Devon is known for its large number of exquisite eateries dotted in every city, town and village across the region; you don’t have to travel far to find somewhere to tempt your taste buds. Sometimes on holiday we have a hankering for a particular cuisine; be it Chinese, Italian, Thai or Spanish!  

Tapas is a staple in Spain; it’s all about sharing a number of small plates of typically savoury dishes with friends and family in a casual environment. Bread, seafood and ham are the usual culprits, and meals can be served hot or cold. 

There are a number of origin stories of Tapas. One story is that many, many years ago, a waiter placed a piece of ham on top of King Alfonso XII’s sherry to stop sand blowing in the drink. He was so impressed with this idea that he continued to ask for meat or bread to be served with all his wines. Another theory is that tapas was served as a snack to field workers who used bread, cheese or ham to cover their beers to prevent flies from flying in. Either way, we’re glad it caught on as we now get to enjoy these flavoursome treats wherever we are. 

Here in South Devon we have a number of places to get this Spanish delicacy, read on to discover our top picks! 

Small World Tapas, Torquay 

Founded in 2017, Small World Tapas is fantastic Tapas Bar located in the heart of the English Riviera in Torquay. Owners Kevin and Sara are from Cornwall and Spain and have worked hard to create a number of traditional and authentically Spanish dishes.  

The dynamic duo uses exclusive flavours whilst mixing new and conventional techniques to create meals that tantalise your taste buds. This restaurant is perfect for a romantic date or a family gathering where sharing is caring.  

The bread is homemade, the shrimps are large and delicate, and the peppers are spicy! There’s plenty on the menu to suit all tastes and preference, including lots of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.  

The Annex, Tavistock 

A chic café in the daytime and a bustling tapas bar in the evening, The Annex is the perfect place to grab some small plates and wine when in Tavistock.  

Just a short amble from Bedford Square, this restaurant offers fantastic views of the town from their bright and airy dining room or on their terrace – perfect for al fresco dining.  

The Annex is all about providing exquisite food with a regularly changing menu so you’ll always find something new to try. They serve classic Spanish small plates, but also offer alluring Asian dishes too, plus plant-based options for those who prefer veggies over meat and fish. 

Stage, Exeter 

Stage are certainly making a name for themselves in Exeter, it seems like everyone you ask either raves about their incredible dining experience here, or has plans to visit because they’ve heard great things from friends or family. In fact, it’s even ranked #2 on Trip Advisor for restaurants in Exeter.  

Situated on Magdalen Road in Exeter, a wonderful hub of independent businesses, Stage are the ‘food-child’ from the creators of Taco Boys and Porthilly Bar. They’re independently owned and run by a group of chefs who are completely and utterly enthused by food (aren’t we all?!). Stage offer a daily changing tasting menu and utilise the best local and seasonal produce.  

Visit Wednesday – Friday for lunch and you can enjoy a four-course meal, but if you fancy heading over for dinner or on a Saturday, you’ll be treated to a sumptuous six-course menu.  

The Old Bakery Restaurant, Kingsbridge 

Residing in an old, rustic bake house in the heart of the Kingsbridge, The Old Bakery Restaurant offer a range of fantastic Mediterranean and Persian dishes, made from scratch and using locally sourced fish, meat and veggies.  

The restaurant is tucked away from the street, reminiscent of those quaint bars you’ll find in Spain and has an open kitchen so you can see your meals prepared right in front of your eyes. 

Expect homemade, freshly baked bread, fiery chorizo, lightly battered calamari and mouth-watering halloumi. Our bellies are rumbling already! 

Andria, Dartmouth 

For a taste of Spain whilst on holiday in Dartmouth look no further than Andria. Situated close to the River, Andria celebrates the best local fish and seafood that Devon is lucky to boast by utilising them in their delectable and enchanting dishes. In fact, this restaurant is in the Michelin Guide so you know it’s going to be good.  

Restaurant owner and head chef Luca Berardino has created a fantastic menu where it’s practically impossible to not to be tempted to order every single dish! They even offer an exclusive ‘Chef’s Table’ option whereby you’ll have use of the private upstairs dining room with Luca cooking your meals right in front of you. How amazing does that sound?! 

The Lobster Lounge, Teignmouth 

Seafood, cocktails and live music are the three things that The Lobster Lounge does well. Situated in the seaside town of Teignmouth, The Lobster Bar is unique and cosy. It’s the place to go in Teignmouth for all your charcuterie and gin needs!

The atmosphere here is lively, yet ambient, a hard mixture to perfect. They have regular live music, which makes this place perfect for a date night. If you’re after an evening tipple then you’ll be happy to know that they not only serve Spanish beers and wines, but also locally produced ones too, such as ales from Salcombe Brewery.  

Miguel’s Tapas Bar, Brixham 

Hidden down a quaint cobbled street, Miguel’s Tapas Bar might be Brixham’s best kept secret. Offering authentic Andalusian tapas made with homemade and imported Spanish products, Miguel’s is a fantastic and incredibly friendly restaurant.  

Delicious tapas here include beautiful jamón, enticing cheeses, fresh seafood and plenty of olives. The open-style restaurant reminds us of those you’ll find in the Mediterranean and offers unbeatable views of the harbour. 

El Olivo, Exmouth 

Small and intimate, El Olivo is a mezze and tapas restaurant located in Exmouth. With a regularly changing menu to reflect the season, El Olivo is the place to go for flavoursome and heavenly tapas in East Devon no matter what the weather’s like. 

Catering for all preferences, their menu features locally caught fish, juicy steak and their famous courgette fritters! The friendly and welcoming staff put a lot of love and care into creating their dishes, which completely shines through when you’re tucking in. Locals and visitors have been known to return time and again to make their way through the menus. 

I bet we’ve got you yearning for some tapas now, haven’t we? I know I certainly am! If you decide to visit one of these feel free to share your experience with us on social media. You can tag @VisitSouthDevon or use the hashtag #VisitSouthDevon in your photos. Remember to give us a follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram too. 

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