Definition of tapas in English:


plural noun

  • Small Spanish savory dishes, typically served with drinks at a bar.

    • ‘Add a tablespoon of cream to it for a richer sauce or serve it with croutons and olives as a tapas dish.’
    • ‘Music includes live flamenco and the food does a good job of matching the design: a delicious mix of modern tapas like chorizo tortillas and tasty fish and meat dishes.’
    • ‘All in all like the tapas experience (which is ideal to drink with) you don't have to order a starter and main course, you can mix and match.’
    • ‘The food is an exotic mix of tapas and dim sum, so you eat chorizo and calamari one minute, spring rolls and satay the next.’
    • ‘There are some fine tapas dishes and a wide choice of tasty Cuban rums and we recommend you lie back on antique couches and chairs and sample the menu.’
    • ‘On the right was a long bar at which people were standing, drinking and nibbling on tapas, using the little disposal cans built into the bar at foot level.’
    • ‘Traditional Spanish tapas bars serve meat, cheese, tortillas and salads as the light evening supper, and Spanish wine flows freely, as does olive oil.’
    • ‘If you fancy something more substantial than a single tapas dish, the Seafood Platter is the best bet.’
    • ‘Spanish olive oil is superb in salads and with fish but, as always, it is the ideal oil for use in authentic Spanish dishes, such as paella and tapas.’
    • ‘On the seafood side of the tapas, the calamari has a lovely thin breaded crust, and is nice and salty.’
    • ‘Lunch in tapas bars is a Spanish treat, serving tasty portions of tortilla, fresh prawns, marinaded red peppers and other morsels of local food.’
    • ‘One of the tastiest tapas dishes is the spicy grilled beef salad, which, if you can forgive its not actually being spicy, is great.’
    • ‘We waited well over an hour for our tapas dishes which were quite disappointing.’
    • ‘At the bar, look for upscale liquor and signature drinks along with a variety of tapas.’
    • ‘And so a distinct Spanish culinary tradition was born, as bar owners found that tapas possess an attraction all their own and began to expand the variety they offered.’
    • ‘Like other people throughout Spain, the Basques spend many leisure hours socializing with friends at tapas bars, which serve light food and drinks.’
    • ‘Nibbling on dish after dish of tapas, mazzas Spanish style, while sipping wine, I observed my co-diners as they conversed in a leisurely style.’
    • ‘There are six appetisers featuring various types of breads and olives as well as 34 main tapas dishes to choose from, including a wide selection of vegetarian and gluten-free options.’
    • ‘But the country has infused its own, distinct Latino flavour with great cuisine including salsa to tapas dishes.’
    • ‘From Spanish tapas to vegetarian red curry to filet mignon, there's something for every taste and budget.’


Spanish tapa, literally ‘cover, lid’ (because the dishes were given free with the drink, served on a dish balanced on, therefore ‘covering’, the glass).