Recently, perhaps due to long summer vacations, hot afternoons, and Europe calling, I have had a spate of people asking for recommendations on where to go and where or what to eat in Barcelona. I thought I would post up this list of my current favourite eateries and a couple of tips, in case you want to get your pen out, and scribble some tried and tested spots.
In general I have found many a Barcelona yummy spot – and if you use some common sense you won’t be disappointed in your dining experience. Do bare in mind that service can be slow, so take it easy, set time out for a nice long lunch and enjoy the different flavours this city has to offer. read my other guide here.
In no particular order:
Caravelle – simple cafe in the Raval with great food and good coffee, sit at wooden tables and enjoy this laid back restaurant.
Sesamo - a tiny vegetarian restaurant in Raval where I had the most delicious Truffle pasta (I haven’t been in ages, but I loved it when I visited last, it’s understated and the food is good. It has also retained a good rating on Tripadvisor and Yelp)
Teresa Carles – Another veggie restaurant in Raval. Nice food, but VERY slow service. I visited during the Saturday rush so perhaps try during a week day, when its less busy, we waited forever to get a table and then food, but it was good when it finally arrived, thank goodness for great conversation!
Brunch & Cake – nice breakfast & brunch spot on Calle Enric Granados, lots of yummy egg options and the cakes look heavenly!
Elsa y Fred - cute little bistro near the Arc de Triomf, good for a cocktail, or dinner and I think they do brunch too on Saturdays
Picnic – another restaurant near the Arc de Triomf, I’ve had the brunch but I think there are probably other yummy things on the menu too. They are known for their champagne (cava) breakfasts
Kiosko – A gourmet burger joint near the beach. Long queues but delicious burgers in a canteen style restaurant. These burgers are big and filling, and there is a veggie option.
Mosquito - Amazing Asian tapas place in the Borne area – seriously good, a regular spot that I return to. They also have craft beers, and the Dimsum is delectable!!)
Meatpacking Bistro – NYC style restaurant (great tuna Wasabi burger) near Diagonal (in Sant Gervasi – a bit off the beaten path)
La Criolla – Catalan Cafe with lovely terrace. Very pretty, perhaps a bit far from the centre to bother with. But if you find yourself in upper Barcelona, its a good spot to stop off for some coffee. Pick a sun-drenched table, with views of the garden, and I can certainly recommend their soups.
Dine al fresco. Tapas are the norm, some are more expensive than others, some taste better, but dining in a terrace, watching the barcelona street life move on past with a glass of cava or wine cant be beat, no matter the food. I would head to the born or the Gothic to experience this.
Avoid eating on or nearish the ramblas, but dont stress too much, if you want to go for it, no ones judging, and a cup of coffee or huge sangria sitting on the Ramblas may be just your thing! Just watch your bag & phone
Chez Coco – gorgeous rotisserie restaurant on Diagonal (you can see my post on it in my let’s eat section on the blog)
Federal Cafe – A favourite near Sant Antoni Market, I haven’t been back in a while, and I have heard rumours that the owners have changed, but if you are nearby don’t let this detour you, sit at the communal table or get a big group of friends to join you, eat eggs surrounded by fresh flowers, they also have a nice upstairs garden.
Big Fish – Beautiful sushi restaurant in the Born. A bit expensive, if you want to get full, but worth it for a special occasion. Don’t go to their other branch in upper Barcelona, the original is better, sit under the beautiful chandeliers on leather couches and voilà – perfect date night!!
La Frederica in Poble Sec – awesome and cheap, I wrote about it’s great value here! Well worth it if you go to Montjuic for a bit of a walk around, the barrio has a ton of new little shops and cafes – if you are here in the evening stop in at the Bodega Salto.
La Nena – hot chocolate cafe aimed at kids, it’s relaxed and they have great savoury crepes and yummy churros. Just check when they are open, as they have strange hours. You can while away the time sipping on melting chocolate while playing a game of monopoly or checkers.
Mama’s Cafe – cute tiny cafe, in Gracia, eat in their miniature back garden.
Cantina Machito – lovely Mexican restaurant in Gracia, beautiful décor, good if you know what kinds of Mexican food to order and enjoy Tequila. There is also another Mexican restaurant on the same street that looks good called Chido One.
Atmosphere – cute tiny restaurant that serves yummy unassuming food in lower gracia
Sol i Luna – same owners as Atmosphere, this restaurant is in the center of Gracia, and serves french fusion food with (in my experience) great service – the chefs or owners may come and join you for a chat. They have a giant wooden hippo in the window which is hard to miss.
