The eating and drinking options on offer in Barcelona are so vast and varied that I decided it warranted its own post. My recent trip probably consisted much more of sampling these delights than seeing the sights, though if you’re interested in reading about those check out my post Barcelona Revisited.

To get a real flavour for the city’s culinary offerings you need to venture into different districts so I’ll divide this by the areas that I’ve frequented.

La Ribera

Sampling the tapas at El Xampanyet

Sampling the tapas at El Xampanyet

Paved streets and pretty plazas make La Ribera a great area to wander from venue to venue. The most obvious one to start with is El Xampanyet, the city’s oldest and most famous cava bar in Carrer de Montecada, just along from the Picasso Musuem. The cava will most likely come in one of those old fashioned flat champagne glasses and at just €2.50 you’ll most likely order a second one, as well as trying out some of the delicious tapas lined up on the bar.

Not far from here the Vina del Senyor in Plaza Santa Maria is a perfect spot for trying out some different wines, as has a selection of wines in sample size portions – though the larger of the two sizes might mean you don’t make it anywhere else that evening! Why not stay though as it’s a lovely, buzzy square for sitting outside in the shadow of the Santa Maria del Mar church.

A more creative take on Spain favourite small dishes

A more creative take on Spain favourite small dishes

Just around the corner and you’re in Carrer de L’ Argenteria where the Taller de Tapas menu offers a more creative take on the genre – the cod balls were a particular hit. If you want something a bit different CheeseMe, just across the square, does what it says in the name and has a range of cheese based dishes and cheese boards from Spain, France and a European mix, Or for a quicker, inexpensive tapas fix another bar on the square, Sagardi BCN, has a tasty range of snacks on sticks.

Bari Gotic

Placa Reial

Placa Reial

Despite being the most touristy part of the city, the Barri Gotic has some pretty good choices for eating and drinking. First off the Placa Reail is a large square lined with restaurants, bars and clubs which given its location just off La Rambla you’d think would be all about fleecing the tourists. Yet soon after checking into our hotel myself and five girlfriends were settled in at one the restaurants eating tapas and drinking rose for 7 euros a litre.

Later that night we found ourselves passing through the Placa again and were persuaded by the offer of free cava to stop off at Karma, a bar and nightlcub. Luckily we decided to have cocktails first as when it came to our second round the free cava came out and was shockingly bad, but as we were sitting outside, the entertainment of watching the door man decide who to let into the club made it well worth the visit.

photo 1As well as the clubs in the Placa there are plenty of others in the area including Marula on Carrer Dels Escudellers, which we’d read attracted a slightly more mature crowd than the 20 something’s we’d just been entertained by at Karma. I’m not sure that was entirely the case as it seemed quite a varied crowd, but was a fun mix of salsa, soul and funk music. And I mustn’t forget to mention Ginger in Carrer Palma de San Just, where we had a fab pre dinner cava cocktail and where I’d spent a fair bit of time on a previous trip.

Now it probably sounds like we were only drinking in the Barri Gotic…but that’s not strictly true as we did have a very nice evening meal at Allium in Carrer del Call and an excellent lunchtime Menu del Dia for 16 euros at Attic, a very cool rooftop restaurant not far down from Placa de Catalunya on the Ramblas. And of course the Bouqueria market on the Ramblas has lots of fabulous food on offer including some very good tapas bars, though its hard to get a seat at one around lunchtime.

Port & beaches

There are lots of great places to go in this part of town with particuarly good seafood restaurants. There are several alongside the Museum of Catalonian History in Barceloneta and I also heard very good things about the cava and tapas at Can Paixano in Carrer de la Reina Cristina.

If you’re willing to strike a bit further out, Xiringuito Escriba at Bogatell beach is a lively place that serves up huge dishes of paella and is popular with locals, particularly for Sunday lunch so be sure to book. The walk along the seafront to here is no chore, but if you need some liquid refreshment the bar at the Hotel Arts is a cool pit stop.

El Raval

Barcelona's oldest hotel

Barcelona’s oldest hotel

This is the area I stayed in this time and is just a few minutes walk from the Ramblas. The Hotel San Agusti in Placa Sant Agusti is a great choice as a good location and a nice plaza setting. It’s a converted convent and Barcelona’s oldest hotel, but very modern inside and provides a really good included breakfast. Right next door Rita Blue is a nice spot for a drink and though I only tried their cocktails I heard good things about the food too.

A short walk away are lots of great places to eat and drink including Marmalade in Carrer Riera Alta which is a bar with fairly inexpensive food on offer including tapas, but also burgers if you’re all tapassed out. Not far from here the wide Rambla del Raval has places with outside tables in the centre and just off it in Carrer L’Aurora is Bar Aurora which was recommended but unfortunately closed on the Sunday we tried to visit.

City view from the 360 bar at Barcelo Raval

City view from the 360 bar at Barcelo Raval

Fortunately the 360 bar at the top of the Barcelo Raval hotel wasn’t closed and is a great place for views of the city. It was good at night but we also went back for an early evening cocktail the next day to see the city laid out before us in daylight. It’s not the cheapest glass of wine you’ll get in Barcelona at 5 or 6 euros a go but worth the premium for the view.

I think that just about covers it for now but there are lots more I didn’t get to I’m sure. The only answer is to just get on a flight and sample what Barcelona has to offer for yourself.

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