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Barcelona is full of ridiculously fantastic restaurants from contemporary to old school but we were partial to the old school restaurants. It was a chance to slip back in time and experience Catalan cuisine at its most rustic. Because we like to share, we thought we would share our favorite old school restaurants that just ooze Barcelona charm. If you can stand at the counter or drink the house wine out of a porron or drop napkins on the floor then sign us up!
Welcome to our Barcelona Series! Here in this series you will learn everything you need to have a perfect time in Barcelona. We are all about eating, drinking and living local and there is no place we like to do all of that better than Barcelona!
Here is what you can expect from this series:
Classic Old School Barcelona Restaurants – You’re Here!
7 Top Old School Restaurants in Barcelona!
Carrer de Manso, 52
Bodega Rafael, located near the market of Sant Antoni (sadly still under construction), is a thriving old school bodega thanks to Time Out Barcelona. They are still doing things the old way, though, especially since they were shocked by their newfound fame. Bodega Rafael is certainly THE spot to try some classic Catalan dishes including Bacalao a la Llauna, salt cod in a tin, with white beans or a traditional escalivada, a salad of salt cod, tomatoes, and bell pepper. If you just want some tapas with the house wine you can easily do that too just be warned the bar gets packed by 7 pm! This is a place we would love to become locals at!
Carrer de la Reina Cristina, 7
In the mood for cava? And cheap cava at that? Then make your way over to Can Paixano on the border of Barceloneta and El Born for some of the best and cheapest cava you can find in Barcelona. Just note, they won’t sell you a bottle of cava without a food purchase but to be honest, why wouldn’t you buy some food here? What you should go for is their sandwiches. They are amazing, partly because the grill never gets cleaned and they just keep on cooking on it, incorporating all the previous deliciousness into your sandwich, and partly because of all the delicious meat options available. This place is always packed, sometimes there is even a line outside, but it is always worth it! You won’t find a better deal in Barcelona for cava!
Vaso de Oro
Calle de Balboa, 6
Not a fan of cava? No worries, there is a beer place just for you. Vaso de Oro has been making and serving their own beer for over fifty years and it is such a refreshing change from estrella or van dam.
Their small restaurant where the bar runs the length of the room with just a few tables is always packed with locals drinking down beer and snacking on some of the best pimiento padrons we’ve ever had, foie gras and their famous steak. This place is everything you want out of an old school place: waiters in white jackets with epaulets, beer constantly flowing, conversations just under a roar and plenty of delicious food that doesn’t stop coming. This is a perfect place to pop in after a day at the beach to revive you and get you ready for a night out or maybe a siesta….
Calle de la Maquinista, 3
You can’t leave Barcelona without trying la bomba, a delicious ball of fried mashed potatoes stuffed with ground veal and topped with aioli and spicy bravas sauce. While la bomba was invented down the road at La Cova Fumada we personally enjoy the ones at La Bombeta better. Plus we enjoy the ambiance and the rest of the food at La Bombeta better as well. This place is always busy so be prepared to wait for a table. This is a no-nonsense place (don’t even ask for wifi, seriously there is a sign all over the wall) serving up fantastic Catalan-inspired tapas. Also if you like mushrooms I’ve had the best I’ve ever had in my life there and I don’t even like mushrooms….
Carrer de Montcada, 22
We talk about El Xampanyet a lot, so much so that it pops up in my phones autocorrect.. And it is certainly is one of our favorite places. If you find yourself in El Born near tapas hours be sure to wiggle your way to the bar, grab a liter of their house made cava and work your way through their amazing tapas. Currently, our favorites are their marinated tuna with leeks and volcanic salt, potatoes stuffed with chorizo and a plate of their ridiculously succulent grilled calamari. But honestly you can’t go wrong with most dishes here especially their canned food (yes canned food, we’ve covered how delicious it can be before)
Carrer de Tordera, 62
Cal Boter is a little hole in the wall restaurant in Gracia, a neighborhood which is essentially still it’s own village, that is famous for its grilled snails. If you love snails THIS is the place to visit. They are famous for grilling their food in the traditional way over a charcoal grill and you can most definitely get traditional dishes here besides the snails including Botifarra amb mongetes or Botifarra sausage with white beans or a casserole of pork trotters and snails (if you are into that kind of thing like Alex). This place is popular so if you really want to go here I would highly suggest making reservations and yes, they speak English for the most part.
Quimet y Quimet
Carrer del Poeta Cabanyes, 25
We were introduced to Quimet y Quimet by Edna and Joe and we have been back several times since that first introduction and have loved it every time. Quimet y Quimet is a traditional tapas bar but they spice things up with foie gras, tuna belly, truffle honey and smoked salmon. I’ll give you four guesses as to why we like this place…. Not only is the food amazing but the vibe is totally our style too; relaxed, crowded, no nonsense, just a focus on enjoying great food and cava at this local neighborhood joint!
There are so many options for cuisine across Barcelona and these are some of the best traditional restaurants there are. While we love modern dining we always feel that we need and should experience both to see how the cuisine began and has developed. The cuisine offers such an interesting look into the history of the region and the traditional restaurants and cuisine of Barcelona are no different. But you shouldn’t just hunt down these restaurants for their history but because they are amazing as well; also you get a great chance to eat like locals! So when in Barcelona don’t forget to visit the top 7 old school restaurants in Barcelona!
Read On to Read the Rest of the Series!
Classic Old School Barcelona Restaurants – You’re Here!
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