38-40 Carrer del Baluart, La Barceloneta
You might smell Forn Baluard before you see it—the sour smell of the bread (all of which is made from homemade sourdough starters) is known to waft through the neighborhood. The bakery itself is run by Anna Bellsolà, a fourth generation baker who has become famous for her airy, just-chewy-enough baguettes and Italian loaves. One of the best things about the place is its exceptionally local feel; bread is blessedly inexpensive and you're likely to wait in line next to hungry kids and elderly shoppers alike. There's a glass partition separating the customers from the back-of-house, so you can see the bakers working, moving loaves in and out of the wood-fired stone oven.
El Quim de la Boqueria
91 Les Rambles, Las Ramblas
In 1987, Quim Márquez set up his tapas shop at La Boqueria, Barcelona's famed food market. His space was a three meter-long counter with five stools. El Quim's following grew exponentially in the next decade—and in 2000, it moved to a 16 meter-long counter with 18 stools. Absolutely stop here for an egg breakfast (with ham or foie gras, mushrooms, prawns, squid, etc.) before perusing La Boqueria. As super foodie Phil Rosenthal, creator of Everybody Loves Raymond, says, it's the kid of meal that will call you back to Barcelona.
466- 470 Mercat de la Boqueria, 89 Carrer la Rambla, Ciutat Vella
Pinotxo Bar is one of a few eateries in the always-busy boquería, and depending on who you speak to, it's considered to be one of, if not the, best tapas spots in the city. The place is run by local celebrity Juanito Bayen, a charismatic guy who's never seen without a service-like vest and bowtie. There's no formal menu, so you'll order via a back-and-forth with Juanito to arrive on a few dishes—it can be a little confusing, but trust us, whatever arrives is guaranteed to be delicious. Wash it all down with fresh cava, which is always on ice and within arm's reach. Unfortunately, word's out about this place—it's best to arrive early and expect a wait if you want a seat at the small, 14-seat bar.
La Taverna del Clínic
155 Carrer Roselló, Eixample
The tapas at Taverna de Clínic are just so, so good. Classic, straightforward, and not too expensive—it's basically a home run.
539 Ave. Diagonal, Eixample
The bar of this very small ham and cheese shop is a nice place to stop by after work or meetings to have some of their lovely baguettes of jamón de bellota. The mountains of freshly cut Spanish ham are about as close as it gets to heaven for a jamón lover.
Bar El Xampanyet
22 Carrer Montcada, Born
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).
49 Carrer Major de Sarrià, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi
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.
11 Carrer de Petritxol, Gothic Quarter
La Pallaresa is a great place to go for breakfast or an afternoon snack, or churros with “suizo” (melted chocolate with whipped cream) on a quiet weekend morning. It’s in the old Gothic Quarter around the corner from Plaça del Pi, a very cute square where you can sit down and read the newspaper. There are painters showing their work on Sundays, similar to Paris’ Place du Tertre in Montmartre. Photo: Chris Oakley
Mercat de la Boqueria
Carrer de la Boqueria, Las Ramblas
Mercat de la Boqueria is in the middle of Las Ramblas—you truly can’t miss it. It’s one of the most beautiful, lively markets in the world, and the inside is peppered with great little places to eat.
Quimet y Quimet
25 Poeta Cabanyes, El Poble-Sec
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.
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