Spain: The 10 Best Cheap Restaurants in Barcelona

tapas in barcelona

Barcelona is famous for its tapas, but it also has a surprising amount of other restaurant options.

We always recommend eating the local food when you visit any destination but when you live somewhere for three months at a time as we do, some variety is required. There are so many restaurants in Barcelona that it would be impossible for anyone to try them all in a three-month period, but we tried a lot. Here are 10 of our inexpensive favorites, in no particular order.

1. Milk Bar and Bistro

Small place with a great atmosphere. The Drunken Shrimp is our favorite dish, on an already impressive menu. This is one of those restaurants that does everything well, so order whatever looks good to you and you won’t be disappointed. There’s sometimes a wait at the door here but I feel it’s always worth it. Their breakfast is also probably one of the best in the city. Try the French Toast, it’s scrumptious and everyone in the restaurant will look at what you ordered and wish that they had ordered it. – ($$ – $$$) – Carrer d’en Gignàs, 21, 08002 Barcelona, Spain +34 932 68 09 22

2. The Fish and Chips Shop

The Fish and Chips Shop remains my absolute favorite in the entire world. There’s something they use in the batter that makes this place extra special. It’s very small so there’s often a wait, but I would crawl across broken glass for these fish and chips. Seriously, they’re that good. Everything on the small menu is delicious, but it all revolves around the fish and chips here. – ($) – Carrer de Rocafort, 70, 08029 Barcelona, Spain +34 677 83 41 17

3. Tosca Palau

Fun little tapas place with a good drink selection. I wouldn’t call it the best in the city but it’s very good. The people working here were always friendly and the people watching is fun because the front of the restaurant has big windows that face the famous Palau de la Música Catalana. We went here often because of the vibe, the wine, and consistent quality. – ($$ – $$$) – Carrer de Sant Pere Més Alt, 8, 08003 Barcelona, Spain +34 933 15 10 72

4. Cafè Menssana

A local gem that serves great food. The owner seems very involved with the day to day operations, ensuring the quality of his ingredients. The menu is mostly a breakfast or sandwich type lunch menu but with a few surprises. We visited both for breakfast and lunch and always had a good meal. It’s a quiet, out of the way place that seemed very local. It’s not along any of the main tourist routes so you’ll want good directions to find it. – ($) – Carrer de Sardenya, 48, 08005 Barcelona, Spain +34 936 24 35 05

5. Alsur Café (El Born)

There are a few locations, but we mainly visited the one that was a block away from our apartment in El Born. They have several unique menu items, and everything is pretty good for the most part. The plantain chips and guacamole got ordered as a starter every time we went, while we rotated our favorite main dishes. The grilled cheese waffle sandwich was a favorite of mine because of that sweet and savory combination. We usually rounded out our meal with something from their excellent selection of desserts. – ($$ – $$$) – Plaça de Sant Cugat, 1, 08003 Barcelona, Spain +34 931 82 54 07

6. Espai Mescladís

It’s a funky little, open-air type place with good food. The best part is that your meal helps others. They hire people in dire need, often refugees, to work in their café’s, to give them opportunities and job training. – ($) – Carrer dels Carders, 35, 08003 Barcelona, Spain +34 933 19 87 32. Their mission is beautiful. In their words:

“Mescladís is a non-profit organization, dedicated to increasing social cohesion to make life richer for everyone. By promoting dialog, understanding, and diversity, the organization hopes to help everyone have equal rights and opportunities and to embrace that which is not familiar instead of fearing it. Mescladís is also committed to sustainability and the support to those who come from abroad to make Barcelona their home.”

7. NAP. Neapolitan Authentic Pizza

This was the best pizza we had in Barcelona. Napoli style pizza is definitely our favorite. The owner of this pizza place is from Naples and as the story goes, he was tired of not being able to get a decent slice of pizza in Barcelona. So, he opened NAP and we were so glad he did. We went there often for his pizza and calzone. Take away or dine in. – ($) – Av. de Francesc Cambó, 30, 08003 Barcelona, Spain +34 686 19 26 90

8. L’Arrosseria Xàtiva

This was the first place we went out to eat in Barcelona because we were on a mission to find paella. L’Arrosseria Xàtiva has two locations but we went to the one in the Les Corts neighborhood and found exactly what we were looking for. Maybe it’s just sentimental to me but we enjoyed it. It was much better than the touristy places we saw throughout Barcelona. This was done in true Valencia style and Valencia was the only other place we had better paella. – ($$ – $$$) – Carrer de Bordeus, 35, 08029 Barcelona, Spain +34 933 22 65 31

9. Catalina Restaurant

It’s harder to describe this very simple restaurant. It seems upscale when you walk in, but it operates more like a mom and pop with reasonable prices. Located in the Sarria-Sant Gervasi neighborhood is this quiet little place that you could easily walk past if you weren’t paying attention. It’s basically in the suburbs and serves local Spanish Mediterranean food. We liked it because the food was good, the vibe was relaxed, and it felt very local. – ($$-$$$) – Carrer d’Anglí, 4 bis, 08017 Barcelona, Spain +34 932 06 17 91

10. Taco Alto Born

There’s a simple menu with tacos and sides with a few hot sauces that they feature. They’re tasty and they’re inexpensive. It’s sometimes crowded, but it’s easy to grab and go as well. We lived close enough that we often would grab some tacos and take them home after whatever shenanigans we were up to. – ($) – Carrer del Portal Nou, 62, 08003 Barcelona, Spain +34 936 33 97 42


About Temporary Residents

In 2016, we quit our jobs at Disney, put some things in storage, and hit the road with our 2 cats. We are a traveling couple that work online, finding new homes every 3 months to live in. Temporary Residents is a blog for those in need of the inspiration to see the world or to take the plunge, sell it all, and make exploration your life.

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