The Real Spanish Tapas Experiences in Bordeaux Selected by a Spaniard
Although we are in France, Bordeaux is only about 140 miles from Spain. The famous wine region of La Rioja is only 3.5 hours drive from Bordeaux.
In the 1960s, Spaniards were the largest foreign community in Bordeaux with approximately 65,000 people. Their influence on the city’s culture is seen everywhere. The food scene is not an exception.
Although much smaller in numbers today estimated at 8,000, there are still very interesting pockets of Spanish culture to be found in the city.
Many bars and restaurants offer dishes with a Spanish twist.
Wondering through Bordeaux, you will bump into Spanish tapas bars carrying Jamon, Manchego cheese, tortilla (Spanish omelet) and a myriad of Basque specialties including pintxos (small tapas over bread).
Some are more genuine and carry higher quality products than others.
Be aware that that the word tapas is liberally used in Bordeaux to name any small appetizers, but only a few places are serving real Spanish tapas.
I asked Samuel Jesus, a Spaniard living in Bordeaux for his advice on the best Spanish bars and restaurants in Bordeaux, and here is the list.
1. El Sitio
Small tapas bar on the most atmospheric street in Bordeaux, rue Saint-James, near the bell tower Grosse Cloche.
Tapas are of high quality and moderately priced.
Chistorras (Basque mini-sausages), patatas bravas (spicy potatoes), and tortilla (Spanish omelet) are the best choice here.
You will feel welcome in this friendly bar with a pure Spanish atmosphere.
The place looks a bit narrow, but you will find more space on the back as well as on the lower level.
Opens at 5 pm every day of the week.
35 rue Saint-James, 33000 Bordeaux
Phone: +33 9 81 00 53 94
2. Le Bistrot du Picador
I guess the name Picador comes from both the “picador” in the corrida tradition and from “picar” – to eat a little something in Spanish.
Le Bistrot du Picador is a great place for seafood tapas like grilled octopus (poulpe à la plancha), calamari, chipirones, scallops, and garlic prawns. Very good cooking, and the dishes are made to order in front of you.
A good selection of both Spanish and Bordeaux wines.
Open only in the evenings from 7 pm from Tuesday to Saturday.
16 rue Rolland, 33000 Bordeaux
Phone: +33 05 56 01 01 83
3. El Boqueron
This small bar between Cours Victor Hugo and Basilica of Saint-Michael is favored by locals.
The place could be crowded, however, it is a truly local fun place and could be worth a try.
You can drop by here on the way to Marche de Capuchins to have a drink with a little bite.
El Boqueron offers tapas (pintos)- a little something tasty on the piece of bread. Try any or all!
The wines are quite good and inexpensive.
They also have a long list of cocktails and spirits.
There are many varieties of croquetas (breaded béchamel balls) and, of course, boquerones (white anchovies) that gave their name to the bar.
83 rue des Faures, Bordeaux
Phone: +33 5 54 78 73 98
4. Meson la Venta
Right in the square of Saint-Michael look for red tables to find La Meson la Venta.
La Venta stands for an old Spanish for an “inn”.
This isn’t a bar, but rather a restaurant, but you can always stop for a glass of Spanish wine with tapas and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of Place Saint-Michel.
Allegedly, this is the best place to eat Jamon in the center of Bordeaux.
Make sure to ask for Jamon bellota. (which is higher quality than serrano).
This place has a very good selection of Spanish homemade dishes. My favorite are albondigas (meatballs in a sauce), grilled octopus (el pulpo a la plancha or el pulpo a la gallego)
On a nice day, seat outside, admire the Basilica of Saint-Michael, and enjoy Spanish delicacies.
Open for lunch Tuesday to Sunday and for dinner Tuesday to Saturday.
17 Place Meynard, 33000, Bordeaux
Phone: +33 9 54 22 36 98
5. Mes Souvenirs de l'Espagne
If you are at the Bordeaux farmers market Marche des Capucins and want to enjoy a glass or a bottle of really good Spanish wine, this is the right place.
You may find that this small bar is frequented by Spaniards. The wine selection is better than the farmers’ market ambiance may suggest. I was able to find some high-quality Priorat as well as other Spanish wines.
Perhaps a Sangria break? A Sangria in the flamenco-themed bottled may be not as good as the homemade, but deserves a try.
It goes well with the empanada and tortilla tapas. Jamon is good but a bit pricey.
rue du Vieux Marche inside the Marche des Capucins in the south corner
6. La Maison du Pata Negra
Another tapas place at the Marche des Capucins.
La Maison du Pata Negra brings the atmosphere of a pintxos bar in San-Sebastien. I am not impressed with the wine, but the tapas are hands-down pretty.
If you have a sweet tooth, try Crema Catalana, a type of creme brulee in a Catalan style.
Place de Capucins, 33800 Bordeaux
Feeling like a real Spanish sandwich made with a French baguette? Stop by delicatessen shop shop Viandas de Salamanca at 37 rue de Trois-Conils in the center of Bordeaux and have a bocadillo del Jamon.