Barcelona Travel Guide

Food

Barcelona's cuisine is inconsistent in quality, as with all highly touristic cities, but good food does exist at reasonable prices. The golden rule of thumb applies well in Barcelona; to save money and get better food, look for places off the beaten track by fellow travellers and seek out cafes and restaurants where the locals frequent. A good idea is to avoid restaurants with touts outside.

Set menus (menú del dia) Most restaurants (and some bars) offer a menú del dia (menu of the day), which usually means a simple and unpretentious two course meal (one salad, main dish and a drink; plus a dessert sometimes), 3 or 4 options each, with a drink and a dessert, for €8 to €20, depending on the restaurant. Depending on the restaurant, the portions may be quite generous, or rather small. During the week, some smart restaurants offer lunch specials from 2PM to 4PM. The savvy traveler will try the hip places for a fraction of the price during the day.

If you're looking for a place where everyone can choose their own meal, ask for restaurants that serve platos combinados, which is the closest thing to an American/Northern European meal.

Smoking: Is not permitted in restaurants anymore.

Dishes

You can get food from any part of the world in Barcelona, but make sure you try some Catalan food.

See Catalan cuisine section in the Catalonia article.

The selection of seafood is consistently great, although not a lot of it is local (this part of the Mediterranean is pretty well fished-out).

A treat to try that no travel guide mentions is waffles sold at street stands. They will tempt you with their mouth watering smell and taste.

Even though tapas restaurants are now all over the city, tapas itself originated in Andalusia in the south of Spain and is NOT native to Catalan cuisine. Catalans generally eat three course meals (appetizer, main dish and dessert) and would more likely go for a pre-dinner drink and pintxos (Basque counterpart for tapas) at a Basque taverna than for a meal consisting entirely of the new trend in tapas-only dining. As you travel to smaller towns in Catalonia outside of Barcelona, it is less likely that you will find tapas and more likely to see restaurants serving traditional Catalan food in three courses.

Areas to eat

Depending on where you are in the city, there may be restaurants galore, or none at all. The following areas tend to be restaurant "hubs", with a large variety of restaurants to choose from:

Barceloneta: A popular quarter for locals, where you can try fish based dishes, such as Paella (a name that may hide many different kinds of rice concoctions) or Arròs negre (Black Rice), that takes its colour because it is made using squid ink. It's a very good place to eat tapas as well.
Eixample Esquerra (between Gran Via and Mallorca)
Barri Gòtic (especially for tapas)
"El Born" (next to Barri Gòtic)

Around Plaça Catalunya there are dozens of restaurants serving excellent tapas.

For budget eating you may choose "menu del dia" in small bars on the Avinguda del Parallel for €9-€11 per person. Be aware that sometimes the menu and the staff are only in Spanish.

The large cafes that line the Passeig de Gràcia and the Rambla Catalunya, just north of the Plaça Catalunya, offer a variety of acceptable tapas. This part of the town is quite touristy and a bit expensive.

Pricing

€10 is the lowest price for a standard menu del dia; for less it can be only canteen or budget-style eating—or fast food.

Budget

Groceries

In several supermarkets you can find a wide stall with a great selection of ready-to-eat dishes. You can get a two-course lunch for less than €5.

Non-Catalan cuisine
Kebap: There is no shortage of Durum or Shawarma stands in Barcelona, offering tasty beef or chicken and salad in toasted flatbread for around €3.50. Gyro is the Greek name and version of the Turkish doner-kebab and it is delicious! You could live on these things for a week!
Also you can consider the Asiatic offer, with a lot of Chinese, Japanese and Indian restaurants.
Vegetarian
Comer y no Bombas (location variable) shares free vegan food.
MaozOffers excellent vegan falafel (including unlimited salad) for around 4. There are several around Barcelona including one on 95, La Rambla, about 10 minutes walk from Pl Catalunya.
Juicy Jones c/ Cardenal Casañas (just off La Rambla) vegan restaurant & juice bar. Nice big meals and the best salads in Barcelona. Average price around 6€.
More organic restaurantsCheck out the independent Bio Barcelona site for more organic options.
Mid range

Traditional Catalan cuisine
El GlopThree locations, in Eixample and Grcia. Excellent Catalan meals. Allow about 20 per person, although you could get out of there for half of that if you let the price dictate your choice of dishes.
Les Quinze NitsPlaza Real 6Phone: +34 93 317 30 75Good typical paella in a beautiful location, but below average service.
La EsquinicaPasseig de Fabra i Puig, 296Phone: +34 933 582 519Hours: 12:30PM-12AM Mon-Thu, 8AM-4PM and 6:30PM-12AM Sat, 8AM-4PM SunPrice: About 20One of the best known tapas restaurant in Barcelona, there's usually a long queue outside.
Bar PinotxoMercat de la Boqueria, 466-470Phone: +34 933 171 731Hours: 6:30AM-4PMPrice: About 20The best Catalan dishes. No reservations. Always full, don't be surprised if you aren't able to sit.

source: Wikivoyage

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