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May 29, 2011 09:29 PM

Barcelona - Everyday, cheaper restaurants

I know, search, there is tons on Barcelona. Thats just the problem, there is too much! I've found some really good rec's for top notch places that we will probably have one night (we are there 3 nights), but for the other nights and lunches I'm looking for more casual, cheaper places that are still good and not super touristy places. I found this post:

Which had some great recs by PBSF, "...some good everyday places that I like:
Sureny, Envalira, Bodega Manolo, Foquer and Goliard...". These places or similar or even more casual would be perfect, but then I realized these particular ones are all in Gracia area. We are staying in the marina area (Marina View BCN), so I was wondering if there are places closer to that that would be good. Or in Barri Gotic, Barcelonita, or close by there.

For a really good meal we'll probably go one night to either Alkimia, Gresca, or Cinq Centis.

On the tripadvisor reviews for our hotel/B&B some people commented on some restaurants close by that they liked...but I tend to not trust those as much as here. Anyone have any comments on these, they were:

Cal Pep, Taller De Tapas, Quiz Nits, Pjtarra.

Thanks in advance, I do plan on doing more searching and if I find things specific to my questions I'll repost here. I just don't have the much time before our trip!

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  1. Barceloneta: in the center near the mercat are Can Mano and La Cova de Fumada. Both inexpensive and good down home cooking, especially at Can Mano where I never spend more than 10euro including house red. Don't expect lots of finesse or frills. La Cova serves tapas also. Can Mao for good seafood.
    One can't avoid tourists in El Born and the Gotic. El Born is fully gentrified, therefore, there are very few good inexpensive sit down places; many of the new places serve eclectic/fusion rather than Catalan cooking. Petra was decent but I have not been there in years. La Paradeta for inexpenisve for seafood.
    El Ravel: Anima, Can Lluis, Ca L'Estevet.
    The Eixample has better choices for inexpensive and moderate restaurants, otherwise eat tapas and pintxos in El Born and the Gotic; except for the 'designer' places, they are inexpensive. There are tons of places with better tapas and atmosphere than your mentioning of Taller de Tapas. And there are many previous threads on tapa/pintxos eating in Barcelona.
    Below is a recent thread on menu del dia:

    1. "Cal Pep, Taller De Tapas, Quiz Nits, Pjtarra"

      Everyone comes from a different country with its own currency ups and downs and one's own economic background. Since you did not indicate a budget, I suppose by default that these restaurants that you researched are what you consider inexpensive.
      I have been to Cal Pep (loved) and Taller de tapas (forgot).
      A very cheap eatery near your hotel is Bar Celta. It seems to be the last surviving greasy seafood spoon in the old town near the seafront. The atmosphere is very funky, and you come out with all your clothes smelling of fring grease.
      Other tapas places in the old town with similar prices as - but better tapaps than - El Taller are: Euskal Etxea, El Vaso de Oro (in Barceloneta even), Bilbao Berria. Restaurants in the markets (Boqueria and Santa Caterina) are generally not bad, with slightly lower prices and lower quality than Cal Pep.
      Near the Gaudi buildings in Eixample, inexpensive eaterie (according to those restos you listed) :
      Cerveceria Catalana, la Bodegueta (there are several restos with that name, I mean the one on Rambla de Catalunya 100).
      I agree it is a lost cause to try to avoid tourists. I don't know your reasons for visiting Barcelona, but a lot, I mean a lot of people also come up with the same idea as you. :-)
      Bar Celta tends not to have tourists, but the rare tourists who wander in there look horrified of the lowdown ambiance.

      1. Tublecane,

        Alkimia, Gresca and Cinc Sentits are often mentioned on CH but monetarily and gastronomically, I think they are in different boats.

        Gresca is a bistronomic that offers a fantastic 50 Euros 9-course tasting menu as well as a la carte options. Because it's a bistronomic, the chef values creativity over the use of expensive ingredients. It does not have any Michelin stars. The other 2 have their Michelin stars and use creativity + some expensive ingredients.

        If you wish to eat well, spend less and avoid touristy places, I would scratch Taller de Tapas and Quinze Nits from the list. IMHO, most of the restaurants in Barri Gotic are pretty touristy and not very good. Some local friends have mentioned La Vineteria del Call as a good casual place.

