What are some not-to-be-missed foodie experiences in Barcelona?
April 17, 2017 5:44 PM   Subscribe

I'm going to visit Barcelona next month (yay!). What are some favorite restaurants, food tours and so on that you would recommend?

I am open to everything from takeout to fine dining! I'm not a big alchohol drinker.
posted by storybored to Travel & Transportation around Barcelona, Spain (20 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Particular places: I really liked Quimet & Quimet, a teeny tiny tapas bar just off Av Parallel, it had a much more varied menu than most of the tapas places I saw. Tapas 24 in Eixample was also very good, just thinking of the Catalan bread there makes me start drooling. The Boqueria market has a bunch of nice stalls, I particularly liked some of the olive varieties.

More generally, pintxos are the best thing ever! They're perfect for sampling a variety of foods, and eating at your own pace. Tons of restaurants specialize in them. Obviously eat paella while you're in Barcelona, too.

If you're from North America, avoid most non-Spanish ethnic restos in Barcelona, they won't be up to your standards (at affordable price points).
posted by vasi at 6:26 PM on April 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Just got back from a week in Barcelona and Madrid. There are so many great places that it's hard to go wrong, but we particularly enjoyed Casa Alfonso on our first night. Their crispy aubergine was a hit, as were the oxtail croquetas.

For more general advice:

Always order the bread. I'm not even the biggest fan of raw tomatoes and I think it's to die for. See also esqueixada, which made for a tasty lunch. And even though you say you're not a big drinker, try sampling the house vermouth (red) if you go to a place that offers it.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 6:36 PM on April 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

Jealous. Nothing finer that sitting outside in Barcelona drinking cava and eating olives and boquerones.

Anyway, my one (repeat) tip is that if you see someone selling little cones full of ham chunks, you stop and buy. that. ham. cone.
posted by ftm at 6:52 PM on April 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

My wife and I did the "Beyond Tapas" food tour by Aborígens last time we were in Barcelona. It was great! They took us to a bunch of neat restaurants and bodegas that we would have never gone to on our own. We hope to do another one of their tours the next time time we make it to Barcalona. If you are interested in this, be sure to make a reservation asap as the tours sell out.

As far as restaurants are concerned, I highly recommend El Quim in the Boqueria market. It's really just a stand with some stools in the middle of the market, but we had some excellent food there. Also, do yourself a favor and hunt down some fresh hot churros while you're there. You won't regret it.
posted by Joe Schlabotnik at 6:54 PM on April 17, 2017

Response by poster: Yay! Thanks for the answers so far, vasi, HumuloneRanger, ftm and Joe Schlabotnik. These all look like fine places to try.
posted by storybored at 7:01 PM on April 17, 2017

Seconding Tapaç24.
posted by grouse at 7:12 PM on April 17, 2017

Ohhh man, I'm jealous. A few things/places to eat:

Pa amb tomàquet: literally, bread and tomato. Most sandwiches in Barcelona are made this way - fresh bread with tomato mashed onto it and a healthy dose of olive oil + salt. It's so good, especially with some jamon (cured ham), any number of salamis/cured meats, Manchego cheese, or even tortilla (which is actually egg omelette with potato). On review, I see that HumuloneRanger has this covered!

Xampanyeria (also called Can Paixano) A fun, well-known bar that has tiny glasses of cava (Catalan champagne) for cheap. It's usually very crowded, and you MUST order food if you want any cava - if you're not a big drinker, this is to your advantage. My favourite was the sandwich with pork and a grilled pepper on it ("lomo con pimiento"), and the olive bowls.

Mercat de Santa Catarina: I like it better than the main market (Mercat de San Josep, which is on Las Ramblas) because the produce and fish are much fresher, and it's smaller. Also, the restaurant in the market is delicious and reasonably priced - I had a crazy good rabbit + chicken paella there.

One of my favourite restaurants was right in front of the Textile Museum, across from the Picasso Museum. I don't remember its name, but it's cute and good bistro food.

For cheap, quality tapas, I frequented Cal Pep. Patatas bravas! Just the best.
posted by Paper rabies at 7:27 PM on April 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Here are my faves from 2010 (a lot may have changed in 7 years)

Pollo Rico. which is at C/ Sant Pau, 31. very close to las ramblas, so fairly central. you go there. you get baby grilled octopi (pulpitos) that come covered in some sort of magic butter and herbs. the place is a DIVE, you can eat upstairs but you have to walk behind the stove, or else you can eat at the counter with the workers. it's dirt cheap, everything is good but the pulpitos are ridiculous. i was nervous (in 2010) when i ate there because i thought i wasn't going to be able to afford them. i think the pulpitos and a beer came to like 6E. i needn't have worried.

