Barcelona prides itself on its reputation as a gastronomic centre, so sampling some of the city’s tapas dishes is a must for your stay in the Catalan capital. You haven’t truly experienced Barcelona until you’ve tucked into a plate of patatas bravas with a side portion of pa amb tomaquet – in other words, a carbs overload – but you’re on holiday! The beauty of Barcelona is that you don’t have to fork out the big bucks to enjoy high quality and authentic food when dining out. In fact, several of Barcelona’s best tapas bars are some the cheapest places to eat in the city, ideal if you’re heading to Barcelona on a budget.
One of the most difficult things to do is to distinguish the good from the bad, after all, looks can be deceiving! The truth is, the more locals you see in the bar, the more authentic the tapas are likely to be.
That said, the infinite number of tapas bars in the city can be somewhat overwhelming so we’ve provided a local’s insight into the 10 best cheap tapas bars in Barcelona.
‘Fly to the orient’ with Mosquito’s rather unique twist on a traditional tapas bar. Here, you can experience a myriad of Asian flavours, all inspired by Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean cuisine to create Barcelona’s answer to the best Asian food in the city. Their specialty is Chinese dumplings with the xiaolong bao (steamed pork dumplings) and is a particular favourite amongst diners. They also serve a delicious selection of noodle, soup and vegetable dishes and a fabulous variety of beers, some of which are brewed for the restaurant.
To receive the full Asian tapas experience, your best bet is to go here for dinner when its tapas menu is offered in its entirety. Enjoy more than 20 small dishes, all made from high quality local ingredients emphasising their basic concept which is cheap, quick and tasty Asian food, something that can be tricky to find in Spain.
Carrer dels Carders, 46
Situated in the trendy Born neighbourhood, this bar has been a hit ever since it opened in 2013. If you’re looking to try affordable and authentic tapas dishes in a happening venue, this is the place to be. Its menu consists of various incredibly tasty tapas dishes, including their famous patatas ‘mojo picón’ and honey drizzled fried aubergine which is simply to die for.
Of course you can also enjoy all the tapas regulars: patatas bravas, tomato bread and tortillas. It’s worth ordering a selection of dishes to share so you can try a bit of everything – be brave! The waiters are very assisting and offer advice and suggestions when ordering.
One thing to be careful of is that it can get very cramped inside, especially on a Friday or Saturday night, but if you’re lucky you can grab one of the tables by the window. That way, you can watch the hustle and bustle of the city pass by you as you enjoy a glass of vermouth and the best cheap tapas on offer.
Plaça Comercial, 1
Did someone say free? Now we’re talking! It simply cannot get cheaper than this local family run restaurant, right in the heart of the beautiful Barceloneta area. So, if you’re looking to save the pennies and not quite sure whether tapas is your thing, sample one of their complimentary tapas dishes that comes alongside your drink. A recommendation would be their renowned bombas (potato balls) or fried fish. If you like what you taste and would like to dig into more, you’re welcome to order bigger portions of their tapas dishes from the menu.
Carrer l’Almirall Aixada, 5
Who doesn’t love an all you can eat restaurant? That moment when you realise that you can tuck in to unlimited food; there’s nothing quite like it. And what’s more, it’s only 3€ on a Thursday to enjoy as much tapas as you can physically stomach. All the classics are available including the much loved Spanish tortilla.
Besides offering cheap tapas, Cafè Milans also boasts a fantastic range of cocktails to accommodate each and every taste. With every type of mojito going and all reasonably priced, you’ll be sure to have a great night here. Its chilled out vibe, good music and friendly staff makes it the perfect place to enjoy tapas and cocktails – two of the best things in life.
Carrer de Milans, 7
Generally speaking chain restaurants are a no-go, but in this case Tapa Tapa is well worth a visit. With more than 50 reasonably priced tapas dishes on the menu, you can select those that take your fancy from the picture menu provided at this reasonably cheap Barcelona tapas bar. Ranging from the classic patatas bravas to Iberian ham croquettes, they also have a wide selection of seafood dishes, salads, meat brochettes and mini tapas dishes to nibble on.
With five restaurants located across the city, they are popular with those wanting to try a wide range of tapas dishes. They all are conveniently located close by to Barcelona’s hotspots making it the perfect place to dine in after a tiring day of sightseeing. If you’re coming with a large group, it would be advisable to reserve a table with the online booking form.
Enjoy an exclusive dining experience at the trendy and chic Moritz without the exclusive prices. With its menu devised by the incredibly talented Jordi Vilà, this place certainly knows good food. With a spectacular range of tapas dishes, all centred around Catalan cuisine, Vilà also pays special attention to the quality of produce used in all his dishes.
The menu features many traditional favourites as well as beer-based tapas dishes such as the Moritz style ‘siscentó’ tapa, keeping in line with the factory’s theme. Many of the tapas dishes are under 6€.
Ronda de Sant Antoni, 39 – 41
This style of tapas may have originated in the Basque Country and Navarra, but this doesn’t mean that Barcelona doesn’t know how to do it just as well. From the classics to the most creative, pintxos are essentially small pieces of bread with some form of topping, arranged beautifully on the bar counter. At the end of the meal, you will be charged by how many skewers you have from each pintxo eaten.
There are several lively and cosy pintxo bars in Barcelona, however they can be a bit hit and miss. Below are the best places to enjoy your first pintxo experience.
Out to impress, this Barcelona tapas bar has a range of over 100 hot and cold pintxos combining both Catalan and Basque cuisine. A typical example of this, is its famous pintxo with omelette amd piquillo peppers with a side serving of leek and romesco sauce – simply delicious.
Basing their food on ‘simplicity, originality and quality’ you know that you can expect the best here, hence why it received a Certificate of Excellence by Tripadvisor. It can get extremely crowded so the best time to turn up is before 9pm before all those there in the name of boozing arrive.
Carrer de Casanova, 155
This traditional bar in the Old Town is Barcelona’s answer to gourmet pintxos. The place itself is divided into two sections: a lively bar for punters and a more civilised dining area for those eating out.
As a Basque cultural centre, Euskal Etxea offers some of the best ‘tapas on a toothpick’ available in the city. Tantalise your taste buds with their simply divine selection of bite size tapas ranging from melted provolone with mango and crispy ham to chicken tempura with saffron mayonnaise. And what’s more, each pintxo costs you a mere 1.20€.
Placeta de Montcada, 1
Part of the famous Sagardi group, you know that you can expect the best here. Boasting food that has ‘the essence of the Cantabrian in small format’, this charming place is a must do if you’re in the Born area. Whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, a snack, perhaps an informal dinner, there’s always a reason to indulge in pintxos at Golfo de Bizkaia.
With all tapas at this Barcelona bar made from seasonal produce, word has spread about this place so during rush hour you may have to fight for a table. But with pintxos this good, they’re totally worth the squabble.
Carrer de la Vidrieria, 12
Irati, a famous name in the pintxos industry where you can enjoy undeniably delicious miniature tapas dishes. After 15 years in business, you know that you’re in the hands of professionals having had years of experience creating the perfect tapas combinations. Each of their pintxos includes at least four toppings, with the flavours of each ingredient perfectly complimenting one another.
When business is at its peak, up to 600 pintxos are dished out with 50 different varieties, both hot and cold. A particular favourite amongst locals is their scorpion fishcake with sour cream and egg, a winning and unique combination. At only 1.95€ per pintxo, you can enjoy an affordable and enjoyable evening here.
Carrer del Cardenal Casañas, 17