Barcelona is an epicentre of exquisite eats, with so many food options available. From local, Indian, Chinese, Mexican and more. However, if you’re in the mood for a traditional culinary adventure, then tapas has to be at the top of your list. We went along with our favourite greeks, Arabella, Mike and Yiannis, to uncover the best of El Poblenou’s tapas bars and restaurants.
A Brief History of El Poblenou
The neighbourhood of El Poblenou covers more than half the district of Sant Marti, centred around Rambla del Poblenou. Although now a haven for the city’s hip locals to hang, it was once the heart of industrial Barcelona. So much so that it was given the name “Catalan Manchester”, due to it’s similarities to England’s northern powerhouse. The transition from industrial to trendy was a result of the huge regeneration the city underwent, in the run-up to the 1992 Summer Olympic Games. Warehouses were converted to edgy offices, with the streets now lined with quirky cafes, design stores and eateries.
Let the Tapas Adventure Begin
One of the worst things about travelling is the limited time you have to see, or in this case taste, all a city has to offer. With this in mind, instead of going with our greek compadres to one place, we went to sample the sublime small plates on offer, at some of El Poblenou’s best tapas bars and restaurants.
To start this Tapas filled adventure, we headed towards Rambla del Poblenou, the commercial and local hotspot of El Poblenou. The first stop was Kalamata, a cosy and comfortable little gem with friendly staff serving delicious tapas. To start, we sampled some freshly-squeezed, home-made lemonade, which is to-die-for. After quickly guzzling that down, we ordered the chicken and olives, which will no doubt be devoured equally as fast. The olives were from Kalamata, a region in southern Greece that is famous for its dark and smooth textured olives. So as you can imagine, this group of greeks were smiling ear to ear.
Opening Hours: Mon – Thur: 12.30PM – 1AM | Fri – Sat: 12.30PM – 2AM.
From Kalamata, we made our way to the centre of El Poblenou, where we stumbled across another beauty, El 58. El fusion restaurant is regarded amongst the creme de la creme places for tapas in Barcelona, no just El Poblenou. This spot has warm, local and homely ambience and atmosphere. The friendly staff members know their stuff and are happy to cover the menu in detail, so you order the small plates to suit your needs. Our top picks here are the fried aubergine and calamari, which come with a slightly spicy, wasabi-like green sauce, which is incredible! After a couple of Estrella’s at this spot, we headed to the next stop on this El Poblenou tapas bar crawl.
Opening Hours: Tue-Sat: 1.30PM – 11PM | Sun: 1.30PM – 4PM.
Horchatería El Tío Che
Horchatería El Tío Che is the next spot we headed to on this El Poblenou Tapas bar crawl. Only a minute away El 58, this place is from is usually advertised online as an ice cream spot. Famous across Barcelona for serving the best Horchata. A delicious drink made of almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon sticks, white rice, and maple syrup. Don’t be fooled though, this spot does a tasty traditional tapas. We were told by a friend to try the patatas bravas, – a traditional Spanish tapas dish that involved diced potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce. However, we missed out, as the patatas had run out, a real testament to their popularity. If like us you missed the patatas, try something else off the menu. Our alternative top picks were the olives and clams, which are bloody delicious.
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun: 10AM – 12AM
Raco de la Vila
The final stop on this El Poblenou tapas bar adventure is the Mediterranean infused Raco de la Vila. This spacious restaurant has an elegant and luxurious atmosphere, where you’ll be given service fit for royalty. There was a vibrant and buzzing environment, with lots of groups and families around us. We ordered bread dipped in tomato sauce, Padron peppers (be careful and don’t be the unlucky one to pick the one spicy pepper out of the bunch), mushrooms and mussels.
Opening Hours:Mon-Sun: 12PM – 12AM
If you liked this El Pobleneu Tapas Adventure, be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to El Born and Saint Antoni’s Best Bites and Sips. All the tapas bars mentioned in this article and other awesome places to check out in Barcelona are all on the Locals App. Download Now For Free: Android | iOS.