I’m a massive foodie, and you might have picked up from my Barcelona city guide tat food was very high on the agenda. With Barcelona being the capital of the Catalonia region, I had the chance to sample not just Spanish cuisine but Catalan too. And due to its location alongside the water, the sea food is pretty special too.
Added to local vermouth, beer and wine AND some of the best gin I’ve ever tasted, I had a rip-roaring stomach-filling time. If you want to eat your way around this Spanish city, here’s some of the best food I found in Barcelona
Brunch + Breakfast
Every day should begin with a hearty breakfast, and given that in Barcelona you’ll be doing a lot of walking you’ve got to fuel yourself right. Breakfast is my absolute favourite meal of the day, and luckily for me Barcelona does good breakfast. Here are my top three recommendations for incredible early and mid-morning food, with a coffee recommendation on the side:
The Granja Petitbo is a great spot for breakfast and brunch in the Eixample area, right on the way to the Sagrada Familia. It’s a perfect pit stop if you are heading to check out Barcelona’s most famous attraction, but they do lunch and dinner too if you are heading back later. It has a modern/rustic vibe, with huge windows, wooden tables and an array of glass bottles with country flowers on display. It is a great spot for food photography too, if that is your thing.
But if eating is your priority, you’ll be very pleased here too. Their egg dishes are unrivalled and their juice selection sublime. I grabbed the turkish eggs, full of creamy mashed potato and home made bread on the side, washed down with an “Austin” juice – carrot, orange and apple. Before I left I’d finished off a flat white too. I’ve heard their pancakes are also top notch, and I was sad I wasn’t with anyone ordering them so I could steal a little bite.Don't read this if you are hungry - it's the ultimate foodies guide to Barcelona!Click To Tweet
Brunch + Cake
If you are looking for breakfast or cake in Eixample, definitely go here, to Brunch + Cake. Pancakes and waffles are in abundance and they pride themselves on serving them at any time of day, but I grabbed a thick slice of red velvet cake and didn’t regret it for even a second.
I lie – I regretted that I didn’t manage to eat a slice each day I was in Barcelona.
I’m so pleased I managed to check out Milk, after so many recommendations. It was just the right side of quirky, with a small cosy layout inside filled with vintage lamps, pictures and velvet covered seating. The jewelled-style colours of the interior gave the whole place a beautiful low light, which was perfect for nursing a tapas-bar-hopping style hangover.
The food was just as impressive, and extremely filling, meaning I could barely manage lunch later on (it’s ok don’t worry I forced something down)! I had the biggest plate of chorizo hash which was smothered in manchego cheese and I couldn’t have been happier about my life choices that morning.
With locations in both Barrio Gotic and Eixample, I grabbed a coffee to go from Satan’s Coffee and pepped me up for the rest f the day spent exploring. You could tell it came from a local speciality roaster, so if you are serious about coffee, seriously go here.
I’m sad I never got to eat here though, because the food looked incredible – Japanese style breakfasts alongside an all day menu of inventive salads and soups.
Lunch + Dinner
Even though I ate my body weight in food for breakfast, I didn’t want to miss out on any opportunities to eat more great grub, so I squeezed in lunches too. Added to this, in Spain the custom is to eat late at every meal, so I knew I’d need a good set of lunches to keep me going until my typically 9pm dinner. There are so many options in Barcelona at every price range and with every type of cuisine, so it’s worth doing some research first.
Here are my hot spots:
Flax + Kale
A flexitarian style restaurant with a hugely diverse menu, Flax + Kale is a great option if you are travelling with vegans and vegetarians or just want a change from tapas. They serve a vast range of inventive plant-based cuisine, with some fish options thrown in for good measure.
I had the wasabi tuna burger (completed withwhole grain spelt bread with activated charcoal) and it was genuinely one of the best meals I’ve had in a while. They serve an excellent brunch too and a range of fresh smoothies and juices.
