Here we serve up a list of ten recommended tapas restaurants in Barcelona. You’ll find places run by famous Michelin starred chefs as well as the traditional tapas bar that has served locals for decades. Get to know Tickets, Cal Pep, Quimet and more!
Despite the fact that the tapas food tradition is not really a part of the Catalan cuisine, today’s local chefs have fully embraced it and are adding a lot of creative touches. We’re recommending ten tapas places that together make up a tasty cross-section of the types of tapas dishes you can indulge in, in Barcelona.
We are not going to rank these restaurants, as, with such widely different concepts of tapas on the menu in Barcelona, that really would be comparing apples and pears! The ten on this list, in our opinion, offer some of the more memorable tapas tasting experiences you can have in Barcelona, and you’ll find restaurants run by famous chefs as well as traditional, time tested, tapas bars.
Tapas 24 - Even though run by a Michelin starred chef, Carles Abellan, the atmosphere here is suitably informal, busy but friendly. As with any “real” tapas bar you can’t book a table, just turn up and hope the line isn’t too long. It is a tourist favourite so be warned! The food is worth waiting in line for, though, especially the “bikini” - a traditional ham & cheese toast, here “spiked” with black truffle. The chocolate dessert lined with olive oil and sea salt is another winner Type of kitchen: Creative Tapas.
Cal Pep - This is a classic tapas restaurant with an air of authenticity and a lively atmosphere. Suitably for a place close to the Barceloneta (a former fishing village, now the home of beach lovers), seafood takes center stage at Pep’s. The clams and ham dish (cloisses amp peril) is a must, and it’s also one of the best place in town to enjoy a traditional Spanish omelette. Type of kitchen:Classic Tapas/Seafood
Dos Pebrots is the place of a former head chef at “the world’s best restaurant”, El Bulli, Albert Raurich. He is another chef who has found inspiration in Asian cuisine as well as the Spanish tapas tradition and Catalan products and dishes. Type of kitchen: Creative Catalan.
Quimet i Quimet. You can’t beat Quimet for atmosphere! It’s one of the longest standing tapas bars in Barcelona, and they never fail to serve top produce. They specialise in conservas, food preserved in tin-cans, which might be odd for a non-Spanish, but is, in fact, a real time-honoured tradition in Spain. And, the montaditos - tapas on bread are a perfect snack to go with one of the many bottles of wine they can offer. Type of kitchen: Classic Tapas.
Tickets No article about food in Barcelona gets written without mentioning the Adriá brothers.We have already mentioned a couple of chefs who learnt their trade at Ferran Adriá’s iconic restaurant, El Bulli. When closing the “mothership”, Ferran and his brother Albert branched out into various culinary projects, one being Tickets - a “tapas bar” that showcases a lot of the kitchen innovations cooked up at El Bulli, in an informal and playful setting. You are basically guaranteed a menu filled with tapas dishes that you have never tried before. Type of kitchen: Tapas deconstruction.
Tapeo This is a relative newcomer to the Old Town tapas scene, and they are, so far, getting it right. The menu is based on (mostly) traditional Catalan dishes, but in general they are served with a culinary “twist”. The spare-ribs are among the best we’ve tried. The cannelloni stuffed with blood sausage, Morcilla, is another winner.Type of kitchen: Creative Tapas
Bar Tomás As most tapas bars tend to be located in the Old Town, Tomás is an exception, location wise. This bar is located in the Zone Alta - in the Sarriá neighbourhood, at the foot of the Collserola heights. It’s a Barcelona classic and frequently mentioned as having “the best patatas braves (potatoes in spicy sauce) in town.” Type of kitchen: Classic tapas
Blai 9 We need to include a bar from Carrer Blai in Poble Sec in our list. This is about the only street in Barcelona where you can hop from tapas bar to tapas bar, and the bars are lively and the food cheap, making it a favourite for young people on a night out. The food is nothing to write home about, or write about in a blog, in general - the exception being Blai 9. They serve pintxos - tapas on a bread pierced by a toothpick. The toothpicks are counted at the end to sum up what is a reasonable price for tasty tidbits of quail eggs, mini burgers and more. Type of kitchen: Creative tapas
El Vaso de Oro. So far we have visited the Old Town district with detours to Poble Sec, Sarriá and Eixample. Any list of eateries wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the “beach district”, Barceloneta. The “Golden Glass Bar” is an excellent alternative for enjoying quality drought beer while chomping away on typical tapas, among these meatballs with cuttlefish. This is, after all, the original fishing district of Barcelona! Type of kitchen: Classic tapas.
Ten’s Tapas - Another tapas place under the supervision of a famous chef, in this case Jordi Cruz, a familiar face in Spain due to being one of the judges on the Spanish version of Masterchef. Ten’s specialise in taking cues from the tapas tradition and mixing them up with Asian dishes and ingredients, like the Sichuan ice cream. They do keep things interesting by changing their menu frequently, which makes it more difficult to recommend particular dishes. Type of kitchen: Catalan/Asian fusion.
Want to know more about Spanish food tradition, in a hands-on manner? Join our Spanish cooking class in Barcelona!