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A Brief History of Tapas

Tapas are becoming ever more popular in the U.S., as tapas bars are springing up in cities across the nation. However, many Americans don’t exactly know what tapas are - or how they originated. Tapas are small plates of food that are served between meals and often accompanied by alcohol. Tapas originated in Spain, where according to legend, King Alfonso 10th, The Wise King of Spain, had once been stricken with a serious illness which only allowed him to take in small portions of food with small amounts of wine. After recovering from his illness, the king issued a decree that no wine should be served at inns unless it was served with food.

A variation on the legend suggests that the decree was actually ordered to prevent peasants, who could often not afford both wine and food, to drink on an empty stomach instead of buying something nourishing to eat. Other historians believe tapas may have originated with farmers and field workers who consumed small meals accompanied by wine throughout the workday to provide much-needed energy between meals. No matter what their origin, tapas are the perfect way to experience the flavors and rich culture of Spain.

In Spain, tapas are seldom served without alcohol. They are not meant to be a meal in themselves. There are no tapas restaurants - only tapas bars. Tapas are small plates of food to be consumed with wine or other alcohol at a drinking establishment. Tapas can literally be any type of food - from nuts, olives, and assorted cheeses to roasted meats and stews - so long as the dish is served on a small plate accompanied by alcohol. The most important thing about “tapeo” (the art of eating tapas) is the gathering of people to socialize as they drink and eat. In Spain, tapas bars are lively environments filled with much conversation and laughter. Now, the tapeo continues at Pita Jungle!

Pita Jungle now offers a variety of tapas during happy hour. Our happy hour tapas menu includes a mixture of traditional favorites, like hummus and baba ganoosh and more creative dishes, like garlic lemon chicken with pine nuts and shrimp in ajo sauce. Happy hour begins at 3 p.m. and reverse happy hour starts after 9 p.m. at most locations. Visit to find a tapas menu and happy hour schedule for the Pita Jungle location nearest you.

If you are looking for tapas in a fun, casual and artsy atmosphere, visit a Pita Jungle near you:

tapas restaurant Ahwatukee, tapas restaurant Arcadia, tapas restaurant Arrowhead, tapas restaurant Chandler, tapas restaurant Desert Ridge, tapas restaurant downtown Phoenix, tapas restaurant Flagstaff, tapas restaurant Gilbert, tapas restaurant Mesa, tapas restaurant Norterra, tapas restaurant Scottsdale, tapas restaurant Scottsdale Fashion Square, tapas restaurant Tempe, tapas restaurant Tucson, tapas restaurant Newport Beach, tapas restaurant Pasadena, tapas restaurant San Diego-Hillcrest