The Barcelona Guide
Barcelona is a city full of wonder and beauty, where there’s a pronounced passion for life, food, culture, and of course, architecture. Where else can you surf in the morning, do a master tour of Gaudí’s surreal buildings (the Sagrada Familia and the Parc Güell, to name a couple), eat the best tapas of your life and get lost wandering the labyrinthine, majestic streets of the Barrio Gótico? Below, some of our favorite spots—along with some recommendations from friends who love the city as much as we do.
Bar Cañete17 Carrer de la Unió, El Raval | +34.932.703.458
Part of a family-founded restaurant business, Bar Cañete is part tapas bar, part restaurant. Its long, narrow dining room, decorated with red banquettes and rich mahogany details, gives way to a wooden bar where diners sit, looking into the restaurant's open kitchen. Here, the menu is a mix of traditional tapas, fresh market seafood, and prime cuts of beef and pork. Note: Bar Cañete takes reservations but not for day-of.
Quimet y Quimet25 Poeta Cabanyes, El Poble-Sec | +34.9126.96.36.199
This place is a bit of a novelty—a tiny, very special tapas bar that only serves preserved food. The walls are lined with cans and jars and the people behind the counter assemble amazing little open-faced sandwiches. It’s really wonderful and quirky and unlike anywhere you’ve ever been.
Bar Tomás49 Carrer Major de Sarrià, Sarrià | +34.932.031.077
In the quiet, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood of Sarrià, this bar is a classic for tapas, especially the patatas bravas—everyone in Barcelona knows the “bravas del Tomás.” It's always full of students, so the atmosphere is crowded, but unlike other tapas places, it has tables with chairs so you can sit down.
Bar El Xampanyet22 Carrer Montcada, Born | +34.933.19.70.03
This little tapas place in the Born neighborhood is always crowded, so you have to eat standing up (there’s a little table at the far end, but it’s always taken). To accompany the tapas, they offer a very nice and inexpensive kind of “champagne” (it’s really white wine with sparkling water).
Bodega 190091 Carrer de Tamarit, Sant Antoni | +34.933.252.659
Bodega 1900 is just across the street from Tickets, another Albert Adrià spot, where you'll find a fresh spin on the classic tapas and vermouth bar. Bright white tiles and oversized cabinetry add to the charming, at-home vibe, though the real pull is the salty creations (salazones) served alongside smoked, grilled, and pickled plates that are a bit more innovative than what you'll find at your basic joint.
La Taverna del Clínic155 Carrer Roselló, Eixample | +34.934.104.221
The tapas at Taverna de Clínic are just so, so good. Classic, straightforward, and not too expensive—it's basically a home run.
Cal Pep8 Plaça de les Olles, Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera | +34.93.310.7961
A tiny, popular spot situated on a corner of Plaça de les Olles, Cal Pep serves Mediterranean tapas and larger dishes best shared. The front bar is where the party is at (get there early if you want to grab a coveted stool), but you can also reserve a table (in advance) in the back room for a party of four or more.
La Taverna del Suculent39 Rambla del Raval, Ciutat Vella | +34.933.29.97.07
Taverna—you'll know it from its flashy red-painted exterior—is actually the little sister of nearby Suculent, an upscale tasting menu type of place from Carles Abellan. Like so many of the best chefs in the city, Abellan is a former protege of Ferran Adrià—his first solo venture was another favorite of ours, Comerç, 24. Unlike its sit-down neighbor, La Taverna del Suculent is more casual; guests order tapas and finger food directly from the bar and can eat them standing, and wine flows freely. Order the crispy tortillitas, or anything that involves ham.
Ninot CuinaC/ Casanova 133 Mercat Ninot, Parada 1, Eixample | +34.93.277.68.84
En Compañia de Lobos is a young-feeling restaurant group that also happens to operate two of our favorite restaurants in Madrid (Ana la Santa and Bosco de Lobos). This outpost in Barcelona is situated inside the recently renovated Mercat del Ninot, which has been beautifully overhauled and filled with more prepared-food options in an effort to appeal to Barcelona's younger crowd. Tall, open ceilings connect the space to the rest of the market, so despite the clean wooden walls and elegant full-circle bar, the humming of customers and activity gently filters into the space. The menu is focused on traditional Catalan food (tapas), but the thing to order is the 3-course menu of the day (just 14 euros), which serves up whatever looked good in the market that morning.
Tickets164 Avinguda del Paral·lel, Sant Antoni | +34.932.924.254
A creation of the brilliant Chef Albert Adrià (also of Bodega 1900 and Hoja Santa, and brother of famed Chef Ferran Adrià—a talented duo, to say the least), Tickets is a first-rate tapas restaurant. As the name suggests, the restaurant's decor is an homage to the movie biz—the entrance is a ticket booth corner and the interior is decorated with playful, bright lights. But it's the amazing food that is the real draw here.