Barcelona is one of those cities that almost everyone visits when they study abroad in Europe. Let me just tell you, it definitely lives up to the hype. I was fortunate enough to spend four amazing months there and eat like a queen (on a budget) the whole time. Seriously, the food in Barcelona is just as amazing as (if not better than) it’s infamous nightlife scene. Luckily for you, I’m going to impart my wisdom upon all of you study-abroad goers to make sure you hit up these can’t-miss spots and experience the culinary masterpiece that is Barcelona.
1. La Boqueria
This is the famous market in the center of the city. It might look intimidating at first, but you won’t be sorry that you ventured in. There are tons of different types of food, so whatever you are in the mood for you can be sure to find here. There are typical Spanish foods like paella and empanadas, but for those less-adventurous eaters you can also find what is, essentially, mini hot dogs and fries. This is a great place to people-watch and just wander up and down isles because it’s always packed with people.
What to get: cheap but delicious fruit smoothies, anything from the seemingly unlimited candy stall.
Insider tip: Don’t buy from the vendors near the edges- they jack up the prices for tourists. Venture on in!
2. Bo de B
I always tell people that I’m not a sandwich person, so when I love a sandwich you know it has to be pretty good. My sandwiches from Bo de B were the best I’ve ever had. Hands down. The portions are huge and cheap, what more could you ask for? You can make any type of sandwich you want, choosing from an array of conventional and un-conventional toppings. They also have plates if you’re trying to watch the carbs (but don’t do that when you study abroad unless you want to miss out on the best things in life) and tons of side dishes. The patatas bravas, a Spanish favorite that resembles steak fries with a drizzled chipotle sauce, are also amazing and highly recommended. Basically everything here is recommended.
What to get: any type of sandwich
Insider tip: Try to get there as early as possible around lunch time because it’s super small. You can take your food to go but the line is still always up the block, with good reason.
3. Brunch and Cake
If you’re feeling a little bit homesick and are looking for an American meal, Brunch and Cake is definitely the spot. Even if you’re not longing for familiar food, you should still go. Seriously, I took my parents here when they came to visit and they could not stop raving about it. The ingredients are always fresh and you cannot go wrong with anything you choose from the menu. There is a little something for everyone here: brunch food, lunch food, and dessert. This place is great because they put a little twist on classic dishes that take the taste to the next level.
What to get: Eggs benedict on a waffle… your life will never be the same.
Insider tip: Go for the brunch, stay for the cake. Even if you think you’re full, you always have room for dessert, and I promise you that the extra calories will be well worth it.
4. Cuidad Condal
If you’re looking for more traditional Spanish tapas — which you should definitely try at some point while in Barcelona — you’ve found your spot. The location could not be more perfect since it’s right in the center of the city. Tapas are a great way to sample lots of great Spanish food in one sitting. As soon as you walk into this restaurant, you see a glass case that previews all the delicious-looking food. The menu is very extensive and offers a range of dishes from very traditional Spanish items to things you would probably deem as American. Definitely get a little adventurous though and taste the local culture.
What to get: This sounds weird but get the pasta salads… can you say crab meat and shrimp, anyone? You can also never go wrong with the patatas bravas.
Insider tip: If you’re going for dinner, early is the word. It is definitely worth the wait but there could be a long one if you show up on the later side.
Now that you have your go-to brunch, lunch, snack and dinner spots, I would say that you’re officially ready to take Barcelona by storm and eat like the true king/queen you really are.