I see crime every day in Barcelona and it’s not pickpocketting, jaywalking, or praising Real Madrid.
It’s tourists paying a pretty penny to drink bagged sangria and eat frozen paella.
It’s tourists going to American fast food chains when the same money can get you much more.
Barcelona is a foodie town and there’s no excuse for this – so let me get you on the right track with my Barcelona restaurant guide.
The Ultimate Barcelona Restaurant Guide
Here you’ll find a list of Barcelona restaurants sorted by food.
1 – The best paella restaurants in Barcelona.
2 – The best fish restaurants in Barcelona.
3 – The best meat restaurants in Barcelona.
4 – The best tapas restaurants in Barcelona.
5 – The best burger restaurants in Barcelona.
6 – The best pizza restaurants in Barcelona.
7 – The best ethnic restaurants in Barcelona.
8 – The best breakfast restaurants in Barcelona.
The Best Paella Restaurants in Barcelona
I’ve already got an entire article on the best paella in Barcelona but here are a few highlights:
Les Quinze Nits
You’ll love it for its location in one of the most picturesque, visited squares in the Gothic Quarter but you’ll come back because €20 gets you a giant plate of homemade paella, some sangria, a dessert and coffee.
Les Quinze Nits is one of the best restaurants in Barcelona for people watching but don’t worry about the lines: even during peak hours the longest you’ll ever wait is 30 minutes.
I go for their mesmerizing mixed paella (a type of surf and turf) but even those afraid of rice will eat like royalty here cutting into their carne picanha: a char-grilled sirloin cap that’s perfection on a plate.
Since their made to order paella takes about 25 minutes you’ll have plenty of time to take it easy Spanish-style, with some wine, Serrano ham, gambas al ajillo (garlic prawns), or even Galician octopus.
It’s also got the friendliest waiters in the city.
UPDATE: I’ve now worked out a deal with Bodega Joan to offer blog readers a special 25% discount on a paella tasting menu – click the banner below for more info
/!\ On December 31st Bodega Joan is offering a set menu for New Year’s Eve (consult the adult menu – and the children’s menu), and as such there will be no a la carte service nor paella menu availablity./!\
Here’s where to eat in Barcelona if you want a seaside view. Xiringuito Escribà is packed with big portions and knowledgeable locals – the seafood is a natural star in one of the first xiringuitos (beach bars) opened for the 1992 Olympic Summer Games.
Make reservations to be safe.
People looking for value will appreciate the €10.85 weekday lunch special that includes wine or sangria, starter, paella, and dessert. You won’t find any real homemade paella for much cheaper in the city and its super-central location makes it a perfect walk-up spot.
The Best Fish Restaurants in Barcelona
Don’t miss this for anything if you’re a fan of food from the sea.
This self-service seafood joint lets you choose fresh fish from a market counter, sits you down with a bottle of your favourite wine, and cooks it for you right there and then.
Expect to wait a while even if you get there at opening but know that it’s worth it – make sure to grab a bottle of lightly sparkling Blanc Pescador wine and try the chiriprones (fried baby cuttlefish).
If cooking is about creativity then this Barcelona restaurant has it right. Here you’ll find a modern execution of classic Galician dishes with eye-catching presentation. Grab the crunchy octopus and a blackberry mojito – you just might finish both of them in the time it took you to read this review.
The delicious desserts, simplistic decor, and suffused lighting create an intimate atmosphere that makes it one of the great places for couples in Barcelona.
One might call it a bit of a dive but here it’s about fresh fish and old world charm. This fantastic Barcelona seafood restaurant finds its beauty in the friendly atmosphere, simple to tacky decor, and cheap prices – locals line up from 8PM so get there early.
From the dining room you can watch the cooks in the kitchen so it feels a bit like being home. All together you won’t spend more than €15/20 per person for an abundance of fish.
One of the best restaurants in Barcelona for authentic atomosphere. If you’re in a group and wanna sample a ton of delicious seafood tapas for a fiver each then head to this super-popular bar-restaurant.
Here you’ll also jockey for position with locals but the quick service and big portions will make it worth the wait.
The Best Meat Restaurants in Barcelona
One of the top restaurants in Barcelona since way back when – Can Margarit was founded over 40 years ago as a tavern with traditional Catalan cuisine.
It’s the only restaurant I’ve ever been to that gives you a free glass of wine on arrival 😉 They’re poured from the many barrels lining the walls.
For €20.00 you’ll get a huge pan con tomate, a Murcian salad with potatoes and onion, cod, spicy sea snails, sausages, garlic potatoes and the house specialty jumillana – a type of rabbit stew.
A rustic tavern-style restaurant with great service. You go here for grilled meat – and more grilled meat. The small menu of Catalan classics is a hit with locals so the bottifara sausage and beans is a massive favourite but you can’t go wrong with the lamb either.
Their cheese and jamon tapas are just as good.
It sounds dumb but it’s one of the best places to eat in Barcelona if you want to eat. This Carribean restaurant is perfect for a food binge of epic proportions.
The set menu starts at €22 and includes 2 hours of non-stop eating (they bring you about a dozen different dishes and if you ask for seconds or thirds, they’re free!). It’s also all-you-can-drink beer, wine, and sangria.
