6 top places for tapas in Barcelona
There are many things to discover in Barcelona, from unfinished Gaudí masterpieces to Roman ruins, long stretches of sandy beaches to amazing viewpoints atop the rolling mountains.
But no trip to this Mediterranean metropolis would be complete without sampling some of the delicious tapas dishes on offer.
From fried squid to spicy potatoes, canned seafood to veggie alternatives, the tapas options in the Catalan capital are endless.
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What are tapas?
Tapas are small plates of mouth-watering food such as prawns with garlic and chili, thick slices of hearty potato omelette, and melt-in-your-mouth salt-cod fritters.
The idea is to order lots of different dishes and share them with friends over a good bottle of Rioja – a perfect plan for those heading to the city on a lads’ trip or a girly weekend break.
The awesome thing about tapas is there’s no agonising over your menu choices and no sense of disappointment when someone else’s meal looks better than yours. It’s a win-win situation.
If you’re hungry to try tapas, then we suggest you hop on a flight to Barcelona and eat your way through these top tapas restaurants in this fabulous city.
1. Santa Gula – seasonal dishes
If you’re a fan of seasonal eating, Santa Gula is for you. The chef has put his own twist on classic dishes and changes the menu every two weeks, according to the seasonal produce available at the local markets. Only the freshest ingredients make it onto the plate, ensuring every dish is mouth-wateringly delicious.
Be sure to try the chef’s homemade croquettes with squid ink, instead of the usual ham or cod.
Plaça de Narcís Oller, 3
2. Senyor Vermut – amazing bravas
Vermouth, or ‘vermut’ as it’s called in Spain, is a fortified wine flavoured with herbs and spices. And it’s a favourite tipple of the Barcelonians. If you want to find out why, head to Senyor Vermut.
This snazzy, high-ceilinged ‘vermutería’ has guests lining up to sample the 40 different varieties of vermouth on offer, all of which go beautifully with the croquettes, grilled green peppers and their absolutely delightful patatas bravas.
Vermut has seen something of a resurgence in the city over the last few years, with bars specialising in the drink opening all over the place. It’s a tradition to have a vermut with some small tapas – usually olives, anchovies or cockles – before lunch, to whet your appetite.
Carrer de Provença, 85
3. Bodega Vidrios y Cristales – tins and preserves
Bodega Vidrios y Cristales is a wine cellar, or ‘bodega’, that was inspired by the old maritime wineries of Andalucia. The shelves are packed with fine wines, homemade vermouth and gourmet canned products.
From tinned anchovies, to heart scallops, this is the place to go for a taste of seafood tapas. The artisanal fish preserves are worth a visit alone.
Bear in mind, there’s no seating here. You eat standing up, around a wine barrel, so wear comfy shoes.
Passeig d’Isabel II, 6
Tip: If you’re thinking of doing another city break while in Spain, check out our recommendations for an off the beaten track experience in Madrid, and find out where the locals go for tapas.
4. Betlem – classic
If you’re peckish in the Eixample neighbourhood, stop for a bite at Betlem. Its strapline, ‘miscelánia gastronomica’, or ‘gastronomic miscellany’, is a good indication of what you can expect at this trendy gastro-tapas bar.
The chef, Víctor Ferrer, serves innovative takes on Catalan classics. His king crab ravioli is a masterpiece, as is the grilled octopus with eggplant and roasted red pepper. Is your stomach rumbling yet? It should be, because this tastes every bit as good as it sounds.
Carrer de Girona, 70
5. Cervecería Catalana – popular
If you enjoy a cold beer with your tapas, Cervecería Catalana, or the Catalan Brewery, is the ideal place to refuel. Lively and popular, it serves a great selection of tapas, montaditos (small sandwiches), and international draught beers.
Try the montadito de solomillo, which is an open sandwich with beef, and the huevos cabreados, which translates as ‘angry eggs’, a spicy dish which will fill you up yet leave you wanting more.
The food is awesome and great value for money, so the place is packed with people day and night. But it’s walk-ins only, so be prepared to wait.
Carrer de Mallorca, 236
6. Gourmet Tapas by Sensi – with a twist
Are you in the mood for romance? Sparks will fly at Gourmet Tapas by Sensi. Tucked away in the Gothic Quarter of town, this intimate eatery is the perfect place for a cosy candlelit dinner of Spanish tapas with a French twist.
The chef’s seafood paella is something special, as are the beetroot and parmesan gnocchi.
One thing’s for sure, the tapas is gourmet and you’ll leave with a full belly and a big smile on your face.
Carrer de Milans, 4
Tapas tours in Barcelona
If you’re hungry for more, why not go on a tapas tour of Barcelona? There are plenty of opportunities to try tapas while experiencing other aspects of Spanish and Catalan culture.
Tapas and flamenco
While flamenco isn’t particularly typical in Barcelona, it’s still a Spanish tradition well worth seeing. You can combine tapas with some flamenco dancing on a three-hour tapas tour and flamenco show.
Tapas bike tour
If you fancy seeing the sights of Barcelona on two wheels, a three-hour tapas and bike tour is for you. You’ll cycle through Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, stopping off to try tapas at bars along the way. And the best thing? You’ll burn off those pesky calories as you move from place to place.
Private tapas & drinks night tour with a local
If you’re a wine lover, you won’t want to miss out on a tapas and wine tour. A local guide will show you the best places for ‘pinxtos’, Basque Country versions of tapas that are held together with toothpicks.
You’ll also sample some tasty Spanish wine as you make your way around some of Barcelona’s hippest neighbourhoods. It’s the perfect opportunity to eat, drink and discover the city.
If our top tapas joints in Barcelona have sparked your appetite for a trip to Spain, book your flights to Barcelona through Norwegian and you’ll be munching on manchego before you know it.