paella from Cerveceria Catalana

Paella Perfection


8 Tapas and Paella Restaurants to Try in Barcelona

This past September, I finally made it back to Barcelona after an eight-year hiatus!

Not having visited this city for that long of a period, this recent visit to Barcelona, Spain felt like it was my first time. There was a feeling of familiarity when I visited iconic sites in Barcelona such as the Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell.

But at the same time, it all felt new.

There was one thing that I do remember on my last visit to Barcelona: going to this one restaurant (that I sadly don’t remember the name. I mean, that was in 2008) and having the best paella I’ve ever had.

Barcelona is not typically known as the region to find the best paella (that recognition belongs to Valencia, which I have yet to visit!) But the paella that I had in Barcelona back in 2008 was so good that I still think about to this day!

So when I made the (last minute) decision to visit Barcelona during my two-week Europe pit stop, I knew right away my mission for the trip: eat paella and affordable tapas as much as possible.


Here are the 8 restaurants you must visit when in Barcelona:


1. La Flauta

Carrer d’Aribau, 23, 08011

My first restaurant stop in Barcelona was La Flauta.

And it was also the restaurant that made me realize: I think I prefer the baguettes in Spain than in France (Don’t hurt me, French people!)

Something about the way it’s toasted and the combination of flavors (jamon iberico, cheese, olives, or anchovies, even eggplants….) that just makes my eyeballs roll back as I stuff it in my face (yay for visuals!)

Anyways, La Flauta also has plenty of choices for fresh seafood.


Flauta con jamon


Fresh mussels


2. Tapa Tapa

Passeig de Gràcia, 44, 08007

I learned something new on this visit to Barcelona: Catalonians only eat paella during the day. As such, many restaurants do not offer paella in their dinner menu.

But if you are really craving paella for dinner and can not wait until lunch time the next day, hit any of the touristy streets like Passeig de Gracia to get your paella fix.

I tried Tapa Tapa, located right along the busy street of Passeig de Gracia.


seafood paella tapa tapa

Seafood paella from Tapa Tapa


croquetas tapa tapa

Croquetas from Tapa Tapa



3. Il Café di Francisco

Carrer del Consell de Cent, 347

It’s a chain, but I don’t care.

The Il Café di Francisco right on Consell de Cent has some of the tastiest toasty baguettes, churros, and tsokolate I’ve tried, on top of a chill and very Spanish ambiance.

They also have wifi – perfect to take pictures of your churros and chocolate drink if you need to upload on Intagram, stat!

I loved it so much that I didn’t bother trying any other places in Barcelona for breakfast.


Breakfast in Café Il di Francisco

Breakfast in Café di Francisco



flauta breakfast barcelona

So toasty!



4. Cerveceria Catalana

Carrer de Mallorca, 236, 08008

Strong paella game, this place!

The first bite of my seafood paella immediately brought back memories of my 2008 paella fantasy – so that says a lot.

I usually stick to a rule of not going back to the same restaurant again. But after that first bite of paella, I went back again for dinner.



squid tapa cerveceria catalana

Fresh squid!


5. Vinitus

Carrer del Consell de Cent, 333

I love this restaurant not because of their amazing selection of tapas, but because the brute honesty of the server and the level of shade when she stopped me mid-order, “you’ve ordered a lot already, no?”

I wasn’t even halfway through….


seafood tapa vinitus barcelona

Plenty of seafood selection!



6. 7 portes

Passeig d’Isabell, 14, 08003

Great ambiance! Perfect setting for group dinners and/or a romantic evening with your boo (or tinder/grindr date.)

Locals frequently recommended 7 portes for the best paella – and it didn’t disappoint!


seafood paella 7 portes

Seafood paella 7 portes



8. Restaurante Salamanca

Calle Almirall Cervera, 34, 08003

Shut the front door because the seafood paella at Salamanca was the best out of the ones I’ve tried.

After the first bite of their seafood paella, I already knew it.

It took over an hour and a half just to finish off that plate. It took a hot minute not because of the size of the plate (it was massive, good for three people), but because I made sure I took my time to savor every flavor of the tastiest paella I’ve had to date.

It surpassed my 2008 paella.

Mission accomplished!


Seafood Paella at Restaurante Salamance

Seafood paella at Restaurante Salamanca



croquetas in restaurante salamance

I’ve never used cute to describe croquetas before… but here it is: they are so cute!