Where Do Locals Go For Tapas In Barcelona?
BEST BARCELONA TAPAS BARS AND RESTAURANTS BY DISTRICT
Unfortunately the pandemic has forced many great tapas bars and restaurants to shut down. Even the Michelin Starred Tickets and Bodega 1900 by the Adrià brothers have permanently closed, along with personal favorites such as Lolita Taperia… So I felt the need to update my list of best tapas bars to reflect the current Barcelona tapas scene. And since I was going to do a redo, I took the opportunity to organize them by areas so it’s easy to plan your meals around your sightseeing.
Many of my guests ask me where to find some good tapas in Barcelona, and I’m always happy to give them a few recommendations. That’s why today I’m sharing with you where to go for some great local tapas in town.
But what are tapas? Tapas are small plates that you share with your friends and family around a table. It can be just an appetizer before your real meal, or if you order a few of them tapas can be a whole meal by itself. Learn more about the meaning of tapas in this post.
Best Tapas Bars in Barri Gòtic
Bar La Plata
They are famous for their fried sardines, freshly served from the Barcelona fishmongers as soon as the first fishermen arrive. They are so tender that you can eat the whole thing: head, bones and tail. Don’t forget to order their pork sausage pintxo, too. It’s a small chunk served on a slice of bread. They also have a lovely salad tapa (tomato, sweet onion and alberquina olives). And if you feel like trying a very Catalan thing: order a “porró” of wine and ask them how to use it. LOL guaranteed. Order white wine to prevent ruining your shirt.
Now a very different experience. Sensi is one of the best examples of creative tapas in Barcelona. Inspired in French bistrots, you’ll find here Mediterranean fusion as well as traditional tapas made with high quality ingredients. This tapas restaurant is a place seat down and enjoy a meal, not a place to get a bite and leave. Your vegetarian friends will be pleasantly surprised with the many options available for them.
Bodega La Palma
Vinateria del Call
A mix between Sensi and Bodega La Palma, I love this tapas bar in the heart of the Jewish Section. The name of the restaurant means “Wine Bar of the Jewish Section”, so it’s a fun destination for wine lovers, too. Don’t miss their baked leeks – they’ll surprise you!
Olives, cheese preserved in olive oil, canned seafood, Spanish ham, anchovies… There’s often old folks that spend their morning there, and if there’s no table available they are happy to stand up so you can order: they understand the owners need to make business!
+ Gothic Quarter Bonus!
Here are more tapas bars to check out in the Barcelona Gothic Quarter:
- Irati, for basque pintxos.
- Cala del Vermut, vermouth-style food, laid back and traditional near the Cathedral.
- Bar Celta. Authentic tapas from the Galicia region.
- Palosanto. Good vibes, traditional tapas and some international additions.
- Life is not just about tapas? Check out our other recommended restaurants in Barri Gotic.
Best Tapas Restaurants in El Born
Order some ham and cheese and pair it with the house sparkling (Xampanyet means “little champagne”). It’s a crowded place, but getting one of their coveted tables is an amazing experience!
In the same line of Sensi, but with a louder atmosphere, it’s also a seat-down tapas restaurant. The chef Daniel rueda and his wife offer classic tapas as well as reinterpretations with yummy twists. They also serve “miniature cuisine”, which are traditional Catalan recipes such as meatballs or noodle fideuà, served in small tapa-styel portions.
The counters display platters and platters of cold specialties. And no, the food never goes old: it rotates a lot! From time to time you’ll see waiters coming out of the kitchen with more platters filled with warm pintxos: croquettes, sausages… Be quick to grab them: they fly!
Possibly one of the most famous tapas bars in Barcelona… and also one of the most expensive! But the experience is worth it. They have super fresh fish and seafood, a pork sausage with foie to die for, and an amazing runny Spanish omelet with their secret ingredient: sobrasada spread.
You need to arrive some 20 minutes before it opens and stand in line: there’s only 20 seats along the counter. If you aren’t one of the happy first 20… you are screwed and will have to wait almost an hour to get a seat. TIP: if you are at least 4 people: call in advance to see if they still have one of their only 4 tables available in the back!
Bar del Pla
+ El Born Bonus!
Choosing only 5 tapas restaurants in El born was hard. It’s one of the best neighborhoods for tapas! So let me give you some more ideas:
- Can Cisa (Bar Brutal), tapas and natural wines.
