Barcelona's best cheap eats

The top places to eat on a budget in the Catalan capital
Cheap Eats 2
By Ricard Martín, Daniel Vázquez Sallés and Marcelo Aparicio |
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Exploring everything Barcelona has to offer can quickly add up. From all of the historic sites and city attractions to nights out on the town, things can start to cost a pretty penny. However, balling on a budget in Barcelona is possible, especially when it comes to food! Whether you're looking for a place to eat that is near the hotel you got a great deal on or near the local shopping places, we've got the best of the best in Barcelona at prices that won't hurt your wallet. From quick to-go options, to tapas and drinks or a sit-down meal, you'll be able to eat like royalty without having to hurt your wallet.

Cheap Places to Eat in Barcelona

Cal Cuc
© Maria Dias
Restaurants, South Asian

Cal Cuc

icon-location-pin El Poblenou

Now open in Poblenou, Cal Cuc kicks off with a menu that features Asian 'tapas', big bowls of dishes to be eaten with a spoon, and wok dishes such as a green curry with squid that's tender, just the right touch of spicy, and pays tribute to a classic Catalan dish that combines squid with soft meatballs made with bits of shellfish.

escairón
© Ivan Gimenez
Restaurants, Barbecue

Escairón

icon-location-pin El Poble-sec

Escairón is particularly remarkable for its Galician entrecot (sirloin steak) and 'caldo gallego' (Galician broth). Aside from the entrecot, main dishes include barbecue, stews, and especially the eponymous dessert, Escairón (crème caramel with a kind of nougat ice cream). Unforgettable fried potatoes accompany the meat dishes. This is the perfect place to delight your palate with the very best of Galician cuisine and fresh, quality market fare at reasonable prices.

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Sifó
© Ivan Giménez
Restaurants

Sifó

icon-location-pin El Raval

'Any Argentinian dish you can think of, we've got it.' That's the idea behind the updated version of the restaurant Sifó. Creative maestros when it comes to cooking meat, they put a lot of R&D into their grilling, their empanadas, and their Argentinian pizza – something hard to find in Barcelona. And the prices range from universally pleasing to as much as you feel like spending.

Gat Blau
© Carlos Pericás
Restaurants

Gat Blau

They offer an organic, traditional and creative set lunch menu for under €12 where six of the eight options are vegetarian – and it varies every day! You won't miss fancy things done with prawns when instead you've got before you gorgeous veal cannelloni wrapped in courgette, or a traditional Catalan potato coulant ('patata emmascarada'). For dinner you can dig into haute cuisine for around €25.

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Bars and pubs, Tapas bars

Bar Casi

icon-location-pin Vila de Gràcia

But what you'd be missing is its warmth and dynamic and positive vibe: Every day it serves up complete lunches as well as a generous and home-made set lunch menu for a tenner. On your first day you're treated like a regular customer who's been having lunch here every day for decades.

Restaurants

Granja Mabel

icon-location-pin Sant Martí

This family establishment was modernised when the children inherited it from their parents, resulting in one of the best lunchtime menus in the Marina area. For less than €10 per person, you can choose between four starters and four main dishes, made from simple ingredients but created with great expertise and originality. Like upside-down macaroni stuffed with chicken and bechamel. It’s become a real magnet in the area.

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La Taquería
© La Taquería
Restaurants, Mexican

La Taquería

icon-location-pin Eixample

The Mexican owners say they make 'Mexican street food'. And they do it well: their tacos are phenomenal and their quesadillas are made with care and without industrial cheddar. The repertoire is informal Mexican food, and weekends are reserved for more-traditional fare such as aguachiles and chicken with mole sauce. The ambience is also a cut above the norm, with modern Mexican and colourful decor.

Gelida
© Scott Chasserot
Restaurants, Catalan

Gelida

icon-location-pin La Nova Esquerra de l'Eixample

One of those bar-restaurants that are few and far between nowadays, ideal for tight budgets and good eaters. The fork breakfast is a memorable experience. And at lunchtime, get ready for a communal meal with some delicious starters and main dishes. The capipota, shoulder and cod are excellent. Wash it all down with a fine wine from Gelida.

