The word "tapas" comes from the Spanish verb tapar, which means "to cover". And safe to say, Sydney is well and truly covered with share plates from the Iberian peninsula.

It's not hard to see why. Eating tapas is fun. There's usually something for everyone: patatas bravas are basically incognito hot chips; jamon and chorizo tick all of the cured-meats boxes; and olives, meatballs, fried squid and sardines will round everything out. Tapas is a great way to be adventurous and try new things. If you don't like what you've ordered, there's only a small plate of it, and you've hedged things by ordering a healthy amount of classics.

Traditionally, tapas in Spain are served with alcohol. Whether that is to curb drinking or facilitate more of it is uncertain. But the places in this guide hew pretty close to custom. That's why many of the best tapas places in Sydney work double time as some of the best small bars you can find in the city too.

Coogee Wine Room

There are 25 wines by the glass and chocolate boards for dessert.

222 Coogee Bay Road, Coogee

Una Mas

Eat octopus cooked on the plancha, buffalo mozzarella on lemon leaves, and cured meats paired with vermouth cocktails at this seaside eatery open until 3am.

169 Dolphin Street, Coogee

Ash St. Cellar

A surprisingly relaxed spot for a sophisticated vino.

1 Ash Street, Sydney

Despana

Spanish cured meats, traditional cheeses and tapas.

101 Glebe Point Road, Glebe

Bar Tapa

Visit for authentic patatas bravas, paella, sangria, cava and atmosphere.

78 Stanley Street, Darlinghurst

Balcon by Tapavino

Jamón, morcilla schnitzel, brunch omelettes and Spanish wine by Tapavino.

17 Bligh Street, Sydney

Tapavino

Eighty sherries and well-executed Spanish food to match.

6-8 Bulletin Place, Sydney

Bodega 1904

A glossy green roof and sprawling silver countertop transports diners to a 1900s-style train-station diner.

1 Dalgal Way, Forest Lodge

Bodega x Wyno

Bodega has joined up with Wyno, together the venue is now known as Bodega x Wyno. There’s a bigger focus on vino, a smaller menu and fan favourites, the fish fingers and banana spilt, are still available.

50 Holt Street, Surry Hills

Alegrias Spanish Tapas

Boisterous and quiet. Modern and traditional. This Spanish restaurant is a beautiful dichotomy.

9 332 Darling Street, Balmain

Can Cava Pintxos & Wine

A Spanish-style bar serving “tapas for the individual”.

101 Hall Street, Bondi

Bar Topa

A standing-room-only tapas bar with mini cocktails and Spanish snacks.

4 Palings Lane, Sydney

Mercado

The restaurant in Angel Place has whole rotisserie beasts, homemade cheeses, an enviable wine list and charcuterie.

4 Ash Street, Sydney