Saturday, 15 Dec 2018

Best cheap eats in Barcelona

Besides being a cultural hotspot with its historical buildings and unique city vibes, you’ll also find some innumerable cheap eats in Barcelona. You’ll be surprised to find that even the more expensive restaurants are accessible through their lunch menus or “menu del dia”, which often is comprised of 3 courses, plus a drink and coffee at a cost of around €10 – €15. If you don’t see it advertised, ask for this by name and usually you’ll be directed to a hand-written chalkboard in the corner.  To make your job easier while travelling, I’ve constructed a list (from experience) with my personal faves for the best cheap eats in Barcelona. Enjoy and you’re welcome in advance.

1. Chivuos

Chivuos serves street food prepared with a lot of care and technique. Their pulled pork sandwich (spoiler alert) is the best one you are likely to find in the city, plus their thick wedge potatoes come draped with melted cheese (yes please!). While you’re there be sure to try the in-house-made hot sauces, and wash everything down with one of their craft beers.

?Multiple locations across the city

? Check out their mouth-watering Instagram

2. Croq & Roll Vermuteria

They’ve taken the humble croquet and put a twist on it with all kinds of variations on the classic, like Gorgonzola and pear or shiitake with prawns. They even have dessert options – the mascarpone and Nutella are a crowd favourite.

? Ronda de Santa Pau 79

? Check out their mouth-watering Instagram

3. Bao Bao

Asian street food at its best, Bao Bao offers bun-baozi, a steamed Asian bread shaped into a bun ready for filling. Vegetarians can choose the Bao Gandhi and there is even a Bao Obama filled with barbeque chicken.

?Multiple locations across the city

? Check out their Facebook

cheap eats Barcelona - Bao Bao

4. Can Paixano / La Xampaneria

Located where El Born cedes to La Barceloneta, La Xampaneria is a bar from the Can Paixano wine and Cava producers. It’s been around for over 50 years and to our surprise, the prices have gone up modestly. Owing to their modest ways, unless you go early, you will find yourself immersed in a raucous crowd, sipping cava out of low coupes and tucking into all manner of tapas, canned food or warm sandwiches cooked to order on a hot plate behind the bar, so get there before the crowds to snag a table!

?Carrer de la Reina Cristina, 7

? Check out their Facebook

5. Pikio Taco

There are quite a few Mexican options in the city however, Pikio Taco, is a crowd favourite. Located across the road from Generator Barcelona, their tacos are affordable enough at €3.5 each allowing you to try from their impressive selection until your heart is content (and your belt buckle is about to pop). The Pikio with beef and chorizo is a nice nod to local tastes, while the Guacamole €4 and Nachos €8 make excellent sharing plates and how could you forget the frozen Margaritas’ €5, they’re a must-try!

? Carrer de Còrsega, 376.

? Check out their website

6. Poke Maoli

This fast and healthy Hawaiian bowl – like a deconstructed sushi roll complimented with plenty of added extras – has become a trend in Barcelona. Poké Maoli is the best of the lot and its location in Barceloneta, close to the iconic statue of a stack of cubes, makes it an ideal lunch option when you are looking for a quick and healthy dish to enjoy on the beach. Plus, all bowls are completely customizable to taste, talk about a win-win situation.

?Carrer Sevilla, 80

? Check out their website

7. Parking Pita

A good pita starts with the bread, freshly baked day and if it’s made right before it gets stuffed and served, well, then you are in pita heaven, my friend. Parking Pita comes from a restaurant group that likes to take over former parking garages, they’ve gone with the grey floors and walls and it works. Sit at the long communal table and order their riffs on the classic pita. The “tandoor” filled with organic chicken and flavoured with Indian spices is a good choice. Tip: if you are with friends, the creative veggie side dishes are good to share.

? Passeig de Sant Joan, 56

? Check out their mouth-watering Instagram

cheap eats Barcelona - Parking Pita

8. Gyoza Bar

On a street off the Arc de Triomf, home to a large Chinese population, you will find Gyoza Bar. It’s a corner restaurant with a rustic offering of a variety of gyoza or “empanadas chinas” as the locals like to call them. For just € 5 you get ten large handmade Chinese dumplings, steamed or pot sticker style. From the handful of sides, the smashed cucumber salad with peanuts and chillies are worth ordering and letting your pallet explore.

? Carrer de Roger de Flor, 57-59

? Check out their website

cheap eats Barcelona - Gyoza Bar

9. Ramen Shop

A tenner is all you need for a starter, a bowl of ramen and a drink at this popular ramen shop in the Gothic Quarter. The shops aesthetic is peaceful with its simple decoration and seating –  its most distinctive feature is the Manga cartoons that decorate some of the walls.

? Carrer d’en Gignàs

? Check out their Facebook

10. Tomasso

Tomasso is a New York-style pizzeria that specialises in creating authentic hand-stretched thin crust pizzas. You can go for an individual sized pizza (€10 – €13) or a large (€17 – €19), the large is big enough to wrap a fat baby in, should you so wish. They have a variety of tenderly made pizza options to choose from – for the pepperoni lovers out there the one here is a must-try.

? Carrer de Londres, 93

? Check out their website

11. A Tu Bola

Rotund food or balls is what is on offer at this tiny restaurant located in the Raval neighbourhood. The chef is Israeli, so as you would expect, the chickpea fritters are excellent but so are the Asian chicken meatballs, not forgetting the large chocolate ball for dessert.

?Carrer de Hospital, 78

? Check out their website

cheap eats Barcelona - A Tu Bola

12. Taller de tapas

You will be spoiled for choice here with over 40 dishes to choose from – a quarter of which are desserts (I’m not complaining). Opened by a Galician (Galicia is where all the best seafood in Spain comes from) and his British partner, Taller de Tapas now has 6 locations and they’re all popular and always buzzing.

?Multiple locations across the city

? Check out their website

13. La Cova Fumada

Birthplace of the ‘bomba’ – a round ball of potato and mincemeat, deep fried and served with a spicy salsa and aioli. It was invented some 60 years ago by Maria Pla to resemble the Catalan’s anarchists weapon of choice, a round iron ball of explosives. Besides this famous tapa and others, La Cova Fumada serves hearty lunches, like chickpea stews that are popular with the older locals.

? Carrer Baluard, 56.

? Check out their Facebook

14. Caravan Made – Food Truck

In the last 5 years, Barcelona has seen a trend growing with quite a few pop-up food markets appearing, Eat Street, Palo Alto, AllThose and Van Van to name the most popular. They have given the many food trucks a platform to exist on in a city that has strict rules on food trucks accessing the public market. Caravan Made, the brainchild of Sìlvia and Javi, is one of the original ones. Specialising in gourmet sandwiches with seasonal ingredients sourced as locally as possible. The duo studied at the local cookery school Hofmann before Javi did some work experience at the renowned El Celler de Can Roca. This training is evident with the first bite you take.

?C/Molí 2, Molins de Rei

? Check out their website

cheap eats Barcelona - Caravan made

 

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About the Author

Suzan trained as a chef at Leiths School of Food and Wine in London and worked in kitchens and restaurant management before settling in Barcelona. She uses food as a way to map out the city and her favourite spots offer good value, unique propositions and are the best at whatever they’ve decided to do. You can keep up with her explorations of the city on her blog – Foodieinbarcelona, Facebook, Instagram AND she has just launched an App – Foodie BCN.

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