Barcelona has so much to explore! From jaw-dropping architecture and unusual monuments to a thriving live-music scene, there's a lot you should not miss when visiting the city. However, if there's one thing you should try while in the city, it's its delicious tapas.
In this article, we will go through the best tapas restaurants and locales where you can find traditional dishes and other tempting Spanish cuisine options.
So... What Are Tapas?
Let’s start with the basics. Tapas are… small plates of food! They are the equivalent of bar snacks, usually served with craft beer, white, red, or sparkling wine.
Traditional tapas used to be free every time you ordered a drink, a custom that still remains in southern Spain. In Barcelona, however, you will have to order them separately, typically from a tapas bar or restaurant.
The Different Types of Tapas
While visiting Spain, you will notice there are different forms of tapas. The most popular include:
Pinchos: Slices of bread with different (and often very creative) toppings. Typical pinchos include pan con tomate (bread with tomato),
Charcuterie and cheeses: "Embutidos" means ham, chorizo, and cured meats. These classic tapas can also include Iberian ham, foie gras, and a variety of delicious cheeses.
Cold tapas: Everything from salads to cold soups. Some popular cold small dishes include Russian salad (which, despite its name, is 100% Spanish), tortilla, salmon sashimi, and seasonal mushrooms.
Hot tapas: Possibly the most interesting type of typical tapas! For example, fried calamari, chorizo sausage tapas, Spanish omelet, gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp), and more.
Are There Vegetarian Tapas?
Definitely! Many tapas are vegetarian. For example, a tapas staple is patatas bravas, which are potatoes with a spicy sauce.
There are also other excellent options, such as peppers, croquettes, roasted vegetables, and soups.
The Best Tapas Bars in Barcelona
We've covered the basics, so you know what to expect when going to a tapas restaurant. Now, it's time to look at some of the best places where you can find these classic dishes in beautiful Barcelona. Here are ur favorite tempting tapas bars!
Casa de Tapes Cañota
This restaurant is the younger brother of the renowned Galician restaurant Rias de Galicia, which has gained popularity thanks to its delicious seafood.
El Cañota is a more laid-back venue that serves many traditional dishes in Poble-sec.
Tapas you should try: Galician octopus, ensaladilla rusa, patatas bravas, and fried fish.
Address: Lleida, 7. Poble-sec. Barcelona 08004.
Opening hours: Mon closed; Tue-Sat 1pm-4pm, 7.30pm-midnight; Sun 1pm-4pm.
Xanc i Meli
Xanc i Meli is a tapas bar founded by a pair of friends who enjoyed spending their holidays in Cadaqués. The menu here is perfectly executed, and the pair are big fans of food you can try using a spoon.
On top of a delicious tapas menu, there is also a broad selection of home-made desserts and cakes.
Tapas you should try: Cod with ratatouille and garlic mousseline, cuttlefish with meatballs tinted and squid ink, and pea stew.
Address: Francolí, 53. Gràcia. Barcelona 08006.
Opening hours: Mon closed; Tue, Wed 6.30pm-midnight; Thu-Sat 1pm-4pm, 6.30pm-1am; Sun closed. (July: Mon, Tue 6.30pm-midnight; Wed-Fri 1pm-4pm, 6.30pm-midnight; Sat, Sun closed. August: closed).
Betlem Miscel·lània Gastronòmica
Betlem is the brainchild of great kitchens-trained chef Victor Ferrer and a place where tapas are served with foamy beer.
The restaurant runs in the same location as a corner store founded in 1892, which helps make this place stand out as a bit of an eclectic gastro bar.
The walls are now filled with bottles of good wine, and Betlem also has a beautiful Parisian-style terrace.
Tapas you should try: Salmon tartare, crispy pork jowls, Iberian pork sandwich, ham croquettes, and carrot crumble.
Address: Girona, 70. Eixample Dret. Barcelona 08009.
Opening hours: Sun-Wed: 9am-12am; Thu-Sat: 9am-1.30am.
Quimet i Quimet
This minuscule locale is, despite its size, one of the best Barcelona tapas bar. The place specializes in convervas, or shellfish preserved in tins, which are served mounted on bread.
The tasty tapas are also accompanied by friendly and funny staff, which is always a plus! One thing to keep in mind: The tables are standing-only, and there's no outdoor seating.
Tapas you should try: Passata and block olive paté and salmon sashimi with honey, cream cheese, and soy.
Address: Poeta Cabanyes, 25. Poble-sec. Barcelona 08004.
Opening hours: Mon-Fri noon-4pm, 7pm-10.30pm; Sat, holidays noon-4pm; Sun closed.
La Mundana offers creative tapas served with vermouth, so it's the ideal place if you're looking for something out of the ordinary.
The restaurant is in the beautiful Sants neighborhood, a little outside the geographical borders of the city, and offers both innovative tapas inspired by dishes from around the world as well as more traditional accompaniments.
Tapas you should try: Octopus with Iberian tocino (bacon), skewer of Duroc pork, and fresh and fun tuna tataki with Asian aromas.
Address: Vallespir, 93. Sants. Barcelona 08014.
Opening hours: Daily 1pm-3.30pm, 8pm-11.30pm.
This little location always has queues outside, which attests to the quality of its tapas. If you visit this locale on the weekend, you'll be given a number, supermarket-style.
The seafood dishes are favorites, but there are many other excellent dishes you can try at La Esquinica (or "the little corner").
Tapas you should try: Tender battered squid rings, patatas bravas with stuffed mussels and longanissa sausage, oysters, cockles, and clams.
Address: Passeig de Fabra i Puig, 296. Nou Barris. Barcelona 08031.
Opening hours: Mon closed; Tue-Fri 8am-midnight; Sat 8am-4pm, 6.30pm-midnight; Sun 8am-5pm. Closed last two weeks Aug.
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