Restaurants, Cafés, Bars and Shops
Good Barcelona food and drink can be found all over the city, though you’ll probably do most of your going to restaurants and bars where you do most of your sightseeing in the old town, particularly around the Ramblas and in the Barri Gòtic.
Many of the tourist traps tend to be insultingly overpriced and poor quality, so I will creating area guides with recommended bars and restaurants.
Don’t be afraid to venture into El Raval, which houses some excellent restaurants, some surprisingly expensive, others little more than hole-in-the-wall cafés.
In the Eixample prices tend to be higher but you’ll find plenty of lunchtime bargains.
Further out, Gràcia is a nice place to spend an evening with plenty of mid-range restaurants.
For the food Barcelona is really proud of – elaborate sarsuelas (fish stews) and all kind of fish and seafood, you’re best off in the Barceloneta neighbourhood, down by the harbour.
The Menu del Día And Cheap Options
If you can find a place serving a Menu del Día – a set meal involving three or four courses normally including wine and coffee – it’s nearly always excellent value for Barcelona food and drink.
There’s one available at most restaurants and cafés, and also in many bars.
A Menu del Día is normally a lunchtime affair, and many of the cheaper places only open for lunch.
Otherwise you can put a meal together by eating tapas – tapes in Catalan, often referred to as racións – in bars and restaurants, and these small dishes are available right throughout the day and night.
There’s not likely to be a written menu, so point to what you want and consult the food lists for full details of what’s available.
Even travellers on an extremely limited budget can find excellent Barcelona food and drink, either by using the excellent markets, bakeries and delis and filling up on sandwiches and snacks, or by taking advantage of the rock-bottom menus del día and tapas in some bars and cafés.
Click Here To Read More About The Menu del Dia
Breakfast, Snacks and Sandwiches
For breakfast, you can get coffee and bread or croissants almost anywhere, but a few café-bars and specialist places – granjas and orxateries especially – are worth looking out for.
As well as snacks and sandwiches, you’ll tempted by ensaimadas, pizza slices and cakes at any forn (bread shop, literally oven) or pastisería – which incidentally are one of the few shops to open on Sunday.
International-style takeaway food is ubiquitous, with burger, chicken and pizza chains well-represented on all over the city.
There’s a fast-growing number of falafel and kebab outlets, too!
Barcelona Tapas Bars
For a more substantial snack, you can’t beat Barcelona’s tapas bars.
Most have their own specialities, so look at what the locals are eating before diving in.
Of course, you don’t have to treat tapas as snacks at all, and jumping from bar to bar with a bite to eat in each, is as good a way to fill up on the best Barcelona food and drink as any.
Done this way, your evening needn’t cost you more than a meal in a medium-priced restaurant – for enormous amounts of Barcelona food and drink.
The most common restaurants are those serving Catalan food, though more mainstream Spanish dishes are generally available, too.
There are several speciality regional Spanish restaurants as well, particularly Galician ones, which are nearly always worth investigating.
The fancier restaurants tend towards a refined Catalan-French style of cooking that’s as elegant as it’s expensive.
If you’ve been in Catalonia – or other parts of Spain – for any length of time, you’ll be pleased to find a good choice of international cuisine in Barcelona.
Pizzas, Chinese and Indian/Pakistani food provide the main choices, though the cuisines of Mexico, North Africa, the Middle East and Japan are represented, too.
Watch out for the odd Spanish colonial restaurant – Cuban or South American – if you’re in the market for something different.
Restaurants in Barcelona generally open open approximately from 1-4pm and 8-11pm.
A lot of restaurants close on Sundays, public holidays and throughout August, so check before you go.
At trendier and more upmarket restaurants, it’s recommended that you reserve a table in advance – either ring or call in earlier in the day.
Otherwise, the most serious problem you’re likely to encounter is that at the budget end of the scale there may be no written menus, the waiter merely reeling off the day’s dishes at bewildering speed.
Buying Your Own Barcelona Food and Drink
If you want to buy fresh food, or make up your own snacks and meals, use the city’s markets.
There’s less choice in the supermarkets, but they’re good for tins, frozen food and packets.
Also keep an eye out for delicatessens and small shops that specialise in tinned fish and meat, cheeses and cooked and cured meats.