Tapas are a big deal in Barcelona. These petite servings, created for enjoying a shared meal in small doses, find in Barcelona one of their most sophisticated headquarters. In the south of Spain, “la tapa” is a small dish you might get to accompany a beer or a glass of wine—but Barcelona has upped the ante in putting together truly creative small-plate preparations. Many of the city’s best tapas offerings use surprising combinations of flavors and textures, and incorporate ingredients ranging from anchovies to longaniza (a thin sausage), and from humble veggies like mushrooms and potatoes to jamón Ibérico and foie gras.
This Barcelona institution has just a handful of tables and a single long counter. Take a seat at the vintage bar, and try such delicacies as ensaladilla rusa (an incredible combination of tuna, mayo, potatoes and carrot), and patatas bravas (fried potatoes in a rich, spicy sauce). Of course, this place also serves extraordinary jamón Ibérico.
Bar Mut is one of the most popular spots in town; celebrity patrons like Woody Allen are partly to blame for that. But Bar Mut is also justifiably known for its high-quality food. The steak with foie gras, the prawn-and-egg carpaccio, and the octopus are absolutely perfect. It can be hard to get a table here; book well in advance.
The patatas bravas at Tomas are the best in town (and among the best in all of Spain). The secret is in the way the potatoes are cooked here: when served they’re crunchy on the outside, moister and mellow on the inside. The sauce they’re served in is also top-notch. Order a cold beer, too—nothing goes better with bravas.
Quimet & Quimet
Quimet &Quimet opened in 1914 and has been a classic ever since. The culinary principles here are simple: only the best quality ingredients are used here, and prepared with care and sophistication. The results—dishes like salmon with honey and a touch of truffle, or their incredible prawns—speak for themselves.
This restaurant has one of the most famous bar counters in the city; though the menu served here is brief, don’t be fooled—these guys know how to cook. Try the croquetas (fried fritters with different fillings, from chicken to ham or fish), the incredible sobrasada (spicy pork sausage)—and don’t miss the hamburgers, either. If you want to sample a little of everything, request the tasting menu.