- Ten’s, fancy tapas restaurant by the Michelin-Starred chef Jordi Cruz. Great for seafood.
- Bar Celta. The Galician bar from El Gòtic also run another venue in Princesa street.
- Bormuth, casual homemade traditional tapas. A new classic of El Born.
- La Puntual. Nice tapas in such a large restaurant that they always have room left when the nearby Barcelona tapas restaurants are full.
- Llamber. Classy tapas from Catalonia and Asturias.
Check out our other recommended restaurants in El Born.
Best Barceloneta Tapas Bars
La Cova Fumada
Make sure to order a “bomba“, the local tapas invented in this precise bar: a mashed potato ball stuffed with minced meat. Yum!
Gourmet tavern serving high quality traditional tapas. To be in the heart of the fishermen district, your vegetarian friends will be surprised to see the lovely options for them. However, fried and grilled seafood are the thing here.
El Vaso de Oro
Can Paixano (La Xampanyeria)
Fun and totally informal, popular among local and Erasmus international ex-change students, this second-generation owned winery is also a cheap eatery. There’s no tables, no chairs or stools, and the floor is covered in dirty paper napkins and other litter.
But you’d never though eating and drinking on a crowd could be that fun. They are famous for their house (cheap) sparkling – white or rosé. Most people order meat sandwiches here, but they also have “raciones”: tapas platters of cold cuts and grilled meats. Each item under 3€!
Can Maño (Los Maños)
Another favorite of young crowds because it’s cheap but the quality is good and the servings generous. “Maños” are the people from Zaragoza, and that’s where the owners are from. Fresh fish, deep fried or grilled and sprinkled with garlic and parsley, the Spanish way. Don’t miss their sardines and their potatoes.
+ Barceloneta Bonus!
La Barceloneta is the old fishermen quarters. So seafood is big here. Plus the famous tapa called “bomba” was invented here, so that’s become another classic of the district.
- La Bombeta, another bar famous for their bombas.
- Jai-ca, nice variety of classic tapas (seafood, meats and veggies) sin 1955.
- Bodega l’Electricitat. Authentic bar with marble tables serving traditional tapas.
Check out our other recommended restaurants in La Barceloneta.
Best Tapas In El Raval
Although they have a couple of classic tapas in their menu, such as the Ensaladilla Russa, here you’ll find high end fusion tapas (ceviche, tartar…) as well as some interesting new looks at less mainstream Spanish cooking like their eel with saffron aioli.
El Quim de la Boqueria
And with him work his two sons and a happy team of male waiters and cooks, all crammed in a tiny kitchen surrounded by a counter. They are famous for their fried eggs with baby calamari, baby fried fish (“llangueta”) or mushrooms. Everything there is amazing: it’s not cheap but it’s well worth the splurge.
Located in the fancy area of El Raval, the name of this Catalan restaurant means Two Bell Peppers. But it can also translate as “the balls on you”. You’ll want to stick to their starters for a tapas meal. But when you read the rest of their menu you’ll want to try everything else.
Their long counter is always packed. For breakfast, people orders his delicious “xuxos” (picture a croissant filled with cream, deep fried and coated in sugar). But his famous white beans with baby calamari and chick peas with blood sausage can be ordered from the early morning, too.
+ El Raval Bonus!
Before venturing much further into El Raval, make sure you understand the risks it involves. It’s not the safest district in Barcelona, but it’s manageable if you are well traveled.
- Bar Lobo, informal tapas and confort food restaurant owned by a celebrated local chain.
- Quiosco Universal, our favorite place to eat seafood tapas in La Boqueria without exhausting your wallet.
- Mendizabal. Whole in the wall mostly famous for their sandwiches but also great for a small bite and a drink.
- Palosanto, the one in Rambla del Raval (not owned by the guys of the one in the Gothic Quarter).
Best Eixample Tapas Restaurants
Just one recommendation: don’t let the waiter bring you an assortment: it’s likely to be boring. Instead, take a moment to read the menu (in English) and choose what sounds most appealing for you, and also ask the waiter about what other people are eating around you to get some extra ideas. I love their crunchy camembert and their spicy “huevos cabreados”, but there’s much more! Even picky eaters find something they like there.
