If you’re a foodie planning a trip to Barcelona, there’s a good chance you are wondering where the best places to eat in Barcelona are.
There are hundreds of good restaurants in Barcelona. Being a bustling city home to roughly 5 million people and a melting pot of cultures, visitors can find every type of cuisine and style of dining imaginable.
While there is a lot of amazing food in Barcelona, not every restaurant is worth your time or money. Frankly, there are a lot of restaurants (tourist traps) that downright stink. My goal is to help you avoid these spots and instead have only the best dining experience.
There are a lot of great food guides telling you where to eat in Barcelona, but I’m sharing my recommendations as a third-time tourist to the city who has received a lot of local recommendations over the years.
This Barcelona food guide will cover some of the classic must-visit spots in the tourist center and some of the hidden gems and local hot spots in Barcelona. Hopefully, it will help you determine where to eat in Barcelona and better understand the dining culture in Spain before arriving. Now, let’s dive into the 15 best places to eat in Barcelona right now!
Things to know about Barcelona Restaurants
Meal times in Spain
One of the biggest things tourists have to adjust to on a trip to Spain is Spanish meal times. Spaniards eat meals more frequently and at somewhat unusual times compared to other countries. If you’re not accustomed to the meal times in Spain it can be a weird schedule to get used to.
Understanding meal times in Spain will help you avoid eating at the tourist trap restaurants that are open during non-Spanish dining hours. Below are the five Spanish meals and typical dining hours for each.
|Meal in English||Meal Name in Spanish||Normal Meal Times||Things to Know About This Meal|
|Breakfast||Desayuno||7:00 – 9:00 AM||Breakfast is a light meal, usually a croissant or pan con tomate (bread with grated tomato, garlic, salt, and olive oil drizzled on top). Almost always served with a small coffee.|
|Mid-morning snack||Almuerzo||10:00 – 11:30 AM||This can be anything from cheese, fruit, bread with jamon, or other small snack. It’s not eaten every day but is a common time to snack if you are hungry between meals.|
|Lunch||Comida||2:30 – 3:30 PM *3:00 – 3:30 is peak time for locals*||This is the largest meal of the day. It’s hard to find lunch after 3:30 PM and around 3:00 most restaurants will be packed. It’s a good idea to make reservations for peak dining times at the top restaurants here. Expect a three-course meal for most lunches served with wine and finished with a coffee. This is a great opportunity to try menú del día during the week!|
|Afternoon snack||Merienda||5:00 – 7:00 PM||This is another small snack to hold you over if needed until dinner time. Typically it’s a sweet treat served with a café (coffee).|
|Dinner||Cena||9:00 – 11:00 PM|
*9:30 – 10:00 is peak time for locals*
|Dinner is a light meal. It can be a mixture of tapas (small plates) or it can be a single dish but the goal is not to fill up too much before bed. Some common dishes for dinner in Spain are huevos rotos, ensalada rusia, tortilla de patatas, or a tomato, tuna, and olive salad, along with others.|
The cost of food in Barcelona, Spain will depend on the type of establishment you are dining at and its location. Tourist zones (El Born, Barceloneta, and Gothic Quarter) will have higher prices than more local areas (Eixample, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, and Gràcia to name a few).
If you’re going to a nicer restaurant, for example, one of the 102 Michelin restaurants in Barcelona expect to spend several hundred Euros per person. Most restaurants, even upscale or trendy restaurants have dishes for around 15€ to 30€. Tapas usually cost 2.50€ to 10€ or more depending on the dish.
No matter where you are dining, expect an upcharge of 10% to 15% to be added to your bill if you eat on the patio or terraza.
🍺 🍷 Beer and wine are extremely affordable here. A caña (small glass) of beer will cost around 2€ to 3€. A glass of red wine (vino tinto) or white wine (vino blanco) costs around 3€ to 4.50€. A bottle of wine is normally around 10 to 12€, even in a restaurant. Fancy cocktails are more expensive, costing 10€ to 12€ or more.
💧One thing that often surprises tourists is that water, which is exclusively served in bottles, often costs as much if not more than a glass of wine. Expect to pay 2€ to 4€ for agua.
