Let the Barcelona binge begin! (Photo from flickr.com/photos/hine)
Devour Barcelona Food Tours!
In addition to the great Barcelona food tips found below, our sister company, Devour Barcelona Food Tours, offers food tours in the traditional Gracia neighborhood of Barcelona! This off-the-beaten-path neighborhood is perfect for discovering the heart and soul of Catalan cuisine. We are very excited to show people Barcelona’s unique culture, while eating some awesome food. We hope to see you there!
Although our love for Madrid is profound and eternal, here at Madrid Food Tour we also adore the capital’s big rival – Barcelona. It’s sexy, it’s modern, it’s got a beach! And it also serves up fab food. Eating in Barcelona means experiencing Catalonia’s “sea and mountain” cuisine: a fusion of fresh seafood and earthy ingredients from the region’s hilly hinterland. But enough talk. If you’re wondering where to eat in Barcelona, read on. Below is a list of the best (in our esteemed opinion) tapas bars and the best restaurants in Barcelona.
Tapas in Barcelona
Cal Pep: You’re nobody until you’ve queued for a spot at Cal Pep (yes, either reserve a table, or get there early and be prepared to wait for a seat at the bar). Frequented by locals and tourists, this place has become a reference point for Barcelona’s tapas scene, serving up delicious monkfish, baby squid with chickpeas and whatever tasty morsel caught the chef’s eye at the market that morning.
Plaça de les Olles, 8
Quimet i Quimet: Canned food is for dogs, right? Wrong! Tiny, always-packed and family-run, Quimet i Quimet keeps things oh-so-simple. Behind the bar Señor Quim creates an avalanche of delicious cold tapas – some of the city’s best – with ingredients pulled directly from cans. In Spain, canning is considered an excellent way to conserve certain products, especially seafood. And a couple of mouthfulls here will make you a canning convert.
Carrer del Poeta Cabanyes, 25
La Paradeta: Is this one of the best restaurants in Barcelona? Or is it a fishmongers? Aha! It’s both. At La Paradeta you browse mountains of fresh fish and seafood on ice, take your pick, then it’s passed to the kitchen for cooking. Yep, it’s that fresh. Add a bottle of chilled white wine, and you’re in seafood seventh heaven.
Carrer Comercial, 7
Casa Delfín: Relax on the buzzing terrace, sipping cava (Spain’s answer to champagne – with most of the stuff coming from Catalonia) and grazing on market-fresh, deliciously rustic dishes that wonderfully capture Catalonian cuisine.
Passeig del Born, 36
Vaso de Oro: Eating in Barcelona – and Spain for that matter – is all about informality. Elbow your way to the bar, grab a drink, and just start ordering. And this down-by-the-beach grill joint is testament to that approach. It’s narrow, it’s bustling, it’s loud. And you can’t leave without trying their grilled steak.
Calle de Balboa, 6
La Cova Fumada: Feel like going local? This neighbourhood tapas bar opened in 1944, and hasn’t (thankfully) changed much since. They’re famous for their bombas (literally “bombs”, spicy potato and chorizo balls that explode in your mouth) and morcilla amb citrons (blood sausage and chickpeas).
Carrer del Baluard, 56
La Plata: Another rustic tasca with zero pretensions. This place is famous for its tomato & onion salad, fried anchovies and its botifarra (a Catalonia pork sausage) served on bread.
Carrer de la Mercè, 28
Tapeo: Now for something a little more modern. Chef Daniel Rueda gives traditional dishes a 21st-century tweak at this casual, yet classy, tapas bar. It’s all good, but special mention goes to the beef cheek and the grilled squid.
Carrer de Montcada, 29
Tickets: El Bulli – the once greatest restaurant in the world, headed by wizard-cum-chef Ferran Adriá – has sadly closed. But you can still get your Ferran-fix at Tickets, the tapas bar he’s set up with brother Albert. The place is kooky, always packed and – typically of the Adriá bothers – the food is weird, wonderful and totally delicious. If you’re trying to decide where to eat in Barcelona and you’re only in town for a night… well, this place is just the ticket. But beware! Book ahead or you’ll never get in the door!
Avinguda del Paral·lel, 164
Lolita Taperia: Couldn’t get a table at Tickets? Fear not. Around the corner is Lolita to the rescue. Once run by world-famous chef Albert Adrià (he’s since opened a five-restaurant empire around the corner), this small and casual tapas bar serves some of the best takes on traditional dishes in Barcelona. Everything is cooked fresh to order in a tiny bar-side kitchen, and be sure to check with the waiter what’s good that day. Then sit at the bar, or out on the sunny terrace, and let the afternoon or evening unfold plate by incredible plate.
Calle Tamarit, 104
La Pubilla: This small restaurant near the Mercado de la Llibertat in Gràcia is one of our favorites. It is local, market-fresh cuisine done right and the menu changes often. Reservations are highly recommended, as the place is small and the locals are in the know! Try it for their famous “desayuno con tenedor” (farmers’ breakfasts) or for their lunch offerings. La Pubilla closes at 5pm and doesn’t reopen for dinner.
Placa de la Llibertat, 23
One last tip: the best restaurants in Barcelona are NOT located on La Rambla… so spread your wings, explore, experiment and let us know if you stumble across a gem that we don’t know about!
And when you’re not eating…
And before we go… keep in mind that you can’t spend your entire time just eating in Barcelona (well, you can…). So, between meals, why not join British Barcelona resident Nick Lloyd on his acclaimed Spanish civil war walking tour. Details are here: http://iberianature.com/barcelona/history-of-barcelona/spanish-civil-war-tour-in-barcelona/
Got any tips on where to eat in Barcelona? Let us know in the comments section below!
Enchanted by the country’s exhilarating culture and cuisine, Devour Tours cofounder and COO James has written about Spain for international publications, including the Guardian and the UK Sunday Times. He hosts a popular YouTube channel about Spain, and has appeared on the BBC and British Channel 4. A wine lover, he is WSET Level 3 certified.