Penultima, c/ de la Riera Alta at about c. Sant Vincenç – extremely cute gay ‘pub’. Good place for a drink before heading out somewhere else to dance. Shrine of Michael Jackson, cutest people in Barcelona, etc.
posted by andreapandrea at 10:08 PM on April 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I love Cinc Sentits, Tragaluz, and Meson 5 Jotas. So many good places! Just stay away from the tourist traps that open already at 7pm, dinner at the good places in BCN is from 9pm and later :)
posted by alchemist at 10:31 PM on April 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Pinotxo Bar at La Boqueria for sure. Some friends of mine also raved about Jai-Ca in Barceloneta. I believe they just asked the staff there to serve them whatever was best, and I have done the same at Pinotxo with good results. Seconding Cal Pep as well.
posted by tiger tiger at 3:33 AM on April 18, 2017

Oh! Also go to Baluard, a bakery in Barceloneta, and get bread and pastries. Some say it's the best in the city.
posted by tiger tiger at 3:34 AM on April 18, 2017

We just spent a week in Barcelona. For pintxos, Pincho J in El Poble-Sec is excellent. It's always crowded, but we found that late afternoon is a good time to find a seat. La Platilleria has a great selection of tapas and reasonably-priced wine and the staff is super friendly. Definitely get some pa amb tomàquet.
posted by Vek at 7:38 AM on April 18, 2017

Cuines Santa Catarina is my favorite restaurant in Barcelona, set up in a great market.

Cal Pep is a great tapas bar in El Born. Sit at the bar and let them bring you all the good foods. Note that it is closed Sunday through Monday lunch.
posted by benbenson at 8:50 AM on April 18, 2017

Try Devour Barcelona. Fun tour with a stop at 3 bars/restaurants.
posted by eau79 at 9:32 AM on April 18, 2017

I am going in October, so please report back on what you tried!
posted by exceptinsects at 10:57 AM on April 18, 2017

I've lived here for about 15 years. I'll add my two cents about some of the mentioned restaurants (and food)...
It's VERY difficult to get good paella here. Paella isn't from Barcelona, so it's a bit like going to New York and expecting a great Philly Cheesesteak. You might find one, but it would be much easier if you were in Philly. You might find a good paella here, but it would be much easier further south.
Pan amb tomaquet, pan con tomate, tomato bread...can't really go wrong, it's usually great wherever you are.
Vermouth, house...yes yes yes! Outside on a terrace with some olives...heaven.
El Quim in Boqueria...usually great but I have had a couple of misses there in the last year or two. Just be aware.
Xampaneria - great fun, super crowded. The old guys working behind the bar are the best.
Cal Pep - one of my favourites, but it can be expensive, comparatively, and the waiters, while great, will serve you the most expensive dishes if they can.
Cinc Sentits - my favourite meal of my life.
I love the anchovies, the olives, the bread. Bravas are hit or miss, it's surprisingly hard to find great bravas.
Avoid any food that's not from Spain. You'll be disappointed. It's one of the hardest things about living here, the lack of good foreign food at affordable prices.
DO NOT EAT ON THE RAMBLA! That may be obvious but the restaurants are always full, so I guess not. You'll get ripped off, for horrible food.
If you've got the money, I just had dinner at Lasarte a couple weeks ago. Our newest three michelin star and it was a great experience.

PM me for a private tour recommendation (not me, just a guy I know who does AMAZING tours).
posted by conifer at 1:13 PM on April 18, 2017 [4 favorites]

There's a brewpub called BierCaB on Carrer Muntaner. You said you're not much for drinking, but the beer tap list there is impressive.

Molika (FB), on Carrer Casp, was a wonderful little coffee shop.

Instead of going to the more widely-known El Xampanyet, which we found too crowded and intimidating, we opted to go across the street to Tapeo and had the best meal of our stay in Barcelona (a little side trip we took while in Spain to visit family in Madrid.)
posted by emelenjr at 4:50 PM on April 18, 2017

Fifthing Cal Pep and recommending Taktika Berri for the most fun experience and amazing pintxos. They have a sit-down dining area, but you want to stay at the bar. Get there half an hour before opening and don't go nuts on the cold pintxos, because after about half an hour they start bringing in the hot dishes. Not a place for shrinking violets; if you can't get a seat at the bar proper, you'll have to be assertive if you want to eat the good stuff!
posted by Rora at 5:52 PM on April 18, 2017

I also came in here to recommend Tapeo, which is in El Born - it was also our favourite restaurant in our time in Barcelona. It gets pretty busy so make sure to make a reservation.
posted by urbanlenny at 11:52 AM on April 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

Here is my map of places I've liked.
posted by camerasforeyes at 9:14 PM on April 24, 2017

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