Best Places for Affordable Tapas in Barcelona
What’s a trip to Barcelona without sampling some delicious local tapas dishes? The Catalonian capital is famous for serving up some of the tastiest Spanish food in the country, but when you’re travelling the city on a budget it’s important to know where to go to avoid the tourist traps. Some of Barcelona’s best tapas restaurants are actually seriously cheap. Think spicy patatas bravas, crispy calamari, pintxo (tapas-style open sandwiches), and, of course, seafood paella to name a few of the must-tries. You’ll never be short of options when deciding on where to eat tapas in Barcelona, but if you’re looking for the affordable spots then you’ve come to the right place.
Here are the best affordable places to eat tapas in Barcelona…
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Real, authentic cooking is what you can expect from a meal at Elisabets. The little affordable tapas bar in Barcelona is covered in old school trinkets and it’s always full of local punters, a great sign when you’re a tourist that the food really is the real deal. You’d never believe the prices considering it’s located just off La Rambla - they do a deal where for just €17.95 you can get 12 tapas plates, a drink (such as a large beer or huge cup of sangria) AND a coffee! The portions are decent, the food is of great quality and the atmosphere is always buzzing. It’s an ideal place to head to for dinner if you’d like to taste a few well-made and classic Catalan tapas dishes for a seriously reasonable price.
Can Paixano (La Xampanyeria)
There’s never a quiet moment in this little gem, as it explodes to life around breakfast time and packed out by midday. You’ll get the true Catalan dining experience here as it’s all standing room only. The menu is all in Catalan on bright yellow boards hanging down on the stone walls, but just ask your server for some advice and you’re good to go. Think cheap pintxo (tapas-style sandwiches held together with wooden sticks), cheeses, meats, pickles, sausages and more, and it’s all served with their delicious homemade red Cava (also seriously affordable), ensuring a lively buzz from the get-go. In Barcelona, throwing your serviette on the ground shows you enjoyed your meal, and here the floor is covered in them. If you loved their cava then you can buy yourself a bottle from the bodega at the back. Just be warned that this place shuts up early at around 10pm.
Tucked behind the Church of Santa Maria Del Mar, once you manage to get a seat here you won’t want to leave! Have a peek around at all the dishes being served up around you to get a bit of inspiration on what you’d like to order, but let us tell you it all tastes incredible. Be sure to get the calamari, tortilla and razor clams which are all an explosion of flavour and some of Barcelona’s best affordable tapas dishes. Just try not to go OTT when you order, as the portions are surprisingly filling! We love the interiors at El Xampanyet, super local, rustic and always full of a fun and welcoming atmosphere.
Quimet & Quimet
Don’t be afraid to shout for your food at this tiny hidden gem, because at Quimet & Quimet it’s all about the overall experience. There are no places to sit down, just a couple of tall standing tables to set down your dishes. Everything here is fresh, affordable and served with love - the bartenders always manage to find time amongst the madness to talk to guests, explain the dishes, give good local advice and tell stories. As mentioned earlier, you will need to shout for your food! So don’t stand around waiting for your order to be taken, don’t be shy and say what you’d like. The smoked salmon open bagel with truffled honey is a dish you simply have to order if you come here - as fresh as everything else on the menu and completely delicious. For some great cheap tapas, Barcelona locals love this one.
If you find yourself in the Gracia district looking for a place to eat, Gata Mala is a real treat. The owner of this affordable tapas joint is one of the loveliest ladies you’ll meet in Barcelona. She’ll help you decide on what to order and do her best to find you a seat so you don’t have to stand (although quite often that’s all part of the fun of eating in Barca). The atmosphere is made so warm and inviting, and the food is such great quality and price that you’ll be dying to go back again. Try the aubergine and goats cheese dish, or the chorizo for a little spice - both taste out of this world.
Hungry while exploring the Gothic Quarter? Bodega Vasconia is a great option if you’re after cheap tapas to keep you fuelled while touring Barcelona’s sights, or a tasty dinner in the evening before partying by the beach. Every classic local dish you could think of is served up here, including paella which is always a hit. It takes a while to come out but that just means they’re cooking it fresh so it’s extra tasty. The rustic decor, friendly service and fantastic food all work together to make one of the best places for great value tapas in the city - just be sure to make a reservation beforehand if you can remember!
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Article by Darcy King