Sometimes too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Such is the case with the Barcelona food scene. There’s so much good food that it can be overwhelming to know how to and what to eat in Barcelona Spain. Here are five suggestions on how to dive into the local food scene without missing a beat plus an additional idea for drinkers.
Barcelona is one of the world’s most vibrant cities with awesome art, architecture and nightlife. There are so many cool things to do in Barcelona, but, at least in our opinion, eating is the very best thing to do in Barcelona.
Discover our Barcelona food favorites.
How to Eat in Barcelona
Wondering how to spend your time in Barcelona? Here are our five favorite ways to explore the city through its fabulous food with a bonus for drinkers.
1. Dine in a Unique Venue with Locals
Locals always know the best way to eat in a city and Barcelona is no exception to this rule. The challenge is to meet locals while on holiday. Luckily, eatwith solves this problem by connecting travelers and locals who share a mutual love for food.
You may want to start your exploration of Barcelona’s exciting food scene by eating dinner on a private rooftop. Or perhaps you’ll prefer to ramp up your local Barcelona experience by taking a cooking class in an actual Barcelona home.
Pick your passion. You can find fun culinary experiences like Unique Pop-ups, Supper Clubs, Cooking Classes, Food Tours and more with Eathwith.
2. Graze through La Boqueria
Barcelona has many neighborhood markets, but Barcelona’s biggest market is the world-famous La Boqueria right in the heart of the city on Las Ramblas. This market is a magical place featuring delectable jamon, wide-eyed seafood and fresh-from-the-farm produce.
Although La Boqueria is always crowded with tourists and locals, it really is a can’t miss destination for any food lover. Schedule a four-hour tour of the epic market.
La Boqueria market is just one of 39 markets in Barcelona. These markets sell similar products as Boqueria but on a smaller scale and with fewer tourists. We especially like the Mercat del Ninot for shopping for some of the best food in Barcelona.
If you still have room after grazing through La Boqueria, treat yourself to a sweet treat at Chök, a modern chocolatier right near the market. This cute shop is a pleasant respite after a walk through the busy market.
Chök is located at Carrer del Carme, 3, 08001 Barcelona, Spain.
3. Eat at a Barcelona Tapas Bar
Tapas bars are everywhere in Spain. Thanks to the popularity of al fresco dining, there’s a buzz in the city created by clinking glasses and animated chit-chat on almost every corner.
Eating the best tapas in Barcelona can involve just snacks or it can be a full-on meal. Popular dishes include pan con tomate (tomato bread), patatas bravas (fried potatoes topped with aioli and spicy tomato sauce) and croquetas (fried bundles of oozing deliciousness).
With so many options, it can be challenging to select a tapas bar. Here are three tapas bars that you should check out:
People eat in Barcelona later than they do in the United States. In fact, many restaurants don’t start serving dinner until 8:00. Plan your day accordingly and embrace the laid-back approach to time.
Bardeni is located at Carrer de València, 454, 08013 Barcelona, Spain.
Bodega 1900 is located at Carrer de Tamarit, 91, 08015 Barcelona, Spain.
Cal Pep is located at Plaça de les Olles, 8, 08003 Barcelona, Spain.
4. Experience Molecular Gastronomy
Molecular gastronomy has its epicenter in Barcelona. Perhaps this is because the same creativity can be found in a well-constructed plate of food as can be found in one of Gaudi’s modernist buildings.
Visitors to Barcelona can and should spend time exploring the city’s amazing architectural sites like Sagrada Familia, Park Güell and Casa Batllo. However, we propose that visitors spend time exploring Barcelona’s temples of gastronomy as well.
Barcelona has more than 20 restaurants that have been awarded at least one Michelin star.
The best restaurants in Barcelona, Spain elevate food with gastronomic techniques like spherification, not to mention a healthy respect for foam. More importantly, these top Barcelona restaurants are serving beautifully plated food with exquisite flavors.
