Tapas crawls in Barcelona are not just a gastronomical experience. Whether it’s one of the organized around specific neighborhoods throughout the year, a tour that we simply create on our own following recommendations and gastronomic guides from the Internet, or just letting ourselves be carried away by our instinct, a tapas crawl is the perfect way of visiting streets and places full of charm and live like a local, socializing around food and drinks as it is done in Barcelona: like a pro.
Tapas crawl in Barcelona: the best “bravas” in the city
“Patatas bravas” is the most famous tapa in Barcelona. The perfect excuse to have a snack when you’re feeling peckish or perfect to enjoy with a glass of wine or beer in an informal way.
This dish consists on potato wedges first cooked and then fried in olive oil to make them crispy on the outside and silky on the inside. They are covered in sauce, usually, with a spicy kick.
In Barcelona you can find it in practically any bar, although the best ones leave the classic circuit and are in charming neighborhoods, which is the perfect excuse to visit them:
- Bar Tomas. This is one is considered for many people the bar that serves the best bravas in Barcelona, so it is worth going to check it out. Their version is a hearty and tasty (hence its success) portion of potatoes, topped with a homemade unique sauce. The perfect excuse to pay Sarriá a visit, one of the most imposing areas of the city. A morning walk among its elegant houses and the lower part of the Collserola mountain, will surely open the appetite!
- Bodega Montferry. Just ten minutes from your apartment on calle Entenza, this charming and authentic bodega is located in a typical square in Barcelona’s neighborhood, out of reach from tourists not because it isn’t charming, but because it is an exclusive patrimony and privilege of its neighbors. In this establishment you can enjoy supreme hand cut potatoes accompanied by a really spicy and delicious sauce, with a nice touch of rosemary that it the mark of the house.
- Lolita Tapería. The world of the tapa has its own traditions. One of them (and a very popular one in Barcelona) is the so-called “vermouth”, this consists on going out before lunch to have a drink, usually vermouth, accompanied with some olives, snacks and… of course, bravas. The best place to enjoy this tradition is the neighborhood of Sant Antoni, where this cozy bar is located and its excellent patatas bravas.
- Fábrica Moritz. Barcelona’s neighborhoods are excellent, but we understand that if you are going to visit the city in two or three days, you will probably focus on Gaudí’s Barcelona, Las Ramblas and, in short, its historic center, where in just two minutes from your apartment with breakfast included in Muntaner we find this old factory converted into a unique, captivating space. Designed by the prestigious architect Jean Nouvel (responsible for the beautiful souvenir that is the image of the Agbar tower illuminated that will remain in our memory forever) and where the patatas bravas are almost a design product. But not because their incredible presentation there’s a lack of flavor, since the elaboration respects the traditional essence of this tapa.
How to recognize a good tapas bar in Barcelona
If you have decided to make the route of the tapa in Barcelona following your instinct, we’d love to offer you several tips that will help you find the perfect bar:
- Stay away from the “golden mile”: Ramblas, Plaza Catalunya and its surroundings since they are a theme park for tourists where you will rarely find a local. The reason is that in these areas the food is treated as a souvenir more, rather than a gastronomic experience.
- Stay away from bars and restaurants with the paella sign: no bar that offers precooked paellas is worthy of mention. A good tapa is a homemade tapa, made with care and from scratch and not in a hurry in order to serve it at any price.
- Beware of the famous “we have sangría” sign: sangría is a Spanish invention to make a decent drink out of cheap red wine. It is indeed very tasty and of course we encourage you to try it, but in those bars where they advertise it with hype, what they really are saying is “we want to sell anything to tourists at an astronomical price”.
- Look for places where the bar is full of people: there is a curious Spanish way of distinguishing a good bar, and is that it will never be empty. It not about looking for a bar where you can’t be served or you cannot move, but to check if the bar counts with a decent crowd. If it does, it’ll probably be a great place to enjoy a tapas.
- Be careful of pretentious bars: a tapa is not a luxury. So don’t let them overcharge you, since it is a common practice in bars reconverted in “gourmet spaces” in order to raise prices. A good bar focuses on providing good food, not on providing an environment for executives.
Recipe of the authentic Spanish sangría:
Did you get annoyed when you found out that some bars offer poor quality sangria at ridiculous prices? Make sure you enjoy the authentic Spanish sangria by making it yourself in your rental apartment in Ramblas… And for less than 5 euros!
- One litre tetra brick of red wine (Yes, trust us…)
- A couple of peaches
- 1 apple
- 2 lemons
- 1 orange
- 1 small glass of cognac (can be substituted for rum or removed)
- 4 tablespoons of sugar
- A hint of nutmeg
- Half a liter of soda (regular soda or lemon/orange soda)