Spain means tapas, right? But how can you choose among the almost endless food tours in Barcelona for a truly authentic tasting experience? Book your Barcelona food tour with locals and skip the big franchises.
Our goal was to enjoy an intimate, personalized foodie experience …to truly taste the best of Catalonia, as guided by local food insiders. And that’s just the experience Aborígens delivered.
- The Best Barcelona Food Tour
The Best Barcelona Food Tour
We had minutes to spare when we finally arrived for our Barcelona walking food tour. We’d experienced a major flight delay from Malaga after our stay in Sevilla during our two weeks in Spain, but we made it!
Aborígens is run by two former journalists and proud Catalans dedicated to savoring—and sharing—the unique food and drink of Catalonia. So it’s truly a tour by Barcelona locals.
When you reserve a tour with Aborígens, you get an experience personalized and guided by one of the two hombres who own it: either Alex or his partner Cesc. This is an intimate small group tour, with just a few fellow food lovers on the tour.
And there’s no pre-set itinerary. They like to meet their guests first…to understand their tastes and interests and then see what the night brings.
A Vermouth Bar
A vermouth bar is one of the very best ways to kick off a food tour! You could even call this a food and wine tour.We loved it.
While we were sipping, all kinds of delectable and delicious bites arrived on our table. He explained that salty food is served with sweet vermouth.
So he started us off with chips and mussels…which were promptly followed by a gorgeous dish of herring with salty olives, capers, and sun-dried tomatoes. And sardines! So much deliciousness.
It was our first stop of many in Barcelona’s iconic Eixample neighborhood on this evening tapas tour. While tourists love to stroll the famous Ramblas and the Gothic Quarter (not gonna lie…I love the Gothic), Aborígens is on a mission to introduce visitors to lesser-known areas that locals love.
“Eixample” means “expansion”…so it might not surprise you to learn that it was so-named by the civil engineer who won the bid to design a new neighborhood as Barcelona grew.
He was so intent on designing a livable neighborhood that he cut off the corners of each block in the strict grid pattern of homes to allow more sun and ventilation!
The Eixample is also a mecca of Modernism. It’s home to Gaudi’s famous Sagrada Família and beautiful masterpiece Casa Battló, on Passeig de Gracia. (You can find a map to all the Gaudi sights here.)
More Guided Barcelona Food Tours
A Historic Bodega
We felt like we’d stepped back in time when we entered this little hole-in-the-wall bodega during our Barcelona food walking tour. They’d been selling Spanish wines from a cooperative since the 1930s to learn about its history. We sipped on a nice white Grenache table wine here.
This wine is made so inexpensively that you can walk in and fill a jug of it to take home today for a little over ONE euro! Alex mentioned that it’s actually sold over the border in France as French wine (and I bet it costs more than a euro there too).
Regulars still come here to pick up a glass jug of milk and buy soap (although wine is the main draw!) We even saw the spigots where people in the neighborhood used to fill their olive oil by tap.
Sadly, the gentleman that runs the place needs to retire soon and there’s no one to take his place. This treasure of a bodega may have to close its doors unless some enterprising Catalan takes on its cause.
Where to Stay in Barcelona
1. Luxury: NH Collection Barcelona Gran Hotel Calderón
Stay here for if you’re looking for a central location with stunning city views and a spectacular rooftop pool! This hotel has a clean modern vibe. It’s located just off Passeig de Gracia in central Barcelona. Staff is friendly. It’s just one block from Gaudi’s famous Caso Batlló! Check prices here.
2. Mid-range: Hotel Ilunion Bel-Art
If you want to be close to great city walks and monuments, this is the place for you! Contemporary decor and just a 10 minute walk to Sagrada Familia. Offers a daily breakfast buffet. Check prices here.
3. Budget: Airbnb Room in the Gothic Quarter
If you want to connect with locals, you can’t do better than staying with Alexandra and her family as we did! She offers a beautiful and spacious private room in her home. And it comes with a continental breakfast that includes fresh pastries daily! Check prices here.
An Iconic Beer Hall
“Cervecerias” are Spain’s answer to Germany’s beer halls. So I recommend that any food tour in Spain needs to include one. It’s all part of Spain’s culture.
In fact, beer lovers may want to check out the burgeoning craft beer scene on a Barcelona brewery and beet tasting tour. You can check prices here.