We’ll share pricing expectations for each of the best restaurants in Barcelona with the following icons. A * indicates farm-to-table and the restaurant uses local or homegrown organic products on its menu.
€: 5 – 10€ per plate
€€: 10 – 20€ per plate
€€€: 20 – 35€ per plate
€€€€: 40€ + per plate/per fixed menu
Almost all Barcelona restaurants accept credit or debit cards. If you’re going to the bar, it’s easier to pay with cash but you should be just fine with a card, too. Feel free to exchange your currency for Euros at your bank before going. We only had 200€ with us for our entire seven-week trip to Spain so don’t feel obliged to take a lot of cash with you.
Make sure to have a credit card that doesn’t charge international fees. Check out our favorite travel credit card we use when we’re out of the country click here.
Tipping in Spain
Tipping is not customary in Spain. Most restaurant workers make a livable wage without tips. So, you should not feel obliged to leave anything on top of the bill. Most Spaniards don’t leave a tip at all. However, there is a growing culture of leaving a few cents (rounding the bill up) as a tip. You can leave a 5€ to 10€ tip if it’s you would like to show your server their service was above and beyond.
The only places you will see things like tip jars are in the busy tourist centers. Some will even have bells they ring when they receive tips from tourists to encourage more tipping. Just know that tipping is not required and is rarely done by Spanish locals.
We highly recommend making reservations for lunch or dinner in Barcelona. A lot of the best restaurants in Barcelona will be fully booked at peak dining times – no matter the day of the week. If you want a guaranteed spot at the table, it’s best to reserve in advance.
The 15 best restaurants in Barcelona
Below are 15 of the best restaurants in Barcelona right now. You can easily DIY your own food experience, but if you prefer you can take a food tour. We did a food tour with Get Your Guide on our last trip here and visited several of these spots (and more)!
We loved the experience because it helped us better understand the food we were eating, the food culture here, and learn the history of some of the famous dishes here. Here is the exact food tour we took if you want to book too. You can also see some of the other recommended tours in Barcelona below.
There are way more good Barcelona restaurants than I have the time (or space) to write about. If you’re out and about in the city, make sure to refer back to this blog post for the best dining options that extend beyond the 15 best places to eat in Barcelona I write about here.
El Xampanyet is an institution in Barcelona. This tiny, no-frills bar and restaurant has been serving up delicious tapas for nearly 100 years. The bar opened its doors in 1929 and has become a beloved spot by locals and tourists alike. Its location in the heart of the El Born neighborhood and around the corner from the Picasso Museum means it’s hardly a secret.
But I think its popularity attests that it is one of the best places to eat in Barcelona. There are no reservations at El Xampanyet. Don’t be surprised if you have to wait 30 minutes to an hour to get a spot at a small table or belly up to the bar. Locals stop in here for merienda (afternoon snack) while tourists pack in for tapa/dinner time.
No matter when you’re visiting must-order items are their anchovies, padron peppers, and their house-made sparkling wine. At 2€ a glass, why not have a few 😉.
El Chigre 1769
El Chigre is another long-standing restaurant and tapa bar in El Born that is far from a secret. Nonetheless, it remains one of the best restaurants in Barcelona today. This Catalonian and Austurian restaurant highlights traditional dishes from the local region and Asturias, an area in the north of Spain.
El Chigre was home to our favorite dish out of our entire week of eating in Barcelona (pictured below). You can make reservations by calling ahead or stopping in earlier in the day. If you don’t there’s always the chance you don’t get a spot. We saw them turn away hoards of people.
Must-order items are their chorizo stuffed dates wrapped in bacon (seriously to die for) and their cochopo (thinly pounded veal stuffed with ham and cheese then breaded and fried). However, I don’t think you can go wrong ordering anything from here.
They also serve house-made vermouth on tap. Make sure to enjoy a glass before you eat. This aperitif is a great way to get your digestive juices flowing.
Berbena is the complete opposite of El Chigre or El Xampanyet. Tucked away in the northern end of the Sarria-St. Gervasi district off Avenida Diagonal. This Michelin-rated tapas restaurant serves high-end gastronomy in a quaint and cozy setting.
This restaurant is almost exclusively a local spot. But food lovers should make the effort to visit as it’s without a doubt one of the best places to eat in Barcelona today.