The decor is as you would expect from a plant based restaurant – full of greenery and they even have a garden style terrace upstairs, reached by an internal lift. Whilst it remains light and airy during the day, it turns to dark and romantic at night, with tables full of candles. But this isn’t a restaurant just for two – there were groups of all sizes there, including solo diners.
Mercat de La Boqueria
It’s not a trip away without a visit to a local food market, and this is one of the most exciting and raw that I’ve been to. Whilst Barcelona’s famous Boqueria Market is a little bit more gritty than some of the other food hall style approaches, but that does’t make it any less serious about its food. Locals stream in from sun up to sun down to purchase a huge range of fresh produce and artisan goods such as wine and olive oil, and there are plenty of places to squeeze in and eat if you are hungry.
The vibe here is to sandwich yourself in between other hungry visitors up on a bar stool and tuck into fresh food – I enjoyed a delicious freshly grilled salmon, roasted vegetables and chips washed down with a beer. I could watch the market and I could watch the food being cooked right in front of me, and it was a perfect way to spend a lunchtime.
Conveniently located in the El Born neighbourhood, Casa Delfin is a typical restaurant with a range of meals including tapas on the menu and places to seat outside and watch the world go by – even in November.
By the time I ate here I was full to the brim so had a delicious pear and goats cheese salad which was perfectly prepared and fresh as you like. They also had a wonderful gin menu, so I opted for a gin and tonic made with Gin Mare, made in the small Spanish fishing town of Vilanova, just outside the city of Barcelona. It was delicious, and I’ll be buying a bottle to have at home!
Tapas + Small Bites
Whilst tapas isn’t traditionally Catalan, tapas bars are on every single street you’ll wander in Barcelona. Trying to find the good amongst the average can be really hard, so luckily I was led around tapas-hopping by The Barcelona Taste on the Gotic Food Tour. More about that trip later, but here are the places we stopped off for small bites and gorgeous drinks.
In the Born district of Barcelona is the wonderful Tapeo Bar that serves exceptional sweet red vermouth and tapas in a cosy environment. It’s small, so get there early and order a selection of small plates whilst you sip on your vermouth over ice like you actually live here.
We tried a huge amount of different dishes that are more Spanish than Catalan in design, including chorizo, padron peppers, aubergine, and an asian-fusion style tuna dish which really hit the spot. But we also ordered the the ox cheek and you should too. It was succulent and delicious and exactly what was needed to kick start my evening of tapas hopping.
Back in Barrio Gotic is this traditional Catalan restaurant with a gorgeous mezzanine floor, cabinets of vintage glassware and a romantic ambience. Belmonte serves more typically Catalan food, so its a good place to head if you are looking for something a little more authentic.
I enjoyed a plate of perfect patatas a la salsa de romesco (very Catalan), the best tortilla espanola served Catalan style with onions, beautifully prepared pa amb tomàquet used to make the famous open faced sandwiches with lovingly prepared roasted peppers. All of this was washed down with some local Catalan red wine, and I have to say I felt very satisfied indeed once we’d left!
Bodega La Palma
Bodega La Palma has been in existence for 100 years and in the same family for the past 80 of them. It was warm, welcoming and served some incredible cava which I enjoyed alongside plates of dessert. In fact, I’ve never been a fan of cava, but I think what ends up being imported to the UK is not a nice as what they save for the wine bars of Barcelona!
Barcelona is only just getting started on the dessert scene but this is a great place to go for a mix of the inventive and traditional, or if you just want a nice bar.
I was expecting great food in Barcelona, as Spanish cuisine is definitely one of my favourites, but I wasn’t expecting the diversity and depth on offer – especially not at breakfast. If mediterranean dining is your kind of thing, Barcelona is genuinely a foodies paradise and in just two days I barely saw the best. I’d go back just for the food to be honest, but I adore Barcelona for its food and its beauty, so expect more food guides to the wonderful city in the future.
Want more? Here’s my guide to two days in Barcelona!