Best Tapas in Barcelona in 2023 you Need to Try!

Welcome to the vibrant city of Barcelona, a haven for food enthusiasts and a hub of gastronomic delights. When it comes to Spanish cuisine, tapas reign supreme, and Barcelona boasts an incredible array of the best tapas bars and restaurants that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving for more. Join us on a culinary journey as we unveil the best tapas in Barcelona you need to try, where traditional flavors and modern twists come together to create an unforgettable dining experience – especially with friends! We also look at the best places to find it…

What are tapas?

Tapas are small, savory dishes usually combined with each other to give you an exquisite combination of flavors. In Barcelona, tapas are a popular culinary tradition. These bite-sized appetizers are served in many bars and restaurants – and often paired with local beer and wine. They offer a wide variety of flavors and ingredients. Additionally, tapas encourage socializing and sharing.

People often order multiple tapas to enjoy together – and Barcelona is known for its diverse tapas scene. From seafood to cured meats, there’s something for everyone. Overall, tapas in Barcelona provide a delightful culinary experience! Let’s dive in to what’s good:

The best tapas in Barcelona

Here are some of the best tapas that you can try in Barcelona.

Patatas Brava

Tapas Patatas bravas

This classic tapa consists of fried potatoes served with a spicy tomato-based sauce (brava sauce) and a creamy garlic aioli. The potatoes are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, creating a delicious contrast of textures. The brava sauce is slightly spicy and tangy, while the garlic aioli adds an extra layer of creaminess to the dish. The combination of the two sauces creates an unforgettable flavor and makes patatas bravas a great way to start off any meal. Whether you’re looking for a snack or a full-fledged dinner, patatas bravas are sure to satisfy your cravings.

Gambas al Ajillo

Gambas al Ajillo

This tapa features succulent shrimp cooked in a sizzling garlic and chili-infused olive oil. The flavors meld together to create a mouthwatering combination that is both savory and slightly spicy. The dish is served with a side of freshly baked garlic bread, making it the perfect accompaniment to your favorite Spanish sangria.

For an added burst of flavor, try topping the tapa with some grated Manchego cheese. The creamy texture of the cheese pairs perfectly with the garlicky shrimp, making it a must-have for any Spanish tapa fan.

Pimientos de Padrón

Pimientos de Padrón

These small green peppers from the town of Padrón in Galicia are sautéed until blistered and seasoned with coarse sea salt. Most are mild, but occasionally you’ll find a spicy surprise. They are addictive and make for a fun tapa to share. We had them at a few places during our visit to Spain and they never disappointed. Delicious!

If you find yourself in Padrón, be sure to try the famous peppers for yourself. The town lies along the banks of the Ulla river and is known for its delicious cuisine. Visit one of the many restaurants or grab a bag from a local market to take back home. You won’t regret it!

Not only are these peppers a classic Spanish dish, but they also have an interesting history. According to legend, Padrón peppers were brought to the region in the 16th century by pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago. Whatever their origins may be, this is one delicious and unique tapa that will make your visit to Padrón extra special!

Jamón Ibérico

Spain’s renowned cured ham, made from acorn-fed Iberian pigs, is a must-try tapa. Served thinly sliced, the ham has a rich, nutty flavor and melts in your mouth. It’s often accompanied by fresh bread or paired with cheese. The best way to sample this traditional Spanish dish is to visit a local tavern, where you’ll find an array of cured and uncured meats. Be sure to try the lomo, a cured loin of pork; chorizo, a spicy sausage; and salchichón, a dry-cured sausage. All of these meats are delicious when served with olives and washed down with some local wine. Delicioso!

Croquetas

Croquetas

These creamy, breaded, and fried croquettes come in various flavors such as ham, chicken, or seafood. They have a crispy exterior and a velvety filling, making them a delightful tapa that is loved by locals and visitors alike. For those seeking an even bigger flavor punch, try out a few of the croquettes with different fillings. Savor them on their own or dip them in one of the delicious sauces available – garlic mayonnaise is a classic favorite! Whether you’re devouring them at a local tapas bar or making your own at home, croquetas are sure to be a hit!