Tasting menus are a great way to get a full dining experience from miniature amuse bouche starters to petit fours and everything in between. Not only do tasting menus offer a comprehensive introduction to molecular gastronomy, but they also tend to be less expensive than ordering on an a la carte basis.
Restaurant Angle is located at Carrer Aragó, 214, 08011 Barcelona, Spain.
Roca Moo was located at Carrer Rosellón, 265, 08008 Barcelona, Spain. It has permanently closed.
5. Take a Food Tour
Since Barcelona’s food culture can be a bit intimidating for a first-time visitor, taking one of the Barcelona food tours is a fun way to learn about the city and its food. As a guest of Devour Barcelona, I participated in a comprehensive food tour in the charming Gracia neighborhood.
The four-hour Devour Barcelona walking tour offers a wide selection of foods and drinks prepared by local artisans and chefs. Taking this tour is a fun way to learn about Barcelona’s rich food culture.
If you’re more interested in an evening tour with tapas and wine, Devour Barcelona offers a tour for that too.
Try to schedule a Barcelona food tour early in your visit. A good tour will set the tone for your culinary experience while giving you an understanding of the local food scene.
Bonus Tip for Drinkers
Drinking in Barcelona is more of a right than a luxury. Beverage prices are reasonable, so there’s no excuse not to enjoy a drink (or two) at every meal when you eat in Barcelona. My drinks of choice are Cava, Red Wine and Vermouth.
There’s no better way to start a meal in Barcelona than with a glass of Cava, Spain’s sparkling wine that rivals France’s Champagne and Italy’s Prosecco.
Catalan wines can be bought all over the world, but they keep the best bottles for themselves. My favorite varietals are Garnacha and Tempranillo, especially those from the Priorat region.
No longer relegated to the grandmother or nana crowd, vermouth is a popular drink in Barcelona for people of all ages. Served with a slice of orange and a green olive and often accompanied by a green canister of soda water, a glass of house-made vermouth is not to be missed in Barcelona.
Gin and tonic cocktails are quite the rage in Barcelona. Xix, a trendy yet cozy cocktail bar near Bodega 1900, serves a mean G&T in a huge goblet.
Xix is located at Carrer de Rocafort, 19, 08015 Barcelona, Spain.
Things to Do in Barcelona
There’s so much to see (and eat!) in Barcelona and beyond. You won’t want to miss a thing.
Hungry for More in Catalonia?
Check out our Girona Food Guide and our favorite Barcelona restaurants.
About the Author
Mindi Hirsch left corporate America to embark on a never-ending quest for the next great meal. The award-winning Food & Travel writer lives in Lisbon with her partner Daryl.
Original Publication Date: June 14, 2015
Monday 6th of November 2017
I did love hanging out in La Boqueria when I was in Barcelona however, the Tapas bars always won, a nice glass of red helped wash the yummy food down. Great article!
Saturday 24th of October 2015
I'm so angry that I missed out on the molecular gastronomy stuff when I was in Barcelona last summer. It's possible that I was following your last tip a little too closely ^^ Do you have any suggestions for awesome food places in Madrid? I'm heading there at the end of this year, and there are so many resources out there I have no clue where to begin!
Daryl and Mindi Hirsch
Saturday 24th of October 2015
We have not been to Madrid yet. Perhaps you should start your trip with a food tour. Devour Madrid does several tours that look fun. If you do a tour at the beginning of your visit, you will likely get some great tips on where to eat during the rest of your visit.
Tuesday 8th of September 2015
Oh boy does this bring back some fantasic memories. I need to get back to Barcelona asap! Yum! I loved the hospitality here. The food culture and life in general is so inspiring! x
Monday 22nd of June 2015
These are all of my favorite things to do! We love taking food tours right when we arrive so we get insider info on the best things to eat the rest of the time. Spain is such a foodie paradise. I love it there!
Friday 19th of June 2015
I have not been there in a few years and this is perfect timing as we are going back very soon. Love that they have foodie tours now!