Widely cited as the best tapas bar in town, so expect to have to hustle for a space at the counter. But, heck, is it worth it, especially if you’re into seafood: the sizzling gambas al pil pil (spicy red shrimp) is a deservedly popular order, but don’t miss out on the doubly delicious clam-chorizo paella de mariscos (seafood paella). Otherwise, stepped-up versions of classic tapas justify the above-average prices.
Oscar Esplá 30
La Taberna del Gourmet
A modern but cosy tapas bar-deli close to the marina that’s known for its produce-led plates that divert from standard tapas dishes with creative flair. That said, while adventurous options like alcachofas con sepia y gambas (cuttlefish-shrimp artichokes) don't disappoint, there's nothing not to like about the more classic menu items, like the huevos rotos con patatas y jamón Ibérico (smashed eggs with potato and cured ham). Yums all around.
Calle San Fernando, 10
An upscale but not too splashy bar-restaurant where chef César Anca presents his own take on tapeo Alicanté (the city's signature tapas style) to reliably winning effect. That’s not to say it’s totally leftfield – you’ll recognise dishes such as callos de bacalao (cod stew), heivos rotos (smashed eggs) and maybe the rich arroz meloso de rape y almejas (clam-monkfish rice). Be sure to grab a counter seat, and save space for one of those heavenly desserts.
Calle Ojeda, 1
A space at the counter of this kitschy but cool bar-restaurant is some of the most coveted Friday night real estate in Alicante. And while you may not be fully on board with the champagne-caviar party vibe here, the creative but delicious tapas makes the visit well worth it. You’ll pay for the privilege of sampling some of the best small plates in town but it’s a glam night out and a fab meal, so a win-win.
Calle Bilbao, 2
An elegant and lively tapas bar the middle of town where everything is gorgeous: the deli counter, the carefully prepped plates of food, the beautiful mosaic floor. Fortunately, style and substance are evenly keeled with a menu that sticks to tapas standards but nails every one of them. Spicy pulpo a la gallega (chopped octopus with paprika) and a chilled glass of verdejo are worth the journey alone.
Calle Médico Manero Mollà, 7
This small, throwback tapas bar on La Rambla specialises in gloriously stacked montaditos (small sandwiches). The seriously good, three-cheese offering with chorizo and Modena cream is certainly not to be shared, but there’s also generously sized tapas in case you're coming with a hungry plus one. Sister restaurant Sento Barrio is a short stroll away and has outdoor seats if this place is jammed.
Calle Teniente Coronel Chápuli 1