From Barcelona’s towering churches and bustling avenues to the sun-drenched beaches and idyllic plazas, it’s obvious why this city captures visitors’ hearts and refuses to let go. As befits the city’s Mediterranean lifestyle, you can eat incredibly well here, and often for not very much money. (Though Barcelona loves a pricey tasting menu, too.) But it’s also too easy to have a downright disappointing meal if you settle for any old paella-slinging bar along Les Rambles (known in Spanish as La Rambla) or La Barceloneta.
This map will steer visitors toward sure-fire success in the overwhelming world of Barcelona dining. Obvious essentials like pintxos and paella are included (both great but neither entirely Catalan), but be sure to seek out local gems like natural wines, seasonal seafood, home-style stews, and artisan vermouth, as well wood-oven shawarmas, rotisserie chickens, Japanese steaks, craft beers, Malaysian curries, and and world-class cocktails, followed by 3 a.m. churros and chocolate to soak up the booze and put you to bed. This list of 38 essential food experiences is just the tip of the iceberg, though it offers a great variety of food (and prices), from the all-stars of Catalan cuisine to numerous tastes of the growing international food scene in Barcelona.
Update fall, 2021:
Throughout 2020, Barcelona went through various stages of lockdown, including a complete ban on indoor dining that lasted months, and was relaxed then reinstated. Though some restaurants that relied heavily on foreign visitors have had to close permanently, many of the local favorites were able to hold on thanks to increased demand for takeaway and delivery services. Now, heading into the fall, indoor dining and operating hours are almost back to a glorious degree of normal in the city.
Note: The inclusion of restaurants offering dine-in service should not be taken as an endorsement for dining inside. Studies indicate a lower exposure risk to COVID-19 outdoors, but the level of risk is contingent on social distancing and other safety guidelines. Check with each restaurant for up-to-date information on dining offerings. For updated information on coronavirus cases in Barcelona, please visit the city council website or Spain’s COVID data portal.
Prices per person, excluding alcohol
$ = Less than 15 euros (less than $18 USD)
$$ = 16 - 39 euros ($19 - $45 USD)
$$$ = 40 - 66 euros ($46 - $76 USD)
$$$$ = More than 66 euros ($76 USD and up)
Sam Zucker is a freelance writer, photographer, filmmaker, travel Instagrammer, and gastronomic tour guide in Barcelona. He has contributed to Monocle, National Geographic’s “48 Hours” guides, Culture Trip, and Vice Travel, among others.Read More