Located in a not touristy area of Barcelona, they serve great seafood tapas that you can eat on their high tables with stools. The name looks like someone’s name and last name (Paco meaning Francis), but when said out loud it sounds like “pa’ comer algo” (just to eat something). They also have zucchini flowers!
Owned by a Michelin-starred chef that eventually decided tapas were more fun, it looks like a traditional tapas restaurant, but with high quality products and without the excessive fat of old-style bars. They are famous for their truffle “bikini” (grilled ham and cheese sandwich). But everything else is spectacular there.
I love their with their wine barrels and old tiled floor. That’s where locals eat (tourists prefer their outdoor terrace). Traditional tapas, Spanish ham and other charcuterie and great cheese.
+ Eixample Bonus!
- La Bodegueta de Provença, owned by La Bodegueta, is a more modern tapas bar great when the other one is full.
- Mont Bar, refined tapas bar serving both traditional and creative tapas.
- De Tapa Madre. Madrid-style tapas bar.
- Ciudad Condal and Vinitus. The sister restaurants of Cerveseria Catalana.
- El Nacional. Large food court in Passeig de Gràcia including a classic tapas corner and a vermouth bar.
Check out our other recommended restaurants in Eixample – Passeig de Gràcia.
Best Gracia Tapas Restaurants
IMPORTANT NOTE: The Gracia district shouldn’t be confused with Passeig de Gracia avenue. Passeig de Gràcia is the main street of Eixample… ending in the border of the Gràcia district. This area keeps a “village” feel and it’s still quite local and not so explored by tourists yet.
La Xula Taperia
Come here for a vermouth or a bite and a drink outside meal hours, or for a seat down lunch or dinner. Great spinach fritters, asparagus with eggs and fried calamari. Your vegetarian friends will love it!
An old poultry shop turned into tapas bar. Although there’s not as much chicken in their menu as the name suggests (they do have croquettes and chicken wings, though). I prefer their cheese and black trumpet croquettes and their white beans and sausage omelet, to go for something unique.
- Where: Carrer de Sant Lluís, 9
- Website: They only seem to have a Facebook page.
A local best-loved founded by Mr. Quimet in 1954. When his son Quimet Jr retired in 2010, the Montero brothers took over, preserving the original wine cellar decoration. Order a glass of wine or vermouth and a selection of high quality preserves and canned seafood.
+ Gràcia Bonus!
- Bar Roure, Classic tapas and local crowds.
- Vermuteria Lou, Vermouth and small bites.
- Lata-Berna. High end tapas with a Gràcia feel.
- Vermuteria del Tano. A classic for Sunday vermouth at midday.
Check out our other recommended restaurants in the Vila de Gràcia..
Best Tapas Bars in Barcelona Worth a Detour
Quimet i Quimet (Poble Sec)
Halfway between a deli grocery and a bar, their specialty are bread buns with assorted toppings. They prepare them right in front of you, while you are standing by the counter. It’s a quite small venue, and the owners are superfriendly. No tables: you’ll be standing up next to the counter.
La Esquinica (Nou Barris)
That’s a place where no tourist would ever find by mistake, as it’s a totally off-the-beaten-path neighborhood. Be prepared to wait outside until you are given a place to seat, as it’s always crowded. Totally traditional old-school tapas.
Bar Tomàs (Sarrià)
Bar Ramon (Sant Antoni)
Very curious venue that combines an old bedega setting with retro rock-and-roll decoration. All-time classic tapas.
- Where: Carrer del Comte Borrell, 81
- Website: http://barramon.dudaone.com/
- Where: Av. de Mistral, 44
- Website: I’m actually surprised they have a Facebook page!
Ok, so do you really need more?
- Casa de Tapas La Cañota. Classic tapas for picky eaters in Montjuic.
- Fàbrica Moritz. And old beer brewery turned tapas bar (Sant Antoni)
- Mantequerías Pirenaicas. Spanish omelet to die for, in a sophisticated neighborhood (Sant Gervasi).
- Mandri. The direct competitors of Bar Tomàs when talking about patatas bravas (Bonanova).
- Las Delicias, a working-class restaurant near Park Guell that is always packed with locals.
What tapas restaurants in Barcelona are you planning on visiting?
Marta is the founder of ForeverBarcelona. She is a passionate tour guide that loves Barcelona and loves writing too. She is the main author of our Blog, and is committed to sharing her knowledge about Barcelona and her best tips with our readers.
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