Definition of tapas in English:


plural noun

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

    ‘we offer sharing plates and tapas with wine and cocktails’
    • ‘a tapas bar’
    • ‘Traditional Spanish tapas bars serve meat, cheese, tortillas and salads as the light evening supper, and Spanish wine flows freely, as does olive oil.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘From Spanish tapas to vegetarian red curry to filet mignon, there's something for every taste and budget.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We waited well over an hour for our tapas dishes which were quite disappointing.’
    • ‘One of the tastiest tapas dishes is the spicy grilled beef salad, which, if you can forgive its not actually being spicy, is great.’
    • ‘Add a tablespoon of cream to it for a richer sauce or serve it with croutons and olives as a tapas dish.’
    • ‘If you fancy something more substantial than a single tapas dish, the Seafood Platter is the best bet.’
    • ‘Like other people throughout Spain, the Basques spend many leisure hours socializing with friends at tapas bars, which serve light food and drinks.’
    • ‘Lunch in tapas bars is a Spanish treat, serving tasty portions of tortilla, fresh prawns, marinaded red peppers and other morsels of local food.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But the country has infused its own, distinct Latino flavour with great cuisine including salsa to tapas dishes.’
    • ‘At the bar, look for upscale liquor and signature drinks along with a variety of tapas.’
    • ‘On the seafood side of the tapas, the calamari has a lovely thin breaded crust, and is nice and salty.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’



/ˈtapəs/ /ˈtæpəs/


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