Barcelona on a Budget
I've never tried the International boards before so thanks in advance for your help.
Traveling to Barcelona and looking for cheap eats near the University or in Exiample. Love local unique places that are not fancy. Looking for lunch and diner but also great bakeries and treats. Markets are excellent esp those off the beaten path open during the week. I've searched the Board and have found a lot of high-end stuff but wonder if there are any cheap eats out there.
What is "cheap"? Except for a few exceptions such as Comerc24, Santa Maria, most tapas and pinxtos are inexpensive. I would search the board for those. Below is a link to help you get started. It has some of my favorite inexpensive places as well bakeries, etc. Central Barcelona is quite small, therefore, don't limit yourself to the Universtat/Exiample.
Another great bakery for breakfast and other goodies is Forno de Sant Jaume in the Eixample.
There are markets in just about every neighborhood: in the Eixample are Sant Antoni, Concepcion, El Ninot. Santa Caterina in El Born and of course the Boqueria on Las Ramblas.
Not knowing where you come from and what kind of restaurant budget you are used to, I don't know how to advise either re the cheap issue. :-)
Compared to other European capitals, Barcelona is inexpensive, even though its standards are high (eats, museums, fashion, public transport, etc.).
I agree with PBSF's recs, as usual.
I want to add feet to the snake drawing, as the Chinese proverb goes:
- Although I'm a die-hard El Born fan, I marvel at how hip and fun El Raval has become, and it is quite near the Universitat. Seems like only yesterday it was absolute no-man's-land. Now it is the "in" place of the city.
- In a larger sense, the entire Barcelona is like that. One can be gone for just 6 months, and the neighborhoods one thinks one knows well have a whole new look, with different restos, different cafés, different shops. But just about all the neighborhoods are gtetting better all the time, except the Ramblas which looks a little worse for the wear. Like the Raval, the other no-man's-land was Escudellers in the old town. The 1st time I visited it, my then boyfriend told me to put my hands over my nose, so that flies would not fly in my nostril. Now even Escudellers is so well cleaned up, looking so luminous and - o miracle - so much wider that I didn't recognize it. I want to mention one restaurant on PBSF's link: Los Caracoles, which is on Escudellers. It is not so much a restaurant as an anthropological haut lieu. It does not change and neither do the druggies who nod out outside next to its rotisserie. Straaaaange.
- The Eixample has a lot of nice hidden corners and courtyards. But I have a problemw with it. It's not the Eixample, it's me. The grid block configuration is boring. I walk 5 minutes there and feel bored and tired. I walk forever in the old town and am never tired.
- Both the Eixample and El Raval have lots of inexpensive and good tapas bars and restos: Cerveceria Catalonia, La Bodegueta (on Rambla Catalunya), Paco Meralgo (on Muntaner ), all in Eixample.
I agree with your opinions on El Ravel and the Eixample. After the opening of the MACBA a few years ago, El Ravel is ever changing, becoming very gentrified, attracting mostly a young artistic crowd. New cafes and informal places to get seems to mushroom daily among the old timers such as Meson David (not recommended) and Can Luis (good menu del dia). The food may not have the cache of El Born but it is the area to find food with a fusion twists; salads and vegetarian everywhere. During the day, it is a great place for people watching with young/hip mingling with the old timers and people of Middle Eastern decent as well as Asians. Thank goodness places such as Can Luis, Man I Teca, Anima are still there and also Kasparo, Baraka and Tres Tombs. There is even a Camper hotel.
My feeling for the Eixample is similar to yours. Because of the shops, beautiful architecture and bustling atmosphere, it is a wonderful area to stroll during the day. At night with the shops shuttered and except for the beautifully lit Pg de Gracia, much is the area is dark and deserted. I can't remember the number of times that I’ve had to make the tiring and tedious walk at night to some of my favorite places: Taktika Berri, Ciutat Condal, Paco Meralgo, Sauc, Coure.