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Barcelona best local restaurants


When you travel abroad, you don’t want to feel like a tourist, be treated like a tourist and eat like a tourist. You want to find where the locals eat, interact with them and eat like a local. Of course, that requires a bit of an effort from your part: be open to try foods that you may consider adventurous, try to communicated in the local language (and use Google translator to make sense of the menu), and follow the local rules. But isn’t it part of the travel experience? And it’s so worth it!

Unfortunately, in the internet era it’s not that easy to find places that aren’t frequented other by well informed travelers. Still, you can still find restaurants where locals continue to go despite having to share now with foreign visitors. Are you curious to know where do locals eat in Barcelona? Get ready to take notes, because we have compiled a great list for you below, plus a few insider tips so you can blend in. Here we go!

Tips to eat like a local in Barcelona

Be ready to eat late. The average lunchtime in Spain is 2PM and dinner is either 9PM or 10PM.
Monday to Friday for lunch, go for a menú del dia.
Avoid La Rambla. It’s all tourist traps (except the restaurant recommendations in this post).
Eggs aren’t for breakfast. And forget about porridge and pancakes. It’s bread with cheese, ham or cold cuts for savory breakfast, and all kind of bakeries for a sweet one.
Paella is a lunch thing. Locals don’t eat paella at night because it’s a too heavy dish to eat late night. And avoid places with “Paellador” pictures of paella outside: it’s frozen paella.
If they bring a basket with tomatoes and garlic… that’s not a salad. Learn to make your own tomato bread.
Don’t ask for butter for your bread. It’s olive oil here!
Sangria is for the Summer. Or for youths drinking games, if it’s the cheap kind.
There’s no free tap water. Tap water in Barcelona tastes awful and it’d ruin your meal. So sorry, you’ll have to buy a bottle if you want some for your meal. The only acceptable excuse is to ask for a glass of water for your medication.
Hot chocolate is not dessert. Despite tapas bars starting to offer it now, that’s just to cater tourists. Hot chocolate with churros is either breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack. And you don’t get it in restaurants, but in specialty cafes called “granjas” or in churrerias (churro places).
If the waiter doesn’t smile, don’t take it personally. Waiters in Spain don’t depend on tips to survive, so they won’t go the extra mile to please you. Most waiters are there to do their job, which is taking your order and bringing it to your table, but they won’t give you conversation (unless it’s a very relaxed day and they feel up for it).
Tips aren’t required, but they are appreciated. And they aren’t 20% either. You can learn everything about tipping in Spain in our blog.
Don’t be in a hurry to leave. “Sobremesa” is the Spanish word for that time to chat with the people you ate with. Enjoy coffee or maybe a shot of liquor. The waiter won’t bring the bill until you ask for it (but don’t abuse it either). 15 or 20 minutes after finishing is OK (but sobremesa can last hours in a private home!).

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