13 Jun 2012

The ultimate Barcelona food guide

I have been asked over and over about where to eat in Barcelona.

I would love to say: "Wherever!!! all Spanish food is great!!!" but unfortunately that is not the case. Of course all the Spanish food is great but there are many tourist traps around the city and you should be very careful when choosing a place to eat.

But do not panic dear tourist, it's not going to be difficult, you just gotta trust me and follow:

Let's start with the most important thing: follow The 3 Golden Rules.

Golden Rule number 1:
Do not eat/drink anything in the Rambla, Plaza Catalunya (or near any other main touristic attraction). The only exception to this golden rule is the Mercat del la Boqueria

La Rambla by slasher-fun
Golden Rule number 2:
Avoid the places were they have a "Paellador" sign at the door. Seriously.

from here

Golden Rule number 3:
If you see a waiter outside a restaurant holding a menu and trying to get you inside the place, run. (Run faster if he is also making the effort to speak English to you).

by Emilio Labrador

If you have followed The 3 Golden Golden Rules, you should be able to get a decent meal.

If you actually want some suggestions, I have made my own list of restaurants I like (and restaurants I would like to try).

However, it is impossible for me to mention all the good places in Barcelona, specially because I do not live there at the moment (and also because most of the time I lived there I was a student, and like every other student in Spain, I was pretty broke).

So, if you have any suggestions to add to the list, they are more than welcome.
I will also try to keep it up to date with the new places I may find on my next visits there.

I have been to & I recommend:

El Xampanyet

from here
One of the most classic tapas bar in Barcelona, it's been owned by the same family since the 30's. Famous for their home made "cava" (Catalan sparkling wine).
It is always packed, you will literally need to fight to get to the counter, all politeness is left at the door... that is, in my opinion, part of the fun!

La Cerveseria Catalana

Carrer de Mallorca, 236
from here
A very well known tapas restaurant in Barcelona. It is always crowded but it is worth the waiting. 
Try the Patatas Bravas!!
If you are new in the art of eating tapas, you may want to take a look at this Tapas Guide for beginners.


Enric Granados, 41
from here
Good 3 course lunch menu, healthy food with fresh ingredients.
They got free WiFi and a great terrace.



Asturias, 33
from here
If you go slow shopping in Gràcia do not miss the "Menú del día" at the SMS. It is also great for a casual dinner with tapas an a glass of wine.
Ah! and they have the best marinated olives ever!


Mercat de la Boqueria

Rambla, 91
from here
It is one of the biggest food markets in Barcelona, there are many food stalls where you can either grab something to eat or seat down and enjoy a proper meal.
I specially recommend the Pinotxo Bar (stall 66-67).


Federal Café

Parlament, 39
from here
They have very good coffee and even nicer terrace on the 3rd floor! Brunch on Sundays.


Can Margarit

Concordia, 21
from here
A very typical Catalan "taverna", they serve real Catalan food and tapas. Pretty rustic.
You must try the rabbit!

Cantina Machito

Torrijos, 47
from here
In my opinion one of the best real Mexican restaurants in Barcelona.


C3 Bar

Montalegre, 5
from here
Located in the inner yard of the Contemporary Art Museum (MACBA), by the CCCB, with a nice and quiet terrace. The lunch menu in there is usually very good.

Rita Rouge

Carrer Carme, 33 (Plaça Gardunya, 1)
from here
Restaurant and night bar, I usually go there for lunch in summer because they got a terrace with rather peculiar views to a the Mercat de la Boqueria parking. I know it sounds weird but for some strange reason I like it there.


Meatpacking Bistro

Travessera de Gràcia, 50-52
from here
Organic dishes and nice atmosphere.
You can get brunch during the weekends.


Chocolateria La Nena

Ramón y Cajal, 36
from here
Go there after a long day and get a real cup of hot chocolate and a piece of carrot cake!

Bobby Gin

Franisco Giner, 47
from here
A bar specialized in gin tonics.
The decoration of the place is just lovely.


Lolita Bakery

Carrer de Provença, 267
Carrer del Portal Nou, 20 
from here
The best cupcakes in Barcelona!
These lovely girls inspired me to start baking.


Someone has recommended to me & I would like to try: 


Comercial, 9
Eat fresh sea food while you have a glass of wine and listen jazz. Pretty fancy place.
They also have another restaurant where they sell fish and make sushi (Amigó, 39)

Tapas 24

Diputació, 269
Gourmet-like tapas, the chef is from El Bulli.

