Well hello there. Long time no blog. Fear not, I have plenty of new content coming. Let’s get started with Barcelona which I visited earlier this summer.
A disclaimer before I begin: I’m a big foodie. I like cooking food, looking at food and scoffing food. But I like good food. Some people eat to live; I live to eat. Aside from awakening my dormant Spanish skills, the main reason I went to Barcelona was to eat my weight in tapas. I was a woman on a mission and determined the find the best gambas, chorizo and patatas bravas Barcelona had to offer. Oh boy, I was not disappointed. In 6 days we visited 5 different joints, (one we went twice to).
(One more disclaimer before I begin: I lost one of my camera’s memory cards on my last day in Barcelona – along with my whole purse, arghh – so sadly I only have phone photos of my tapas adventures. I apologise in advance for the consistently crap iPhone lighting!).
And so, in no particular order, here are 5 of Barcelona’s best tapas bars:
If you want traditional tapas in a spacious and contemporary venue, this is the place to go. Cervecería Catalana isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel. They know what works and have stuck with it. Every dish we had was excellent but my goodness, their garlic shrimp was incredible. So fresh and soft. Is that a weird way to describe shrimp…? I don’t know. It was just the best shrimp I’ve ever had. Like how I imagine eating a cloud. (That is weird). So light, soft, and not at all chewy. Their sangria was also great. Their service was less great but decent enough.
It’s not the cheapest tapas place but it’s a great introduction to Barcelona’s food. We went here on our first and last nights. Be warned, they don’t take reservations so be prepared to eat early or queue up.
Bodega Biarritz 1881
This was the most unique tapas bar we went to. Having got to grips with the ‘no reservation’ theme throughout Barcelona, we camped outside before it opened and were the first people in, along with an American couple who had visited Bodega on their last trip to Barcelona. They said Bodega was the place they were most excited about visiting again! Praise indeed.
By far, Viana had the best atmosphere of all the tapas bars we went to. It’s a tiny venue (like lots of great tapas bars) but this adds to the character. All the staff are really friendly and lively. They’re clearly passionate about what they do. When we arrived, there were no available tables so we were seated at the stool/bar area. The owner (I presume) told us he would move us to a proper table as soon as one become available. He was true to his word and soon carried our sangrias over to a proper table of our own.
There isn’t a huge variety of tapas but what they do have is excellent. It’s more a quality rather than quantity place. All their dishes were beautifully presented as well. (If only I hadn’t lost my photos!!). This is also another place that won’t accept reservations. Be prepared for insanely long queues if you don’t arrive at least 15 minutes before they open.
I would say ElDiset’s focus is more on their wines (which were great in themselves) but they still offer some tasty and beautifully presented tapas. You can make reservations but only by phone. Since we had walked in mid-evening, we weren’t able to get a proper table and were seated in the bar area instead but this suited us just fine. It also meant we got a look look at all the bottles of wine on offer and had some nice chats with the bar staff.
Sensi Gourmet Tapas
Again, another place that prides itself on presentation. All the dishes came with their down different styled tile. Very Barcelona-esque. Their sangria was particularly good. (By ‘good’ I may just mean ‘strong’ but I came away feeling very cheery. They definitely tried to do something a little different here and by and large it does work. However, I just felt like after all the other tapas places we’d been, there was something ‘special’ missing. I don’t know what. Regardless, you won’t have a disappointing evening at Sensi Tapas. Sensi actually own a couple of different tapas places, with varying menus, so make sure you end up at the one you intended to! We didn’t but only realised afterwards, hah. However, we still had a great dinner so no harm done. I believe Sensi do accept reservations but to be sure, best to turn up at opening time like we did.
Have you been to Barcelona before? Which tapas bars would you recommend? I’m definitely planning on heading back to Barcelona one day so leave me any recommendations in the comments below!