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Travel food guide extraordinaire and Instagram phenom Lauren Cunningham shares her favorite spots in Barcelona.
For travelers in Spain, the food tends to revolve around tapas: small plates and bites served to diners alongside drinks like vermouth, wine, and gin. But navigating this brave new world of delicious new foods can be tricky.

So, for starters, what is a tapa? Tapas are small, bite-sized foods, usually served on bread, that can be eaten as a snack or as a whole meal. Spaniards tend to eat lighter dinners than lunches, so if during your visit to Barcelona, you move from tapa bar to tapa bar, trying each one’s specialty alongside una caña (a small beer) or Catalonia-grown cava (sparkling wine), you’ll find plenty of locals doing the same thing.

There are a variety of tapas bars in Barcelona, from those that are upscale, to those that focus on pintxos (a Basque version of the tapa), and even those that make their own champagne. How can you choose which ones to visit? We’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of my favorites for every occasion.

Cervecería Catalana

For those days when tipping back a cold one sounds great.

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La Pepita

For when you’re tired after a day of Gaudi sightseeing. Visit.

Jai-Ca

For when you’re craving classic tapas—or three orders of Patatas Bravas. Visit.

Tickets

For when you’re in the mood to treat yourself (at one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants). Visit.

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Ciudad Condal

For when you’re out late. Visit.

Quimet y Quimet

For when you’re looking for something unique. Visit.

El Xampanyet

For when a wine bar will hit the spot (especially if they’re serving housemade champagne).

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Lamber

For when you need a bite after the Picasso Museum. Visit.

Maitea Taberna

For when you’re exploring Basque culinary traditions, like pintxos—an even more elaborate version of the tapa. Visit.

La Cova Fumada

For when you want to feel like a local. Visit.

Bar Canete

For when you want quality Catalonian food after your day meandering around La Rambla. Visit.

Casa Lolea

For when your thirst for sangria leads you to a modern take on tapas. Visit.   

And, to round out our list to a baker's dozen ... 

Sensi

For when something a little on the Italian side sounds good. Visit.

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Tags : BarcelonacuisinefeaturedFeatured Culturegastronomytapas
Lauren Cunningham

The author Lauren Cunningham

Since moving to Seattle in 2014, Lauren has eaten at over 200 restaurants. She's learned the city's ins and outs by bussing to new neighborhoods and walking their streets, stopping into bakeries, breweries and burger joints along her path. She's traveled all around the US and to eight different countries. She's dined in dingy dive bars, late-night diners and restaurants whose dishes are steeped, smoked, squid-inked, then plated like works of abstract, edible art. She finds joy in food and in sharing it with others.

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