Few cities have mastered the art of tapas-making quite like Barcelona, where the traditional Spanish sharing plates are dished out in spades across scores of restaurants brimming with personality and charm. Whether you’re after a gourmet experience or something rather more low-key, we round up the ultimate tapas-making eateries that Catalonia’s capital has to offer
Combining a modern culinary concept with Spain’s age-old tapas tradition, Llamber specialises in rich Asturian flavours all while supporting local farmers. Expect single and half-size portions of innovative dishes, such as black Angus carpaccio with yoghurt, raspberries and green pistachios, parmesan fondue with deep-fried king prawns and asparagus, and delightfully crisp ham or cheese croquettes – all to be indulged within a vibrant, rustic yet hip-and-happening atmosphere. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options are all available here, so larger groups of varying appetites will always be catered for.
Boasting beautifully presented plates, playful yet grown-up interiors and a wonderful location in the Gothic Quarter – just moments from the imposing Cathedral of Barcelona – this restaurant puts a gourmet spin on everyone’s favourite sharing plates. Soak up the fresh and fun-loving atmosphere as you tuck into baby chorizo, seafood paella, tuna tartare with yuzu, beef fillet with whiskey sauce, plus a handful of inventive vegetarian options – from broccoli soufflé to squash and mint dim sum.
With a concept that fully revolves around sharing dishes, Cal Pep brings a truly convivial atmosphere to the table. It presents an impressive menu of more than 70 refreshingly varied, flavour-packed dishes spanning all manner of seafood, meat, vegetables, soups and salads – don’t miss out on the fried calamari, bunyol dough balls, sardines and chicken croquettes, all available for savouring at the bar or within the lively dining room. A long list of desserts and drinks is on hand, too, from prune and Armagnac ice cream to a classic slice of mille-feuille.
Paying homage to Spanish tapas and culture at their finest, Tapas 24 by Chef Carles Abellan serves up a flurry of classic flavours and flair within an equally characterful dining space. Set in the Eixample district and open bright and early (by Spanish standard, at least), from 9am until midnight, it guarantees a full day of feasting – don’t forget to line your stomach with the innovative squid bun, lemon dumplings and locally-caught trout with Iberico ham.
Petitcomitè is a spectacular venue of Nandu Jubany fame: set in the heart of Barcelona’s bustling Eixample, it’s a go-to for simply great fare and an atmosphere brimming with warmth and friendliness. Seasonal, locally-sourced and zero-kilometre ingredients feature high on the menu here, while the sleek setting is modern and brightened with a lick of lime green. You’ll love tucking into the inspired dishes on the sharing tapas menu, including anchovy-stuffed olives, cured Catalan sausage, fried battered squid and hand-cut Iberian ham, before perhaps moving on to feast on a full-size meal.
A succulent option by name and by nature, this outpost is set in the vibrant El Raval area – so you’ll never be too far from foodie-approved fare once you’ve finished hopping across the city’s best museums, markets and design shops. As well as varied tasting menus, each adapted to appetites both big and small, you’ll be able to sit at the bar and enjoy a more informal experience – complete with marinated anchovies, oysters, lobster tartare, stingray with black butter, brie cheesecake and other divine options.
If you’re looking for somewhere quaint, ultra-cosy and informal, Palosanto is a must-try: step through its front door and you’ll be met with a welcoming and authentic atmosphere that fuses typical Spanish hospitality with a memorable concept, inspired by the sacred, purifying and peace-inducing wood of South America’s Gran Chaco region – and the tapas is worth writing home about, too. There’s even outdoor seating for when all you want with your meal is a side of Spanish sunshine.
Another more laid-back option is Doña Rosa: perfectly placed by the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, it’s an unmissable pit-stop after a morning of fuelling up on the city’s best modern art displays. Expect an honest, mouth-watering menu of beef carpaccio, miniature burgers, grilled salmon and avocado with rice, and of course, the ever-popular patatas bravas with aioli and pico de gallo salsa – all available alongside breakfast service, sandwiches and a selection of sweet treats.
Pair a refined culinary evening with a sensational setting at one of El Nacional’s four venues across the city, one of which is solely dedicated to tapas: pull up a chair beneath statement lighting and hanging plants at La Tapería, for your fill of modern elegance and a menu of classic Spanish fare you won’t soon be able to forget – options include potatoes in garlic sauce, fried eggs with Iberico ham, thin chorizo simmered in cider, and sharing seafood platters.
With outposts in two of the city’s most characterful neighbourhoods – Gràcia (loved by artists and bohemian locals) and El Born (known for its medieval streets and samba-filled nightlife), Tapeo ensures a dining experience that’s far from boring. The menu is both seasonal and inspired – it may include roast sausage with wild mushrooms, truffled eggs, burrata cheese and balsamic vinegar, cod fritters, and Moroccan lamb skewers with mint yoghurt.
Under the expert guidance of Oriol Casals and Teo Rubio, Teòric shines a spotlight on traditional Catalan cuisine, sourcing fine local produce as the prime features on a sea- and mountain-inspired menu. Served within an intimate and rustic-chic setting on the outskirts of the Eixample district, each exquisitely presented dish is almost too attractive to eat. You’ll find nowhere better to kick back and enjoy laid-back tapas-quaffing late into the evening, with a cooling drink in hand.