This bar was founded in 1919 and, despite offering other tasty tapas, it is famous for its patatas bravas. Every local has heard about @bartomasdesarria and a lot of people agree on one thing: it is said to have the best bravas in town.
What’s probably the most famous tapa in the world is the secret weapon of El Tomás, a bar that seems to be frozen in time. Don’t be discouraged by first impressions as you enter; the most important thing here is food, not looks.
The bar’s secret is that chefs cut the potatoes a bit longer and thinner than usual, almost making them look like fries. This, together with a delicious, slightly hot allioli sauce, makes for a great experience. Keep it simple and accompany the bravas with a cold beer; you won’t regret it for a second.
Let’s just step out of the city center for a bit as we head north to the former town of Gràcia—now a popular district of Barcelona.
If you’re looking for a well thought-out menu with exquisite details and tons of creativity, @antunezbcn is certainly a place to visit. It offers a great experience away from the city chaos, lying just a couple of blocks from the invisible barrier that separates Gràcia from the rest of the world.
Let yourself into a homey, relaxed atmosphere and enjoy the breaded artichokes with romesco sauce—the sauce used with the famous Catalan calçots—, served with a grind of licorice. Finish with a taste of their enticing desserts and a coffee to regain strength. You can then walk off the meal around the friendly squares of Gràcia.
You’ll find this bar in one of the most intimate corners of the Gothic Quarter, in Placeta d’en Marcús. @bardelpla is always pretty busy but, if you need to wait, at least you’ll get a chance to admire the surroundings.
This bar, predominantly influenced by Catalan culture, offers great traditional food in a modern format. Constantly changing like the seasons, these local foods will steal your heart. Get a taste of the smoked sardines on pa de coca—a Catalan kind of toast—and the squid croquettes.l
If you visit before the summer, make sure to try the heart-warming potato and cabbage mash topped with cansalada—the local bacon. This might be the most surprising bit of Catalan cuisine you will ever try.
Decorated with recycled materials and nostalgia-conjuring marble tables, @bormuth.barcelona is a bit more modern—and recent—than the rest on this guide. Founded in 2013, Bormuth serves tap vermouth and tasty craft beers along with a curated, inexpensive tapas menu.
Treat your now educated stomach to some breaded eggplant with honey or the Asturian chorizo in cider. These tapas are guaranteed to please when coupled with a glass of wine from the menu. Some come from Catalunya, while other wines are imported from Rioja or Ribera del Duero denominations of origin.
Make sure you don’t confuse the tapas bar with the Bormuth café as both of them are located in the same building.
This small bodega offers the same food it did back when it opened in 1945. Only 4 tapas make up the menu: the anchovies, butifarra, tomato salad with onion and olives, and our favorite, pescaíto frito—fried fish.
Marked by its country-house setting, @barlaplata offers a lovely experience in which a Mediterranean vibe and the bliss of the Gothic Quarter team up. A piece of advice? Obviously, try all 4 tapas. Enjoy some great wines too, served straight from a barrel.
For a complete Catalan experience, try drinking from a porró, a traditional wine pitcher. It is a fun way to share wine; but careful, it requires some skill to keep it from spilling everywhere.
Few food critics dare to leave this bar out of their guides. Located in the heart of Barcelona, @bar_canete is owned by a family of Andalusian origins.
This bar is very popular among tourists, but you can still enjoy a more authentic, local atmosphere if you postpone dinner until 21 pm. Decorated with great taste and small details waiting to be discovered, this bar offers fresh seafood and a well-rounded menu with regional products.
If you still haven’t gotten around to try tapas or want to enjoy a last one before you leave, this is a great place to do so. Bar Cañete also offers great Catalan food. Their peas and butifarra—a regional kind of sausage—will probably be one of the most satisfying bites you’ll have tried during your stay in Barcelona.
This discreet diner, first opened in 1939, is located in Sant Antoni, an area not so crowded with tourists that contributes to the clientele being predominantly local.
Other than the menu and the music-themed decoration, not much has changed in Bar Ramón over the years. The atmosphere is still that of a typical Spanish bar; something you’ve got to experience if you’re visiting.
Even more appealing to Jazz, R&B and Soul fans, this bar is a temple of music that, despite being played all night long, does not get in the way of a good conversation over unpretentious yet hearty food. Get a taste of the steak with foie gras or the grilled octopus, an all-time classic in Spain.
Located in the famous La Boqueria food market right in the middle of Les Rambles, @elquimdelaboqueria was established in 1987 as a much smaller stall, with just 5 stools. A self-made entrepreneur, Quim Marquez, has led a decades-long fight to position himself as one of the most celebrated chefs of the Catalan capital.
Working hard and maintaining exceptional service since day one, eventually, he was offered to move to a bigger stall on the occasion of the market’s renovation. There, he would be able to accommodate 3 times more customers. Quim just knows how to seize the opportunity, and he did not hesitate to take the offer.
The bar’s popularity and location will often make it hard for you to find a free table, and El Quim de La Boqueria doesn’t take any reservations. It might take you a little time, but as they say, good things come to those who wait. Stop by whenever you visit the city center and enjoy the unique whitebait with eggs as you sit surrounded by the beautiful food stalls, rich with vibrant colors.
Let’s move on to Poble Sec, a district hiding behind Barcelona’s version of Broadway: Avinguda del Paraŀlel. Once crowded with cabarets and theaters, this working-class quarter is home to a bar that could pass for an old deli.
Run by Quim—the founder’s great-grandson—along with his sister and wife, this bar can host up to 30 guests at a time. Established in 1914, Quimet & Quimet offers a huge variety of wines and tapas prepared with cold, canned ingredients. That’s right, cold ingredients; this bar doesn’t have a kitchen, so the food comes from the counter.
Don’t miss the salmon, yogurt and truffled honey tapa—a must of this small bar. You’ll also want to order a cold glass of the local beer, brewed by the Barcelona Beer Company.
Founded by two Catalan brothers back in 1955, this once small business has become one of the culinary references in the fishermen district of La Barceloneta. Jai-Ca offers great, inexpensive tapas experience coupled with a modernist-Caribbean flair. Its wood panels covering the bar and the beautiful tiles on the small tables will transport you to a different era.
After putting in a lot of hard work and earning the respect of its customers, the owners of the bar took a step further in 2012 by opening a second location just a few meters away from the first one. While accommodating more customers during rush hours—that is, all day long—, Jai-Ca 2 still keeps its promise to offer good food for little money.t
Visit Jai-Ca to enjoy almost any kind of tapas, some of which come with a simplistic yet particularly alluring marine twist. The star of the menu is the breaded squid fillets with a fried egg on top, unique to this bar. Top them up with a glass of their proprietary vermouth, prepared by carefully following the traditional recipe.