The restaurant focuses on traditional foods using local organic products. You can grab a fantastic glass or bottle of biodynamic wines to compliment your tortilla de patatas or charcuterie board. Don’t be afraid to try any of their dishes on their seasonal and ever-changing menu. I promise you can’t go wrong here!
We visited Cañete during our Barcelona food tour. It was the first of three stops and was a great way to start our gastronomic experience. We tried pan con tomate, which is a very typical dish from Catalonia that came from the Spanish Civil War. We also tried boquerones (marinated anchovies), super fresh mejillones (mussles), and fried calamari.
This spot isn’t as popular as the other tapa restaurants in El Born or the Gothic area, because of its location in the Eixample district. Reservations aren’t required, as they have a huge dining room, but are recommended. This spot is loved by locals and fills up in the evenings!
L’Alcoba Azul is a dimly-lit tapas bar in the heart of the gothic quarter oozing with charm. Picture candles slowly melting on a mountain of wax, gorgeous old stone walls, and beautiful wooden shelves. This is a fantastic spot for unique spins on small plates and handmade cocktails.
Being smack dab in the center of one of the most touristic zones it’s a tourist-heavy spot, but it has great food nonetheless. Reservations are not taken here. Just walk in and hope there is a spot available. If not you can head to one of its other restaurants in the L’Alcoba family. Two of which are around the corner from L’Alcoba Azul.
Must-try items at L’Alcoba Azul are the stuffed peppers with goat cheese and lavender balsamic, calamari in curry sauce, and feta cream dip.
Pepa Bar a Vins
This cozy wine bar is the perfect setting to enjoy a glass or bottle of delicious wine and a delectable snack or too. Located in the Eixample district, it’s a far more popular spot for locals than tourists. Their wine list features mostly organic, biodynamic, and natural wines along with Spanish vermouth.
Don’t be surprised if your server is also a sommelier who steers you in the perfect pairing with your tapas order. Their menu changes frequently, but some staples that you have to try when coming here are the beef carpaccio, Thai mussels, risotto, and croquetas.
Restaurant Cal Boter
Restaurant Cal Boter is a no-frills restaurant in the north of town that is loved by locals. It is a popular place to enjoy Menu del Dia. Meaning, the menu of the day, it is a special fixed-price lunch menu that includes three courses and a drink for just 14.50€.
Is Restaurant Cal Boter going to be the best meal of your life? Probably not. But it’s a beautiful showcase of simple yet delicious home cooking focused on local and fresh foods from Catalonia. If you want to enjoy a traditional Menu del Dia with locals, this is the spot to do it!
La Cova Fumada
La Cova Fumada is another long-standing institution in the city. This simplistic cafeteria-style bar and restaurant has been serving fresh seafood tapas since 1944. This restaurant is super easy to miss. The brown building has no signs outside and the interior looks like it hasn’t been updated since the 1970s. But its retro charm is one of the things that makes it so appealing.
The restaurant supposedly invented the tapa “la bomba“. These deep-fried mashed potato balls, which translate to bomb in English, are packed with the perfect amount of heat. Don’t stick to the bombas alone, though. Branch out and try any of their seafood delicacies. Their fried sardines are a super popular choice as are their pulpo (octopus), gambas a la plancha (grilled prawns), and artichokes.
Dr. Zhang Dumpling Bar
Okay, okay. I’m sure you’re wondering why this dim-sum restaurant is on the list of best places to eat in Barcelona (as a tourist). But hear me out. There’s a lot of fantastic food in Barcelona that isn’t traditional Spanish food.
There is a massive food scene for Asian cuisine. If you need a break from fried croquetas or jamon, head to Dr. Zhang Dumpling Bar for some delicious dumplings. Each dumpling is made to order. You can watch the chefs skillfully prepare the dumplings in their open-air kitchen and then steam or fry them to perfection.
Their menu is constantly changing based on what’s in season. When we visited we had the most amazing fried corn skewers. Of course, dumplings are a must-try and their momos are super tasty too!
Continuing the theme of non-Spanish food restaurants in Barcelona is Sartoria Panatieri. This restaurant which has two locations in the city, was voted the best pizza in EUROPE in 2023! Considering Italy is right next door and the judges are Italians, it’s a pretty big deal that Sartoria Panatieri won this title.
