¡HOLA, escapaders! Let’s walk our paws over to the splendid coastal city of Barcelona, Spain. Indisputably rich in history and culture, this cosmopolitan city is one of my favorite places in the world. After roaming around the Catalonian capital for several months this year, I revisited many of my go-to spots that I found over the years while my robust wet nose and four paws led me to marvelous new ones. While tourists continued to flock to the world-famous Ciutat Comtat and its sister restaurant Ciudad Condal, I was determined to sniff out and mark up some hidden gems or spots that could be equally cool, and of course, worthy of my big appetite. Sniff out my 10 BEST PLACES TO EAT AND DRINK IN BARCELONA:
#1 BEST PLACE TO EAT AND DRINK IN BARCELONA
Where: Passatge de Simó, 20, 08025
Atmosphere: A hip yet casual wine bar for Barcelona’s young and fabulous crowd. It’s a remarkable meeting place! Come here to sip on wine and beer, snack on a variety of delicious homemade tapas, and admire some fantastic art exhibitions. You place your order at the register and your food and drinks will be subsequently delivered to your table.
Dog-friendly: Yes, with limited outdoor seating in the front and occasionally inside.
MUST-HAVE(S): Papas Arrugas! Take a bite of these nicely salted sliced boiled potatoes with luscious mojo picón (a classic Spanish red pepper sauce) and a fancy ranch-like sauce as an alternative.
Why it’s on my COOL list: Their exuberance makes for a fun spot to meet old friends and perhaps even make new ones. The homemade tapas here are fresh and totally worth begging for!
#2 BEST PLACE TO EAT AND DRINK IN BARCELONA
Where: Carrer de Ginebra, 13, 08003
Atmosphere: A traditional tapas bar with modern flair in La Barceloneta attracting both neighborhood regulars and tourists.
Dog-friendly: No, but you can always ask!
MUST-HAVE(S): Grilled prawns! Woooof, these prawns are extrordinarily luscious and palate-pleasing, inside out. You can easily tell that the grill-master here is no amateur. I made sure I gobbled down and sucked up every single bite, even the crispy shell!
And, don’t forget to try a bomba. Made famous right here in Barceloneta, bombas are fiery deep-fried balls made of mash potatoes and ground meat stuffing, drizzled with aioli or flavorful hot sauce on the outside.
Why it’s on my COOL list: This tapas bar is LEGIT. It’s spot-ON. It offers toothsome meticulously-plated food in a timeless setting with a contemporary twist.
#3 BEST PLACE TO EAT AND DRINK IN BARCELONA
BAR LA TASQUETA 1800
Where: Carrer de Balboa, 10, 08003
Atmosphere: A small cozy bar in the beautiful Barceloneta neighborhood with a laid-back, yet authentic ambience offering savory tapas, large plates, and bocadillos (Spanish sandwiches) to accompany your cold beers!
MUST-HAVE(S): Manchego! Manchego is a mouthwatering cheese derived from sheep in the La Mancha region of Spain. Aged for 60 days to 2 years, it has a rich nutty flavor that complements a cold beer perfectly.
And, don’t forget the bombas (or bombetas) here! A simple gaze of these potato balls made me lick my chops repeatedly before I even got a chomp! It’s a real dreamy taste; imagine a crunchy deep fried spicy exterior followed by a soft and juicy meaty mash interior. Mmmm.
Why it’s on my COOL list: ARRRFFF, I show my utmost satisfaction walking out of this joint with an upright tail. A yorkie can’t complain when he just gorged on enticing Spanish food and sipped on a refreshing cold beer while chillin’ to a very relaxed local vibe.
#4 BEST PLACE TO EAT AND DRINK IN BARCELONA
Where: Carrer dels Carders, 35, 08003
Atmosphere: An outdoors cafe run entirely by a local non-profit organization, offering a free-spirited Bohemian-type vibe and a colorful decor blending antiques with modernity. With a unique location near a tunnel, Mescladis offers hot and cold drinks, made-to-order tapas, AND warm blankeys (for those chilly days).
MUST-HAVE(S): Sangria! Slurp this fruity Spanish classic while watching pesdestrians in the nearby tunnel.
Why it’s on my COOL list: Talk about hidden gems! My tail wags upon arrival of this unique kick-it spot that not only gives back to the community, but also serves up a variety of drinks along with appetizing food derived from ORGANIC ingredients.
#5 BEST PLACE TO EAT AND DRINK IN BARCELONA
Where: Carrer de la Indústria, 132
Atmosphere: A dashing neighborhood tapas bar filled with young and old locals from morning until night. There’s a window for take-away items if you choose not to dine in.
Dog-friendly: Yes, with limited outdoor seating.
MUST-HAVE(S): TAPAS, of course! Try all my favorites here – grilled calamari (seasoned with garlic and olive oil), patatas bravas (fried potato cubes adorned with aioli), Russian salad (mayo-based potato salad accompanied by sliced baguette with tomato spread), and jamón (dry-cured ham, a Spanish classic).
