The food in Barcelona is so good. Tapas, seafood, cured meats, cheese and great wine make Barcelona the perfect place to visit if you like your food! You can eat in Barcelona without spending a lot, which makes it even better.
I was so excited to eat some food in Barcelona, that I went all out on my Ryanair flight and ordered the tapas and wine to enjoy while I got in the mood for Barcelona by reading The Shadow of the Wind.
It wasn’t the smartest idea to eat an airplane version of tapas, but it was all part of the fun. I knew I’d be having the real deal in a few hours!
It is easy to eat in Barcelona on a budget. You can eat out for all your meals and still not blow your budget. We ate most of our meals in Barcelona in small, local cafes, sitting out on the street. Of course, you can spend a lot in Barcelona if you treat yourself to fancy meals, but we got a great taste of the place and ticked off many items on my list of Barcelona must-eats while still spending within our means.
I only regret not buying more meats and cheese at the market!
Here is a selection of the food that I ate during my four days in Barcelona, in order to give you an idea of what to expect when you visit Barcelona, and to tempt you to go!
Barcelona’s Sant Josep Market
If you find yourself in Barcelona, be sure to visit the Sant Josep de la Boqueria market, off la Ramblas. Your mouth will water as you wander through the busy market. Seafood, meats, cheeses, fresh fruit and sweet treats will tempt you and make you want to stay wandering around the market all day long.
The best thing about the market is all that cured ham and cheese. And the fact that you can buy a cone of meat to eat as you walk around. Perfection!
Cured Meats in Cones!! Oh, how I love Barcelona!
Smoothies at Barcelona’s Market
The Barcelona market has an excellent sweet selection.
For me, breakfast in Barcelona equals cafe con leche and sweet treats sitting outside a sun-dappled cafe.You can also go savoury with bikinis (toasted sandwiches) or eggs, but we mostly ate small for breakfast so that we could eat something different not long after breakfast!
Lunch in Barcelona
Lunch in Barcelona mostly consisted of bocadilllos, or bread rolls with delicious cured ham and manchego cheese. The crusty bread and cured ham is so nice, despite its seemingly simple combination.
Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, or bikinis as they are called in Catalonia, are so good too. The bread is fried in butter and that’s why its so good.
Tortilla – Spanish Omelette
A Spanish omelette is something to be experienced. Pretty much guaranteed to fill you, the Spanish omelettte is packed with potato and onion, leading a densely packed eggy slice that is really satisfying.
A Spanish omelette often comes with bread topped with crushed tomato, olive oil and salt. You can enjoy a Spanish omelette for lunch, or you can have a smaller serving as tapas.
Barcelona is not one of the towns in Spain where tapas is a major thing. But Barcelona has plenty of tapas for you to try.
Traditionally, tapas are served in bars and come with your drink. As you are served a drink, you get a small tapas, like a piece of parma ham on a slice of bread.
Now that the tapas trend has spread across the world, some people may be disappointed to visit Barcelona and not find the exact same tapas they had in their home town. But don’t be, Barcelona has so many nice tapas to enjoy.
When you look at a menu, you will notice there is a tapas and a raciones price. Raciones is a larger portion so if you want to eat one thing, then go for the raciones option.
In some bars and cafes, the tapas are already displayed in a glass cabinet. You can point at what you want. You pay for your tapas at the end of the sitting.
In all of the small cafes we ate at the menu was pretty similar, offering a lot of the same tapas in each place. Here are a few popular items :
Albóndigas – Meatballs with sauce
Pinchos de encurtidos – Pickled olives, baby onions, chili and other vegetables on a skewer.
Pinchos – Bitesize slices of bread with different toppings.
Calamares – Battered squid
Croquettes – Croquettes are very common and are often filled with ham and cheese. They’re covered in breadcrumbs and deep fried.
Empanadillas – Pastry parcels filled with vegetables or meat.
Gambas al ajillo (with garlic), or pil-pil (with chopped chili peppers) – My absolute favourite food in Spain, see below!
Pan con Tomate – Bread rubbed with tomato and drizzled in oil and salt.
Patatas Bravas – Fried potato cubes served wit a spicy tomato sauce and aioli.
Pimientos de Padrón – Green peppers.
Tortilla – Spanish omelette.
Dinner in Barcelona
Terrible photo, but good food. Kebabs and falafels are easily available in Barcelona, and it’s always nice and cheap. This falafel pita was the first thing I had after arriving in Barcelona and it was great.
We mostly ate a variety of tapas for dinner in Barcelona. The likes of a tortilla or patatas bravas would fill you as a dinner item, and both are delicious and cheap.
One night, we went to a really nice restaurant and ordered loads of tapas, which were so good. The lighting was really dim inside, so none of the photographs are usable. There was lots of seafood, cheese (when you order, say, Manchego in a restaurant they will serve you a dinner plate of cheese. It’s alot and it’s amazing!) tomato bread and gorgeous red wine.
Pil Pil Prawns
These are one of my favourite things to eat. Ever. A bold statement, but ever since family holidays in Spain as a child, the lure of the pil pil was enticing.
It’s not only the decadent sizzling garlicy oil laden with juicy prawns, it’s also the taste of Mediterranean memories, long dinners eaten outside, freshly tanned hands scooping every last drip of the garlic oil from clay pots and the din of conversation and crickets.
Anyway, do yourselves a favour and try some pil pil prawns.
Mmmmmmmm. So simple, yet so good. Potato cubes drizzled in spicy tomato sauce and garlic mayonnaise. These are so tasty and comforting. I had them for dinner one night, and again as a snack during the day.
My best advice for eating in Barcelona is little and often. Sitting outside watching the world go by is a great way to experience Barcelona, and eating often means you get to experience more of Barcelona’s food.
Have you ever been to Barcelona? What’s your favourite food from your travels?
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