Traditional food and tapas in Poble Sec
Poblesec is the neighborhood located at the foot of the Montjuic Hill, between the port and Plaça Espanya. While for many years no one will find anything exciting to do there, now it has become a pole attracting food lovers of all budgets: from people looking for inexpensive tapas, to those who want to try traditional cooking, to big spenders.
Eating in the Poble Sec district is a great option for a meal after you finish visiting the Hill of Montjuïc, or if you are planning to attend the Magic Fountain show. Or if you just want to explore this vibrant off the beaten path area. Or if you’ve heard of one of its many restaurants and want to try it, of course! That’s why today I’m sharing with you my favorite ones.
These are our favorite restaurants in Poble Sec:
Quimet i Quimet. A classic place for tapas in Poble Sec, this is a super tiny family-owned tapas bar with walls elegantly displaying bottles of wine and distillates, and a counter in one site behind which the owner and a couple of helpers prepare their montaditos (slices of bread with different toppings) on demand in front of you. Nothing to do with the many Basque restaurants where pintxos are already prepared and seat in the counter waiting for you to pick them up. At Quimet i Quimet there is a menu (in English, as well), from where you can choose your topings: cheese, paté, egg, anchovies, caramelized walnuts, olives and more. You can also order some gorgeous assortments of cheese, canned seafood or veggies, some really thick and crispy potato chips, and their memorable croquettes. Plan to come for lunch on a weekday to avoid the crowds – otherwise it might be difficult to get in.
Rías de Galícia. If you are looking for good Poble Sec restaurants for seafood, this is the place to go. Often chosen by businessmen attending a trade show in Fira de Barcelona nearby, it’s considered one of the 10 best marisquerías (seafood restaurant) in Spain and one of the top 100 best Classic and Heritage Spanish restaurants in the World. Open in 1986 by the parents of the current owners, the restaurant evolved with the years until a partnership with the Adrià brothers (who also own the Nikkei restaurant Pakta in the area) gave it the boost it needed. You’ll find the freshest Galician seafood and fish, as well as beautifully elaborated sushi and sashimi. And if you have a meat-lover in your party, they’ll be more than pleased with the suckling pig and calf dishes. There is a tasting menu and an even more spectacular “Jaguar Experience” consisting in 19 dishes and 2 desserts. The upper floor reveals another restaurant inside the restaurant: Espai Kru, dedicated to seafood tapas and divided in two areas – one for raw presentations and another where fire is the star. BTW, in the same street they own a fun Galician tapas bar called Cañota.
Gran Bodega Saltó. Open almost 100 years ago, as a wholesale wine shop, where locals will flock to buy cheap wine from large barrels and the dancers and singers of the Paral·lel avenue cabarets would come to have a drink in the few tables they had. Such kind of taberns, however, went out of fashion and the place would have certainly closed if in 2001 it hadn’t been discovered by chance by a couple that thought it would be a great location for a restaurant. They refurbished the place and in 6 months it had become what is its now: a fascinating venue that mixes up the spirit of the past and a touch of funky modern art decoration. You’ll find here affordable plates of ham and cold cuts and cheese, earthy sandwiches and olives and canned food to go with your drinks. Vegetarians won’t find too many options here, though. Check their website or call to find out when there’ll be live music.
Bar Seco. A bit off the main street where most restaurants in Poble Sec are located, up the hill you’ll find this sustainable bar that is probably one of the few in the area serving organic food from local producers. They have a nice selection of tapas to share with your friends, as well as salads and burgers (some of them, vegetarian-friendly as they believe in reducing the consumption of meat to help the environment). It really feels like that neighborhood bar where you’d meet with your friends to chat and have a bite – and that’s why we love it.
Elche. Serving authentic Valentian paella since 1959, it has become a reference not just in Poblesec but also in the whole city of Barcelona when talking about rice. Get ready for a filling and fulfilling meal: paella takes at least 20 minutes to be served (a few hours to prepare from scratch, but they’ll have the ingredients ready so you just have to wait for the rice to get cooked), so you’ll want to do as locals do: order a variety of starters to eat while you wait for the rice to come. Choose something light such as salad or grilled veggies, or maybe some ham (don’t eat too much bread with it, though), and if your party is large, then maybe also a plate of seafood to share. As for the rice, you can select from a range of recipes going from the popular seafood one (with or without shells), the black rice for adventurous eaters, a lobster soupy rice, their house recipe with chicken and egg, as well as a noodle paella.
AND BONUS! This is the cheapest and most fun tapas in Poble Sec:
Taberna Blai Tonight. Blai street is the heart of tapas in PobleSec: a myriad of bars spread along it, promising a fun time for you and your friends and a young atmosphere. But where to go? Blai Tonight is definitely everyone’s choice: a very simply decorated stand-up tapas bar displaying platters of pintxos and tapas at ONE EURO each! Sure, the quality isn’t exceptional, but it’s so much fun to choose from it. Hang over for a while: they keep bringing hot tapas from the kitchen that will be advertised by the waiters and offered to those standing by the counter: get one quickly as they won’t last long!
So what about you? Head to the comments below and tells us: have you been (or are you planning to go to) any great Poble Sec restaurants?