You’ll probably do most of your eating where you do most of your sightseeing. However, if you venture no farther than the Ramblas, or the streets around La Seu, you are not going to experience the best of the city’s cuisine – in the main tourist areas, food and service can be indifferent and prices high. Instead, explore the backstreets of neighbourhoods like Sant Pere, La Ribera, El Raval and Poble Sec, where you’ll find excellent restaurants, some little more than hole-in-the-wall taverns, others surprisingly funky and chic. Most of the big-ticket, destination-dining restaurants are found in the Eixample, while Gràcia is a pleasant place to spend the evening, with plenty of good mid-range restaurants. For fish and seafood, you’re best off in the harbourside Barceloneta district or at the Port Olímpic.
Most cafés are open from 7 or 8am until midnight, or much later – so whether it’s coffee first thing or a late-night nibble, you’ll find somewhere to cater for you. Restaurants generally open 1 to 4pm and 8.30 to 11pm, though in tourist zones like the Ramblas and Port Olímpic, restaurants tend to stay open all day.