Food in Barcelona

They know how to eat in Barcelona. When I say that, I mean meals are social, sensual experiences. It’s about sipping wine and relaxing with friends, ordering dishes to taste and share, and savoring time with others as much as the food being consuming.

Tapas-style eating dominates in the city, and you usually order small plates. Some tips: Don’t tip, actually, because it is not a practice in Spain. The Menú del Día is the best deal in the city. It’s a flat-rate, affordable lunch that includes multiple courses and varies each day. You probably will pay more to sit outside, and no one serves complimentary tap water. Lastly, this is a city you want to taste your way through, but please, please do not eat on Las Ramblas. It’s a tourist trap of contrived, so-so, expensive comida. Authentic tapas spots and Catalan restaurants abound, so wander and taste!

Restaurants

Bar Pinotxo: There’s no menu at this Boqueria tapas bar >

Café de L’Academia: A favorite fine dining restaurant >

Cans Culleretes: A traditional Catalan restaurant that’s older than America >

*Cerveceria Catalana: Expect to wait, but also expect delicious food and one of the most fun dinner atmospheres in the city >

La Champagneria: A counter for ordering and a packed, yellow-lit space with a party atmosphere >

*Comerç 24: Feel as though you’re rediscovering your taste buds with a gastronomic tour of Catalan cuisine >

*La Paradeta: See your seafood, select it, pick it up and devour it >

*Pla dels Angels: Food cheap in price but rich in flavor served up in an artsy area >

Els Quatre Gats: Once upon a time, Picasso and his contemporaries gathered here to idle away the hours inventing and discussing things like Cubism >

Sagardi: Pay per pincho and stand in a restaurant situated in one of the best spots of the Gothic Quarter>

Taller de Tapas: Find your typical tapas at one of the Taller de Tapas restaurants, my favorite of which is in the scenic, lively and antique neighborhood of El Born >

*El Xampanyet: Perhaps my favorite restaurant in Barcelona — did I mention they bottle their own sparkling wine? >

Cafés & Sweets

Café Zurich: People watch at a bustling café situated next to Plaza Catalunya and the top of Las Ramblas >

La Granja: My favorite little café with heavenly hot chocolate (read on to find out what “hot chocolate” is like in Spain) >

Xocoa: If chocolate can be stylish, Xocoa is it>

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