Not in the mood for something savory? Try sweet croquettes instead! These delicious treats have all of the same qualities as regular ones – crispy on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside. They come filled with a variety of ingredients such as chocolate, hazelnut, dulce de leche and more. Best served hot, you can find them at most bakeries or supermarkets in Spain. If you’re feeling adventurous, try making your own croquettes – it’s a great way to get creative with flavors and ingredients!

Pulpo a la Gallega

Pulpo a la Gallega

A specialty from Galicia, this tapa features tender octopus that is boiled, sliced, and then seasoned with olive oil, paprika, and coarse sea salt. The combination of flavors and textures makes it a popular choice among seafood lovers. The octopus can be served over a bed of boiled potatoes or on its own as a finger food. It’s usually accompanied with some crusty bread and alioli sauce, making it an ideal snack for any occasion. Whether you’re looking for something light to start your meal or just want to try a unique tapa, Pulpo Gallego is sure to please.

For a truly authentic experience, be sure to visit Galicia and try pulpo gallego in its traditional setting. You’ll find countless restaurants serving the tapa up with their own unique twists – from the classic to the creative. Not only will you discover how delicious this dish can be, but you may even get some tips from the locals on how to make it at home. So, why not give Pulpo Gallego a try on your next trip to Spain? You won’t be disappointed!

Escalivada

Escalivada

This Catalan tapa showcases roasted red peppers, eggplant, and onions. The vegetables are cooked until soft and then marinated in olive oil and garlic. The result is a smoky, sweet, and tangy dish that is often served with crusty bread. It’s easy to make and a great way to explore the flavors of Spain. If you’re looking for something a little heartier, try adding some chorizo or other cured meats to your dish.

The ingredients used to make this Catalan tapa are incredibly simple, but don’t let that fool you – the end result is bursting with flavor. The smoky sweetness of the roasted vegetables pairs perfectly with the tangy olive oil and garlic marinade.
This is great alongside a chilled glass of Vermouth!

Queso Manchego

Queso Manchego

Originating from the La Mancha region, this sheep’s milk cheese is firm, nutty, and slightly tangy. It pairs well with cured meats and is often served with a drizzle of honey or quince paste. Manchego is the most famous of Spanish cheeses and a must-have for any cheese board. Its unique flavor comes from the milk used, which is sourced from local sheep that graze in the pastures around La Mancha. The aging process also adds complexity to its flavor, with younger cheeses being milder while aged ones having sharper notes. Whether served as a snack or as part of a more elaborate meal, Manchego is sure to be a hit. Try it with some crusty bread and olives for an authentic Spanish experience! For the best results, serve Manchego at room temperature so that all its flavors can shine through.

Albóndigas

Albóndigas

These Spanish meatballs are typically made with a combination of ground beef and pork, flavored with herbs and spices, and simmered in a rich tomato sauce. They are tender, flavorful, and make for a comforting tapa. Serve with crusty bread or roasted potatoes for a delicious meal.

This dish is popular all over Spain, but especially in the north, where it’s an integral part of northern Spanish cuisine. It’s often served as a tapa, either plain or with some kind of sauce. But don’t forget that these meatballs can also be used in a variety of other dishes, such as cazuelas (stews), tortillas (omelets) and even paella. You can also enjoy them in sandwiches or wraps with your favorite condiments.

Pulpo a la Brasa

Pulpo a la Brasa

Grilled octopus is another popular tapa in Barcelona. The octopus is cooked over an open flame, giving it a smoky charred flavor. It is often served with olive oil, sea salt, and paprika. The smokiness of the octopus pairs perfectly with a cool glass of sangria and makes for a great way to start off your evening in Barcelona.

Pulpo a la Brasa is one of the most popular dishes in Spanish cuisine. This traditional dish consists of grilled octopus served with a variety of sauces including olive oil and garlic, paprika, and parsley. It’s one of the most beloved dishes for any occasion: whether you’re celebrating or just enjoying a meal with family or friends. The flavour of this dish combined with its unique texture makes it stand out among other Spanish meals. It’s sure to tantalize your taste buds and make you come back for more.

