Our favorite places to eat in Barcelona

When thinking of Barcelona, we immediately think of the extraordinary architecture and the mouthwatering food. You can have incredible meals here, often for very low prices. Barcelona truly is a paradise for food lovers, just like us! That’s why we decided to visit this city for Kelvin’s 25th birthday. Since the list of where to eat in Barcelona is endless, we’ve made a selection of our favorite places to eat in Barcelona, including some amazing tapas bars. We cover the obvious essentials like pintxos and paella, but also the local gems like croquetas, patatas bravas and padrón peppers.

Elsa y Fred

Our favorite places to eat in Barcelona: Elsa y Fred

Elsa y Fred is one of those hidden gems in Barcelona! This cosy place serves delicious tapas with a modern twist. We had dinner here and the food and atmosphere were soooo good! To be sure they weren’t fully booked, we made a reservation online in advance. We recommend doing this too, especially in the evening, as the queue of people hoping for a free table kept on growing during our time there.

Everything on the menu looked delicious so we ordered a lot of food! We decided to go for some tomato bread, patatas bravas, kimchi croquettes, an Iberian ham croquette, burrata with tomatoes and to top it off the grilled octopus.

Looking back, this may have been a little too much, but as mentioned earlier, everything sounded so good that we wanted to try everything that could fit in our stomach. We certainly don’t regret it! Our absolute favorite was the grilled octopus. We have never eaten such a tender, perfectly grilled octopus. It really melted in our mouth! The kimchi croquettes are definitely worth tasting too, so full of flavor and a little spicy, just how we like it.

If we may mention something negative, we also ordered the scallop bao buns but they forgot this dish. In the end, we didn’t mind because we were already so full that we probably didn’t get to finish this anyway. 😉 This certainly didn’t ruin our evening, they even gave us a (we think?) limoncello shooter to make up for it. Looking back, it was such a great experience and we would definitely come back here!

Where: Carrer del Rec Comtal, 11

Bar del Pla

Our favorite places to eat in Barcelona: Bar del Pla

Popular among both locals and tourists is Bar del Pla, a surprising tapas bar in El Born. We had heard of this place before visiting and were curious to see (and taste) what all the fuss is about. Initially, we hadn’t planned to visit on that particular day, but we stumbled upon it when strolling around the magnificent and authentic El Born neighborhood.

The menu has various traditional tapas of really good quality. We ordered (once again) the tomato bread, (once again) some patatas bravas, the cod fish croquettes and the mussels to finish it off. Each dish was delicious, and eating it in a traditional Spanish bar made it even better! They even managed to upgrade a simple dish like tomato bread. This place is anything but a tourist trap. Even though it has become a well-known spot in Barcelona, they haven’t lost their local feel and Spanish (read: cheap) prices. Bar del Pla also has a large choice of wine. We went for a fruity white wine, it was one of the best wines we had in Barcelona. We paid around € 3,50 for one glass, compared to our Belgian prices this is very cheap!

If you’re looking for high-quality tapas for good prices an a laid-back atmosphere, then Bar del Pla should definitely be on your to do list.

Where: Carrer de Montcada, 2

Pro tip
Bar del Pla take reservations online but you can make a reservation by phone. We visited around the late afternoon without a reservation, it wasn’t busy yet so we were able to enjoy their delicious tapas without all the hustle. When we left, we noticed more and more people were coming in so keep that in mind!

La Taverna del Coure

La Taverna del Coure

Another amazing restaurant in El Born is La Taverna del Coure. We tried different tapas here (what else), like shrimps with garlic, grilled squid and also some fried padrón peppers. All three dishes were simple but tasty, especially the shrimps. The wine was also very nice.

What drew us to this restaurant was the authentic Spanish (Catalonian) vibe. It is located at a tiny square (Plaça de Jacint Reventós) where you can eat either inside or outside. Since it was evening when we visited and it was already getting colder, we decided to eat inside. Also, as with a lot of restaurants in Barcelona, eating/drinking outside on the terrace adds between 10 and 20 percent to your bill so bear that in mind. La Taverne del Coure is the perfect spot to enjoy delicious tapas in a cozy neighborhood.

Did we mention we looooove El Born?

Where: Carrer de l’Argenteria, 53

El Puestu

El Puestu

Another hidden treasure we came across in Barcelona is El Puestu, located near the Arc de Triomf. It’s located on a small strip (or boulevard) which suggests it is overpriced and of the food of low quality, but nothing is less true. This restaurant is a great choice if you are in the mood for tasty tapas at a very reasonable price. We had the cheese croquettes and cod fritters, the boiled langoustines, the octopus with potato cream and, yet again, patatas bravas. For us, tapas is not complete without patatas bravas, as you’ve probably noticed. Admittedly, presentation-wise the dishes were nothing to write home about, but the actual dishes were sublime!

