Tapas restaurants in Glasgow: a bite-sized history of tapas. Tapas are small plates of dishes that are often shared around the table and accompanied with wine. Known and enjoyed internationally including at a number of tapas restaurants in Glasgow, tapas are believed to have first originated in Spain back in the 1200’s when legend has it that King Alfonso 10th – The Wise King of Spain – was stricken with an illness which meant he could only eat small portions of food with small portions of wine. After the King recovered he declared that no wine should be served unless it is with small plates of food, and so tapas became a popular dish country-wide. Other theories suggest that tapas was originally invented to prevent peasants from drinking on an empty stomach, while some believe that it was invented by farm workers who needed small meals and wine to give them energy throughout the day and others say that the first tapas was simply a piece of bread which placed over a wine glass to keep the flies out, hence the name ‘tapas’.