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Tapas y gastronomía in the city of León


León is not the only city where tapas are served (tapas are small food portions served in many bars and restaurants, which act as a complement of a drink such as wine or beer). León is, however, one of the few places where tapas are offered for free with drinks at no additional cost (customers only pay for the beverage). For that reason, tapas have become an identifying feature of the broad Leonese tradition: for every wine, juice and beer glass or tumbler, the city’s bar owners and innkeepers cater to clients with a small delicatessen that ranges from typical products to refined gourmet creations.

“To go for tapas” means to tour the bars and taverns to have some appetizers before lunch or dinner, depending on the food specialties of each establishment and the consumer’s preferences. This activity is frequently done with friends in the different tapas quarters spread throughout the city.



In the heart of the medieval city, this quarter gets its name from the abundance of typical taverns where you can taste good wine and the famous tapas from León. Its maze of narrow streets and alleyways invite you to wander around and delight in the multiple bars and inns the area. After dinner, El Húmedo also turns into the nightlife area par excellence, with thematic pubs and nightclubs for all tastes.


Between the Parque del Cid (Cid Gardens) and the San Isidoro Basilica, bars and traditional taverns intermingle with old book stores, art stores and other traditional establishments in a poetic atmosphere. In fact, this area is one of the urban locations that offer its enchanting layout for an annual literary tour carried out during the San Juan y San Pedro Festivals. This is a lyrical event that puts even more color in a quarter already filled with culture.


A modern space emerged Northwest from the historical district, by the Ciudad de León Auditorium and the Musac (Contemporary Museum of Modern Art from Castile and León): Eras de Renueva. Its wide streets, boulevards full of trees and its brand-new buildings encompass a wide repertoire of bars, cafés and taverns distinguished by their quality and innovative style.


At the same time as the different Leonese festivities, especially the Easter holiday and the festivals week, the city celebrates the “Feria de la tapa”, food fair that awards the best flavors, excellence and innovation of Leonese tavern and restaurant owners. At the same time, it revitalizes the tapas tradition of the city.

Blurred origins:

The origin of the word tapa as the fish or meat accompanying a drink is unclear. Some people maintain that the glass of wine used to be covered with bread or ham to avoid germs; others argue that food concealed [tapaba] the effects of alcohol (the Spanish verb TAPAR means “to cover, disguise or hide” and is very similar to the word tapa).