The only rule that all restaurants have had to abide by in previous editions, is that all the tapas should be something akin to a "montadito" which as you may know is a slice of bread or toast topped with whatever ingredients the chef prefers: smoked salmon, sardines, tomato, green asparagus, Manchego cheese, fillet steak, calamari, "bellota" ham, quail eggs, foie, rocket, cooked ham, chick peas, sturgeon roe… Let your imagination run riot!
There is always a healthy competition among the more than 28 establishments that take part, much to the benefit of those who love gastronomy. The creators of all these tapas give full rein to their creativity in order to make the most of the public demand that this type of initiative normally creates. Tourists (and residents too of course) visit the restaurants attracted by the fame that a specific tapa has achieved, although many end up succumbing to the siren call of the restaurants' kitchens and end up enjoying a full meal.
The following restaurants took part in 2014: El Bodegón, Aurrera Bodega Bi-Arritz, Dehesa de Don Saturnino, Gaztelutxo, La Brasería Aurrera, La Bodeguita Tapapín, La Sidrería Escondida, La Cava Aragonesa, La Tapería Aurrera, Troyano, Taberna Tamboril, El Txoko, Tabernita del Sur, Aurrera Pintxos, Tragantúa, Cafetería Hotel Montesol, Siete Pecados, Carpe-Diem, Taberna Charra, El Mesón-Cervecería Cruz Blanca, Le Sol, Taberna Andaluza, Kaixo, Rías Baixas, Zarzosa, Bar Angelillo, Esturión and La Familia. Some of them also put on live music to attract even more foodies.
Some of the offerings from previous years have included: Iberian "secreto" (pork) with Cheddar cheese, onion and caramelized pepper; a "montadito" with chicken breast, tomato, lettuce, cheese and mayonnaise; beer or cereal bread with grilled "bellota" ham and cream cheese; pita bread with Iberian pork cheek, rocket and feta cheese; white bread with strips of breaded calamari, mayonnaise or “all i oli”; confit of duck and foie between white bread; Norwegian bread with bratwurst, avocado and sauerkraut; mini crystal bread with baked ham, rocket, Jamaican pepper, fresh oregano, fresh mozzarella and virgin olive oil; or a mini Tandoori Masala chicken hamburger, lemon, oil, salt, aubergine, smoked bacon, rocket and mustard.
But there's more. There were creations with highly original ingredients, or a number of reinventions of tapas that have always been popular favourites. For example, Swedish bread with potato, green pepper, "capellanes" (a type of sardine) and quail egg; battered prawns; mini hamburger bread with minced beef, shrimp, fennel, capers, fresh radish, seaweed, butter, white wine and shallots; or croissants with "Padron" peppers, mussels, smoked salmon and octopus.
One of the most original "montaditos" was one that was called "Foam of Tomato and Tuna 2.0", which comprised tuna and tomato emulsified in a syphon with which they created a delicious foam served on homemade green olive bread.
As far as the 2016 edition is concerned, as yet we have no idea what surprises lie in store for us in the establishments that will be taking part, but given the high level of cooking in Benidorm we are sure that the final result will in no way fail to live up to expectations. Keep your eyes open and don't get lost along the tapa route!