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.
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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 best thing to do in Barcelona.
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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, dinners in Barcelona solve 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.
Eatwith offers dozens of opportunities for food travelers to eat and cook with locals in Barcelona. Click here to plan an awesome experience now.
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. Click here to 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 Barcelona. 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:
- Bardeni is a modern meat bar located near Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. The small Barcelona restaurant is the perfect place for an affordable meal like steak tartare with a side of patatas bravas.
- Bodega 1900, part of the Albert Adria restaurant empire, serves innovative tapas in a lively atmosphere. From spherified olives to cannelloni stuffed with foie gras, the restaurant takes old-school tapas and makes it new and exciting.
- Cal Pep is a bustling tapas bar in the trendy El Born neighborhood. It’s a good spot to experience an open kitchen making traditional tapas dishes.
People eat in Barcelona later than 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.
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. Click here to explore dozens of Barcelona tours.
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.
Cava: 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.
Red Wine: 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.
Vermouth: 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.
- Click here if you’re planning a culinary weekend in Barcelona.
- Click here for suggestions on how to spend 48 hours in Barcelona.
- Click here if you want to explore beyond Barcelona.
Find a Barcelona Hotel
We recommend the following two Barcelona hotels where we’ve personally been guests:
- Hotel Praktik Bakery in the Eixample neighborhood is within walking distance to many restaurants, bars and tourist sites including those mentioned in this article. Click here to explore the best rates for this conveniently located hotel with a bakery in the lobby. Yes, you read that right – this hotel has a bakery in the lobby.
- The conveniently located Silver Aparthotel Barcelona in the Gracia neighborhood makes a great base for exploring the city. As a bonus, it’s near the Devour Barcelona tour recommended above and many of the best places to eat in Barcelona. Click here to check rates for this 2foodtrippers-approved hotel.
Click here to find an Airbnb apartment if you want access to a kitchen while you’re in Barcelona.
Hungry for More?
Check out our food guide for nearby Girona.
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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.
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.
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