On a cloudy, chilly Saturday afternoon in Valladolid, one of my travel companions – let’s just call him, ‘Tio Pedro’ – suggested we stop into a bar for a quick drink and a tapa.
Tio Pepe (No, the irony was not lost on me) is a fairly nondescript-looking bar in an equally nondescript neighborhood – in fact, my host repeatedly referred to the area asthe ‘Queens’ of Valladolid. But the tapas on hand at this unassuming bar are an unexpected treat for the senses.
On display under a glass case that spans the length of the bar, is an array of tempting bite-sized delights that look as good as they taste.
My travel mates and I started off with a glass of Cigales – a rosé wine from Castilla y Leon that’s effervescent and smooth, but not overly sweet.
Next came our shared tapas:
Chipirones (or baby squid) ‘hamburger’ – a slider-sized sandwich served on a squid ink bun…
|tiny baby squid on tiny baby sandwich|
…And tosta con jamon y setas. A salty, savory bite of thinly sliced jamon topped with a portion of fried wild mushroom, roasted pepper and garlic. Um. YES.
I sometimes forget that there’s more to tapas than just getting a free bite with a drink. There are tapas out there that are intriguing and creative; tapas that make you feel like it was worth spending your money on. Thankfully, Tio Pepe reminded me of that, and also showed me that great tapas don’t have to be accompanied by a lot of frills and fuss.
Bar El Tio Pepe
Calle Embajadores, 54, Valladolid
Average Price : We paid 8 euro for 3 wines and 3 tapas. An unbelievable bargain.
My Rating: A low-key neighborhood tapas bar with surprisingly high-quality selections.