There is plenty of choice when it comes to quality food in Barcelona.Tapas restaurants litter the city and are a favourite at any time of day. Here are a few of the basic tapas tips and dishes you can expect to encounter in most Barcelona Tapas restaurants:
- Tapas: the general name for small dishes of food designed to be shared.
- Raciones: just like Tapas only in a bigger portion – you will often find two prices on the menu, one for Raciones and one for Tapas
- Pinchos: traditionally from the Basque region in Spain, these are ‘bite size’ Tapas served on pieces of bread, they can also be called Montaditos
Common Tapas dishes:
- Calamares a la Romana: deep fried calamari rings
- Patatas Bravas: potato in spicy tomato sauce
- Chipirones: baby squid
- Albóndigas: meatballs
- Anchoas: Anchovies with garlic and parsley in vinegar
- Pan con Tomate: white bread rubbed with tomato with oil and salt
- Croquetas: deep fried, breaded ham, fish or chicken
- Gambas al ajillo: fresh shrimps cooked in oil with garlic and chilli
- Jamon Serrano: cured ham
- Tortilla española: a thick egg and potato omlette
If you’re staying central there are plenty of good restaurants and bars in the Barri Gòtic area which is just off La Rambla. It’s also worth noting that it’s a good idea not to eat on La Rambla itself. The prices are usually over the top and the quality is questionable.
Don’t expect to eat early. If you go for dinner at 8pm don’t be surprised if the restaurants are empty. Most will only start to warm up around 10pm.
Whether you’re self-catering or just enjoy the atmosphere of a busy city market, be sure to drop by Mercat de la Boqueria, just off La Rambla, Europe’s largest and probably most famous market, it’s noisy, busy and full of food from all nationalities, get there in the morning to make the most of the atmosphere! La Boqueria is easily recognisable by the striking stained glass facade. There’s a range of succulent delights on offer, from colourful fruits and vegetables to massive fresh prawns which go perfectly with allioli, the local garlicky mayonnaise. Buy yourself a tub for dipping and a bottle of Cava, the tasty local bubbly, and you’ve got a picnic lunch fit for a king. The market opens from 8am until 8.30pm Monday to Saturday.
You won’t go thirsty in Barcelona. There are plenty of great bars to choose from with the pick found in Barri Gòtic and El Raval.
In terms of what you’ll drink, expect the full gamut, but of course Sangria is a favourite. Sangria is typically made up of red wine, fruit pieces (such as orange or apple), brandy, carbonated water and a sweetener (such as honey). While it’s refreshing, be warned that the use of cheap ingredients can lead to a pretty nasty hangover.
Beer (cerveza) is plentiful in Barcelona however do note that if you want a draught beer ask for ‘caña’ – common Spanish beers include Estrella, Mahou, Cruzcampo and San Miguel however Barcelona can cater for the more international pallette with ease.
Spanish wine (vino) is famous throughout the world with regions such as Rioja, Navarre and La Mancha producing both red wine (vino rosso) and white wine (vino blanco) and let’s not forget the Spanish equivalent to Champagne, Cava – cheaper and just as good!
For those wanting to stay away from alcohol there is orxata – made with the juice of chufa a kind of papyrus which grows at the banks of the Guadalquivir, it’s extremely refreshing as is a granizado, made with orange juice or lemon juice or even coffee, frozen and sweetened.
Tap water is safe to drink in Barcelona however it doesn’t taste that great so it’s generally recommended to drink bottled water.