Alyssa Writes

Following The Tapas Trail in Barcelona

 

 

I am sure that I lived in Barcelona in another life.

I visited Barna for the second time and I felt the same joy as before, and the experience was only made better since I got to share it with one of my favourite people in the world. Not only was Tom with me, but he planned the activities for the 5 days we were there — win! I’m a bit of a control freak and I like to plan everything so letting go was a challenge. In the end, it was relaxing to give someone else the reins and just go with the flow.

Now, the title says this is about tapas. I’m getting to that. As you may be aware, I. Love. Food. However, I suck at blogging about it because I’d rather just eat it instead of taking pictures so… they don’t always make it into the blog. I’m #sorrynotsorry to say that I haven’t changed in this respect. It wasn’t until about the third day that I thought, holy crap we’ve been eating a lot of tapas — maybe I should write about it. So, some pictures are mine, others aren’t but we visited all of these places, lovingly chosen by Tom.

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Before I get into the list of tapas restaurants in Barcelona, here are few things you should know:

  1. True tapas are free. They are meant to be little dishes of whatever, served with your drink.
  2. Tapas aren’t from Catalunya. They are Spanish, yes, but people from Catalunya are Catalan first. Pintxos are actually from the Basque country. They are served on bread with toothpicks.
  3. Skip the sangria.It’s unlikely to see a local drinking it at a bar. Order vermut (vermouth), una clara (shandy), or un tinto de verano (red wine and lemon-lime soda) instead.

Now that we’ve got that straight, here are the fabulous tapas restaurants in Barcelona!

La Pubilla

 
Okay, this place isn’t a tapas bar but it is hands down one of the best lunches I’ve had in recent memory. La Pubilla is a busy little place in the chic Gracia neighbourhood — we arrived around 1 and they told us to come back at 3:15. The three-course lunch menu is around €15, including drinks. I had the tomato and radish gazpatxo (the best I’ve ever had) and the burger and potatoes while Tom ordered the salad with rilletes and the Catalan stew (seafood). Everything was great, and even though they forgot to bring our starters before the mains, I would have happily gone back for every lunch thereafter. Total: €35

El Vaso de Oro

My first thoughts about eating around Barceloneta was that it would be far too touristy, but there are some great local spots off the main high street. El Vaso de Oro is one of them, with its tasty tapas and traditional service. It’s a loud, narrow restaurant with a long bar, a few tables, and a man in waistcoat yelling orders to the kitchen. This place is rated as one of the best thanks to their homemade beer (it’s really good, and I don’t even like beer) and tapas selection.

After elbowing our way to the bar, we had the taco atun (tip: it does not involve tortillas), padron peppers, manchego cheese, chorizo, and dos flautas of beer. People go here for the steak with foie gras, but we just weren’t hungry enough for it. Total: €25

Tosca

Las Tosca is across from the Palau de Musica in the Eixample, so logically it’s just as upscale. It’s calm and dimly lit with a nice choice of cocktails. This place wasn’t on Tom’s list — it just happened to be on the same street as our Airbnb and I had been there once before. We ordered the patatas bravas, meatballs in almond sauce, goat cheese salad, and vegetarian lasagna (SO good). After a day of walking around, I liked relaxing at the bar without feeling too hurried. Total: €25

Quimet i Quimet

Outside Quimet i Quimet. Told you it’s busy…

Quimet i Quimet is probably on every list of “the best tapas restaurants in Barcelona”. It’s a tiny spot in Poble Sec — I think there are two tables in the whole place and the bar is only a few metres long. We luckily got a standing place at the bar but people were shouting orders and passing food and drinks over our heads the whole time. It’s lively and popular, and as a result it can feel a bit stressful if you’re not expecting it.

This spot also has a house beer and an excellent selection of montaditos (tapas served on round bread) and tapas. We ordered Iberian pork cheek; a salmon, yogurt, and truffled honey montadito; a torta del casar (sheep’s cheese) with chestnut montadito; paté with onion and truffle oil montadito; and a sardine, cheese, and artichoke montaditos. All amazing! Total: €45 (we had 4 drinks)

La Bombeta

La Bombeta, another place right off Joan de Borbo in Barceloneta. We went here to get a couple tapas and a drink while waiting to eat at Montolio Can Maño (great seafood place). We stood at the bar with an Estrella Damm and a Damm Lemon, while we dug into our bombas — a fried potato ball stuffed with meat — and mixed vegetables. It was a quick trip, but there were no tables available and people seemed to order a lot of chipirones (bits of fried baby squid). Total: €10

Kasparo

I promise you: this was not posed. Tom refused to wait for the photoshoot (especially since I had already cut into the croquette!

Kasparo is a quiet spot off the Ramblas in Plaça Vicenç Martorell. We stopped here for a drink and one tapa each (as it should be) on the way to Raval’s Rambla (way better than the main Rambla!). I had the croqueta and if it’s any indication of the quality of the rest of their food then I say go there now! Total: €10

La Pepita

Tapas and tapas and tapas and tapas…. I have semantic satiation now thanks.

I loved this little place off Av. Diagonal! They’re famous for their pepitas — a burger-slash-sandwich with only one thin slice of grilled bread — but their tapas are great too. High quality ingredients and all lovingly prepared. For tapas, we had a trio of Russian salad, hummous, and bombas in a spicy sauce and Tom was finally able to drink a vermut (gin, orange, and soda). I ordered their verdejo wine, which was the best glass I had on this trip.

For the main, I went with the Pepita Bikini (brie and smoked ham) while Tom had the Traditional Sausage Pepita. I think we were jealous of each other’s choices! For dessert, we went traditional, with a homemade crema catalana (it’s essentially a crème brûlée, but don’t say that to a Catalan!). Total: €45

Bar Bitacora

I’m as surprised as you are…

Another spot in Barceloneta — in fact it’s just across the road from El Vaso de Oro! We had a quick one here, a couple beers and a clara. We ordered the bombas, spinach croquetas, pa amb tomaquet (bread with tomato), and a Spanish tortilla. It was the biggest piece of potato tortilla I had ever seen served in my entire life. I definitely took a picture of it. The bombas was the best I’d had and Tom was pleased to finally have a tortilla. Total: €20

Follow the tapas trail yourself!