In the past month or so, three of my good friends have reached out to me for advice on how to make the most of their trip to Barcelona and of course, I’m always bursting with excitement to share my go-to places with whoever is willing to listen!
These convos with my girlfriends also reminded me that I never finished the list of posts I intended to write about my incredible five-month stay in Barcelona. So after having named the best bars, clubs, rooftops, as well as THE yummiest place for brunch (in the entire world), this post will be dedicated to my favorite Tapas bars.
But before going any further, I’d like to do a quick Tapas 101 for those of you who, like me before moving to Barcelona, have no clue what tapas are.
In Spanish cuisine, Tapas consist of an array of hot or cold appetizers that are served to accompany conversations while you wait for your main course. In tapas bars, the custom is to order many different tapas to share with your friend(s) and combine them to make a full meal.
In Barcelona, many restaurants will serve you “pan con tomate”, which are slices of bread topped with olive oil and ripe tomato, before you order your meal.
On a side note, if you want to impress your friends between two jokes and a sip of that ice cold glass of sangria, you may as well want to know that “tapa” means “pot cover”, or “lid” in spanish. The word’s current meaning is derived from Andalusian tavern clients who would protect their glasses of wine from fuit flyers by covering their drinks with either bread or ham. The ham being very salty, would augment thirst, thus increasing alcohol consumption. Bar tenders and restaurant owners then created a wide range of appetizers to serve with wine, in order to grow their alcohol sales. That’s how tapas were born!
Now let’s get straight to business! My favorite tapas bar of all times is called Jai Ca.
The small restaurant located in the heart of Barcelona, teems with tourists and locals at every hour of the day and night. It’s the type of eatery that is so popular, that the barely english-speaking staff can afford the luxury of not being nice. Not that they are particularly rude, they just don’t have time (or money) to waste being too polite.
Once you’ve managed to get a table, do yourself a favor and order a pitcher of their mouth-watering Sangria de Cava (white sangria) while you and your friends decide on which of their delicious tapas to share. They offer a wide range of fish tapas, but my absolute favorite ones are the Gambas a la Plancha ( a bit pricey and greasy, but to die for!), the mussels, the teriyaki chicken, a piece of their huge “tortilla de patatas”, and of course, “patatas bravas” are a must. I hope you’re not on a diet and you have a big appetite! 😉
Now make sure to get there way before 11:30pm – the closing time – because they will absolutely kick you out whether you have finished dining or not. Yes, they’re posh like that, but the food and the ambiance are great. 🙂
Note the address: Carrer de Ginebra, 13, 08003
Another favorite tapas bar worth mentioning is Blai 9. I was pleasantly surprised by the concept of this small and charming restaurant located on the buoyant Blai street. Unlike your typical tapas bar, Blai 9, offers a pay per tapas (1€ or 1.5€ per tapas) buffet that will have you drool. Their menu differs from the other restaurants in that instead of using bread as a base for their tapas, they utilise a range of products from other cultures such as Blinis, Crêpes, Piadine, Croquettes, Pitas and Churros, and fill them with traditional tapas ingredients like squid, mini chorizos, spicy sausage, smoked salmon, salted and fresh anchovies, prawns, mini burgers and tortilla de patata; making for an absolute delight for your taste buds.
The crowded eatery has very few tables, so most people stand up, which is totally fine because it creates a very friendly and informal atmosphere.
Note the address: 9 Carrer de Blai , 9 Poble Sec, 08004
I hope you have the best time in Barcelona! See you on the next post!