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Eating in Barcelona
Better Late Than Never


Professor Arnie Greenberg

This is a city where eating out is never a problem. The food is well prepared nicely presented and within everyone’s budget.

Whether you are in the old quarter or at the waterfront, fish is king but the varied menus we tried were always to our taste. Where to find Tapas is the best place to start.

 Much of Spain offers TAPAS especially Madrid & Barcelona. The closest way I can describe them is as exotic hors d’ouevres or eating around the hors d’ouvres table at a wedding. There is everything from raw and cooked fish to salad, cheese, vegetables from the grill, eggs, olives, sausage and cheeses. They are out on the counter skewered with long tootpicks for all to see. You fill your plate with hot or cold tapas, take a seat or stand at the bar with a drink, coffee or sangria, their wine based starter, and eat to your heart’s content. When done, the waiter counts the large toothpicks and you pay per toothpick. While you can eat a whole meal there, I always felt that most clients had 3-4 tapas, a few drinks and then went out for dinner. That should cost about 12-14 Euros for two.

Another day, two American coffees and two glasses of wine came to 7.80 Euros.               


Work on your gastronomical clock. People are still having breakfast at 11 AM as they go to sleep late. Lunch begins at 2 but 3 would be the average. Then people visit bars or Tapas bars, have a few tapas around 6-8 p.m., sit over drinks and saunter off to a restaurant as late as 11 PM.

We went to a restaurant near our apartment at 9 PM. The place was filled with people drinking. The waiter agreed to admit us without a reservation if we promised to be gone by 11 PM. They were booked for ‘diner time’.

Tapas bars are in every corner. Our favorite is called Bilbao Berria and is situated on the square of the Cathedral, Placa Nova, 3 in the center of the city. It’s a great meeting place and shopping area with high fashion shops and museums all around. What better activity can you think of but eating and eating tapas can be infectious. There is so much color and activity in this modern and large restaurant that there’s always room for one more. They even have tables outside with umbrellas to shield you from the sun.

Our favorite time to go there is on Sundays around 1 PM when the Sardana dancers are active. It's like watching a show while you eat.

 I’m sure you’ll find your own quiet corners as we did but here are a few other suggestions.

Best Discovery:

Cervecaria at 35, Calle de la Rambla. The people who run this small neighborhood eatery are charming. We fell upon it when walking from the Maritime Museum. At a corner, a lady chef was standing on her break, When she saw us looking about, she asked if we wanted a sandwich. Her suggestion was almost next door. She and her husband were the owners. Carmen was Spanish but her waiter-husband Bill Wallace was from Washington and his help in English sealed the deal. We had an amazing soup, salads and beefsteak for an incredible 8 Euros. Bill was very helpful when I told him I was searching for an apartment where Picasso once lived. I said it was on Terre des Altes. Bill pointed out that that very street had been changed to calle Nou de la Rambla. The restaurant was at number 35. Picasso and friends lived at # 10. It was here that he painted his famous Celestina who lived next door.

But we enjoyed Bill and Carmen and a week later we returned with our daughter. The price had gone up by 2 Euros as it was Saturday but it was still one of the best bargains in Barcelona. Carmen can cook for us any day.

Call them for directions at 627 920 051

It’s an unpretentious place with a dining room for about 30 in a quiet space with ancient stone walls. In front is a bar, which is family run as Bill’s son takes his turn there in the mornings.

Other Suggestions

Caputxes near Sta. Maria del Mar. This is a cozy late night eatery specializing in quiche and pizza. (About 15 Euros pp) It’s in the old city at Carrer de les Caputxes, No. 4.

Tel: 93 319 7757 

El Bitxo is a tiny tapas bar with room for about 20 people. It faces the entrance to the Palau de Musica on

Verdaguer 1 Callis 9.

Tel: 93 268 1708

It’s a cozy, out of the place, perfect for an after theatre drink.


…meaning a hundred lights… Is a perfect Catalan lunch restaurant, beautifully laid out in art deco style at 12, Balmes, a short walk from Plaza Catalunya…Don’t be surprised if it’s crowded. It’s a very popular place for working people from the area. The wait was worth it. About 18 Euros per person for a full meal, beautifully prepared and served. This is certainly a restaurant of quality. Their fish is memorable.

Phone for Lunch & Dinner reservations

93 402 95

Elche named after a town in Spain is an old establishment specializing traditional fish, Catalan dishes and paella. You must try this savory rice based dish before you leave the city.

They are located at c/Villa I Villa #71 only a block from the Parallel.

Phone: 93 441 3089…Open daily from 1 PM.


Els Quatro Gats.

This is my absolute favorite restaurant in Spain. I go there often and this past month I brought along my family visiting for a few days. It’s the atmosphere and tradition that gets you and for only 15 Euros during the week you can have a more than memorable lunch…with wine included. But leave room for their deserts. They are something else.

This is the restaurant made famous by Picasso. His pictures are everywhere.  And it’s in a Modernista building that is unique. See my other articles on Els Quatro Gats and for more information go to

Telephone for reservations at

933 024 140

They are located at Montsio, 3 is, very near the Plaza Catalunya.

Let me know if you discover any other great spots to eat. I’ll be going back to Barcelona soon..

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You can Contact Professor Arnie Greenberg at


Over the past few years, Professor Greenberg has traveled with groups to France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Prague and both Sorrento and the Bay of Naples plus most of Sicily. His tours traveled to the far reaches of the globe including Italy and most of China (Beijing -Hong Kong) and to Russia where his group cruised the waters from St.Petersburg to Moscow. 

"He took a group to Greece and another to northern Russia. In Nov 07 he took a tour group to much of India and ended his tour groups by revisiting France. He now travels with his wife and friends. They winter in Argentina or San Miguel Mexico.  His newly found spare time is taken up with his painting and writing. "I must write every day." His current work is a cautionary manual for would-be tour leaders..  "So You Want To Be A Tour Leader." 

Arnie now travels with friends. He continues writing Travel articles about unusual places but often concentrates on novel writing. Two books based on French Art will be published this year.  Keep reading his web for travel ideas.  His next novel HELLSTORM'S Folly, will be available this fall. He now lives in British Columbia.

Go to: or contact him directly at

(More about the writer.)


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