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
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.
5 Carrer de la Ciutat, Gothic Quarter
Technically they serve food here-and don't misunderstand, it's great: Pulled pork that's been smoked for 14 hours and chicken curry sandwiches as well as healthy options, like sweet mango salad and homemade gazpacho. But that's not really why you come. You come for the coffee-cold brew, nitro cold brew, aeropress, and a whole bunch of other coffee options that are fantastic, if somewhat intimidating. Fair warning: eat something, too. A place that takes its coffee this seriously means your caffeine intake will make you think you can leap tall buildings in a single bound. (You can't.)
20 Carrer del Parlament, Sant Antoni
The first thing you'll notice about El Cometa is the adorable interior—colorful, design-y stools cluster under the bar under oddly shaped Edison bulbs, and the walls are covered in mismatched posters and other artwork. There's also a lovely patio that lights up under twinkle lights in the evening. As for the menu, it's a simple selection of coffee, juice, and a few easy bites. It's equally suitable for a morning coffee run and an early dinner on the porch.
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.
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.
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
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.
7 Carrer de la Reina Cristina, La Barceloneta
This busy, beloved cava spot, best known as La Xampanyeria (also called Can Paixano), is tucked on a side street where a few neighborhoods—Gothic Quarter, La Barceloneta, and Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera—meet, within walking distance of Muse Picasso. It's fun and lively, and you can soak up some of the champagne with a sampling of the bocadillos on offer.
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