What really stuck with us, was the octopus with potato cream! We had no idea that such a simple dish could be such a flavor bomb. The combination of squid and (mashed) potatoes, finished with paprika and other spices really is a perfect combination. If we hadn’t ordered so many other dishes we would have definitely ordered a second serving of this!

Where: Carrer de Ribes, 39

El petit Firo

El Petit Firo

When visiting Spain, you must have eaten paella at least once. El Petit Firo, located in the Eixample district, is the perfect place to have one. The seafood paella that we ate here as lunch tasted so good. We got a big serving for two with different seafood.

The paella was about € 30 for two, which is certainly not a lot of money for such a big serving of fresh seafood. Definitely recommended if you are looking for a tasty and affordable paella. It is located only a few steps away from the beautiful Sant Pau Recinte Modernista which, if you have the time, really is a must see! Talk about killing two birds with one stone. 😉

Where: Avinguda de Gaudí, 83

Bar Mono

Bar Mono

Bar Mono is one of the restaurants we had our eyes on even before visiting Barcelona. When you’re in the Gothic Quarter, you should definitely visit Bar Mono. They offer a wide selection of tapas and street food and have such a pretty interior. We went for the patatas bravas (again, we know!), the pastrami sandwich and the shrimp bao with avocado. The quality of the food was exquisite, hats of to the chef!

Other than the patatas bravas (which were great and abundant, by the way), the portions were rather small. Kelvin finished his pastrami sandwich in less than five bites and the bao bun was, well, a tiny bao bun. Since we already had an extensive brunch, we didn’t mind that much. I you’re looking for an extensive dinner, be prepared to order a lot of food! The food was very nice and our waiter was very friendly.

We must admit this restaurant is relatively expensive compared to others, especially for the small portions. For some small tapas in a really nice setting, Bar Mono is definitely worth it though!

Where: Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol, 4

IRATI Taverna Basca

IRATI Taverna Basca

Located in the Gothic Quarter (only 2 minutes away from Bar Mono, actually) you can find IRATI, a popular spot thanks to its excellent pinchos. Pinchos are traditional Basque tapas, served on top of bread and speared with a toothpick.

When entering IRATI, you immediately find a full bar full of cold pinchos. The assortment is very varied with different types of meat, fish and cheese. The cold, self-serve pinchos are amazing, but make sure to taste the hot pinchos too! There is a waitress walking around with hot pinchos, once every 5 minutes or so. They offer a wide range of hot pinchos, going from merguez to different sorts of (fish, meat, veggie) croquettes to tiny hamburgers.

You can take a seat right across the bar and enjoy the experience of eating pinchos. We jumped right in and tasted about 15 pieces in total, which was quite a lot. Our personal favorites were the cod fish croquettes and the merguez sausage, but the others were also very tasty! The variety of pinchos was really mind-blowing, they have pinchos for everyone!

Where: Carrer del Cardenal Casañas, 17

Fun fact
The bill is calculated at the end according to the number of toothpicks you return. Every pincho costs € 2,10.

Mercat de la Boqueira

Our favorite places to eat in Barcelona: Mercat de la Boqueira

You can’t make a list of the best places to eat in Barcelona without mentioning the Mercat de la Boqueira, strategically located less than a minute away from La Rambla.

This bustling market is a must for foodies, you can not only buy food here but also eat here! You can find a lot of stands here that sell fresh and ready-to-eat food. There is a wide selection of fresh meat and fish. In the middle of the market you can even find a whole stand full of fresh seafood. We could walk around here for hours, each stand was fascinating in its own way.

There are also some bars where you can sit and order food, but they’re so crowded that you do have to wait a while for a spot. That’s why we chose to order gyozas and chicken teriyaki skewers on-the-go. We also tried some local cheese and Jamón Ibérico, really good! Since we are both big fans of truffle, we bought some truffle salt and truffle oil here as a souvenir for our loved ones. There was also a wide range of fresh juices and fruit, we unfortunately did not try these but they looked delicious!

Although this place is really touristy and not really a “hidden gem” anymore, we reaalllyy loved it here because of the great variety of foods and just to do some window-shopping as well. So when you’re visiting La Rambla, make sure to stop by this place to wander around and try some great dishes.

Where: La Rambla, 91

Where to stay in Barcelona

Looking for more Barcelona recommendations?

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