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Restaurants, Nepali

Himali

icon-location-pin Vila de Gràcia

A comic metaphor for modern-day Barcelona, Himali moved into what was a local boozer, but has retained the silhouettes of famous Catalans – Dalí and Montserrat Caballé among them – on the windows; inside, meanwhile, there are Nepalese prayer flags and tourist posters of the Himalayas. The alien and impenetrable menu looks a bit daunting, but the waiters are useful with recommendations. If you want a global sampling of Nepalese cuisine, order the 'tahli'.

Les Truites
© Les Truites
Restaurants

Les Truites

icon-location-pin Sarrià - Sant Gervasi

Juan Antonio Miró is an omelette guru. He opened this restaurant in 1985, and from the outset he focused on these 'truites' ('tortillas' in Spanish). You can try simple culinary works of art here such as caviar, crab or smoked salmon omelettes. There are even omelettes for dessert: try the cherry and banana creation.

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Restaurants, Mediterranean

Lluís de les Moles

icon-location-pin El Gòtic

Down a little street right near Plaça Catalunya you can enjoy a lunch menu that offers so many dishes to choose from, it's not nearly as limiting as many lunch specials. Bear in mind the restaurant is open only for lunch and a drink is not included. Their 'timbal' (pie) of potato and 'botifarra negra' (black sausage) is already a classic.  

Restaurants

Senyor Vermut

icon-location-pin La Nova Esquerra de l'Eixample

Senyor Vermut is a local spot in the Eixample Esquerre whose menu of tapas and small plates may not be so different from other restaurants of its ilk, but here in the Miralles family business, everything has the Miralles touch. A peach gazpacho, lovely croquettes – the wild mushroom ones are phenomenal – a 'capipota' just like Grandma Josefina used to make, good but not stellar patatas bravas, and a tasty shish kabob marinated with oil and spices.

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Las Fernández
© Sylvia Kouveli

Las Fernández

icon-location-pin El Raval

The three Fernández sisters from Bierzo in the north-west of Spain have been in the heart of El Raval for years, where they offer an experience that combines the produce of their land with a deep red decor, a bit like an Almodóvar film. All dishes are for sharing. It’s quite small and has its hardcore clientele, so you're advised to book well in advance.

Tarannà
© Irene Fernández
Restaurants

Tarannà

icon-location-pin Sant Antoni

Tarannà is a special place. The light is magnificent in the afternoon, no joke. When night falls, there's nothing like ordering one of the many beers on the menu to go with an organic chicken and avocado sandwich. Breakfast, vermouth, lunch, gorgeously sweet snacks, dinner, quality drinks... The combination of versatility, modernity, quality and simplicity, and surprisingly attentive and fast service make it impossible not to be seduced by this oasis.

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Restaurants, Southeast Asian

Wok to Walk Ramblas

icon-location-pin El Gòtic

What makes them so great are their stir-frys, made with fresh ingredients in an open kitchen where the masters of the wok play with fire to cook up your made-to-order dish. The result is a crunchy, healthy meal bursting with flavours. First you order your base of either noodles or rice, and then up to 15 add-ons and a special sauce. The average dish is about €8.

Restaurants, Japanese

Bouzu

icon-location-pin El Raval

A good place to try authentic Japanese cuisine tapa-style, and at very attractive prices. No sushi here, but they do have delicacies  like tofu, pork meatballs and Japanese-style fried chicken. The miso soup (a fermented and salted soybean paste) is a little taste of Japan you won't want to miss at a very good price.

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Restaurants, Burgers

Bacoa

icon-location-pin Ciutat Vella

Owner Brad Ainsworth is betting that thinking locally will pay off: with the change of seasons, Bacoa will offer a burger with products grown nearby, such as artichokes from El Prat, for example. And apart from the house classics, the exclusive Bacoa burgers will make your mouth water just thinking about them: the San Jacobo is Iberian loin and Serrano ham with manchego cheese in panko, Japanese bread crumbs.

Cat Bar
© Cat Bar
Restaurants, Vegetarian

Cat Bar

icon-location-pin Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera

A petite bar-restaurant with a vegan punk spirit, the walls look like Black Flag album covers starring cats. They're also big into their beers, with foam-licking-good Catalan craft beers, and the punky bottled Scottish Brew Dog. The lunchtime menu always features a veggie burger (that could easily make claim to being the best in the city in its class) and dishes that are simple but always scrumptious. Food and beer are served all day till closing time.

