In the old town of Barcelona you will find the largest concentration of bars, restaurants and pubs. You can eat all day: a cheap breakfast in a bar, a light lunch, a sumptuous dinner or a cocktail at a bar in the evening.
Restaurants in the Raval, a neighborhood of immigrants
The Raval district is the immigrant neighbourhood, with a very multicultural and tolerant atmosphere. It is the westernmost town district, just to the left of the Ramblas. Here you can eat in many restaurants featuring dishes and specialties from the likes of Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Barcelona's old town consists of several districts, each with its own characteristics and represent their own kitchens:
Tourist coined: the restaurants on the Ramblas
Right on the Ramblas, many restaurants set up to cater for tourists. The staff is mostly multilingual, menu cards are illustrated, and the prices are slightly higher than the restaurants that are just a few metres away. The dishes are often "typically Spanish" - or at least what is sometimes regarded as such. That does not mean that the quality is not so high - on the contrary; there are also several very good restaurants here that are worth a visit.
Traditional restaurants and pubs in the Barri Gòtic
In the Gothic Quarter, the Barri Gòtic, there are traditional restaurants, serving authentic dishes from Catalonia and Spain. Particularly in the southern part - between Plaça Reial and the harbour - a distinct pub culture can be found, where you can go out until late into the night.
Tapas in the district of Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera
In the eastern part, right on Via Leietana, is the district of Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera. Here, the scene from the Gothic Quarter continues. The cuisine here has a Mediterranean and local influence. Here, as in the Gothic Quarter, you will also find many tapas bars - a kind of food that continues to enrich the the culinary diversity of Barcelona. Although Tapas originally come from Andalucia, here they get mixed up with international delicacies.
Plenty of fish in the former fishing village: eating out in Barceloneta
Barceloneta is located between the harbour and the sea, the newest district of the Old Town. As this is a former fishing village you will mostly find restaurants with an extensive fish menu. Especially in the warmer months when you can sit outside, the view overlooking the harbour and the sea that many restaurants offer is quite an experience.
If you are looking for restaurants that have a long tradition and play an important role in the history of Barcelona, you’re in the right place in the centre: e.g. "El Quatre Gats" in the Gothic Quarter, an important centre of Modernism. Picasso had his first exhibition here. You’ll also find "7 Portes", the oldest restaurant in Barcelona, where Joan Miró regularly dined.
Overall, the restaurant and pub culture in the old town is down to earth. Very good food at reasonable prices. Haute cuisine and restaurants with a Michelin star, can of course be found, but compared to the total number of restaurants fewer than, say, in the Eixample district, or Gràcia.