Barcelona is a foodie paradise with its rich gastronomy and culinary traditions. One of the city’s most famous dishes is tapas. This small, flavorful dish is a staple in Catalan cuisine. In this guide, we’ll take a look at the best tapas bars in Barcelona, along with the must-try tapas dishes and drinks.
What are Tapas and Where do They Come From
A Brief History of Tapas
Tapas originated in Spain, and the word “tapa” comes from the Spanish verb “tapar,” which means “to cover.” They were originally served with a slice of bread or a small plate to cover the glass of wine. This was commonly done in bars to keep flies from getting into the wine. Nowadays, tapas have become a mainstay in Spanish and Catalan cuisine, and Barcelona is one of the best places in the world to enjoy them.
What Are Tapas and How to Order Them
Tapas are small, flavorful dishes that are typically shared among friends. There are many different types of tapas, including seafood, meat, and vegetarian options. Some popular tapas dishes include patatas bravas, anchovy-stuffed olives, and baby squid. When ordering tapas in Barcelona, it’s common to order a few different dishes to share. This allows you to sample a variety of flavors and textures.
Traditional Tapas Dishes in Barcelona
Barcelona is home to many traditional tapas dishes that you won’t find anywhere else. Some of the most popular dishes include squid in its own ink, grilled octopus with potatoes and paprika, and bombas – a type of croquette filled with meat and served with a spicy sauce. These dishes can be found in many of the city’s best tapas bars and restaurants.
Where to Find the Barcelona Tapas Bars
La Cova Fumada: A Traditional Tapas Bar in Barceloneta
Located in the Barceloneta neighborhood, La Cova Fumada is one of the city’s most famous tapas bars. This hidden gem serves up traditional Catalan dishes, including some of the best seafood tapas in town. The atmosphere is cozy and welcoming, making it the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of wine and some delicious tapas.
Xampanyet: A Classic Tapas Bar in the Gothic Quarter
Xampanyet is a classic tapas bar located in the heart of the Gothic Quarter. This family-owned establishment has been in business for over 80 years, and it’s easy to see why it’s still so popular. The menu is extensive, featuring some of the best traditional tapas dishes in the city. The signature dish at Xampanyet is the eponymous sparkling wine, which pairs perfectly with the small dishes.
Bar del Pla: A Modern Tapas Bar in El Raval
If you’re looking for a more modern take on tapas, Bar del Pla is the perfect spot. Located in the trendy El Raval neighborhood, this tapas bar offers up creative dishes that are as beautiful as they are delicious. Some of the must-try dishes include the foie gras terrine with apple compote, and the mussel escabeche with mustard vinaigrette.
Top Tapas Bars and Restaurants in Barcelona
Quimet & Quimet: A Popular Tapas Bar in Poble Sec
Quimet & Quimet is one of the best tapas bars in the city. This tiny establishment in the Poble Sec neighborhood is always packed with locals and tourists alike, all clamoring for a taste of their famous tapas. The menu is extensive, featuring a variety of traditional and modern dishes, as well as an impressive selection of wines and cavas.
La Boqueria: A Must-Visit Food Market in Barcelona with Plenty of Tapas Options
La Boqueria is one of the most famous food markets in the world, and a must-visit spot for anyone interested in food and drink. The market is home to dozens of stalls selling everything from fresh produce to gourmet cheeses. There are also many tapas bars scattered throughout the market, offering up some of the best bites in the city.
La Plata: A Small and Authentic Bar in El Born
La Plata is a small, unassuming bar in the El Born neighborhood. Despite its humble appearance, it’s widely considered to be one of the best tapas bars in the city. The menu is limited, featuring only a handful of typical tapas dishes like sausage and canned tuna, but each one is prepared to perfection. The atmosphere is lively and authentic, making it the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of vermouth and some good company.
Must-Try Tapas Dishes and Drinks in Barcelona
Patatas Bravas: Classic Spanish Potatoes with Spicy Sauce
Patatas bravas are one of the most iconic tapas dishes in Spain, and you’ll find them on just about every tapas menu in Barcelona. The dish is made up of crispy potatoes served with a spicy sauce. Each restaurant has its own version of the sauce, so it’s worth trying a few different places to find your favorite.
Anchovy-Stuffed Olives: A Popular Bar Snack in Barcelona
Another popular tapas dish in Barcelona is anchovy-stuffed olives. These small, salty bites are the perfect accompaniment to a cold beer or glass of wine. They’re often served as a bar snack, and you’ll find them on just about every tapas menu in the city.
Xampanyet: A Local Sparkling Wine to Pair with Your Tapas
When it comes to drinks, xampanyet is the perfect accompaniment to your tapas. This local Catalan sparkling wine is crisp and refreshing, with just the right amount of bubbles. It pairs perfectly with the small dishes and is available at many of the city’s best tapas bars.
Specialized Tapas Bars in Barcelona
Bar Cañete: A Tapas Bar with a Focus on Seafood
Bar Cañete is a tapas bar with a focus on seafood. This restaurant is known for its fresh, high-quality ingredients and creative dishes. Some of the must-try dishes include the grilled octopus with potatoes and paprika, the tuna tartare with avocado and wasabi, and the baby squid with garlic and parsley.
La Pepita: A Gourmet Tapas Bar with Creative Dishes
La Pepita is a gourmet tapas bar with a focus on creative dishes. The menu features a mix of traditional and modern tapas, all prepared with fresh, high-quality ingredients. Some of the must-try dishes include the foie gras with apple and Pedro Ximenez reduction, and the Catalan sausage with honey and goat cheese.
Bar Pinotxo: A Traditional Bar in La Boqueria with a Wide Range of Tapas
Bar Pinotxo is a traditional bar located inside the famous La Boqueria market. This beloved establishment has been around for over 100 years, and it’s easy to see why. The menu features a wide range of tapas dishes, from classic patatas bravas to more unique options like the salt cod fritters with honey.