the top of the hill in the Albaicin in Granada. It is quite difficult to find, tucked away in a little side street, but is well worth it if you can find it.
Fantastic tapas free with every drink and eating off the menu looked pretty good as well.
C/horno de hoyo
958 27 51 56
I booked a tapas tour with Gayle Mackie when my husband and I were visiting the city. It's a great way to see the real tapas bars that are often hiding down back streets. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and Gayle´s company was very much appreciated. I really liked the fact that she also recommended lots of other bars for us to visit as well as the ones we saw on the night of the tour (so we could try them out ourselves during the rest of our stay in Granada). She has just published a book too... Granada Tapas Tours: 100 Best Bars in Granada. Well worth it!
The Bodegas Castaneda is the most perfect way to experience local life and beautiful tapas. My mum and I found this bar wandering around (in the rain!) on a Tuesday night in February and it was packed to the barrelled rafters! We tried the manzanilla and were given crusty rustic bread topped with a slice of Manchego cheese and some mouth-wateringly good local jamon. Mmm. Another great bar is just around the corner, Bodega la Antigualla, the bartender was really friendly and with two small beers we received a garlic topped toasted roll filled with jamon and cheese with fries. Not thinking we ordered another drink and got the same again! I'm looking forward to my next trip, just writing this is making me hungry.
Bodegas Castaneda is on Almireceros, head to Plaza Nueva and to the left of the square is Calle Elvira. To the right you'll find Bodega la Antigualla and opposite is Almireceros, walk down there and you'll find Bodegas Castaneda.
Wide selection of herb teas, fruit juices, crêpes (sweet and savoury) in very relaxed and roomy surroundings. They also supply hookahs (argile) that you can smoke from.
Calle San Antón, 61
(a couple of streets parallel to Corte Inglés department store)
A very friendly organic restaurant (no sit in; stand-up and take-away only) with a fabulous selection of dishes inspired by the local food culture. You select two choices for a small 'boat' (small, biodegradable pine dishes) and four for a large - and the sweet mint tea is unlimited. They speak (at least) English, French and Spanish, and are a new venture from the folks who run El Piano in York, UK. My wife and I loved it.
They are located a few minutes' walk from the city centre (nothing in Granada is very far...)
A great tapas bar/store on the edge of Elvira (so it is convenient for late nights). A deli by day, you can sample local wines by the glass, each with free tapas- carefully made by the young team.
Order a tabla mixta and you won't need to eat any more, all night! If you want foodie souvenirs they also sell a wide range of local specialities, fresh and dried as well as wines and liqueurs. It is a surprisingly buzzy and friendly place and very popular with locals.
Calle Elvira 150
Tel: 958 270 245
Make like the Spanish and enjoy a beer and tapa in the bars in Granada. Most places give you a free tapa when you buy a drink - spend an evening wandering from bar to bar in this beautiful city and you won't need to find a restaurant for dinner.
Ocana is a bar/restaurant/ bocadilleria/pizzeria. It's an interesting place with friendly staff, and away from the main tourist areas.
The thing that made it special when we visited (about 5 years ago) was that it was still serving tapas in the traditional way - with every beer, you get a free snack, each one different. The chef was a bit perplexed when we got up to our ninth beer one night!
Parts of the building are pretty old, and the staff were proud to show us around the areas that weren't in use at the time when they saw we were interested.
The patron is a great supporter of local musicians, and eagerly told us (despite very limited English) about a recital of flamenco guitar and singing that was taking place nearby.
If you don't speak Spanish, take a phrase book and be prepared to use it!
Plaza del Realejo, 1
Tel: 958 25 64 70
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