Barcelona Eats: Tapas & Paella

It’s impossible to talk about food in Barcelona and not mention tapas. Of course, it isn’t easy to define what exactly tapas are. On top of that you have pintxos, which are basically little snacks, and bocadillos, which are usually little sandwiches. All of which can usually be found at bars, some at restaurants, and all comprising different ingredients. In this post I’ll touch on all of those things, or at least the best ones I had while in Barcelona, as well as paella. I should point out that La Rambla, Barcelona’s main tourist thoroughfare, is lined with “tapas” places, but you should avoid those at all costs. The one really terrible meal I had was at a tapas place in a very touristy area, and it put me off of tapas for a few days afterward.

I passed by the restaurant Nou Celler almost every day, and I knew that when I was ready to go back to tapas I would try there first. Mostly because they had the daily specials piled up in the window, as you see at the top of this post. I tasted a few of the traditional tapas, including this delicious tortilla — an omelet stuffed with potatoes. I also enjoyed the patatas bravas here, crispy fried potatoes topped with spicy sauce and mayonnaise. The pan con tomate, another Barcelona tapas staple, was not great here.

The pan con tomate at Lonja de Tapas was great. Maybe it was the splash of olive oil. And a lot of salt. When it comes to tapas I think the trick is to find the best dishes at different restaurants and to just go from place to place eating only the best.

I stopped for a drink and some snacks at Quimet i Quimet, where I ran into a fellow Brooklyn-ite. Here I had some of the best olives I’ve ever eaten, as well as some artichoke hearts and a few pieces of bread slathered in a soft white cheese.

I didn’t get anything to eat, but I highly recommend stopping by El Xampanyet for something to drink at least. A small cava cost lest than $2, and there are plenty of little pinxtos to choose from, like olives and oysters, if you are so inclined. The place was packed with both tourists and locals, something you don’t often see in Barcelona.

In addition to tapas, paella abounds in Barcelona. I caved on my last day in the city and got this vegetarian paella (at a place whose name I can’t remember now). It was made to order, and full of fresh asparagus and canned artichoke hearts. The lemon was a nice touch, though this wasn’t any more than just ordinary.

That same night, I stopped by Bubo for some fancy dessert “tapas”. I got two excellent desserts, and had a nice chat in my rudimentary Spanish with the server. He even was kind enough to open up the case for me to take some more photos of the desserts.

So yeah, that was my tapas experience in Barcelona. I’m sure that if you eat meat and seafood you can have more to eat, but I don’t get what the big deal is. Well, only one more Barcelona post left…

Nou Celler — Princesa 16
Lonja de Tapas — Pla Palau 7
Quimet i Quimet — Poeta Cabanyes 25
El Xampanyet — Montcada 22
Bubo — Caputxes 10

6 thoughts on “Barcelona Eats: Tapas & Paella

  1. I LOVE Quimet y Quimet. Easily my favorite Barcelona lunch was had here. Can’t believe there’s not kitchen. All prepared foods. The seafood platter is a revelation.

    El Xampanyet is cool too. Cava by the bottle is CHEAP. Great neighborhood to roam around after. Great nighttime scene.


  2. Wow I’ve been in Nou Celler, I like it a lot, but some friend recommended me to go Cheri restaurant, a really good braserie in Barcelona!
    Amazing place to be!


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