Locals don't drink without appetisers and tapas are an important part of their food culture. The main thing about trying tapas – order about a dozen plates, drink local wine and that's what we call local dining. In Spain they even have a verb tapear meaning bar-hopping, drinking and tasting new tapas. Barcelona has tapas bars in almost every block, so we have selected the best for you.
Catalan bar/restaurant Cerveceria Catalana is especially well-known among tapas fans. Just sit at the counter and point to any tapas you like. It’s best to begin with pan con tomate – grilled bread rubbed with fresh tomatoes and seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper. Add to it a slice of first-class jamon and go on to straight-from-the-sea grilled seafood - navajas a la placha, sepia a la plancha, broscheta de gambas. Those can be ordered from the menu. They also make solomillo de ternera, or mini-steaks. If there is still some room in your stomach left, finish the dinner with one of the home-made desserts. Another good thing about this venue is that the average bill per person rarely exceeds 20 Euros, including alcohol.
One of these places you can frequent every day. This little, narrow and very authentic venue in El Raval not far from the Ramblas has the freshest food right from Boqueria Market. The kitchen is part of the premises, so sit by the bar to watch the process. Menu is in Spanish only, but order anything – it will be perfect: burrata with cherry tomatoes and vegetables, grilled bonita tuna, meat tartare, freshly sliced jamon and their signature bread with tomatoes – a special girl is slicing traditional Catalonian coca bread and rubbing it with tomatoes during the whole night. They also serve the local favorite – ensaladilla rusa – or traditional Russian Oliver salad. The venue is a favorite tapas spot popular both with locals and off-Rambla tourists.
Quimet & Quimet
This tiny bodega wine joint has been here for a century. Start with special tapas made of fresh right-from-the-market products. Pick any, the more, the better. Getting to the bar is a bigger challenge as accolades in The New York Times and The Guardian brought all gastrotourists of the world to Quimet & Quimet. The bar also sells al their stuff, so you can get some edible and drinkable souvenirs.
Authentic tapas bar on the crossroads with Avenue Diagonal has about five tables inside and three outside. No menu – every day the manager chooses the freshest market products and says what he is making. That is why their seating is so strange - you can book a table to have dinner only at 8:30 and 10:30 pm. The place is more expensive than an average tapas bar but it is worth it – Galician style octopus, grilles mussels and plain bread with tomatoes and jamon.
Can Cisa Bar Brutal
This is the second location of Italian twins Stefano and Max Colombo. The concept is: vinoteque +bar+restaurant. They serve tapas in Italian way: fresh mortadella platter, parmesan or divine Sicilian olives. But their gem is wine, particularly homemade ecostuff. A sommelier will be happy to tell you about it and offer a set to taste. Another surprise is staff, as if they all have passed a certain audition – all inked with trendy beards and trademark smile. It is hard to resist coming back the next day and taking a couple of Catalan white home.
A typical Spanish tapas bar with marble tables, wooden chairs, a long bar counter and an intimate terrace. Seafood tapas are what the locals come here for - the menu offers tomato sauce mussels, squids, Galician-style octopus, prawns, as well as classic tapas like 'patatas bravas' (fried potatoes with aioli sauce) and croquettes. Whatever you pick, it would be super tasty and also inexpensive. You will hardly pay over €15 for the tapas and alcohol per person.
The vermouth bar belongs to Albert Adria, the founder of one of Barcelona’s top restaurants The Tickets. This tapas bar is just perfect – great starters and the right vermouth. Start with the drink and explore the menu – its size tempts to order everything twice. A must-eat is stuffed olives (one of the best in town) and plain tomato salad. To say nothing of ham croquettes.
Venetian cuisine. It is the first restaurant opened in Barcelona by the twin brothers. It is small, but has that distinctive Italian feel of home in it. It is always full of people, and on Sundays don’t even bother come here without booking a table. Pizza is also not the main attraction, but if one wants to try experimental Italian cuisine, it is the place. They have, for example, grilled mini-squids or good old spaghetti done their special way. Don’t be shy and talk to waiters, they are very nice and smiling, and are always ready to tell you all you need to know and even more.
The average bill is 20-30 Euros.