La Reina 

Sant antoni sombrerers, 3
A very good place for a romantic dinner. (Maybe in there I get to wear my new dress?)


Diputació, 251
Sandwiches made with delicious local products.

Las Delicias

Another good place to eat tapas near Parc Güell. The place is not so fancy but the food is good and the portions are huge. They got a nice terrace.


Marquès De L’Argentera, 1bis
Gourmet burgers


Rabassa, 37
Creative tapas. You get a small tapa for free with every drink. They also have a great selection of gin-tonics.

Mam i Teca

Lluna, 4
Local dishes with seasonal ingredients, they also serve craft beer made in Barcelona.

Cal Pep

Placa de les olles,  8
Catalan-Mediterranean cuisine, on the pricey side but I heard that is so worth it!

Quimet & Quimet

Poeta Cabanyes, 25
Tiny place with great tapas.

Have you tried them all already?
Check other cool stuff in Barcelona and more cool stuff in Barcelona!

And... if you want to know more about tapas, I super recommend this tapas guide for beginners in Taste of Sundays


  1. Ahh que bueno recordar Barcelona!!! Aunque ya sabes...terminábamos siempre con pic nic en la playa o en el Montjuic ;) Besos!!!

  2. Good "faster" food! :D

    CONESA, sandwiches. Llibreteria 1(Plaça Sant Jaume) . http://www.conesaentrepans.com/
    MENAGE A TROIS, very good "Menú del día". Bot nº4 Entresuelo 2º. http://www.menageatrois.es/
    LA PARADETA, best seafood from the city! I like the one situated at "el Born". C/ Comercial 7. http://www.laparadeta.com/
    LA PIZZA DEL BORN, if you want to eat pizza, this is the right place! Argentinian pizza and "empanadas" style. Very small restaurant and always full packed, but worth it! Paseo del Born 22. http://www.lapizzadelborn.com/
    IKASTOLA, diffrent way to see a sandwich ;) La Perla, 22 (between Verdi and Torrijos).

    :) Enjoy it

    1. Merci Laurins!!!! Els afegiré en la pròxima entrega!!!
      Ara m'he recordat que m'havies recomanat "La Paradeta" ja fa un temps! s'haurà de provar!

      un petonas!!!

  3. Quimet Quimet! You have to go to this place! It is my favourite place to eat in Barcelona without doubt. Best tapas for sure.

    I also had another great experience at a cooking class I took called ‘Papa Serra – Culinary Adventures in Barcelona’. It was during this class that I learnt how to make what was quite possibly the best tapa i tried in Barcelona. It was chicken poached in wine and lemon then mixed with saffron yogurt, black grapes and toasted almonds. Then it was wrapped in a radicchio and lightly braised in the poaching liquid. Then we dipped it in a spice mix of fennel seeds, bee pollen and lemon zest. It was so delicious and a highlight of our holiday! And the only reason i remember all the ingredients is because the chef gave us the recipe at the end of the class : )

    You should check it out if you are still in barcelona - i think it is just www.papaserra.com

    1. Thanks for the tips!!!
      That tapa sounds oh so delicious!!!
      I'm in Barcelona for the summer so I must check out this Papa Serra!

  4. Hi! Really cool tips, thanks to share this content to the world.

    I really think that in this list may be Nello's Bar! It's a new restaurant in Barcelona, really cool.

  5. WOW! I want to say that I was 3 days ago in Bimbas restaurant, and if you like italian food and you want a high quality service, that's your place!

  6. Thanks! I went to Bobby Gin, really nice place! 3 days ago I was in Nello's Bar eating some Burger and the GIN there is really good!! :D Have a good summer 2013!

  7. Thanks guys! I got to try Nello's and Bimbas next time I'm in town.

  8. What about La Pepita in Gracia! Number 1 for me and i eat for a living :)

    Do you also know eatwith? (www.eatwith.com) New website and looks pretty slick and the food experience was awesome. I got invited to 'eatwith' Adela and the experience changed my whole mindset on travel. Adela made me (and other guests that were traveling from the US) this traditional catalan fish dish, a beautiful nut dessert and we started off with tasty tapas on her sunny terrace. The food was awesome but I actually remember the people more! I only tried it in Barca but it looks like it's in other cities now. Surely this is the new way to travel right?

    But i still have a special place in my heart for Cal Pep :) :) Nice blog and great comprehensive list!

