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Tapas should not be complicated. A piece of bread, a hunk of potatoes, a slice of ham, wedge of omelet or some pickled bar snacks threaded on a toothpick. Tapas are by nature improvisational, small plates of what’s at hand, or what can be had. According to legend they were used to cover a glass, to oblige the customer to eat before drinking, or to protect drinks from flies. These classic tapas, our top 10, serve another practical purpose. They’re the benchmark by which Spanish food can be judged.

In other words, if these tapas aren’t good, don’t eat there.