This is a compilation of our favourite places to eat in Barcelona. From traditional Spanish food to Southamerican, breakfast, brunch, Mediterranean and healthy/Flexitarian.
Tapas / Spanish
Tantarantana is one of our favourites on the list. Difficult name but delicious food. They offer traditional Spanish food with an additional level of sophistication, plus traditional Mediterranean cuisine. Nonetheless, expect a lot of fried options, especially on the tapas side of the menu. They also have a great selection of wines.
Its location is also great, in the middle of our favourite area to go out for dinner in Barcelona: El Born. It has two terraces – one in the quiet street of Tantarantana street, and another in the charming square of Allada Vermell. Inside is small but cosy and traditional.
Bornmuth is located in the centre of El Born and has become a popular spot for locals and tourists. They offer a good and extensive variety of tapas, craft beer, local wines, excellent sangria and homemade vermouth. The latter is offered on tap well.
Aubergine with goat cheese, cuttlefish, breaded calamari, buñelos de bacalao (cod fritters), breaded eggplant with honey and patatas mojo picón (Canary Island baked potatoes) are some of their specialities. It has a relaxing but lively and cool vibe, with mostly Southamerican/Latin music.
The only downside is that it can get quite crowdy. But you can always have a drink at the bar while you wait for a table. Moreover, there is a small outside area, and the facade is open, so you can find a good spot to wait on one of the stools outside.
If you like little funky and quirky eating/drinking spots, this could be a great choice. It’s a traditional Spanish tapas bar, located in the heart of El Born district. It was founded in 1929 and it is still run by the same family. Its decoration includes coloured tiles, old bottles and barrels, and other curious antiques.
Its name come from the home-made sparkling wine they serve: Xampanyet. It is the Spanish version of the French champagne, and it is called Cava (similarly, the Italian version is called Prosseco, although their production process varies). The food is of good value and quality. A mixed tapas plate and a glass (or bottle) of Cava are must-have.
Xampanyet is considered by many to be the best Champagne/Cava bar (Xampanyeria) in the city.
Bar Tomas in Sarria is one of the most traditional places we’ve been in Barcelona. It was recommended by a co-worker who was born and raised in that area, which is residential and with almost no tourists. “These guys make the best Bravas in the world” were the exact words.
Its signature dish the Patata Bravas, which come with mayonnaise plus a spicy sauce with garlic. Great taste and aroma. We can also recommend the Bonito that comes with red peppers, as shown in the picture above.
O Retorno is a busy Spanish restaurant serving traditional food from Galicia. There are 4 branches with similar names, but O Retorno is the main one, in the trendy area of Eixample.
Expect to have all the traditional dishes from Galicia such as octopus, zamburiñas, sepia, pimiento de padron, plus other Spanish classics such as paella and more.
Robadora, in El Raval district, was another surprise and favourite. They offer Mediterranean cuisine (with Asian influences) and an excellent selection of local and foreign wines. We went there for lunch during Easter and all our dishes were delicious, well presented and perfectly portioned to share.
One of their signature dishes are the ribs. But we didn’t have them. We tried teriyaki octopus, burrata, risotto, croquetas and grilled entraña (a tender and juicy piece of red meat). I strongly recommend trying the octopus and the “croquetas de rabo de toro” (oxtail croquette). There were other great options on the menu that we could not try, including vegetarian and gluten-free ones.
It is on the pricey side, but not that much. There are not too many tables so better to book in advance.
El Nacional Barcelona is a high-end gastronomic multi-space located at the heart of Passeig de Gràcia. Impressive decoration and a great variety of food with 4 restaurants and 4 bars.
La Braseria is a stake house offering grilled meats. La Llotja specializes in fish using 5 different cooking methods: in the oven, charcoal-grilled, steamed, fried or on the griddle. La Taperia covers tapas and “Malaga-style” rice and noodles. And La Parada offers a varied menu including excellent sandwiches, delicious coca pastries and light meals among many other options.
El Nacional has a total of 85 chefs, seats a total of 770 customers and is open from 12pm until 3am every day of the year. The amazing interior design features include ceramic wall art and mosaics made in Valencia and glass lamps from Galicia. Wood, ceramic, glass, wicker, granite, marble and iron are themes throughout the venue. The ceiling, consisting of 15 lowered vaults, known as volta Catalana, maintains the 19th-century industrial character of the space. [barcelonanavigator.com]
And that’s not all. There is also an Oyster bar, a cocktail bar, a beer and preserves bar, and a wine a cure meats bar. You should try some of these, and have a glass of Cava and a pint of Estrella Damm beer, which is served in a mason pint jar. As you can imagine, it is a little pricier than other places but it is worth it. The other drawback is that it is quite busy, so you may need to walk around until you find a table.