The one we visited, Cerveseria Moritz, has been serving it up for more than 150 years since the founder arrived from Alsace. All the beer served is brewed in the on-site microbrewery.
We tasted a flight while we noshed on an unbelievable sardine, eggplant, and pepper pizza…some delicious cheese…codfish fritters…and “la bomba” (the bomb). This is Spanish street food at its best!
La Bomba is a melt-in-your-mouth potato croquette, sandwiched between a dollop of tomato sauce and a dollop of spicy aioli.
In fact, it’s also the only tapas that actually originates from Barcelona. It was invented by a local bar owner during the unsettled 20s and 30s to resemble the anarchists’ favorite weapon!
One of the things that really surprised me here was the half beer-half lemonade drink I tried. Doesn’t sound that great? You might be surprised.
Alex told me that Spaniards are more likely to serve this to friends on a hot summer day than a glass of Sangria. You can mix them yourself, heavy on the beer or lemonade, depending on your preference.
Other Tours in Barcelona Spain
Barcelona is ideally situated for visiting the gorgeous coastal town of Sitges, Game of Thrones sites in Girona, the magical Montserrat monastery, boat trips from the stunning harbor or even trekking in the Pyrenees! The opportunities for tours in Barcelona, Spain are endless.
Looking for Barcelona tours specifically? Try:
• a guided tour of Gaudi highlights: Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, and Casa Batló.
• Barcelona’s hop-on hop-off bus for a great overview of the city! Get tickets here.
• A guided visit to La Boqueria, Barcelona’s incredible open market. Check prices here.
A Secret Restaurant
Even though we were all feeling somewhat sated, our food tour stops up until now were just the appetizers for the main event at a secret restaurant in Barcelona (at least to tourists): Bodega Sepulveda. Every culinary experience in Barcelona should include this place.
This jewel of a restaurant has been in the family for generations, upholding a long tradition of Catalan cuisine. It’s particularly revered for its “tablecloth tapas,” wine list, sausage, and stews.
Even if you don’t take a food tour in Barcelona, you should head here for a memorable meal! Add it to your Barcelona foodie guide.
We started with a platter of flavorful sausage with a drizzle of honey. An inventive and delicious pairing made even better accompanied by a glass of Cava, Spain’s famous sparkling wine. (If you’re interested in a Barcelona food tour cava tasting, just ask Aborígens!)
Slurpable little clams packed a savory punch as did the earthy sautéed mushrooms. Amazing snails. A squid and razor clam stew too…
One of my favorite examples of Barcelona cuisine that we sampled, however, was the paper-thin raw zucchini topped with shaved pieces of lemon cured cod and feathery manchego. It was to die for!
I’d be remiss though if I didn’t mention the hearty red wine (La Universal 2016) we washed it all down with. We actually went on a search for a bottle in a Barcelona wine shop the next day and tucked it into our luggage for happy memories of Spain in the months ahead. Salut!
We finished our tasting with a few dense morsels of chocolate and bites of Borrachos (which means “drunk”), a dense sponge cake drenched in rum, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon. This was quite possibly my other favorite food from the evening.
It took me straight back to the beautiful homemade sponge cakes I enjoyed as an exchange student in Brazil when I was 16!
When they’re not running Barcelona food tours, Alex and Cesc are busy staging food excursions for chefs worldwide and developing custom itineraries for culinary vacations for the rest of us throughout Catalonia and Spain.
Think gourmet weekends and gastronomic self-drive holidays. (Here’s what you need to know about renting a car in Spain.) Truffle hunting. Shepard’s cheeses. Meeting local winemakers for a wine tour.
Just imagine: You pick up your car with a personalized itinerary inside…everything you need to guide you to the best food and wine spots…secret restaurants, artisan food producers deep in the countryside or boutique wineries further afield. I know what I’m doing on my next visit to Spain!
If you go:
Aborígens offers a food markets tour, a beyond tapas tour (reviewed above), a vermouth tour, and an Off Barcelona food tour. (Itineraries can also be customized for family tours in Barcelona.)
And when they’re not conducting a walking food tour of Barcelona, they provide other culinary tours in Spain, in addition to the custom itineraries for independent travelers mentioned earlier. Get complete details here. The Beyond Tapas food tour is 125€/pp.
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