First of all, let us clarify the meaning of the word, “tapas.” The literal translation of this Spanish word is “a lid.” Tapas are various appetizers accompanied by wine or another drink, such as beer. It might seem obvious that tapas are served with drinks, as it is a common ritual to serve appetizers with alcoholic drinks in most cultures. Why, then, did Spanish “tapas” acquire such immense popularity? The case is that historically in Spanish territory, wine and other drinks were served in glasses, with a slice of bread or jamón (Spanish ham) on top. Hence, these snacks acquired a double function: on the one hand, they served as an appetizer, and on the hand, they protected the glass from dust and flies. However, it was the decree of the Spanish king Alfonso X that immortalized this tradition for the centuries to come. According to this decree, in addition to wine, all soldiers of the royal army were to receive free appetizers as well. Even today, eight centuries later, the word “tapas” is accompanied by the image of Spanish kitchens and immediately associated with the gastronomic culture of Spain.
By the way, different provinces feature their own, unique variations on this cultural tendency. Accordingly, in País Vasco, the classic “tapas” are called “pinchos.” Moreover, in this region, the differences between tapas and pinchos are emphasized. In Granada, you do not have to pay for “tapas,” for its cost is included with the price of a drink.
It is a typical event in Spain to gather friends together as a noisy crowd and make “a tour” of the local bars, ordering wine, cava, and, of course, “tapas.” In current usage, Spanish speakers already have invented a verb to describe such a leisure event: “tapear.” It is nearly impossible to translate the term literally because its meaning encompasses a wide range of tastes, the joys of socializing, and the enjoyment of the perfect wines.
In this article, we will make a humble effort to augment the rankings of the best tapas bars in Barcelona. Even considering that the tradition itself and tapas-etiquette were born in this city, the number of tapas bars is still simply incredible, making the selection of a bar a real challenge. Considering the fact that Barcelona is included among the top touristic destinations on most lists, it is very important to study the menu and reviews of the tapas bars in advance. One should remember that it is possible to try real “tapas” only in authentic tapas bars in Barcelona - the places local residents usually pay a visit to drink a glass of wine and chat with their neighbors.
Review of the best tapas bars of Barcelona
Due to the incredible number of establishments in the city, it is simply impossible to pinpoint the absolute leaders among the Barcelonian bars and restaurants for “tapas” preparation and presentation. Therefore, visitors’ feedback, the menu originality, and the restaurant’s atmosphere were our main criteria in the selection of the finalists for our ranking. One can find authentic tapas restaurants, not only in the center of Barcelona, but also far away from the busy tourist streets. Often, the latter offer a better price policy along with the best of the national flavor. Keeping these factors in mind, our list of the leaders is as follows:
Quimet & Quimet
- Address: Carrer del Poeta Cabanyes, 25, 08004 Barcelona
- Phone number: +34 934 42 31 42
- Website: www.facebook.com/quimetyquimet
For us, it goes without saying that the charming and cozy Quimet & Quimet should earn the first position in our ranking of authentic tapas bars in Barcelona. The history of this tiny place traces back for many centuries. In 1914, it emerged as the small start-up business of the Quimets, who are still the owners of this restaurant. From the beginning, the proprietors prepared dishes and appetizers from top-quality sea animals. For over a hundred years, not many things have changed; today Quimet & Quimet is still widely famous for its yummy “montaditos” (small sandwiches) with canned seafood that is greatly appreciated in Spain and considered a real delicacy. The true hits of this establishment are salmon sashimi with cream cheese, honey, and soy sauce and “montaditos” with cod and black olive pate. By all means, one also must try the bruschetta with tomatoes and marinated anchovy and the shrimp with red pepper. The prices for “tapas” here start at 2.5 euros. It is no wonder that this restaurant is considered one of the best tapas bars in Barcelona and is extremely popular both among locals and tourists. Visitors are very lucky to find a spot for a plate and a drink.
Montaditos in Quimet & Quimet bar
Dinner in Quimet & Quimet, Barcelona
- Address: Passeig de Fabra i Puig, 296, 08031 Barcelona
- Phone number: +34 933 58 25 19
- Website: www.laesquinica.com
La Esquinica occupies the next position on our list of the best tapas bars in Barcelona. Throughout its almost 50-year history, this bar consistently has enjoyed tremendous popularity. For the preparation of “tapas” according to this establishment’s philosophy, the cooks use only the freshest and highest-quality products. Additionally, this place offers the best tapas at the best prices. The local residents who are familiar with this bar sometimes call it “Tapas Mecca.” On a daily basis, one can choose from over 50 kinds of Spanish appetizers on the menu at La Esquinica. Moreover, the owners of this place maintain that the “patatas bravas” served here are the best in Barcelona. The waiters recommend that beginners start with the squid rings with cream, patatas bravas with garlic sauce called “alioli,” “llonganissa” sausages, and stuffed mussels.
Tapas in La Esquinica, Barcelona
In La Esquinica bar
El Vaso De Oro
- Address: Carrer de Balboa, 6, 08003 Barcelona
- Phone number: +34 933 19 30 98
- Website: www.vasodeoro.com
El Vaso De Oro is the best place for lovers of top-quality, fresh beer. The menu of this Barcelonian tapas bar offers a great variety of foamy drinks. The best news is that the tapas here are as good as the beer. Yet, it is important to keep in mind that El Vaso De Oro is a lively bar. This is no place for timidity and shyness, as the new concept of an “open ship bar” without seats ensures the constant circulation of visitors and high occupancy levels. If you move your elbows with gusto, you will be able to make your way to the counter, where it is a great idea to order the patatas bravas of the house, bruschetta with anchovies, meatballs with squids, and a huge glass of beer. In addition, here they make incredibly delicious “pimientos de padrón,” or peppers fried in tempura with a spicy sauce.
Entrance to El Vaso del Oro
Foie gras in El Vaso del Oro
- Address: Carrer dels Assaonadors, 25, 08003 Barcelona
- Phone number: +34 936 671 515
- Website: www.tapeoborn.cat/tapeo-bar-en.html
It seems as if this authentic tapas bars in Barcelona is completely saturated with the spirit of Catalonian history and ancient Catalonian traditions. Despite the fact that this bar lies in a rather lively place (due to its proximity to the Picasso Museum), the prices here are quite affordable, and the quality of food deserves the highest credits. The bar team, including the famous chef Daniel Rueda, is emphatic that it is a crime to drink vermouth without eating anything or to enjoy a glass of good beer without mouth-watering tapas. Among the plentiful options at this tapas bar in Barcelona, beans “Santa Pau” and squids “a-la Catalana,” prepared according to an ancient Catalonian recipe, deserve special attention. It is really worth coming back to this unique place to try these exclusive dishes.
Potato omelette with smashed chorizo in Tapeo
Kitchen in Tapeo, Barcelona
INEEDSpain service center will help you organize your vacation in Barcelona by taking into account your individual needs and preferences. The wide range of our company’s offerings includes the services of an interpreter-guide, who will accompany you to the most interesting and impressive places in the city, including the best bars and shops. You are welcome to contact the specialists of INEEDSpain by phone or by email, as indicated on the main page of the website.