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Lata-Berna
© Lata-Berna
Restaurants

Lata-Berna

Juanjo Martínez, former executive chef at the Hotel Arts and Renaissance man, has opened a space for creative tapas with a raison d'être – that is, they have to speak for themselves. So there's a lot of thought behind the tapas like a smoke burrata cheese with rosemary and tomato and muesli compote, but you'll also find classic tapas with original presentations, such as the Olot potatoes served with a metal mesh that evokes the mountains of the Garrotxa.

Restaurants, Catalan

Can Vilaró

icon-location-pin Sant Antoni

A real traditional eating-house, where you can find tasty delicacies any day of the week such as the tripe and leg of lamb. The menu has a lot to offer with recommended dishes like the salted cod with vegtables adn tomato sauce, the grilled liver with real fries and the baked pork tripe. At the bar you can enjoy your breakfast or lunch with a bottle of wine that has been bottled specifically for the house.

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Restaurants, Burgers

El Kiosko

icon-location-pin Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera

Brad Ainsworth, the chef who brought the gourmet burger to Barcelona with his tiny Bacoa, also opened El Kiosko, which is along the same lines but more spacious and comfortable and open onto the street. Try any of the delicious recipes with special chutney sauce, home-cooked fries and you’ll know what we mean.

La Paradeta
© kun.ho (Instagram, via La Paradeta)
Restaurants, Mediterranean

La Paradeta

icon-location-pin Sants - Montjuïc

Superb seafood, served refectory-style. Choose from glistening mounds of clams, mussels, squid, spider crabs and other fresh treats, decide how you'd like it cooked (grilled, steamed or a la marinera), pick a sauce (Marie Rose, spicy local romesco, all i oli or onion), buy a drink and wait for your number to be called. A great – and cheap – experience for anyone not too grand to clear their own plate.

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Restaurants, Vegetarian

Biocenter

icon-location-pin El Raval

One of the pioneers among the city's vegetarian restaurants, Biocenter's been around for 30 years and still going strong. When you enter you have the feeling that it's not a restaurant that's just for vegetarians, but for anyone who wants to eat well, with generous portions. Lunchtime features a self-service salad bar followed by a main dish that you choose from among the daily specials. At night you get a bit more of a quality range of vegetarian and vegan options.

The Dog is Hot
Ivan Giménez
Restaurants, Sandwich shop

The Dog is Hot

icon-location-pin El Raval

This tiny place in the Raval is serving up top-quality hot dogs that match those of New York. The concept is similar: frankfurts of every kind to enjoy in the street or on the go. Made using prime sausages and a range of tasty garnishes, such as fried onion or sweet corn, you'll be having your own bite of American cuisine.

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Mendizábal
Scott Chasserot
Bars and pubs, Bars

Bar Mendizábal

icon-location-pin El Raval

The wooden tables and chairs along with the extremely clean design invite you to enjoy a beer, cocktail or top-notch sandwich without having to deal with the hordes of night creatures who populate the neighbourhood. Drink fresh juices, wine, various classic cocktails or the magnificent beers, with the half-litre option the trophy for true cervesa champions. To eat, tapas, salads and sandwiches each created with the signature in-house quality.

Can Conesa
© Scott Chasserot
Restaurants, Sandwich shop

Can Conesa

icon-location-pin El Gòtic

This local sandwich and frankfurt classic draws long queues that can extend into Plaça Sant Jaume. And deservedly so. Try the warm roquefort sandwich, the one with 'salsa de Marta' and the frankfurts. But you can't really go wrong with any of the choices. There are even options for those who follow a coeliac diet.

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Kapadokya
© Scott Chasserot
Restaurants, Turkish

Kapadokya

icon-location-pin El Raval

Though Kapadokya has become a kind of Turkish restaurant chain, the quality of the food isn't compromised. The meat is tender and always fresh. If you visit, try the house speciality, the doner kebab, which is stuffed with deliciousness and accompanied with a variety of condiments to choose from. 

, drinking

Bar Fidel

icon-location-pin El Raval

It's impossible to even say 'sandwich' and not think of Bar Fidel, of their local produce, their mastery of combining ingredients with simplicity – salmon with roquefort, emmental with tomato confit – and that toasted bread... A sandwich here is a zero-risk investment.

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