  9. last week I was in Champanyet, I really like it. Barcelona is amazing, I love this city, I was in Casa Batllo 2 days ago, I loved this place and I went to diner to Tenorio, cool restaurant in Barcelona!

  10. I've been in Cheri restaurant, a new one placed in Barcelona! So recommended!! :)

  11. I'm currently living in Barcelona as an intern and trying to find places to eat where I won't have to pay like a tourist. I stumbled across this guide and was elated to see that La Nena is on your list! So far that is my favorite place in Barcelona.

  12. Yeah Jess Bibbee! La Nena is cool! Actually, the whole Gracia district is full of non-touristy places.
    Hope you enjoy Barna as much as I do!

  13. I love El mercat de la boqueria, one of the best sites in Barcelona, a mythical place. In addition, a really nice restaurant is Gran Café, it's close to Mercat.

  14. In my opinion one of the best restaurant in the city is Cheri ! :)

    1. Is the one in Enric Granados? I'll put it in my to-do list :-) thanks for the tips!

  15. You should try El Sortidor , it´s one of the 7 oldest (1908) restaurants built in the modernism style in BCN! :) It has a great atmosphere and is not expensive at all.

  16. Wow! Thank you so much for this. It is really hard to find some decent restaurants in Barcelona where you can eat the famous tapas in a reasonable price and great flavor. This will definitely help our friends out there who want to travel and eat good food in Barcelona.
    Kate Burton

  17. This is great post! Thanks, will need to try several of them :)
    And for a drink on a summer night would perfectly fit one of rooftop bars in Barcelona. Oh those wonderful views.. :)

  18. I'm going to Barcelona next month for the first time and was reading up on things to go and places to eat, when I stumbled across your site.

    Thank you for all the recommendations, but I'm very curious to hear the reasons behind your 3 golden rules, especially since I saw another site specifically recommended going to Rambla to get the best cider.

    I can also understand that a waiter trying to coerce you in to a restaurant is never a good sign, but what is wrong with the Paellador sign? I've never had paella before and that is one of the things on my to-do list when I get there, but are you saying that all paella is bad, or that the places with these signs have bad paella? And if so, why?

    1. Hi Tiger! Sorry to confuse you!

      I do not recommend the Rambla mainly because you can get better food/drinks for half of the price about anywhere else. Most of the places in there are just for tourists and are very overpriced; in my opinion you will get a better feel of the city if you get out from there; at least is what we the locals do! However, that is just my opinion and they may be exceptions of course :-)

      Regarding Paella, it is totally a must try! The problem with the Paellador sign is that it indicates that they offer pre-made frozen paella, which you may want to avoid! Have fun in Barcelona!!

  19. Thank you so much for this wonderful post!
    I'm off to Barcelona for 5 days with my boyfriend next week, and we want to avoid falling into any tourist traps as much as possible.
    All of your restaurant recommendations sound fantastic, I just have a little question which is PROBABLY going to sound really stupid, but for all of these tapas bars are they just open for lunch mainly? Our plan is to spend most of the day out and about exploring, then crash back at the hotel for a little siesta and go out for dinner around 9pm then for drinks afterwards. I'm just hoping all of these places will all be open around then, as well as at lunchtime?
    Rosie x

    1. Hi Rosie! Welcome to Barcelona! Don't worry! Dinner at 9:00 is very common among locals :-) All the places in the list should be open in the evening as well, except for Pinotxo bar which closes at 4 pm I think. I don't know if it is of any help, but I wrote a guide to tapas in my other blog some time ago, you may want to check it out: http://www.tasteofsundays.com/index.php/blog/beginners-guide-tapas-part-1-theory/ Have lots of fun in Barcelona!!!!

  20. Hello. Looking for the birthday of my boyfriend for a romantic, authentic but innovative restaurant, which is not as expensive as Adria. Could you recommend sth?

  21. Hi Alba!
    One concept you should definitly try: EatWith (it may even exist in Helsinki). If not come to Barcelona and try it!
    It is a concept that invite you to have dinner at someone's house sharing table with other guests.

    I really enjoyed it!

  22. The food was absolutely wonderful, from preparation to presentation, very pleasing. We especially enjoyed the special non veg item and The bar area and lobby were nice and open, good place to relax and meet friends. thanks for sharing such a nice information.
    Chinese and Indian restaurant | Chowringhee Restaurant in Laxminagar


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