Where to eat tapas on your next trip to Barcelona
Not all tapas bars in Barcelona are created equal. So that you don’t get stuck eating mediocre patatas bravas or forcing yourself to finish bad vermouth, here’s our list of the eight best tapas bars in the city.
1. La Flauta. Aribau 23.
Twenty-five years running, this stylish but informal restaurant is a fixture on the tapa trail of any food lover. If you manage to get inside, you’ll see that it’s a hotspot for locals with a bustling atmosphere and lively crowds that make for a one-of-a-kind dining experience. With a no reservation policy, queues are to be expected, but it’s guaranteed to be worth the wait. The seafood selection is on show at the bar, so why not grab a beer and stave off the hunger with a few cold tapas?
2. Palosanto. Rambla del Raval 26.
Rambla del Raval is one of Barcelona’s most eccentric streets and Palosanto fits in well. With outdoor seating and siesta inducing food, it’s hard to leave. Under the watchful eye of the famous bronze cat, you can choose from Palosanto’s unique tapas cooked with love and filled with the flavours of homemade goodness. Spanish omelette, homemade croquettes and patatas bravas smothered in its special brava sauce are just some examples of the soul food up for grabs. If you’ve still got room, go for the pulpo or Russian salad, which it has reinvented in its Palosanto style.
3. La Llibertària. Tallers 48.
Surrounded by vintage shops and bakeries, La Llibertària is easily missed. But once inside you will discover an historical haunt with much more than just excellent food on offer. La Llibertària takes you on a journey through one of the city’s most tumultuous periods of history—the Spanish Civil War. Hanging on its walls are original paintings, photographs and posters, giving clientele a glimpse into Barcelona’s past. Its distinctive decor allows you to soak up the history, whilst enjoying a glass of wine and its selection of authentic tapas made from timeless recipes.
4. Bar Bitácora. Plaça de la Unió 24.
Although both of its restaurants offer the same delicious dishes, diners can expect two very different atmospheres. As in many of the small tapas bars in Barceloneta, Bitácora is a well-frequented stomping ground for those in search of good food. If you’d prefer to be further from the madding crowd, the Poblenou restaurant boasts a much more laid-back atmosphere. Why not build up an appetite with a leisurely seafront stroll and then take a weight off on the terrace where you can admire the architectural beauty of the Poblenou market. Both restaurants serve an assortment of dishes, catering for vegetarians and seafood lovers alike. The asparagus tempura in romesco sauce and fresh ceviche are definite winners.
5. Chaka Khan. Hospital 104.
Chaka Khan is a new arrival to the city’s restaurant scene and has brought with it flavours from around the globe, creating tapas like you’ve never tasted before. Chaka, on the bottom floor, is a tapas bar with a casual atmosphere. Khan on the other hand is a slightly pricier, more formal kind of eatery. Whatever you’re looking for, this restaurant is sure to deliver. Its boundary-pushing menu includes Iranian flatbread, East African street food and Nigerian okra stew. Located in the heart of the Raval, its ambitiously diverse menu of food and cocktails have certainly made it stand out from the crowd.
6. Jai-Ca. Ginebra 13.
If traditional is what you want, you won’t find better than Jai-Ca. Its menu of mouthwatering seafood dishes includes everything from cuttlefish and razor shells to grilled clams and squid. Despite being opened more than 50 years ago by Jaimie and Luisa Cabot (hence the name), Jai-Ca has managed to keep its charm. The black and white checkered flooring and untouched decor bring diners back to the bygone years of Barcelona, making sure your visit is rich in atmosphere and flavour.
7. Bodega Cala del Vermut. Magdalenes 6.
Justly famed for its delicious own-label vermouth, which is both on tap and cheap, Bodega Cala del Vermut is a treasure trove of culture and cuisine. Its walls are adorned with vintage photos of calas (small caves) and images of the Costa Brava, which perfectly embellish its nautical theme. It’s small but cosy and perfect for a typical Sunday afternoon vermouth accompanied by its speciality cold tapas.
8. Bormuth. Plaça Comercial 1.
Bormuth gives you the opportunity to savour not only the flavours but also the architecture of Barcelona. Overlooking Borne Market, which houses ruins of the medieval city, you can feast your eyes on the Modernist designs of Antoni Rovira i Trias while you tuck into some Catalan delights. Serving up a delicious array of traditional dishes, Bormuth is a safe, appetising and affordable bet. Speciality Bormuth meatballs and white wine clams feature on the menu, but its veggie dishes are not to be missed. The fresh lentil salad as well as the breaded aubergines with honey are just two of its menu-topping options.