Spanish people love food, and Catalans have one of the best cuisines in Spain. Dining out in Barcelona is the best way to sample its rich variety. You can find all kind of specialities from every province in Spain (Basque food is especially appreciated) to international cuisine in any of the restaurants from all over the world. It is interesting how you can enjoy from the traditional rustic cooking, to the Micheline’s star restaurants just in the same place.
The Cuina de mercat (market’s kitchen) is the base of Catalan cooking: fresh fish and seafood, fruits and vegetables, mountain-cured hams and spicy sausages, spit roasted meats and wild mushrooms are the main ingredients which are daily buy by the cooks every day in any of the multiple markets all around the city such Mercat de la Boqueria (we hardly recommend a visit there if you are in town and you can also find some food tours going there every day).
Most of the best restaurants are located in the Old Town (at the new port in the waterfront and in El Born) and the Eixample neighbourhood.
What is the best time to go for a meal?
Eating out in Barcelona will probably be one of the highlights of your visit. In general, Spanish people eat late, and Catalans are not an exception. Lunch time should be around 14h or 15h and dinner time between 21h and 23h. But such an international city have learnt that tourists have a different eating schedule so you can get a meal almost any time of the day. But if you arrive to the restaurant too early, you will probably find yourself eating alone or surrounded by other foreigners.
Tip: you always can adopt the Spanish way, which is to pace yourself for late hours by eating tapas.
In Barcelona you can easily find Menu del día, a three-course menu including dessert, bread, a drink and coffee. Menú del día is very popular among workers. In big cities like Barcelona, where it can take between 1 and 2 hours to go home during the lunch break, is common for workers to eat near their workplace and Menu del día is the perfect option to have a good quality meal for a cheap price. You shouldn’t miss this bargain
Other cheap way to eat is in cafeterias where you can find platos combinados/plats combinat* a dish usually consisting of fish or meat with fries and salad. That is the Spanish version of the fast food.
We recommend you to make a reservation specially during the weekend, and the bill includes the service fee but it is custom to leave a tip.
Do you know… tapa is the snack for which Spanish bars are world-famous known. The list is virtually endless, they are delicious and surprisingly creative. A large version of tapas is a “ración”, a small dish usually to be shared. Most of the bars in town offer special offers like tapa + cana
Sources | Dave Meler, Pocket Guide Barcelona
Images | Barcelona Tours & Tickets