Where to find the Best Tapas in Barcelona

If you’re looking for the best tapas in Barcelona, look no further! There are so many delicious and unique tapas dishes to try that it can be hard to know where to start – but don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Here’s my guide on the top 5 places in Barcelona that offer fantastic tapas experiences:

1. La Flauta

This popular local place has been around since 1976 and offers a variety of delicious tapas options such as patatas bravas (potato wedges with spicy tomato sauce) and calamares a la plancha (grilled squid with garlic). They also offer an extensive wine list, making it a great spot for a light dinner. Check it out here: https://laflauta.cat/

2. Bar Celta

This traditional Spanish bar is located in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona and serves up some of the best classic tapas dishes such as croquetas de jamon (ham croquettes) and tortilla espanola (Spanish omelette). The atmosphere at Bar Celta is lively and friendly – perfect for enjoying a few beers while sampling their delicious offerings. Here’s the link to check them out: https://www.barcelta.com/

3. Quimet i Quimet

This small, family-run bar has been around since 1914 and specializes in freshly made tapas with an emphasis on quality ingredients. Their menu changes daily, but some of their signature dishes include caracoles (snails) and huevos estrellados (fried eggs with potatoes). Plus, their prices are very reasonable, making it a great option for budget travelers looking to sample the local cuisine: https://www.quimetquimet.com/

4. Cerveceria Catalana

This traditional beer hall offers up classic tapas such as patatas bravas, embutidos (sausages) and bacalao (cod). They also have an extensive selection of craft beers – a must-try for any beer lover! Here’s there website to show you more: https://cerveceriacatalana.com/

5. Bar Lobo

Located in the heart of Barcelona’s El Born district, this popular spot serves up traditional Catalan tapas such as escalivada (grilled vegetables) and esqueixada (cod salad). They also offer a wide selection of wines and beers, making it the perfect spot to sit back and enjoy a tapas experience with friends: https://grupotragaluz.com/restaurantes/bar-lobo/

How to find more of the best tapas in Barcelona

If you want to explore more tapas after considering the options above – here are some tips on how else you can scout the best tapas in town…

Explore food markets

Visit renowned food markets in Barcelona, such as Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria (here) or Mercat de Sant Antoni (here). These markets often have tapas stalls or small eateries where you can sample a variety of tapas dishes.

Walk around popular areas

Take a stroll in popular neighborhoods like El Born, Gràcia, or Barceloneta, where you’ll find numerous tapas bars and restaurants. Look for places that are bustling with locals, as it is usually a good sign of authenticity and quality.

Look for crowded establishments

Busy tapas bars are usually a sign of popularity and good food. If you come across a tapas place with a lively atmosphere and locals filling up the tables, it’s likely worth checking out.

Consider traditional vs. modern tapas

Decide whether you prefer a more traditional tapas experience or if you’re open to modern twists and fusion cuisines. Barcelona offers a range of tapas styles, from classic to innovative, so choose according to your preferences.

Experiment and explore

Don’t be afraid to try different tapas places during your stay in Barcelona. Each establishment has its own specialties and flavors, so exploring multiple places will allow you to experience the diversity of tapas offerings.

Remember, the “best” tapas place can be subjective, as it depends on personal taste and preferences. It’s always a good idea to sample a variety of tapas from different places to discover your own favorites.

Guided tours to help you explore

Top 3 Picks: For finding the best tapas in Barcelona

#1 TOP PICK

Tapas in Barcelona

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Drunken Tapas & Food Tour with Dinner
✔️ Drinks & Tapas Included
✔️ Local guide & opportunity to socialise
🚫 New listing but we’re sure it can’t be bad!

#2 PICK

woman in blue getting off a private jet

Tapas Walking Tour
✔️ Similar tour to the tour above
✔️ 4.7 out of 5 rating
🚫 Drinks choice seems more limited

#3 PICK

woman in blue getting off a private jet

Old Town Evening Tour with Tapas & Drinks
✔️ 8 plates of tapas & 4 drinks
✔️ Shared group or private tour
🚫 More expensive that 1 and 2 above

Tips to enjoy tapas in Barcelona to the fullest

Embrace the sharing culture

Tapas are meant to be shared and enjoyed together. Order a variety of dishes and share them with your companions. This way, you can experience a wider range of flavors and enjoy the social aspect of tapas dining.

Pace yourself

Since tapas are small portions, it’s easy to get carried away and order too much. Pace yourself and savor each dish before moving on to the next one. Take time to appreciate the flavors, textures, and presentation of each tapa.

