This blog post was originally posted on November 29, 20016, and was updated on October 31, 2017.
So you want to eat like a local in Barcelona, but you are daunted by how to order. Sound familiar? You are not alone!
Ordering in Spain can be confusing, especially taking into account the regional differences and the fact that tapas as a whole can look very different depending on where you are in the country! But fear not. Read on to discover how to order tapas in Barcelona!
Start with a Bodega
One of the fundamental parts of understanding tapas in Barcelona is that they are not originally from here. Tapas as a way of eating is not native to the Catalan capital, and only in the recent past did they become ubiquitous in the city.
However, if you had to call something the original Barcelona tapas bar, it would be the bodega. A bodega is, among other things, a shop that sells wine, bottled or directly from the barrel. These bodegas are neighborhood institutions, and of course beyond purchasing wine, you can also usually enjoy a glass or two with some light snacks. It doesn’t get any more local than this!
Take Your Time
Ordering tapas in Barcelona is an art, and doing it gracefully requires patience. There is no need to order all at once, but rather as you go. The last thing you want is too many dishes crammed onto one tiny table, and half of them going cold before you can eat them! Savor each bite, take it slow, and enjoy the true essence of eating in Spain!
Share Your Food!
If sharing at restaurants gives you anxiety, then tapas may not be for you! Though the concept of tapas can be difficult to define, there is one key ingredient and that’s sharing food. Above all, this is how going to a tapas bar differs than going to, say, a traditional Catalan restaurant where people generally order their own entrees. The idea with tapas is to share!
Check for Smaller Servings
Though this is a trait more commonly found in other cities around Spain like Madrid and Seville, some tapas bars in Barcelona will serve various tapas in different-sized portions. If you see the word ración, serving, it’s possible there might be a media ración, half serving available as well.
Go for the Pintxos
Pintxos are a Basque-style tapa that Barcelona loves. You can find pintxo bars all over the city, and what’s great about these bars is that you need not even order! Just grab a plate and serve yourself, and make sure to keep the sticks so they know how much to charge you! You’ll love the experience, now that you know how to order tapas in Barcelona like an expert! We love these little taste explosions so much that we even taste some on our Tapas, Taverns & History Tour!
Local’s Tip: Find loads of pintxo bars all on one street—Carrer Blai in the Poble Sec neighborhood of Barcelona!
Still not sure how to order tapas in Barcelona? Let a local help you out! Our guides are passionate locals, absolute experts on all things Barcelona and are ready to take you out on the town! From traditional tapas in Barcelona to the more modern scene, don’t think twice! There’s no better way to eat tapas in Barcelona than with an expert and in good company! Can’t wait that long? Here’s 5 must-try tapas to devour while you’re here!