There’s nowhere quite like Barcelona. As cool and hip as they come, this is Catalunya’s elegant and self-confident modern capital. It's no wonder, then, that the city is also one of the most exciting places to eat in Spain. This is our pick of the best tapas bars in Barcelona, from traditional taverns to chic contemporary bars.
A coffee, a grilled sandwich and a glass of cava is the local breakfast of choice. Or, let the cheery staff steer you towards the tapas and daily specials (€5–15). Here everything is good from a slice of tortilla to fried baby squid.
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But the kitchen updates the classics too, so there’s also calamares romana (fried squid) dyed black with squid ink or a burger with foie gras. Most tapas dishes cost around €4 to €16. And there’s always a rush and bustle at meal times, so be aware that you might well have to queue.
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You may have to queue, and prices are high for what’s effectively a bar meal (up to €60). That said, it’s definitely worth it for the likes of impeccably fried shrimp, grilled sea bass, Catalan sausage, or squid and chickpeas – all overseen by Pep himself, bustling up and down the counter.
The traditional blue-tiled bar does a roaring trade in cava, cider and traditional tapas. The drinks are cheap and the tapas turn out to be rather pricey, but there’s usually a good buzz about the place.
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A distinctive feature of the bar is that there is no signage, but you can quickly see where the entrance is due to the queue of people waiting to enter the restaurant. It may not be the most glamorous bar in Barcelona, but it retains a special charm throughout its 79-year history.
Though the tapas on offer here are not much different from tapas in other popular places, it's the freshness of the ingredients that make Bar Cañete stand out from the rest. There's also an excellent selection of wines to accompany your meal.
Ready for a trip to Barcelona? Check out The Rough Guide to Spain. If you travel further in Spain, read more about the best time to go, the best places to visit and best things to do in Spain. A bit more hands-on, learn about getting there, getting around the country and where to stay once you are there.
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