Barcelona's best tapas bars

Where to go for the ultimate in Catalan and Spanish tapas

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La Tieta

La Tieta

There are menus listing tempting tapas just about everywhere you turn the Catalan capital. The choice can be overwhelming, and nowhere else but Barcelona boasts tapas in such variety - but this can apply to quality as well as the dishes on offer. Here are the restaurants, cafés, bodegas and tapas bars serving the best mini-meals in Barcelona...

Quimet i Quimet

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Packed to the rafters with dusty bottles of wine, this classic but minuscule bar makes up for in tapas what it lacks in space. The specialities are conservas (shellfish preserved in tins), which aren't always to non-Spanish tastes, but the montaditos, sculpted tapas served on bread, are spectacular. Try salmon sashimi with cream cheese, honey and soy, or cod, passata and black olive pâté. Get there early for any chance of a surface on which to put your drink.

  1. 25, Poeta Cabanyes, 08004
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Casa de Tapes Cañota

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

El Cañota is a Galicia-inspired seafood tapas bar, and it comes with a pedigree. It's the younger brother of the renowned Rías de Galicia, one of the greatest Galician restaurants in the city and the country. El Cañota serves traditional dishes: fried fish and seafood, patatas bravas, Galician octopus, ensaladilla rusa, draught beer and wine. All of it is top-quality, and served in a laid-back venue that's perfect for a celebratory meal, or for dinner after taking in a show at the Teatre Lliure, Mercat de les Flors or BTM, which are all nearby.

  1. Lleida, 7, Poble-sec, 08004
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La Tieta

Chickpeas with prawns, tasty potato omelette, mushrooms with garlic and parsley, amazing olives – the problem is knowing where to start. La Tieta is just a place with a marble bar that offers good wine, bottles of vermouth and an endless flow of draught beer. You won’t find any classics on the wine list – this week they’re in love with Mallorcan wine, and next week they’re crazy about Galician wine. There’s nothing unusual here, no secret, just good traditional food made from fresh ingredients and with skill and enthusiasm.

  1. 1, Blai, 08004
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El Xampanyet

Xampanyet cava and vermouth all help to wash down these tapas which are simple but effective, in a venue that is popular with both tourists and locals.

  1. 22, Montcada, 08003
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La Cova Fumada

  • Price band: 2/4

Besides excellent breakfasts, they have the best spirits in town. This local bodega is famous for being the place where they invented the bomba, 55 years ago

  1. 56, Baluard, 08003
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La Esquinica

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Think of it not as a trek, but as a quest; queues outside are testament to the great value of the tapas. On especially busy nights you'll be asked to take a number, supermarket-style. Waiters will advise first-timers to start with chocos (creamy squid rings), patatas bravas with allioli, llonganissa sausage and tigres (stuffed mussels). After which the world is your oyster, cockle or clam.

  1. 296, Passeig de Fabra i Puig
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Las Delicias

Few people come to Carmel unless they live here, which is a shame because there’s more authenticity in these steep streets and houses carved from the rock than in Passeig de Gràcia and such places. The terrace at Las Delicias is a miracle in itself. It twists and turns all over the place because, just like the rest of Carmel, it’s on a slope. But so what? Their anchovies will make you forget all your worries. They serve delicious squid, excellent ensaladilla russa, patatas bravas and a long list of other tapas in generous servings. You can see the gate to Guinardó park from here. And why not take a trip to Park Guell?

  1. 1, Muhlberg, 08024
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El Vaso de Oro

It's a cliché but it's true: Vaso de Oro is one of the best places to get a draught beer in the entire city. This translates into quite a busy bar, where you have to fight just to get your elbow down to order, let alone stake out a spot. But join the struggle, as it's well worth it for the quality and variety of their beers. And their tapas: patatas bravas, anchovies, meatballs with cuttlefish are a beer's best friends.

  1. 6, Balboa, 08003
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Gata Mala

Trinity and Luci are two very good cats, no matter how bad they claim to be. They serve some of the best tapas in Barcelona, and when you order a drink, they give a free tapa. It makes you want to pitch a tent right outside their door. As if that were not enough, Trinity makes gin & tonics with cucumber and pepper that are guaranteed to give any cat an extra 15 lives.

  1. 37, Rabassa, 08024
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Els Sortidors del Parlament

Lovers of good wine and tapas will be happy here: they offer a stunning selection of wines from around the world, with a good range of wines from Catalonia and Catalunya Nord, all at shop prices and with a corkage charge of 4€. They also have six different beers on tap. Propped against a barrel, you can enjoy a drink with selected dried meats and tinned products, and unusual tapas such as quail egg omelette with black truffle oil.

  1. 51, Parlament, 08015
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Bar del Pla

  • Price band: 2/4

Positioned somewhere between a French bistro and a tapas bar, the Bar del Pla serves tapas or raciones (divine pig's trotters with foie, outstanding pa amb tomàquet). Drinks include Mahou on tap (a fine beer, often ignored here because it's from Madrid), plus some good wines by the glass.

  1. 2, Montcada
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Bodega La Palma

  • Price band: 1/4

The emphasis is on local and seasonal produce, with dishes ideal for sharing: a map of the world of strong alcohol and good food

  1. 7, La Palma de Sant Just, 08002
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El Jabalí

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

This deli bar, which is reminiscent of Parallel in its heyday, is a great place to eat wonderful tapas-try the patatas bravas, the chicken salad and the cured  sausage-while sipping on good wine. It’s also a nice place to sit on the terrace and do some serious people-watching.

  1. 15, Ronda Sant Pau, 08015
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La Taverna del Clínic

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

La Taverna del Clínic sums up much that is good about the Spanish sense of priorities. The lighting is hideous, the decor is cheap and crappy, the TV is permanently on, the walls and floor are tiled in the ugliest terrazzo imaginable, and yet the care that goes into the food is the match of many a luxury dining room. The menu concept is somewhere between tapas and restaurant, so you'll probably order a stack of dishes to share. Try the creamy morels with foie; a sticky oxtail stew made with Priorat wine; or a tiny skillet of chips, fried egg and crispy jamón. The octopus 'igloo' is also superb.

  1. 155, Rosselló, 08036
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Tapas 24

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Another nu-trad tapas bar focusing on excellent quality produce. Among the oxtail stews, fried prawns and cod croquettes, however, fans of chef Carles Abellan will also find playful snacks more in keeping with his signature style. The McFoie Burger is an exercise in fast-food heaven, as is the Bikini, a small version of his take on the ham and cheese toastie; his comes with truffle.

  1. 269, Diputació, 08007
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