Barcelona’s got a lovely variety of tapas, from the Pinchos to some gorgeous Iberic ham plates to the Basque-style tapas held up by a wooden stick; here is a guide to the best Tapas places in Barcelona!
Here are my Top 11 best Tapas places in Barcelona to experience on your next trip to Gaudi’s city! Some require a reservation a few weeks in advance; others need you to turn up and don’t take reservations. I’ll give you the down below.
Tapas originated in the South of Spain, more precisely, Andalusia. Although in Barcelona, Catalonia, tapas came later on… around about 30-40 years ago, however, it picked up at a breakneck pace. Today, they were one of the few cities in Spain where you can find the widest variety of Tapas, from traditional to molecular!
1. Cal Pep
Plaça de les Olles, 8, El Born district
This small, hidden traditional place is just a long bar behind which all the kitchen equipment is with its many cooks. A unique experience to sit at the bar and look upon your tapas being made right in front of you. Cal Pep is renowned for its high-quality seafood tapas and its Tortilla de patata, which many believe to be the best in town! Each is made on order; their Tortilla de patata has a leaky center, art to make to perfection.
The place is pretty small and crowded, it’s just a bar with about 15 stools, but in the back, a small door brings you to a dungeon-like hidden room with about 6-8 tables. If you want to experience the bar side, you must arrive early to get a place (it opens at 8 pm). Otherwise, the queue can be pretty long… no reservation is required.
As for the restaurant in the back, it’s only available with a reservation. Book a month in advance if you want a spot at the restaurant; both the bar and restaurant are a unique but equally enjoyable experience. Let the waiting staff guide you through their degustation menu of the day; they’ll create a menu on the spot just for you. They’ll ask about your preferences and allergies to make magic happen at your table. A tremendous hidden place with an excellent wine selection at the heart of Barcelona’s Born district!
2. Quimet & Quimet
Carrer del Poeta Cabanyes, 25, Poble Sec district
This is another small Tapas bar; although this one has no kitchen or chairs in sight, you’ll be eating standing up, which is the traditional way to eat tapas. It serves Montaditos (check what this type of tapas is about here “all there is to know about Tapas”). This family business only uses high-quality conserved foods for their toppings. The owner calls himself a chef without a kitchen, and if you’re lucky enough, he’ll invent an excellent tapa on the spot for you.
Their brown beer is brewed and imported from Belgium, and their sensational draft beer is a secret. I recommend the smoked salmon and cream cheese, the anchovies and piquillo, the artichoke and caviar and the king prawn ones; they are divine! Like any good tapas place, the place is always fully packed, so don’t be shy; squeeze in!
3. El Xampanyet / La Puntual
Carrer de Montcada, 22, Born district
Another rustic place owned by the Esteve Family since 1929. This place has top-notch products from Sardinas, stuffed peppers, tomato with cod, Iberic ham, mini stuffed potatoes, etc. Their star product of theirs is their anchovies! The place where any anchovies skeptic will surely fall in love and change their minds about these little fellas. A pure delight!
The place is named after the “Champagne” style drink they make, Xampanyet; you’ll see everyone with retro large champagne glasses in hand. Another popular and relatively small place, so be ready to squeeze in or, if you are lucky enough, get a small table (no reservations here). Most tapas are on display at the bar, although if you are adventurous, ask your waiter to surprise you; they do an excellent job!
Just right next door, there is a “Tapas restaurant” called Bodega La Puntual which is owned partly by the same Esteve family; they serve great Tapas as well as regional products, even oysters. For those who want a more relaxed atmosphere and a table after a long day, this is a great solution to get great tapas in a more spacious and comfortable setting.
Montcada, 29, Born district
This modern and upbeat Tapas place is perfect for finding some excellent “typical” dishes from the Catalonia region like “Coca de Sardina” (typically olive oil bread with sardines), “Albondigas con sepia” (Cuttlefish meatballs), “Fideua Negra de Sepia” (black vermicelli paella with squid), bomba de Barceloneta (a fried grounded meat stuffed potato ball served with an aioli and spicy romesco sauce).
This place is interesting because they’ve turned traditional Catalan dishes into Tapas. A great way to experience Catalan cuisine! Keep some space for dessert; they serve an “out of this world” chocolate mousse with olive oil and sea salt that will blow your mind! Unlike the other Tapas bars above, this one is more of a restaurant format where you’ll sit at a table or at the long bar and choose from a menu. Plus, it’s close to Xampanyet, a perfect “bar hopping” duo to try, one being traditional and the other a modern Catalan style.
