Zaragoza’s tapas quarter is small and perfectly formed in a web of old streets called “El Tubo“. The narrow lanes of Calle de los Estébanes and Calle de la Libertad comprise its core, with bar after bar offering gastronomic delights, and then more spin off into the neighbouring streets. Its a fine way to follow the Spanish tradition of a tapas trail, and reminds me very much of Logroño.
Down-to-earth places sit alongside more refined eateries, and it’s best to allow a few slow hours to find your favourite. Some specialise in particular tapas, like Doña Casta which they say serves the finest croquetas in the city, or La Cueva en Aragón (nicknamed El Champi), which cooks up the tastiest garlicky mushrooms, or La Miguería which makes Aragonese breadcrumb-based dishes called migas. Others provide a wide range of tapas, including my top pick, Bodegas Almau.
Lunchtime is a good starting point, and there’s no need to rush, as most bars stay open until 4pm. In the evening go early (7.30pm) if you want a seat, but stay later (10pm) for the atmosphere. Tourists tend to be the early birds, while locals bring a buzz to the streets once it’s dark.
The Tapeando in El Tubo is an additional (or alternative) pilgrimage to a visit to the Basílica del Pilar (one of Spain’s most sacred sites) and is, in my view, unmissable.