Throw in dessert, coffee, a digestif, and a cocktail and we’ve got it made.
The Best Tapas Restaurants in Barcelona
I’d be cheating you in telling you where to eat in Barcelona if I didn’t mention there are tons of bars with free tapas waiting to be exploited 😉
Here’s the list of ones you have to pay for:
El Celler del Vermut
If you’re hungry before or after visiting Sagrada Familia this is the only place to go! This hole in the wall hasn’t yet been discovered by the tourist crowd – so let the bartenders hand cut your Spanish deli meats and cheeses right in front of you while you sip a delicious homemade vermouth in peace.
“No English and No Credit Cards” is the slogan of this classic tapas spot but I’m going to recommend it anyway because one – it’s one of the best places to eat in Barcelona and two – they’re big fat liars, they’ve got English menus 😉
The house special here are the bombas, a massive potato ball stuffed with ground meat and covered in a spicy sauce.
One of my favourite places to eat in Barcelona. This kitschy little restaurant where you watch the cooks is a stone’s throw away from the beach. Here they mix classic tapas with more modern and ethnic flavours. The ceviche and ginger marinated chicken are two standout dishes.
Try and get a seat on the terrace outside.
Delicious meat and fish tapas and a classic pan con tomate to match. The homemade vermouth (vermut in Catalan) with a slice of lemon and two olives is something you can’t leave out – the mussels marinara and eggplant and honey are two tapa standouts.
This place is so famous that I had to dedicate an entire article to it. Known to locals as La Champaneria, here you’ll find bottles of house rosé wine for the price of a pack of gum and two metro rides.
The botifarra sausage and manchego cheese tapas pair perfetly and with 10 euros you’ll have enough food and drink to make you sick. WARNING: It’s closed on Sunday and is only open until 22:00.
The Best Burger Restaurants in Barcelona
PIM PAM BURGER
It’s not really a secret anymore – they have the best fries in Barcelona. The open kitchen allows you to watch them hand-cut the potatoes and press the mince into patties. No lamps here! All burgers are cooked to order and are 100% organic.
The prices here (the Pim Pam Basic burger is less than 6 euro) make it one of the best burgers in Barcelona value-wise, but I prefer shelling out an extra 60 cents for the BBQ burger with bacon 😉
It’s small so if you can’t find a seat get take away and head for nearby Ciutadella Park.
I’m told the ‘b’ stands for ‘best’ – so what a coincidence I find myself writing about the best burgers in Barcelona! This tiny burger bar is super popular because, well, the burgers are [email protected]&#* delicious. Make sure you reserve a table (weekends especially) in advance to avoid being disappointed.
What sets this place apart is the uncharacteristically friendly service, local craft beers, tasty salad options, and perhaps one of the best patatas bravas (a fried potato with spicy tomato sauce dish) in Barcelona.
KIOSKO GOURMET BURGER
Genuine fast-food. A bit pricier than Pim Pam but the massive patties (250g) justify the price!
Head on in and fill out the form selecting your daily-made bread (classic white, light wholemeal, brioche deluxe, or without), your meat (organic beef, chicken, or lamb), hand the burger maestro your cash, and boom! You’re off to flavour country.
All burgers are cooked medium and made to order. The homemade sauces will give your burger an extra kick. The vegetarian option, a patty made from chickpeas, sweet corn, baby spinach, and red pepper might just be one of the best in the city.
There are massive queues here so you may want to arrive early (1PM for lunch, 9PM for dinner)
LA VESPA BURGER BAR
When I lived in Gracia this was a great Sunday lunch spot (ie. hangover remedy). The restaurant is as chic as the neighborhood itself and you’ll notice its impeccable Italian style.
Cute and affordable, La Vespa might offer the best burgers in Barcelona by sheer combination of original toppings. The homemade guacamole featuring afrodiasaca burger is a highlight, and you can’t go wrong adding a bit of botifarra Catalan sausage.
Go for the Kobe beef patty!
This Australian-owned hamburgueseria has brought quality to the fast-food sector and Barcelonians have noticed. There are now five locations throughout the city and another set to open in Madrid this year.
I have multiple friends who swear this is the best burger in Barcelona. Hell, they make everything themselves… even the ‘theft-free’ chairs you’ll be sitting on!
Known for its homemade mayo, 100% organic Catalan beef, and a creative use of traditional Spanish hams and cheeses… you won’t wanna miss this. The burgers here are extremely customizable so throw on some Serrano ham and a slab of manchego and tell everybody you ate Spanish 😉
The Best Pizza Restaurants in Barcelona
We couldn’t mention good restaurants in Barcelona without going Italian – for a more in-depth list check out our post of the best pizza restaurants in Barcelona.
Don’t be fooled by the nondescript name – these pizzas are f****ng extraordinary. The chewy sourdough crust is straight out of Naples. So are the staff. Get there early (8 PM) if any of the big Italian football teams are playing.
TIP: the pan di stelle dessert (a type of tiramisu made with cookies instead of ladyfingers) is out of this world.