There are two locations to choose from. The spot on Calle de Provença near Casa Milà or La Pedrera is the most popular of the two. You can’t go wrong with any of the menu items here. Their pancetta is made in-house and has the perfect crispness and juiciness. Their burrata is farm fresh (also made in-house) with the richest green olive oil drizzled on top.
When it comes to pizza, I recommend the classic which has tomato, mozzarella, and basil. Another great choice is the Sobrasada, Mahón cheese, wild fennel, and mozzarella pizza (pictured above). Although all of their pizzas are drool-worthy!
Quimet & Quimet
Located in the Poble Sec district not far from the major tourist zones this tapas institution specializes in serving tinned produce, meat, and seafood often as montaditos (tapas on small bread). This charming bar and restaurant opened its doors in 1914 and has become a classic spot for tourists and locals alike.
Its prestige and reputation mean there is almost always a line, but the wait is worth it. If you can snag a spot at the standing-only bar make sure to order a mixture of tapas like the salmon montadito with honey and yogurt, Iberian pork cheek, or the foie gras with mushrooms and chestnuts, or razor clam en conservas. They also offer a house-made vermouth to wash everything down!
Teòric Taverna Gastronòmica
If you’re looking for a fine-dining gastronomic experience, Teóric Taverna Gastronòmica is the place for you. Run by top Barcelona restaurateurs Teo Rubio and Oriol Casals the chefs are showcasing the tastes of Catalan cooking traditional dishes with organic local ingredients.
The menu changes seasonally giving you a new dining experience four times a year. You can enjoy a 10-course tasting menu for just 47€. If ten courses aren’t enough for you, you can go for the thirteen-course meal at 62€. This spot is loved by locals and sees very few tourists. It truly is a hidden gem in Barcelona’s food scene.
Disfrutar is the brainchild of Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro, and Eduard Xatruc, former chefs who met at world’s best restaurant, el Bulli. Despite having two Michelin stars and being voted the second-best restaurant on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2023, Disfrutar manages to have an informal ambiance while serving world-class cuisine.
The menu is playful and inviting with elements of nature (think fire, smoke, ice) with unreal flavors, cooking techniques, and textures. This restaurant is a splurge considering the basic pre-fix menus cost 275€ per person. If you want to add some wine to your experience that will cost you an extra 145€ per person. But we couldn’t not include Disfrutar on our list of the best places to eat in Barcelona.
Make reservations to dine here months in advance. Its prestige makes it one of the most difficult restaurants to get into in the world right now.
Slow & Low
Our venture into fine dining and high-end gastronomic experiences continues at Slow & Low. This unpretentious, hip restaurant recently received its first Michelin star, making it one of the hottest places to eat in Barcelona right now.
Located in the Sant Antoni district, it isn’t on many tourists’ radars, but it’s a fantastic spot to enjoy an incredible pre-fix meal without suffering through a formal environment. The menu is all over the place, drawing inspiration from southeast Asia, Mexico, the Mediterranean, and Peru using fresh local and organic ingredients.
It’s more affordable than Disfrutar, with a 10-course pairing starting at 115€ and going up to 170€ for 14 courses. This is another spot to make reservations early. Its growing popularity means it’s an extremely challenging spot to get a table!
Finishing off our list of the 15 best places to eat in Barcelona is Brugarol Barcelona. This unpresuming spot in the center of the Gothic district doesn’t have Michelin stars or the prestige of some of the other finer dining restaurants on this list, but this is in its favor. Visitors can enjoy a 9-course tapas tasting for €60.
Its inspiration is drawn from Japanese Izakaya bars that took slow intentional cooking to showcase the freshest local ingredients. Its plates are all tapas with an emphasis on seafood and produce from the Brugarol, Palamós region.
All of these restaurants rightly deserve a spot on the list of the best places to eat in Barcelona. Hopefully, this list will help you make the most of your time in the city and have a delicious foodie adventure as you travel here.
Let me know if you visit any of these Barcelona restaurants on your trip in the comments below. And of course, leave any other recommendations you have for places to eat in Barcelona below.