• Monday, September 28, 2020

What To Do In Barcelona

July 24, 2019
By , Associate Editor

Good for: Solo travelers, couples, groups of friends and families. Come one, come all. 

Suggested Stay: 3-4 days

Why now: Soho House has opened, and the food scene is having a renaissance. 

Time to go: All year round. Barcelona is always a good idea.

When you think of Spain, you may think of drinking sangria until the morning, eating gelato all day, stopping at every tapas bar, and soaking up the sun. In other words, you think of Barcelona. Of all the Spanish cities, Barcelona may just be the one that epitomizes the hedonistic Spanish way of life.

You already partied in Barcelona when you were college – but the beauty of the Catalonia capital is that this time around, you don’t need to be any more mature than you were then. It’s a place where you never need to grow up. Sure, you’re not staying in a hostel this time, but the “enjoying life” part of the trip remains quintessential. Even if you never once set foot in the Picasso Museum (which, by the way, you should), it’s still all about walking the promenade, eating dinner at 10 or 11 at night, and staying in all the best places to stay.

We have the insider list of all the best places to eat from Hidy Cheng, the Restaurant Groupie herself. From El Quim where you should go for breakfast, Cerveceria Catalana where you should sit at the bar and order the freshest seafood, to La Paradeta (go to the one in Eixample) where the green sauce is like crack – this girl knows her food.


El Quim, in the Boqueria market. Go for breakfast or right before noon on Monday, when they open later (it’s closed on Sunday). Order the xipirones (tiny squid) with egg, and the foie dish – but everything is good here.

Cerveceria Catalana. Sit at the bar and order fresh seafood. It’s always packed, open between lunch and dinner, and the specials are always delicious. Relatively well priced.

Bar Canete. Really solid food, but you need a reservation. We recommend the lobster croquettes, the shrimp omelet, their rice of the day, and the canelloni. Need reservation.

Bar del Pla. Steak by weight, awesome foie dishes, insane mushroom salad with strawberries. You also need a reservation.

La Paradeta, but go to the one in Eixample (it’s bigger, the wait is shorter, and it’s reasonably priced for the freshest seafood). Their green sauce is like crack – ask for extra! You choose your fresh seafood up front in the market, they weigh it and you choose its prep. Crab relleno (salad in the shell, you mix with the tomalley), razor clams (grilled), txipirones (tiny squid) fried, gambas (huge shrimp, grilled, better than the langoustine), squid grilled (so fresh and simple), berberechos (cockles) grilled (get a whole bag), and the monkfish soup are all great choices. They also have one in the Sitges beach town, a 40-min train ride away.

Xiringuito Escriba for the seaside paella. It’s a little pricier than other places, but it’s worth it. The squid ink paella all the way. Get the airbag with jamon, and the croquetas are also made with iberico jamon. The cod fish fritters are super light and fluffy. You’ll need a reservation though.

Paco Meralgo, a sit-down place, which is great fresh seafood options, and is really solid food. Make a reservation.

Llamber, in the Born. You can get tapas and sit outside. They have great charcuterie (embutidos) and other creative small plates. You can sit on the plaza.

El Xampanyet. Cava, anchovies, conservas. Stop in and just get a glass and some anchovies and sardines and be on your way. It’s popular with both tourists and locals.

La Xampanyeria / Can Paixano. A fun, raucous bar. Get a bottle of their rose brut, and mixed grilled sausages. Cheap, delicious pork sandwiches too. Very crowded all the time, but fun atmosphere.

Tapeo, a sit-down place in El Born. We recommend the squid ink fideos and apps.

Red Ant Noodles, your local Asian spot.

Viena, for flautas with jamon. You can get it to-go, while walking on Las Ramblas.

Quimet & Quimet- pintxos, mostly cold.

Sagardi, barra de las pintxos, in El Born. Fun, and the passed hot stuff is good too.

Ciudad Condal, for tapas. But it’s very busy all the time.

El Nacional marketplace. It’s touristy, but cool to see.

Betty Ford, and expat bar with a fun atmosphere.


Welcome to Barcelona, where eating, drinking, and enjoying the sun is your dose of culture.