5. Bar del Pla
Carrer de Montcada, 2, Born district
They are the kings of Black ink croquetas; it’s a great way to experience this “unappreciated” cuttlefish ink… this black squid croqueta is undoubtedly going to convince some of you to upgrade to the whole black paella called Arroz Negro. The Tapas are a beautiful mix of Spanish, Catalan and a touch of International/Asian flair. Part of the menu changes with the seasons, so you’ll find fresh seasonal products from the Santa Caterina market next door. The owners are wine lovers, which shows in the vast wine selection. Plenty of choices “by the glass” to try; let them suggest something; they know their wines!
It’s a laid-back atmosphere with an authentic Catalan flair with its hydraulic flooring and Catalan vault ceiling. Not exactly a “traditional” place… more an eclectic one; it merges a flair of tradition and modern/creative cuisine. The Tapas to try would be the popular: Croqueta de Calamar en su tinta (squid in its ink croqueta) and La coca de Sardina; they have some great patatas bravas, a succulent and tender Secreto Iberico (a slowly cooked cut of the shoulder from famous black Iberic pork), or the Cola de Buey con foie (oxtail with foie) if you want to indulge in “a meaty” night!
6. The Euskal Etxea
Placeta de Montcada, 1, Born district
This is a tapa, the “Basque” style called Pintxos (Euskara) or Pinchos (Spanish). Which are stacked tapas on a piece of crusty bread, most of the time secured with a toothpick. All displayed directly on the bar, you’ll eat standing on the side of a small high table or get lucky and steal a high table or barrel to eat on. pick up a plate at the bar and go ahead, choose whatever you desire, they all cost the same (1.80 Euros)!
Pinchos are meant to be picked up from their base, not by the toothpick. Some are tricky to figure out, but the person at the bar will help you. During busy hours, many tapas come straight from the kitchen. The servers will walk around with plates filled with steaming hot tapas. Quite difficult to resist when a fuming chistorra or a warm plate of croquetas passes by. Because a drink should accompany every Tapas, I’d suggest two Basque highlights: a Txacoli, a light dry white wine or a hard cider (sidra). On Sunday morning, you’ll see many Basque guys chanting and drinking in front of the restaurant, an excellent way to experience Basque traditions!
Parallel Avenue, 164, Eixample district
This place is a sensory experience you’ll never forget; it tricks your mind in many ways. The famous “El Bulli” chef, Albert Adrià’s brother, owns it. It specializes in molecular and creative tapas. This place must be booked three months in advance, online only. So be sure to set a reminder three months before you come to Barcelona. Reservations can be tricky to get. Their “tapas degustation menu” is a fantastic experience to try. You’ll need a pretty penny (around 100 Euros), but the adventure is well worth it. An ultra-modern place in every way!
No.. the name has nothing to do with Jamaica… although they have a big parrot in their logo… It’s short for the owner’s name, Jaime Cabot. This hidden Barceloneta bar has been open since 1955 and serves authentic, everyday-life tapas. As it’s in the fisherman’s district, they have especially great seafood tapas. Try the fried mini squids (Chipironnes) or shellfish like razor clams (Navajas).
It’s also a well-hidden secret from the tourist trail; you’ll see a lot of locals enjoying this place. It’s got two restaurants, one next to the other, a more prominent position with a small terrace and a smaller one. Don’t worry. They both serve the same tapas. It’s a fair price; if you want to try many tapas, they serve 1/2 of them. Great ‘down to earth’ place!
9. La Pepita
Carrer de Còrsega, 343, in Gracia district
A modern little bar in the periphery of the calm district of Gracia, which Barcelona’s residents call the “pueblo” village. It’s a current and popular place with tourists and locals. You’ll get a great choice of “more adventurous” tapas, like the Tacos de bonito with curry vinaigrette, smoky eggplant cake with goat cheese and drizzled honey, or the must-try “Triptych” which is a surprise served in conserves (their signature dish). They also have one of my personal favourite patatas bravas! A fun, young, modern place to try!
10. Casa Alfonso
Carrer Roger de Lluria, 6, Eixample
A lovely old-fashioned restaurant with succulent tapas and degustation plates (cheeses and charcuterie). If you want to indulge in traditional tapas outside de “touristic districts,” this is the place. I highly recommend the eggplant with goat cheese, drizzled with honey and any of their delicious croquetas. Simply a lovely place filled with character!
11. La Cerveceria Catalana
C/ de Mallorca, 236, 08008 Barcelona
If you don’t have much time in Spain and want to try a lot and fast: this is the place. They’ve got all types of tapas possible on the menu and even extra features (mini baguette sandwiches) and salads. The quality of the product is always spot-on, and it’s a popular place among locals and tourists. It’s located in Eixample, a modern city, so it is unnecessary to squeeze in this time. At the entrance, you can sit at the bar for a quick bite or go in and enjoy a complete meal. They offer a special menu of tapas del dia, tapas of the day which is more innovative. Fun place!