Head to Carrer de l’Allada vermell (off c/ princess in the borne) for nice outdoor dining, or one of the plazas in the old city or Gracia. Plaza Reial is perhaps a good middle ground, a lovely setting, bit touristy but who cares! The Xampaneria (cava bar) in barceloneta is also an institution for eating inside and out! I don’t go often though as it usually packs out. But it is a fun experience.
Quimet & Quimet is also uber famous for their wine and tapas, and I have heard good things about the vermut bar MorroFi (but haven’t managed to get there yet.) It’s a hole in the wall, where you order and eat on the street.
I would also suggest dining in one of the Markets, the big market on the Ramblas La Boqueria is the tourist’s main choice, so it’s famous but also ridiculously crowded. There are a number of tapas bars inside. Grab a seat and order. If crowds are not your thing, I would suggest heading to the Santa Catarina market near the Cathedral, there are a number of restaurants you could try. Also the Mercat Princesa is a newish venue, where you can try various drinks and tapas in a lovely restored building. I found it a bit expensive, but perhaps it depends on what you order—-
A Casa Portuguesa – wine and cake bar, well worth it for pre dinner drinks or after dinner desert. Same street as Sol i Luna in the center of Gracia. ( see my blog post here )
Da Greco – on Passeig de Gracia, this restaurant packs out pretty quickly on the weekends. It’s HUGE! A giant statue of an Ostrich greets you at the front door, the food is great, and quite an experience. Well priced pasta. Don’t order starters as usually if you order two or three different kinds of pastas between you, they will bring you an extra plate of the various pastas as a taster – strange but true.
Akashi Gallery – cute Japanese gallery that serves food. A tad pricey, but nice to go for some green tea and rice balls, if you are in the area. You can sit on the tatami mats, and the restaurant is very pretty – they serve shaved ice, which is marvellously refreshing in summer!
Cosmo – a cute spot at the bottom of c/ Enric granados (this street is full of dining gems, and doing a slow walk up and across and down Rambla Catalunya is a favourite past time of mine!) Cosmo has great juices and often hosts craft & art workshops. The restaurant acts as a gallery as well.
Eyescream & Friends – a fun spot to stop at while visiting Barceloneta beach. Here you can make your own icecream monster, with eyes and all. Everything is edible and comes in a cute little box package, perfect for carrying to the port or beach to eat on the go.
Lukumas – a doughnut bar in Gracia. Artisan doughnuts in a variety of flavours, there is something for everyone, particularly if you have a sweet tooth.
It’s also fun to head for a restaurant with a view. There are some to suit various budgets on Montjuic. And you could also enjoy an expensive drink from the top of the various rooftop hotel bars
Usagui – Lovely Japanese tea and cake spot. Again its a bit off the beaten path, and I don’t think I would recommend going there if its your first visit to BCN, rather save it as a gem for next time, unless you find yourself in dire need of good cake and are in the area.
La Gavina Pizzeria – in Gracia, they have yummy pizza – think fresh Med figs and brie cheese – need I say more?.
Ramen Ya Hiro – best Ramen noodles in town. Mind the Queue!! get there later or earlier to avoid this.
Cafe Emma – French style cafe with nice touches and good menu. Look out for the huge cutlery on the walls.
Pudding – an Alice in Wonderland cake and tea shop. Downstairs you can eat your carrot cake or quiche under a giant mushroom. A great spot for kids and teenagers, with floor to ceiling bookshelves full of colourful books to ipads on communal tables free for customer use.
Last tips for Food on the Go & Picnics:
Turkish/Middle eastern food makes a brilliant snack on the go. There are plenty of Kebab shops, you’ll see them. I recommend ordering a wrap called a Durum. You can choose between beef, chicken or a vegetarian option. I often ask for more veggies than meat, and they are more or less like a cheap yummy sandwich option. Barcelona has baguette shops, but the selections of sandwiches are really not worth it! Who wants to pay 5 euros for a sandwich that has only ham on it??
Better I would suggest heading to a market, buying some delicious fresh Jamon which you can have sliced up, getting some wine on tap from a bodega which serves wine from the barrel, buying fresh bread from a bakery and making your own impromptu picnic at the port or in Citudella or on the beach! Don’t forget to get some delicious cheese!
There are plenty more places I would like to add to this list, so stay tuned for another instalment.