        I'm rather excited about the Fonda Espana. It's the restaurant in the newly-renovated Hotel Espanya (nr Las Ramblas and metro Liceu), which is a Moderniste bldg partly designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner. The restaurant is overseen by Martin Berasategui of San Sebastian BUT it offers traditional Catalan meals at moderate prices.

        In Barceloneta, I've tried El Vaso de Oro and liked the food, however tapas in general can be expensive if you have a big appetite. Bar Jai-ca and Can Paixano are popular places too.

        In L'Eixample, I like Taktika Berri for Basque pintxos and sit-down entrees. Chuleta de buey (beef steak) for 13 Euros last summer. Absolutely delicious. Beats Ruth Chris or The Palm anyday! The grilled hake was really good too.

        Also on my 'summer eating list' are:

        Libentia, near the Sagrada Familia

        La Perla, near Montjuic and apparently recommended by the owner of Quimet i Quimet

        El Glop for traditional Catalan meals. There are 2 Glops in the centre of Barcelona: Rambla de Catalunya and carrer de Casp, near the Palau de la Musica Catalana.
        Oops! I mentioned Quimet i Quimet in passing but forgot to suggest it as a Must Do. You can probably take the L3 and swing around to metro Para.Lel. Don't walk through the lower part of Las Ramblas to Avinguda Para.Lel (especially at night). It's not very pleasant.

        1. Thanks for the replies, this is exactly what I was looking for. I am going to map out all the places and list the notes (along with some others I've found on here) and then I think we will somewhat play it by ear. Since we are in Barcelona for only 3 days I am kind of keeping our agenda open to whatever we feel like for the day and not locking down a lot of things.

          Parigi your comment on everyone having different budgets and different ideas of expensive was very on point. However so few of the restaurants recommended ever have prices listed so I always just assume certain price ranges based off comments.

          I do have a question on Alkimia vs Gresca Vs Cinq Centis. From what I've read, I think we'd really like to try out Cinq Centis and also get the wine pairing. However, I'm just not sure about the 3 1/2 hour meal time. I know its vacation, and in Europe slow/relaxed = luxury. However as much as we love our meals, I'm not sure we'll be up for that long of a meal depending on what we did that day, what we want to do the rest of that night, etc. Is that the case at all 3, where its going to be 3+ hours for the tasting menu? If you asked for less time, would you be looked down upon, and would it take away greatly from the meal (obviously, the last part of the question is subjective)? Also, do all 3 require reservations far in advance? Looking at Cinc Centis it looks like I should make the res 2 weeks before we would want it.

          2 Replies
          1. re: tublecane

            You need reservation all three: Alkimia, Gresca and Cinc Sentits. Make reservations once you decide since all three are small, about 35 covers with one seating; reservation policies changes often but two weeks in advance seems to be the current policy for Cinc Sentits. The tasting menu with wine pairing shouldn't take 3 1/2 hours. If you reserve for 9pm, should be out by 11:30. Even if it does, the extra time allows you to digest the courses without rushing. You'll enjoy it.

            1. re: tublecane


              I agree with PBSF about reservations at Alkimia, Gresca or Cinc Sentits. Don't play it by ear and attempt a 'walk-in'. I've seen people turned away at Gresca, even when the restaurant was still empty (the emptiness lasted for about 10 minutes only, LOL!)

              If you feel that a 3 1/2 hr dinner is too long, try lunch at one of the three. Cinc Sentits has a great bargain of a weekday menu del dia, as do the other two places. Spend less, eat less, take less time, if that's what you want.

              More info on lunch specials here:

              My last link above was to a Flickr photo album by Encantadisimo. Whoever he is, I owe him many glasses of cava! Apart from great taste and excellent food photography, he also takes a picture of the bill, so you can see the prices!

            2. I'm also looking for recs -- I'll be staying off of Las Ramblas and would like to find some less expensive but delicious places to try.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Lina

                All the recs above in the old town can be reached on foot from the Ramblas, which itself has a huge concentration of bad eats. If you do not want to leave the Ramblas your only hope is - lunch only - at the Boqueria market.

                1. re: Parigi

                  Thanks for the tips. I don't know the geography of BCN so didn't realize that so many of these could be reached from the Ramblas. Which places at the Boqueria market do you recommend?

                  1. re: Lina

                    In the Boqueria, my fave is El Quim. My fave dish there is the fried chipirones (baby squid).