Cheap restaurants

In the Netherlands, dinner at six o’clock is quite normal, but in Spain the most important meal is lunch. Therefore, people here eat warm food extensively. Dinner is at 9 p.m. or so. Most restaurants close during siesta time and reopen at 8 p.m. at the earliest.

Here are some restaurants where you can have a good meal. I like coming there and also a good thing: you eat there for less than 20 euros per person!

1. Jai-Ca

Price: Between €4 and €14 for a tapas dish.
Kitchen: Mediterranean
Where: La Barceloneta

Tapas food como dios manda or “as it should be. Jai-Ca spot is a household name in the La Barceloneta neighborhood and has been around since 1955. The food there is good and not expensive, but it can get very crowded, so reservations are recommended. They have many seafood dishes but it is also definitely a suitable restaurant for vegetarians. This place is among one of my favorite places in Barcelona!

2. Bar Bitácora

Price: For €20 eat your belly off
Kitchen: Mediterranean, Spanish.
Where: La Barceloneta and Poblenou

This restaurant has two establishments, one in the fishing district of La Barceloneta and one in Poblenou. The latter sits in a lovely quiet little square behind the market. You can go here for lunch and dinner or just to have a drink. This authentic Spanish restaurant is frequented by locals and is less well known among tourists. Be aware that Sundays can be very busy. A must-try are the delicious tortilla de patatas.

3. Tucco

Price: between €10 and €18
Kitchen: Italian, Argentinean
Where: Eixample

For lovers of fresh pasta and Argentine empanadas, Tucco is the place to go. They have all kinds of menu arrangements, where you choose a dish with a drink as well as a dessert, and all for less than a tenner. At the bar you put together your menu and then they come and bring the food to your table. It’s not the fanciest restaurant, but the food is tasty (and cheap) and the atmosphere is good.

4. Bar Calders

Price: between €6 and €15 for a tapa.
Kitchen: Mexican
Where: Poble-Sec

One of the nicest places in the Poble-Sec neighborhood and perhaps in all of Barcelona is Bar Calders. A colorful terrace that will make you instantly happy and good food, with a Mexican twist, for little money. Try the mini-pizzas and the patatas Sant Antoni with melted cheese and guacamole. For vegetarians and vegans, there are also plenty of options. And for beer lovers, there’s plenty of (specialty) beer to choose from!

5. Ugarit

Price: For 10-18 euros you have a dish and a drink.
Kitchen: Syrian
Where: Gràcia, Sants and Vila Olímpica

This Syrian restaurant is in the Gràcia neighborhood, among others, but there are several establishments in the city. You eat a plate of falafel with hummus and baba ganoush (kind of mousse of eggplant) or enjoy deliciously tender chicken or lamb, for example.

6. Veggie Garden

Price: For a daily menu you ll spend €9,95
Kitchen: Asian
Where: Eixample and El Raval

Veggie Garden is a popular, vegan restaurant in the El Raval and Eixample neighborhood with Indian influences, informal atmosphere with a terrace. There is a wide selection of fresh juices, sandwiches (try the tofu sandwich, very tasty), salads and hot dishes.

7. Bar Oviso

Price: For a dish you pay €16
Kitchen: Spanish
Where: El Gòtic

It is located on one of the famous squares of the old town, named after the English writer George Orwell, but nicknamed Plaça Tripi because junkies hung out here for years. At Oviso you eat irresistibly delicious crepes, both sweet and savory. Also, excellent sandwiches, salads and burgers. You can actually sit on the terrace here all day, from the café con leche through the inexpensive lunch menu to the crepes in the evening. And a cocktail afterwards!

Is the terrace full or are you with a slightly larger company? Walk in, chances are there is plenty of room in the very back!

8. Rekons

Price: €6 – €10 for a tapa, an empanada costs +/- €3.
Kitchen: Latin, Argentinean
Where: Sant Antoni

Argentine empanadas, generous meal salads, perfect sandwiches and delicious patatas bravas from the oven with different sauces. Rekons in Sant Antoni is very popular with locals and thus quite crowded, but it is well worth waiting for a table. The empanadas are a must-try as far as I’m concerned.

9. Al Passatore

Price: €8 – €15 for a pizza
Kitchen: Italian
Where: El Born

Al Passatore has Italian cuisine with very good pizzas (there are whispers that they are in the list of the best pizzas in Spain!). They have a terrace, it’s kid-friendly and cheap. Enjoy!