Get ready to feel the heat as Barcelona is hot in more ways than one! Here I give you a list of places where to find the best tapas in Barcelona.
In a city full of vivid colours and flavours, making the call of where to find the best tapas in Barcelona can be tough. Although it can be said that Barcelona bares a shade of the devilish colour red. Think chorizo, sangria, Jamón ibérico and everything in between; Barcelona is the ultimate hell for all food lovers. Its hell in the sense that it will punish you with a food coma (or excess baggage) after devouring almost everything that is put in front of you – they are just that good to leave behind.
Eating out in Barcelona is like getting the best of both worlds. Fusing both traditional Catalan and Spanish flavours and beyond, Barcelona’s tapas and pintxos (that’s pin-chos to you!) bars do not discriminate when it comes to taste as each dish packs in a unique flavour. Before we even get into the whole “Where to find the best tapas in Barcelona” part, I will give you a brief overview on the difference between tapas and pintxos.
The difference between tapas and pintxos
Tapas: Tapas is a small Spanish savoury dish. From croquettes to fried squid and grilled chorizo, these dishes are just some of the popular tapas to have.
Pintxos: Pintxos are a miniature cuisine as they involve small portions of food. Pintxos are usually consumed at a bar and served with a drink. This form of tapas has now evolved into becoming elaborate small serves that are each pierced with a toothpick since its humble beginnings of simple toppings over bread in Northern Spain. Some daring chefs have moved to modernise these small dishes to create bold and smooth tastes; sea urchin and fresh anchovies anyone?
Usually, dining on pintxos is based on an honesty system. After you have gorged yourself with pintxos, you then collate all the toothpicks that initially held the pintxos together and will be charged accordingly with the amount that you have eaten. Be careful, you may owe the world after creating a tower out of toothpicks!
Now that we have outlined the difference between each, here I will list the best places for tapas in Barcelona (in my humble opinion) where you can enjoy a perfect bite. I’ll make it easier for you too by breaking down into districts, shall I?
If all roads lead to Rome, then the delectable street, Calle Blai (located in the Poble Sec district) leads you to pintxos glory. Poble Sec’s most popular strip ribboned with bars displaying platters of penny-pinching pintxos starting from €1. This is by far the district for the best tapas in Barcelona on a shoestring budget.
Entering Blai 9 is like stepping onto a photo shoot dedicated to food as each pintxos is presented in an ornate fashion. With the array of its mixed base options (goodbye sliced bread) including crepes, pita, homemade nacho and topped with fresh modern flavours, each pintxos resemble an edible masterpiece. How do the sound of goat’s cheese and roasted vegetable pancakes with a sprinkle of local balsamic vinegar sound to you? Heavenly right?!
The pintxos at Blai 9’s are priced from €1.20 to €1.70. Just make sure you double check what toothpick your pintxos’ price tag matches with!
Blai 9, Carrer de Blai, 9, 08004 Barcelona
Quimet y Quimet
Get off the Calle Blai (even though it may be hard to part with) and head to one of Barcelona’s most popular pintxos bars, the ‘hole in the wall’, Quimet y Quimet. Established in 1914, this standing room establishment has people spilling onto the streets waiting for their Holy Grail moment to savour the perfect pintxos – trust me, they are mighty fine!
Watch the pintxos masters at play, perfectly meshing together surprising combinations of canned fish, local cheeses and various charcuteries right before your very eyes. My personal favourite is the crustini, smothered with yoghurt, a slice of smoked salmon and topped with a drizzle with truffle honey. Seriously, I am now salivating at the thought as I write this! Even though these pintxos are a tad pricier than the other pintxos found nearby, from €2.50 a pop, it certainly is worth it.
Treat yourself to a glass of red too from one of the many wine bottles cascade the walls of this foodie paradise. Worth the standing ovation! This is my best place for tapas in Barcelona hands down!
Carrer del Poeta Cabanyes, 25, 08004 Barcelona
Sidestepping Barcelona’s most famous strip Las Ramblas may sound el loco but in the name of food splendour, it would be crazy not to see what gems are lurking by in El Raval.
Domino Bar is a place to ideally visit with a crew as there is plenty of food to go around. Feel no shame in getting your hands dirty diving into a bowl of patatas cachondas potatoes (fried chunks of potatoes topped with parmesan and pesto) as they are a flavoursome alternative to the ever-popular patatas bravas.
Continue with your finger-licking ways by ordering some party sized empanadas which taste as though they came straight from Argentina itself with their tasty chicken, beef and tuna fillings.
Carrer de les Flors, 16, 08001 Barcelona
Get ready to hunt down this hidden gem in El Raval because its must-try dish is certainly worth it. Candela Raval steps away from the usual tapas fare with its must–try dish is seriously addictive honey and cinnamon coated aubergine fries. Possibly the healthiest fries out there!
Candela Raval, Plaça de Salvador Seguí, 13, 08001 Barcelona
Get out of the city and head towards Barcelona’s favourite coastal pocket, La Barceloneta. Sitting between Port Vell and Barcelona’s famed beaches, this traditional fishing neighbourhood of yesteryear is one to truly savour the Catalonian life.
It may appear to be a no-frills, little attention to detail type of joint but La Bombeta represents what authentic Spanish homemade cooking is all about – hearty taste. La Bombeta’s food speaks for itself; its’ spicy ‘Bombas’ balls – fried potato balls stuffed with meat and topped with aloli and brava sauce taste like something you would expect out of a Spanish Grandma’s kitchen.
If you are craving to soak up some local atmosphere, this is the place to do it.
La Bombeta, Calle de la Maquinista, 3, 08003 Barcelona
Gothic Quarter (Barri Gòtic)
It is hard not to put the camera down strolling the streets of the charming Gothic Quarter (locally known as Barri Gòtic.) It is home to hip bars, clubs and Catalan restaurants along its meandering, cobblestone medieval streets.
Bar del Pla
It had to take a good Spanish friend of mine to highly recommend the cosy, cellar-like gem, Bar Del Pla – and I am glad she did. The food looks good, and the taste is even better. Its a little bit of the pricer side too compared with the above options so expect to pay €30 -€40 between two people. Notable dishes include the baby squids and chickpea dish and the zucchini flower and codfish. Just beware, the tapas here may be more attractive than your actual date!
Bar Del Pla, Carrer de Montcada, 2, 08003 Barcelona
Forget the beaches and forget the main drag (ahem Las Ramblas!), head inland to reach the traditional Catalan barrio, Gracia. This is a neighbourhood is worth the trek to for its slower pace of life and its small bar and restaurant scene – so what are you waiting for?
Translating to ‘Bad Cat,’ Gata Mala bar is the place to get ultimate bang with your buck – I just wish you the best of luck with finding a spare seat here!
Gata Mala plates up generous serves of tapas at reasonable prices, varying from €3 to €12 a plate. What makes this place even better is every time you order a drink, you will receive complimentary pintxos freshly made on the spot with your boozy order – score!
Gata Mala, Carrer de Rabassa, 37, 08024 Barcelona
Where is your best place for tapas in Barcelona? Share below!