Are your senses ready? Sight, smell and taste converge when you see the large wall of roasting chickens at one of Barcelona's most famous restaurants. Dine on incredible Catalan dishes of roasted meats, fresh fish dishes and snails all for fairly reasonable prices. It's hard to pass by Los Caracoles without gawking at the chicken skewers in the window. If you're looking for fresh, tasty and rustic then this is your best bet. Situated in the heart of the Gothic Quarter just off La Rambla and near 'Plaza Tripi' (George Orwell Plaza), Los Caracoles is smack in the middle of all the action.
Recommended for Best Value because: A Barcelona classic. Rustic and yummy this place has been around forever and is consistently amazing
Sam's expert tip: After dinner check out Marula Cafe just down the street
Not only does this sleek yet rustic restaurant/bar sport a large breakfast menu, but it is one of few places in Barcelona to offer bagels as well. Situated in the up and coming Raval neighborhood in the Old City, Dostrece's brunch and lunch menu is hard to beat. With a wide variety of eggs dishes, cheeses, breads, yogurts and even fruit smoothies for brunch and mouthwatering hamburgers and sandwiches for lunch, Dostrece has high quality food in a very cool atmosphere. Don't be fooled however, this trendy restaurant turns into a lively bar and lounge in the evening with a stage downstairs, ideal for live music venues.
Recommended for Best Value because: A charming and delicious brunch, lunch and dinner restaurant in the eclectic Raval neighborhood
Sam's expert tip: Check out the 25 Euro menu deal for larger groups
A family owned and run, quaint tapas restaurant in the Eixample neighborhood, La Pepita has made quite a name for itself with its high quality food and understated, yet classy ambiance. The restaurant is tiny with a room at the back, which can hold around 15-20 people. The front bar is ideal for a few drinks or cocktails and tapas before venturing into the rest of the Eixample for a night on the town. Definitely try their beef and tuna dishes as well as their jamon serrano. If you're looking for a place to hold large group events, their back room can seat about 20-30 comfortably.
It's hard to get more Catalan than Sol De Nit, located in Plaza Del Sol. This tiny restaurant has one of the best terraces, ideal for gawking at hippie Catalans, buskers, performers, runaway dogs and for sun tanning, especially during the summer. Their food is cheap and tasty and it's one of a handful of places you can sit for hours and not even notice the time pass you by. You'll definitely get value for your dime here as portions are decently large and most dishes won't be more than 5-6 Euros. The service can be a bit slow so just make sure you're not in a rush before you sit down to eat.
Tucked away in Plaza Sant Juss, Bliss is both a cozy coffee, tea and tapas joint as well as a thriving summer time venue due to it's great out door patio. The back room is full of plus couches and comfy chairs which makes it hard to leave and ideal for chatting with friends over coffee and a few plates of delicious tapas. Their couches suck you in making it hard to leave, thus providing for one of the best places for tea time in the city. Their extensive menu caters to those looking for a simple pot of herbal tea to those wanting a slightly more sophisticated brew.
Fabulous cooking classes by a professional nutritionist and vegan cook. This is less of a traditional restaurant and more of a home experience plus cooking class, which ends in a three-course meal. Pabulum focuses on fresh, organic, local and in season foods, providing private and group cooking classes in a modern, trendy loft in the Gothic Quarter. Classes and dinners are run by a native American with a passion for food and not only are incredibly fun and informative, but focus on creating pretty, elegant dishes that are sure to impress vegans and non-vegans alike. Cocktails and an amuse-bouche accompanies the classes. If you'd rather not participate and just watch the magic happen, that's possible as well. (NA)
Recommended for Best Value because: Quality tapas and wine in a charming boutique shop in the Old City
Sam's expert tip: Schedule in advance as classes are limited
Quaint and charming, La Ciutadela is nestled in the Old City near Arc de Triomf and has an extremely diverse menu with a strong focus on serving fresh seafood daily. With two private dining rooms and a separate coffee area, you'll be treated like a VIP in this elegantly warm locale. The ingredients are all high quality and perfectly mixed together providing for a mouth watering experience at extremely affordable prices. Some of their best dishes include their avocado salad, tuna and shrimp salad as well. If you're in the mood for paella this is a great place to try it, but be sure to come on an empty stomach.
Recommended for Best Value because: Some of the best seafood in the city including their paella. Off the beaten path Barcelona cuisine
Sam's expert tip: A small restaurant with few tables and as part of the Ciutadela Hotel, so it fills up quickl; be sure to reserve.
A beef lover's paradise, El Foro cooks a mean Argentinean bife de chorizo and is one of the few places in Barcelona that knows how to make a steak 'poco hecho' (bloody rare). This lively, airy and spacious restaurant is excellent for dates, parties or just an intimate evening out amongst friends. When it comes to lunch, they have a very affordable three-course lunch menu. Even if you're not a carnivore, you still have options; El Foro has an extensive menu including pasta, pizza and salad dishes amongst other Argentinean specialties. Every morning El Foro also features a small breakfast menu, with fresh orange juice; the restaurant also has free wi-fi.
Recommended for Best Value because: The best steak in the city, perfectly situated near the Park Ciutadella and Born Shopping
Sam's expert tip: Try their Bianchi Malbec, an excellent and reasonably priced Argentinean wine. They also have a tasty and cheap, three-course menu del dia for lunch.
A slice of Paris in the heart of Barcelona's Ciutate Vella, if you're in the mood for a french cafe/bistro, this is the place to go. Run by all French staff, this rustic, quaint and incredibly personable cafe acts as a restaurant as well as a late night wine bar. It's an ideal place to set up shop and work for the day using their free Wi-Fi while sipping on a glass of Bordeaux accompanied with a plate of Comte cheese. If you're not in the mood for French wine however, they also have an excellent tea list and comfy leather arm chairs in the far left hand corner, ideal for reading, working and relaxing.
Recommended for Best Value because: Delicious French cuisine in the heart of the Born neighborhood with great service
Sam's expert tip: Try their Comte and Ham salad
The antique decor that adorns El Sal�n is simply charming, and the menu is equally impressive. It is based on a Catalan traditional menu, but it is colored with French influence. Dishes you should try include the seared tuna, lamb and aubergine tart with goat's cheese and pesto. El Salon is one of few Barcelona restaurants that has no problem adjusting the menu for specific clients. If you're a vegetarian, or allergic to certain ingredients, they'll make you a special plate that's not on the menu at no extra charge. The owners pride themselves on customer service and its evident in the quality of the food and their attention to detail.
Recommended for Best Value because: A delicious, out of the way and very charming restaurant with an amazing terrace
Sam's expert tip: One of the only outdoor patios you can reserve in the summer