Why it’s on my COOL list: My upright tail started wagging upon arrival for authentic tapas that are super tasty and sniff-worthy. AND, I get to hang with the locals like I belong. How awesome is that?
#6 BEST PLACE TO EAT AND DRINK IN BARCELONA
Where: Carrer del Rosselló, 495, 08025
Atmosphere: Another no hassle, no fuss establishment serving traditional Spanish dishes operated by Chinese-Spaniards (you’ll notice this trend throughout major cities in the country). Just straight up quality food at an affordable price.
Dog-friendly: Yes, with outdoor seating.
MUST-HAVE(S): Paella de marisco (seafood paella)! I licked my plate CLEAN to one of the best seafood paellas I’ve ever tasted in Spain, and trust me, I’ve gobbled down quite a few. Served in a sizable portion, it comes with a shell-on prawn (gotta get your paws dirty), mussels, and chopped calamari. Squeeze that lemon wedge to make it extra juicy!
Why it’s on my COOL list: This corner neighborhood favorite has some ridiculous deals on irresistible eats. I walked away as a full-sized yorkie! I love their cheap daily specials that consist of a scrumptious 3-course meal (plus a drink). You can devour your tapas and paella de marisco in peace with zero level of pretension.
#7 BEST PLACE TO EAT AND DRINK IN BARCELONA
PASTISSERIA HAND MADE
Where: Carrer de los Castillejos, 334, 08025
Atmosphere: A cutesy coffee shop setting off a feel-good vibe that’s straight out of a child’s colorful storybook. It is operated by a very kind elderly couple who makes every pastry on the menu from SCRATCH.
MUST-HAVE(S): Matcha cupcake! This ambrosial cupcake is made from matcha powder (green tea) daily here; it is extremely moist, not overly sweet (since the tea flavor offsets the sugar), and tastes absolutely sensational with every single bite.
Why it’s on my COOL list: The owners rock! After seeing me wrapped around with my blankey outside (it was a very chilly day), they kept insisting that I go inside for shelter. Super sweet. Whether you need to get some work done or just feel like slowing down the pace of life to a cup of tea and some sweets, Pastisseria Hand Made is such an oh-so-darling place to be.
#8 BEST PLACE TO EAT AND DRINK IN BARCELONA
Where: Carrer de Sant Antoni Maria Clare, 12
Atmosphere: An laid-back, unadorned local restaurant that’s run by Chinese-Spaniards. It may sound a tad boring, but I love it because the authenticity is striking. You’ll see the elderly Spaniards stroll in here for an afternoon snack like they own this place. Gotta wag my tail to that.
MUST-HAVE(S): Bocadillos! I loved tearing apart tuna and chicken bocadillos with my carnivore teeth. These simple, yet tasty and filling sandwiches assembled with baguettes typically over one type of meat or cheese are my GO-TO snack when my four paws are, well, on-the-go.
Why it’s on my COOL list: Need I bark more? You want an authentic local spot with paw-licking food to chomp on? This is your spot!
#9 BEST PLACE TO EAT AND DRINK IN BARCELONA
MESON DEL CAFE
Where: Carrer de la Llibreteria, 16, 08002
Atmosphere: A cozy cafe-bar located in tourist central, BUT that’s not to say that this place isn’t cool. It sets off a very classic old school vibe that takes you back a couple decades. With a resident dog on duty, this traditional joint has been run by old-timers for, well, many dog years.
Dog-friendly: Yes, there is a resident dog, after all!
MUST-HAVE(S): Drinks! Sure, there are plenty of tapas to choose from, but I recommend grabbing an icy cold bottle of Estrella Damm or a glass of sangria as you look for some action from passerby on the bustling street.
Why it’s on my COOL list: My Sherlock wet nose sniffed out this lively place after walking miles on end to explore the dynamic city. With its convenient location, Meson del Cafe is the perfect place to sit down for a second, rest your feet (well, keep your shoes on though!), and unwind for a bit before getting back into the Dora the Explorer mode.
#10 BEST PLACE TO EAT AND DRINK IN BARCELONA
Where: Carrer del Pou de la Cadena, 8, 08003
Atmosphere: It may be located in the city center, but Story is no tourist trap. WOOF-Hoo! Offering live jazz music on several weeknights, this trendy establishment has a full bar AND a library room where you can sip on coffee while indulging in a good storybook.
MUST-HAVE(S): Veggie sandwich! I begged for a bite of this healthy delicious snack; served on rustic bread, this veggie sandwich is an herbivore’s dream assembled with roasted eggplant, grated tomatoes, and crisp lettuce.
Why it’s on my COOL list: The sophisticated environment makes for the perfect place to meet up with friends, enjoy a cup of hot tea or glass of cold beer, and fill a yorkie’s stomach with some wholesome healthy food.
Markin’ it up,
Roger Wellington a.k.a. The Doob