When we hear tapas, we think about the communal culture of Spain, deep conversations among friends, and a carafe of wine. Even though there are many legends about the origin of these seasonal dishes, there’s only one fact: tapar means “to cover.” So, did tapas emerge from the slices of bread, meat, or cheese used as covers to stop insects from falling into the glass? Whatever the truth, tapas hopping is indispensable to Spanish social life. From the classic tortilla de patatas and a light selection of bread topped with fresh tomato to exquisite sushi, we love tapas. Pick any time of the day and occasion, and join us in some of the most adored Barcelona tapas bars.
In the upbeat Eixample district, amidst Gaudi’s masterpieces and high-end shops, Vinitus is a favorite stopover for locals and travelers alike. At first sight, the place is very small, but there’s an extra seating area downstairs. However, you will need some patience to enjoy your visit. In spite of how busy Vinitus gets, the staff is not taking reservations. If you are indecisive or have questions about certain tapas, ask your attendant for advice. We will come back for the modern environment, the artichoke chips, and the sangria. What about you?
Tapas at El Nacional are a sophisticated experience, which begins with the exterior of the restaurant’s 19th-century building. Before the wholesale renovation, the 2,600 square meters property was a textile factory, then a car dealer’s shop, and last a garage. Apart from the magnificent industrial interior, El National is also eminent for its unusual gastronomic concept. Choose from four themes (and areas within the same restaurant) depending on your appetite: La Braseria meat restaurant, La Lotja fish market, La Taperia tapas bar, and La Parada déli. Don’t be shy — raise your hand as soon as they call your favorite tapas dish. It’s yours now!
Queuing is part of the Barcelona tapas hopping fun (in the summer much more so) and adds to the social experience. No wonder many tapas bars, including Cerveceria Catalana, don’t accept booking requests. So, while waiting for your table, take advantage of Cerveceria Catalana’s selection of international and Spanish beers. The tapas are showcased at the bar, so you can point the ones you like, and they will come to your table.
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This Catalan bistro perfectly fits in the bohemian Gràcia district of Barcelona, which is less familiar to visitors, and greatly appreciated by locals. Santa Gula is a small place with a rustic decor and has a highly regarded regular clientele. The dishes are Mediterranean with international touches, and the menu changes every two weeks! The recipes include only seasonal ingredients to ensure the freshness and quality of all tapas.
La Pepita in Barcelona’s Eixample district is centrally located, so it can be one of the several places you will stop at throughout the night. This family-run tapas bar is tiny, yet very welcoming and easy-going. Take a seat at the cozy bar which specializes in gin cocktails, and ask for the specials of the day. Unleash the artist within and leave your mark on the wall! When you go to La Pepita, you will know exactly what we are talking about. For now, remember it’s closed on Sundays and Mondays.
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