Tapas are small dishes of food to be shared and eaten with fingers, served in tapas bars as a local tradition. There are meat, fish or vegan tapas.
Tapas is the general definition for all the small dishes served to be shared. Raciones — You will often see the dishes marked with two separate prices - one for tapas and one for Raciones. Its the same dish, but a bigger portion of it - ideal for when you're really hungry. Pinchos — This is a concept that originates from the Basque region of Spain. Pinchos are like mouth sized tapas - always served on top of pieces of bread. Also called "Montaditos." Platos Combinados: This is the name often given to what we might call "meat and two veg" - an entire meal on a plate. However, it sometimes also relates to tapas. If it's the case, it is a considerable plate containing a variety of the tapas that are on offer.
Pan con Tomate: The quintessential Catalan tapa. White bread rubbed with tomato and drizzled with oil and salt. Patatas Bravas: The chips or french fries of Spain. Small deep fried cubes of potato served with two sauces - alioli (a garlicky mayonnaise) and a spicy tomato sauce. Chipirones: I have never seen these deep fried baby squids outside of Spain. They are tiny, and you will receive a plate heaped with them. Anchoas: These anchovies are not normally the very salty kind that you may be used to. They are served with vinegar with parsley and garlic. Delicious. Russian Salad: Not the healthiest of salads. This is a heavy dish made up of potatoes, peas, hard-boiled eggs and potential other vegetables, covered in mayonnaise. Croquetas: Croquetas come with ham, fish, chicken or spinach. They are made from a sort of béchamel sauce, breaded and deep fried. Ask your waiter to guide you to the best tapas: tell him your budget and if there is something specific you don't like (ex. shellfish or a kind of meat).