Try different flavors

Tapas offer an opportunity to explore various flavors and ingredients. Be adventurous and try dishes you may not have had before. Experiment with different combinations and expand your culinary horizons.

Ask for recommendations

If you’re unsure about what to order, don’t hesitate to ask the waiter or bartender for recommendations. They can provide insights into popular dishes, local specialties, or pairing suggestions with drinks.

Pair with local beverages

Enhance your tapas experience by pairing them with local beverages. Opt for a glass of Spanish wine, such as Rioja or Albariño, or try a refreshing glass of vermouth, a traditional drink often enjoyed with tapas. Alternatively, you can pair tapas with beer or a classic Spanish sangria.

Explore different tapas venues

Barcelona offers a diverse range of tapas venues, including traditional taverns, modern gastro-bars, and local markets. Explore different settings to experience various atmospheres and culinary styles. Each place may have its own unique charm and specialties.

Engage with the staff

Interact with the staff at tapas establishments. They can provide insights, and recommendations, and even share stories about the tapas or the history behind certain dishes. Engaging with them can enhance your overall experience.

Be open to standing or bar counter dining

In many tapas bars, it’s common to stand or dine at the bar counter. Embrace this casual and lively atmosphere, as it adds to the authentic tapas experience. Enjoy the bustling energy and observe the skilled chefs at work.

Trust your instincts and preferences

While recommendations are helpful, trust your own taste buds and preferences. Enjoy tapas that appeal to you personally and create your own memorable culinary journey.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to fully immerse yourself in the flavors, culture, and enjoyment of tapas in Barcelona.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I order tapas in Barcelona?

A: In Barcelona, tapas can be ordered individually or in a series. You can choose from the displayed options at the bar counter or ask the waiter for recommendations. Many places also offer “menu del día,” a fixed-price menu with a selection of tapas.

Q: Are tapas expensive in Barcelona?

A: Tapas prices can vary depending on the location and type of establishment. In general, tapas are relatively affordable, especially when compared to full meals. Some tapas bars offer a “tapa and drink” deal, making it even more economical.

Q: Can I find vegetarian or vegan tapas in Barcelona?

A: Yes, Barcelona is known for its vegetarian and vegan-friendly options. Many tapas places offer a variety of plant-based dishes such as grilled vegetables, marinated olives, stuffed peppers, or vegan croquettes.

Q: Can I customize tapas to suit my dietary preferences?

A: It’s worth asking the staff if they can accommodate any dietary restrictions or preferences. They might be able to suggest alternatives or make adjustments to certain tapas dishes to meet your needs.

Q: Do I need to make reservations for tapas bars in Barcelona?

A: It depends on the place and time. While some tapas bars allow walk-ins, popular or highly recommended establishments may require reservations, especially during peak hours or weekends. It’s advisable to check in advance or arrive early to secure a table.

Q: What are some popular neighborhoods in Barcelona for tapas?

A: El Born, Gràcia, Barceloneta, and the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gòtic) are known for their lively tapas scenes. These areas have numerous tapas bars and restaurants, offering a wide variety of flavors and culinary experiences.

Q: Can I find halal or kosher tapas in Barcelona?

A: There are some establishments in Barcelona that cater to specific dietary requirements, including halal and kosher options. It’s recommended to research and inquire in advance to find suitable places.

The wrap-up!

Tapas are small, savory dishes that originated in Spain and are now enjoyed worldwide. In Barcelona, tapas hold a special place in the vibrant culinary scene. They are served as appetizers or snacks, encouraging socializing and sharing among friends and family. From traditional favorites like Patatas Bravas and Jamón Ibérico to regional specialties such as Pimientos de Padrón and Escalivada, Barcelona offers a wide array of tapas options.

To find the best tapas place in Barcelona, check out some of our recommendation above. Go for a wander around the local food markets and seek local recommendations, and observe busy establishments. When indulging in tapas, embrace the sharing culture, pace yourself, try different flavors, and pair them with local beverages. Engaging with the staff and enjoying the lively atmosphere of tapas bars adds to the experience. Ultimately, trust your own preferences and savor each tapa to the fullest. Barcelona’s tapas scene promises a delightful culinary adventure for all!

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Anna Roffey Lawyer, World Traveller, Blogger... 🧡