We found La Singular while researching Mediterranean restaurants in the area of Gracia. We walked around the neighbourhood, had home-made vermouth at La Vermu, and then enjoyed their delicious food.
They offer medium size tapas, but not the classic ones. Some of their dished incorporate exotic or foreign components. We had Causa de pulpo a la plancha con salsa chimichurri (picture above), Calamarcitos a la plancha, quinoa y chutney de pimientos asados, chili y Romero and Canelón de pato confitado. All recommended.
Flax and Kale
I would say this was our favourite restaurant. It was a big surprise and success. But it is far from being a traditional Spanish place, with tapas, paella and etc.
It is an extremely healthy, original and sophisticated restaurant. It is the first healthy Flexitarian restaurant in Barcelona. All the dishes are designed thinking not only of gastronomic pleasure but also of its nutritional value. 80% of their offer is plant-based and the remaining 20% are recipes that include bluefish. All its menu is gluten-free, and there is only one dish with lactose, which we tried and was delicious: grilled guayaba with goat cheese.
It is pricey but so worth it. There are 3 shops in the city. We visited Passage on Sant Pere Més Alt de Ciutat Vella. This particular shop offers Gluten Free Healthy Pizzas, Healthy Asian Fusion Cuisine and a Kombucha Lab. You can find more about its spectacular chef Teresa Carles on her official website.
Almalibre Açaí House
Almalibre is an amazingly healthy and vegan option in the heart of Barcelona’s trendy Eixample. We say “almost” as we believe there is only one dish that has the option to has non-vegan cheese.
We had the beautiful salad of the picture above and a delicious bowl of açai for dessert. They offer much more than salads, and their signature dish is a rice and tempeh veggie burger with a gluten-free bun.
They have now shops in Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid, Granada and Miami.
Coffee, breakfast or brunch
Al Sur Cafe
Al Sur Cafe is a modern coffee shop and restaurant, serving food all day long. They offer a great variety of options for breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner, plus coffee, smoothies, craft beer and cocktails. The menu includes eggs benedict, waffles, burgers (even a doughnut burger!), beigels, tapas, healthy bowls (the spirulina bowl of the picture above was our favourite!) and more. On the sweet side, they offer cakes, croissants, cupcakes, cookies, a selection of pastries and also deserts.
It is normally quite busy, so you may need to book or wait for a table. A curious -and not good at all- characteristic is that they don’t share Internet during the weekend and public holidays (I guess this is to avoid people staying for hours having only a coffee…). We also saw a sign stating an extra charge to stay in the terrace, but we did not get charged at the end (maybe it is only for summer).
They have 3 shops: El Born, Lluria and Palau.
Picnic is also located in El Born district and offers delicious brunch and dinner. All portions are generous, perfectly cooked and nicely presented. Their cocktails are fantastic, and the staff attentive and helpful.
Its brunch menu (Monday to Sunday) includes a variety of poached-eggs dishes (Benedict, with pulled pork, duck), burger, toasts, burrata, salmon gravlax, pancakes and more. And its dinner menu (Thursday to Saturday) includes grilled octopus, oysters in tempura, braised oxtail and slow cooked lamb shoulder.
You can also find a smaller and more coffee-oriented shop just in front called the Little Basket, owned by the same people.
La Taguara Areperia is an authentic Venezuelan restaurant (more about food in Venezuela here). Very relaxing atmosphere, moderate prices, South American music (and staff), and curious and fun decoration.
There are not too many seats, and it seems to work a lot with delivery, so be ready to be patient if you go during the weekend. In terms of food, you can find the traditional 11 types of arepas and 4 types of cachapas, plus a few side dishes such as tequeños and fruit juices. They also sell Venezuelan food (frozen and natural).
I recommend trying at least one arepa and one cachapa, accompanied by a bottle of Zulia (Venezuelan beer).
Las Muns is a modern empanadas shop. Empanadas is an Argentinean traditional dish (more about food in Argentina here). These are delicious pastries filled with a variety of different flavours. They are made by folding dough or bread with stuffing. They can be baked or fried. The most famous flavours are ham and cheese, beef, chicken, Caprese (tomato, mozzarella, basil), “humita” (a mix of corn, onions and cream) and tuna (normally eaten during Easter). Different regions of the country will have different recipes for the same type of empanada.
Las Muns offers colourful and tasteful doughs, plus delicious and original flavours such as chicken curry, malbec beef, chicken with beer, dried tomato and provolone cheese.
They now have 10 shops in Barcelona: Poblenou, Urquinaona, El Raval, Francesc Macia, L’Illia Diagonal, Gracia, Diagonal Fluvia, Via Augusta, Sarria and Les Corts.