NAP (Napoli Authentic Pizza)
A true pizzeria, no pasta. This is the best value authentic Neopolitan pizza in Barcelona. A simple traditional menu with creative seasonal specials. Did I mention the 1 euro digestivos? Pour me another limoncello.
There’s a second location in Barceloneta (metro Barceloneta) at 69 Carrer del Baluard. I hear it’s less busy.
Fans of chewy sourdough crust would do well to fill up here. The natural yeast (‘madre lievito’) makes the crust here good enough to eat on its own!
In fact, you won’t find a stray piece of crust in sight. It’s so good you may even double down and get the nutella pizza for dessert – it’s worth every chocolately penny.
You’ll hardly find a better deal than their €6.90 pizza margherita (+drink) lunch special.
La Bella Napoli
If Sport Bar took away the screens and put out some white table cloths and classy decor you’d get this. They’re all Neapolitans and bring that southern hospitality. Aside from spot on traditional wood-fired pizza the eggplant parmesan and Nutella calzone are really something.
Antichi Sapori de Angelis
I eat here once a month like clockwork. If you want to go for a tour of Camp Nou you’ll be happy to know you can avoid tourist traps by eating in this restaurant/pizzeria that’s right around the corner.
De Angelis specializes in Calabrian cuisine so try anything with their homemade spicy sausage.
Puglia in Tavola
A great value by the slice place that’ll fill you for a fiver. Whether you’re looking for a quick pit stop while sightseeing or need some party protein at 3 AM this is the place. Run by Italians who understand the need for a good mix of the traditional and the new.
Did I mention they have takeaway tiramisu in plastic cups? 😉
The Best Ethnic Restaurants in Barcelona
What Barcelona restaurant guide is complete without an ode to the cultures giving it its cosmopolitan feel?
Tasty homecooked authentic Jamaican food. This joint used to run out of a flat and limited spots could only be booked over the phone.
Today chef Lester has a real restaurant but hasn’t forgot his humble beginnings – making him one of the best hosts in Barcelona. The jerk chicken and lamb curry burst with flavour and you’ll wash it down with one of the best mojitos in the city.
Sushi Ya 2
In a city of cheap imitation sushi this place is a breath of fresh air. 3 course combination meals of top quality sushi can be had for €9.20 – €12.80 making it great value.
Throw in some local artisan beer, tasty rice bowls, and a great selection of traditional Japanese tapas like yakitori, takoyaki, and gyoza and you’re all set.
This fantastic ‘Spanasian’ spot has a menu full of tapas inspired by Vietnam, China, and Korea. Grab a pencil and check off half a dozen items on their easy-order paper and make sure to get some of their dim sum – there are very few dumping spots in Barcelona and this is clearly the best.
The value is great and yes, they serve tons of delicious craft beer!
Una Mica de Japó
A small Japanese family run this cozy gem that’s open from 1-10 Tuesday to Saturday. Super-simplistic hand-written menus hang from the ceiling offering classics like chicken teriyaki, tempura, gyoza, and pork katsudon.
There’s no sushi but you won’t care. Your wallet won’t either – 10 euros will get you a great meal.
Such a great variety of flavour and smells at this uber-authentic Ethiopian restaurant. It’s a bit of a different vibe since you have to eat your hands – the brilliantly spiced meats and vegtables are served on a type of crepe and that’s your utensil!
Beginners would do well to get the taster menu and try a bit of everything with drink and dessert for €20 a head.
The Best Breakfast and Brunch in Barcelona
Milk Bar & Bistro
The great thing about Milk is that even though it’s also a very accomplished cocktail bar and dinner spot, the brunch served here is among the best in the city. The Eggs benedict, chorizo hash, and pancakes with maple syrup and bacon are favourites.
Brunch is served 9:00 am to 4:30 pm but for those looking for something else the lunch menu and the famous noodle burger may be a good option.
A simplistic menu of delicious toasts, sweet and savoury croissants, egg dishes, burgers, cereal, and fresh smoothies.
This is an Aussie-owned joint and it shows in the relaxed and friendly atmosphere – many consider La Federal to make some of the best coffee in Barcelona in addition to the fantastic food.
A bakery crawling with locals which just might make the best bread and croissant in Barcelona. Wait for your order watching the bakers work their magic and even feel the heat off the oven!
There are no seats but who cares? You can take your pain au chocolat and juice to go and be on the beach in 5 minutes.
Brunch & Cake
Have the breakast of champions served in flower pots or shovels! With the deliciousness of their Nutella French toast alone you’ll let a serving faux pas slide though, am I right?
Here the style is a bit more North American with a sprinkle of French but the portions are great for the price and it’s impossible to leave unsatisfied.
Let Me Have it in the Comments
There are so many good restaurants in Barcelona that it’s impossible to fit them all in the guide – I’m more than happy to go off the board and help you find what you’re looking for if you drop me a line in the comments below.
Also, I’m always looking to expand the list so tell me…
What were the best places to eat in Barcelona for you?
And don’t be afraid to join the Barcelona restaurant discussion in my new Facebook group called I’m Off to Barcelona – here you can ask any questions, air out grievances, chat with fellow travelers, and more – anything goes!