This feels like a terribly self-indulgent thing for me to do – you know, who cares about what the piddling CMO from a middling youth travel company has to say…
Best Tapas In Barcelona
By KP, our resident food critic
Now we’re talking, good old authentic tapas, shared plates of deliciousness – Spanish specialities done in Barcelona with a particularly Catalan flair. These little bars may have seating, or you could just be standing around the bar, they might be rowdy, or quiet, but no matter what the ambience you better believe that this is where you’ll find the best tapas in Barcelona.
Bar Jai-Ca (€€)
You can find these guys tucked away down one of the backstreets of the old fisherman’s village, La Barceloneta. They are family run and have two locations (both next door to each other) so if you can’t grab a table at one, give the other a crack! Authentic (Barceloneta style) fried tapas! The chocos (fried cuttlefish) are some of the best in town along with their fried eggplant with honey! Their classic menu hasn’t had much changed on it since the 50s so be sure to pay them a visit!
Can Paixano/La xampaneria (€)
Address: Carrer de la Reina Cristina, 7, 08003 Barcelona
Located in between Born and Barceloneta you’ll find this little gem tucked away like most well kept secrets. Can Paixano (everyone calls it La Xampaneria) is a family run cava house that produces all their own sparkling wines. They have a simple but super tasty menu for you to pair with their cavas (note: you can’t drink here without ordering food) and authentic service (don’t mind the rubbish on the ground). We recommend their bite sized sandwiches and their famous rose cava. A bottle will set you back around €3, more or less (so cheap and so delicious). There are very minimal seats here and it is muy popular so again patience is required but it is an absolute must when here in Barcelona.
Quimet & Quimet (€€€)
Address: Carrer del Poeta Cabanyes, 25, 08004 Barcelona
These guys have been around since 1914 and have to be one of the most famous tapas bars in Barcelona. Anthony Bourdain himself professed that the tapas here were “the best he’s ever had”, and you can understand why from the moment you taste one of their famous montaditos (a type of tapas here in Spain which generally refers to bites of bread with toppings). There are no seats here and as mentioned, it’s fairly popular, so we recommend patience and weekday visits if you can!
El Nou de Granados (€€€)
Address: Carrer d’Enric Granados, 9, 08007 Barcelona
You’ll find this fabulous spot on one of the nicest walking streets in Barcelona, Enric de Granados. Their terrace is the best spot to sit on a warm afternoon/night and they have some of the tastiest tapas menus in Barcelona (in our opinion). They have a mix of traditional and asian style plates which are all delicious and serve huge jugs of white (or red but the white is epic) sangria to wash everything down.
La Bombeta (€€)
Address: Carrer de la Maquinista, 3, 08003 Barcelona
Menu: La Bombeta Facebook Page
For authentic tapas, La Bombeta is a great place to pop by if you are in Barceloneta! They don’t speak English or accept credit cards, but their food is some of the best around and the atmosphere here is unbeatable, classically Catalan. Be sure to grab one of their famous bombas (fried meat and potato balls doused in spicy mayo sauce) along with their calamari & pimientos de padrón. Thank us later.
This ones a bit of a splash out spot, but so totally worth it. Perfect place to bring your mum or that Tinder date you really fancy. The restaurant itself, their menu and their wine list are all pretty perfect if you ask us. Be sure to try the buñuelos de bacalao (fried cod balls) and their morcilla con chipirones (black sausage with calamari – trust us it’s way more amazing than it sounds). You’re in for a treat.
Barcelona Tapas Glossary
Well, we’re not going to attempt to list every menu item you might come across – that would be an impossible task, and it would suck the fun out of you exploring new menus – but here are some handy breakdowns of reoccurring menu items to help demystify the world of Barcelona tapas for you (note: these are the more typical, maybe boring, menu items, but everywhere will do their own version, and there’s a reason why you’ll find these everywhere).
Pan amb tomate
This simply means bread with tomato in Catalan, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a type of tomato, a special bread, good olive oil, a pinch of salt, a rub of garlic… some places will present you with the finished product, the better joints will give you bread, a whole tomato and a couple of garlic heads and you do the rest. Drizzle the bread with olive oil, rub the garlic into it, smear it with the tomato, add salt to taste. This is true Catalan cuisine.
Potato chips/wedges/gems/something between the three topped with salsa brava spicy sauce, which could be described as mayonnaise mixed with ketchup and tabasco. Tapas restaurants in Barcelona get extra brownie points if they make their own chips. It’s a simple dish, and as such we don’t have time for frozen chips.
pimientos del padron
Fried green peppers with salt. Little green peppers, and they’re not spicy, but one in every 11 or so is spicy, and then they’re very spicy.
pulpo a la gallega
Galician style octopus, boiled in a big pot, cut into little pieces, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and the magic ingredient – pimenton de la Vera, paprika from west Spain’s Extremadura province – all served with boiled potatoes and absolutely stunning in the mouth.
calamares a la andaluza
Battered calamari rings, like you can get anywhere in the world, but just so much better. Squeeze lemon all over them and rip them to shreds with your incisors.
Are you full yet? Well you better order the bill, because your Barcelona Boat Party is about to set sail. Enjoy!
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