Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Spain/Portugal >
Nov 22, 2011 04:14 PM

Reservations needed in Barcelona?

My family (including our two teenage kids and a family friend) will be traveling to Barcelona in December. Is it really necessary to make reservations in advance at any restaurants? We don't need any "destination" restaurants -- just places where we can get good food and a good sense of the local flavor for our group of five. Incidentally, we will be staying at an apartment with a kitchen, so some of our meals can be eaten there -- either brought in or prepared. Thanks in advance for sharing your wisdom!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You can go to La Boqueria

    & get enough picnic supplies for many a tasty & varied meal-- everything from cheese to olives to fresh fish to meat & beyond. We did that much more often than restaurants, which tended to open later than we could allow with early morning things to do.


    2 Replies
    1. re: FishTales

      That sounds like a great idea! I'm sure we will visit there more than once. We are staying near Plaza Catalunya -- is La Boqueria within walking distance?

      1. re: bards4

        Depending where is "near" the Plaza Catalunya, you might be closer to
        Santa Caterina Market; but both markets are about the same distance from there.

    2. The Boqueria is definitely walking distant from Pl. Catalunya. There are good mercat in just about every neighborhood. And better prices. There are some good bakeries and shops in the Barri Gotc, el Born and Exiample, especially around Rambla de Catalunya.
      As for reservation, most everyday places, tapas and pintxos places do not take reservations. "Destination" restaurant is vague so it is difficult to give any general advice. Give couple of places that you are considering and maybe some poster can give some specific advice.

      1 Reply
      1. re: PBSF

        Sorry, didn't mean to be vague. By "destination" restaurant, I guess that I mean high-end, fancy -type places. Tapas and pintos places -- places that are more casual yet still good -- are more our style. It's good to know that there are other markets that are nearby. Thanks for your information!

      2. If you want to go to "non-destination" eateries serving good food, it is still safest to make a reservation; otherwise you may end up like the famous poster who announced on this board that the only way to eat well in Spain was to eat in Chinese restaurants.
        I did not make this up:

        3 Replies
        1. re: Parigi

          I wouldn't waste my time worrying about that chinese food poster.
          If you appreciate quality and simplicity you won't have any trouble finding good things to eat at non-destination places. If you don't, there's always chinese I guess.
          The truth is that one simply can't get reservations for many places, especially "non-destination restaurants" - and there is much more to Barcelona's food scene than the well known places everyone tells their other foodie friends about when they get home. It's easy to find very good, if not spectacular food (and that is a judgment call - sometimes a few sardines and an artichoke are truly spectacular, that depends on you too ) and you should be able to find some options by searching this board.
          With five in your party you should be prepared to wait and be ready to stand around a bar from time rather than sitting for a full meal to time but if you are easy going and patient you should be fine. Remember, you are in a place that's blessed with great things from the sea and the land. For god's sake don't sell yourself short by only eating at places where you can reserve a table unless you are going "destination" for every single meal.

          1. re: caga tio

            Thanks for that very frank and helpful advice. We don't mind waiting. We like simple food that can be spectacular in its simplicity. I got a kick out of the Chinese food post -- don't think that will be our issue at all. :o)

            1. re: bards4

              Most tapas and pintxo places (with the exception of Paco Meralgo maybe) don't take reservations.

              My rule of thumb is: Avoid eating on Las Ramblas unless you're at the Boqueria or the Escriba bakery.

              Hola, Parigi! I can 't believe you are still chuckling over that one! :-)