In a foodie city like Barcelona, there’s no excuse not to eat well. But Barcelona is also full of tourist traps. So where should you eat in Barcelona? We rounded up a list of our favorite pintxos, tapas, and paella in this incredible city.
First, what’s what to eat in Barcelona?
- Pintxos: Also spelled pinchos, these are classic Barcelona snacks. They’re made of a slice of bread and a mountain of toppings, ranging from slices of dried iberico, to sardines, to a whole chicken wing or slice of tortilla. The towering toppings can be so unwieldy that the breads have to be held together with sticks, or pintxos—hence the name.
- Tapas: Tapas can be served warm or cold. They’re snack-sized portions of fuller meals, typically eaten in groups.
- Paella: While most tourists strongly associate paella with all of Spain, it’s actually a dish from Valencia. That said, this predominantly seafood dish can be found all over Barcelona. Do your research though, as many of the tourist traps serve frozen paella, not fresh!
Where to eat in Barcelona
Curious what I call the best tapas in Barcelona? Read my whole post here to find out which restaurant wins the honor!
Our base was an apartment in El Raval, which positioned us well to scope the food scene by foot. (And walk off some of those calories!)
In my notes for this post, I wrote simply, “delicious” below Palosanto. We discovered it on a walk towards the more publicized rutas de pintxos below—and immediately fell in love. Definitely don’t miss this spot when you visit. And you must order the chicken fingers. And the country bread with aioli pesto. And everything else on their menu.
Just before the Carrer del Parlament starts you’ll find La Caramba. It oozes cool date night vibes, with sharp white walls, warm wood furniture, and funky art. They were playing classic cartoons on a large projector when we popped in—an enjoyable background to our tapas treat of croquetas and meatballs.
Carrer del Parlament
Located on the cusp of Sant Antoni and El Raval, Anardi specialized in Basque savories in a modern atmosphere. The pinxtos are all between 1.80-2.00€. The breads are big, the toppings artfully paired. While we ordered sangria, they also serve cider, with the traditional high-handed pour.
Just down the street from Anardi, Vinito serves tapas, sangria, and wine. The tiled interior is lined with mini wine barrels. It has a very local feel, intimate while still feeling cool. The Sangria was excellent, and the prices very reasonable. We had a giant potato-and-pork meatball and classic tortilla—both delicious.
Carrer de Blai
Crossing the Avinguda del Parel-lel into Poble Sec, you’ll find Carrer de Blai. Clear one night to hang out here, popping in and out of the different bars and loading up on cheap drinks and mile-high pintxos. Here are a few of our favorite stops:
Vi and Beers
Vi and Beers is warm and wooden, with seating that spills out into the street beyond. Their pintxos selection was wide and varied—and best of all, at 1.50-2.00€ per, quite cheap. Their pintxos had very unique flavors, and the staff was very friendly.
A bit further up the street you’ll find Zodiaco. They had the biggest selection, with plenty of seafood, meat, and vegetarian-friendly options for all appetites. The portions were a bit smaller, but their prices were the cheapest we found. Each pincho was between 1.00-1.50€—making it easy to stack and snack to your tumm’s content.
Bar la Bota
If you’re looking for a vibe, Bar la Bota delivers. We were drawn in by the flowery entrance, buzzing blue lights, and live music (on a weeknight no less!). The atmosphere here was almost club-like, and the pintxos didn’t disappoint.
Carrer de la Mercé
Running parallel to the harbor promendade, Carrer de la Mercé is packed with bars, but few places with proper food. Lucky for us, we did discover two spots that delivered a hit of sustenance between all the vermouth.
Casa Del Molinero
We were positively starving when we stumbled upon Casa del Molinero. At first glance, it’s got a bit of a Spanish horror movie vibe, with a room divider made of sharpened staves, a wall full of butcher implements, and a ceiling full (full!) of ham hocks. It smells like meat, so vegetarians, beware. That said, the iberico we got there was incredible, and a huge portion for the price. And the vermouth they served was the best we had in Barcelona.
On this particular night, FC Barcelona was playing—and why not catch the game with the rest of the city? For a sweet sports bar atmosphere, check out La Republica, which specializes in South American food. It feels a little more commercial, but when your focus is on the TV, the vibe doesn’t matter quite so much. The beers were cold, and the empanadas (especially the queso y jamón) were the perfect match food.
Located just above Avinguda Diagonal—the famous street that bisects Barcelona at an angle—is La Pepita. It instantly gives off a Berlin feeling, with walls scribbled with names and notes. As it’s on most of the Best Tapas lists, it gets packed in the evenings. To avoid the crush, we hit it for brunch, arriving right when it opened at 13:00. Expect the prices to be higher than the other options on this list, but the food will wow you. The portions are generous—four tapas were too many for the two of us, even with empty stomachs. And the flavors are impeccable. It’s on the Best of lists for a reason!
I couldn’t leave Barcelona without a stop for paella—but my challenge is that I don’t eat seafood. While researching seafood-free paella, I found Bar Joan. We made a reservation, which was a good thing, because the place was packed! It’s apparently some of the best paella in the city, with seafood, meat, and vegetarian options. Their paella is made fresh (many of the tourist traps use frozen paella), and the staff was super friendly and welcoming. They have a small patio but it’s quite large inside and feels very old-school and cozy.
Regardless of whether you’ve got an Airbnb or a proper hotel, La Boqueria is definitely where you should eat in Barcelona. It is a feast for the senses—and, if you come hungry, a feast for the belly as well. Grab a meat cone from one of the stalls and wander the aisles to check the wares. To avoid the tourist crowds, it’s best to come early (which is also when the locals do their shopping).