For non-locals, Mercat de La Boqueria is also interesting for its tapas bars like El Quim and Pinotxo – even if they are packed with tourists and now have English menus. These casual eateries with counter dining will prepare your order of baby squid or tortilla a la minute while you sip some local beer or tinto fino wine.
But if you prefer table service and a nicer environment, there are proper tapas restaurants in town, like the below tried-and-tested options.
Disfrutar means enjoy in Spanish and you have to be ascetic if you don’t do so at this two Michelin-starred restaurant. From the understated street front entrance, to the surprisingly cavernous main dining room with its serene patio, the menu of more than 30 inventive, intriguing, beautiful and basically delicious bites from the main men behind the famed el Bulli will wow you. This has to be the best way to enjoy three hours in Barcelona.
The city’s gastronomy is among the best things to see and do in Barcelona Spain and modern Catalan cuisine is certainly included. It is served at this one Michelin-starred restaurant with matching avant-garde décor. Perfect for a special occasion, the focus is on locally sourced ingredients. There is also an extensive wine list to select from.
This tiny restaurant behind the Boqueria market was opened by the former head chef of Comerç24, the Michelin-starred modern tapas restaurant created by Carles Abellán. With only an eight-seater counter, it infuses Catalan fare with creative North-east Asian influences.
Stepping into Casa Leopoldo is like entering another century, and it’s not the next one – assuming you can find the entrance because it is easy to miss if you come from the wrong direction. This quintessential Catalan restaurant has been around for over 80 years and is still dishing out classic seafood, meat and vegetable recipes.
Petit Comitè is what happens when you take your grandmother’s traditional Catalan recipes and give them a refined twist with stylish plating.
Take the essence of the extraordinary but now closed el Bulli, add some bright lights, divide the restaurant into a few sections, put on a show and you have Tickets – Ferran and Albert Adrià’s glitzy new contemporary tapas bar. Playful or pretentious, only you can decide.
Just like chop suey is not really Chinese, tapas didn’t originate in Barcelona. Or Catalunya for that matter. But if you must have some because you’re in Spain or just feeling peckish, check out Ciutat Comtal (Ciudad Condal in Spanish). This modern tapas bar has everything a tourist will appreciate – good food, good service and a nice ambience.
As a top international destination, Barcelona has many more wonderful scenes and stuff to savour. If you would like a personalised list of things to see and do in Barcelona, the concierge at Capri by Fraser, Barcelona / Spain will be able to give you more local insights and recommendations.