The Best Tapas Bars In Barcelona And Madrid
The cities of Madrid and Barcelona couldn’t be much different. It’s Goya vs Gaudi, Ronaldo vs Messi, the capital vs a region which wants to escape Spain altogether. There are very few things they actually have in common, except one thing – incredible food.
In both cities from one side to the other, they are crammed with incredible restaurants whether that be fine dining, or simply enjoying a few dishes in one of their many backstreet bars. However, both also have slightly different takes on the staple tapas dishes which can be enjoyed all over Spain.
Naturally, the nation’s greatest food revolves around the two major cities, but if you’re visiting one, where should you be spending your time eating?
Here at alpharooms.com, there’s nothing we love more than the delights of dish after dish accompanied by a cerveza (Mahou in Madrid, Estrella in Barcelona), and we’ve highlighted our favourite tapas bars in both of these incredible cities…
Around seven million people reside in the Spanish capital and it feels like there are around seven million tapas bars to boot, with fantastic food offerings on almost every street corner. The city is famed for its tortilla de patata, a potato omelette which is Madrid cuisine at its simplest.
However, there’s plenty more on offer. Here are our five favourite places ranging from dive bars to Michelin-starred masterpieces that are only rivalled by Picasso.
Located on Calle Leon, Casa Gonzalez is a quaint little tapas bar which will transport you back to a bygone era. It has a simply fantastic wine cellar and a seat by the window is perfect for tucking into some of its renowned acorn-fed Iberian ham and watching the world go by.
If you can work your way through the Irish bars and the tourist trap of Puerta del Sol, Casa Toni is tucked away on Calle de la Cruz and is the epitome of what tapas is about. It shows no heirs and graces, offering food for under €10, but whilst the price may be cheap, the flavour is far from it.
In stark contrast, Albora, just a stone’s throw from Retiro Park will cost you around €70 to sample something from their menu although that comes from Michelin starred chef David Garcia. Its jamon iberico de bellota Joselito was named the best ham in the world and is one for those who really wish to indulge.
Bodega de la Ardosa
The Bodega de la Ardosa has over 110 years of history and is legendary amongst locals. It has some of the best beers on tap around and the tapas is excellent, serving up tortilla de patata and croquetas of blue cheese, salt cod, or cured beef.
During the summer months you’ll find it hard to get a table, but that just adds to a wonderful and authentic atmosphere.
It’s likely you’ll find it difficult to get in the door at El Tigre with it being something of a Madrid institution. Popular with youngsters the sangria is fantastic and tapas comes complimentary meaning it’s a real cheap eat in the city. And a splendid one too. Don’t let the dirty napkins on the floor put you off what is a truly brilliant, and truly Spanish vibe in El Tigre.
As you’d expect being by the coast, Barcelona’s tapas revolves heavily around seafood, and other ingredients grown along the Mediterranean coast. Paella is an extremely popular dish with it originating from Valencia, around 200 miles down the coast.
The city itself is one of the most incredible in Europe, with Gaudi’s architecture giving it its own identity away from the rest of the country, and that comes across in its dishes too. Here are our five favourite tapas bars in Barca.
Quimet i Quimet
One of Barcelona’s most iconic tapas bars, Quimet I Quimet lies just off the Av. Del Parallel and has been for 101 years. First opening as a wine shop the bar has earned somewhat of a reputation, particularly for its conservas, and the montaditos are truly wonderful.
It’s been a good few years since bull fighting was made illegal in Catalonia, so Los Toreros has turned into almost a museum for the sport. It’s one of the most traditional tapas bars in the city and great value with as many as seven dishes costing as little as €15. Located just off Les Ramblas it’s the perfect stop off during a busy day of sightseeing.
Located just a few minutes’ walk from Placa de Catalunya, La Flauta is a popular bar with locals and offers one of the widest range of your classic tapas dishes in town alongside their house speciality, las flautas, which are well and truly worth trying and involve small sandwiches rolled up into the shape of a flute.
You’ll have to snake the backstreets of Barca to find Bar Celta hidden away on Carrer de la Merce close to the harbour and is a classic Catalonian tapas bar. A staple in the city for over 40 years, it specialises in the seafood straight from the waters just a stone’s throw away, including boiled octopus with paprika and chocos, which are large rings of fried squid.
Bar Roure is Barcelona through and through. FC Barcelona basketball shirts line the walls, and it’s often full of locals enjoying a snack before hitting the town. Their range of tapas is quite incredible and serves some of the best paella in town – but only on a Thursday. Not far from the Diagonal Metro station, it’s the city at its very finest.