Forget Google Maps: You’ll quickly locate this venerable tapas bar in El Poble-Sec by the line out the door. With standing-room-only space for just 20 people, this sliver of a spot fills up fast—and stays that way until closing time. In a room lined floor-to-ceiling with bottles of wine, liquor, and pricey vinegar, you can sample a dizzying variety of tapas and montaditos (small bites served atop slices of bread). Many of the ingredients—namely the mussels, sardines, and tuna—come from cans, which sounds suspect, but Spanish conservas (tinned food) is actually of the highest quality. The cheeses—all fresh—are also top-notch.
Quimet y Quimet
“The amazing Quimet y Quimet in Barcelona. The definition of classic."—Matt Duckor
Best Bite in Town
There are people with closets bigger than the usable space in this standing-room-only tapas bar. There are also $400 meals with less satisfying morsels than the pinxo of salmon, truffled honey, and tart yogurt served here. The family-run eatery is as casual as they come, but the owner leaves no question that he means business as he takes orders, constructs two-bite masterpieces, and pours generous glasses of wine. The high-low menu has enough range to accommodate any foodie’s palate; whether you order the sea urchin with caviar or the potato chips with honey and vinegar, there is no disappointment to be had.
Montaditos @ Quimet & Quimet
A small sampling of montaditos at Quimet & Quimet, in the El Poble Sec neighborhood of Barcelona. One of the best spots for tapas in the city with fine wines and incredible desserts. It can get a bit crowded and for good reason too.
Quimet y Quimet served the most original pinxtos we found in our trip around Spain. Just walk up to the counter, stand on the sidewalk, and let the bartender/barrista serve you whatever he or she thinks will be good. And it will be. That’s some roasted red peppers, some cream cheese, some onions, some olives, some caviar, and who-knows-what-else in that picture! Oh...and the Cerveza Especial of the house was so amazing, we wrapped some bottles in bubble wrap and brought ‘em back stateside!
Quimet & Quimet - Eating off the beaten path
I love showing up at Quimet i Quimet and ordering any of their exquisite tapas, that they prepare in front of you. Simple but amazing. They have their bread buns baked specially for them, and they have such a beautiful array of cold tapas to choose from. Everytime I go, I’m kind of lost choosing amongst their long menu list, but everything is so good that no matter what I order, it’s always delicious. In this pic, Spanish cheese with chestnut. Yummy! But be prepare to stand, as they don’t have tables.
Amazing flavors in a shoebox place
This little place off of the Paral-lel could be the best tapas bar in Barcelona. Its fourth generation owners serve up fresh, flavorful and creative small bites either from a long menu or to suit individual tastes. Fish, meat, cheese and accompaniments are masterfully combined, and it’s hard to stop ordering. Still, for two of us with some good local cava, the tab was only 28 euros. Don’t be discouraged by the happy eaters spilling out onto the sidewalk; the service is fast.
Standing Room Only
This diminutive tapas bar, run by the 4th generation of the Quims, is a must visit stop in Barcelona. It accommodates only 15-20 people at a standing bar and several small standing tables - very popular with both locals and tourists alike. It is a rare occasion when there aren’t any people also standing outside with a glass of wine, patiently waiting to get in - but don’t worry - everything goes fast here - turn around is about half an hour. Many of the ingredients have been cooked and canned by the restaurant in olive or trufle oil - of the highest quality and utterly delicious. I had several things and one of my favorites was a montaditos - an open faced sandwich - I got one with a combination of scallops and caviar on tomato jam. In spite of the high quality of the food and popularity of the restaurant, prices are quite reasonable - I had three orders of tapas and a glass of cava for around 10 euros (US$14). Open for both lunch and dinner and closed on Sundays.
The Tapas You Made the Trip For
You would think my best friend and I would have heard of this place from our pre-trip research before traveling to Barcelona in November of 2014, but somehow it eluded us. We asked a bartender at a spot near our hotel where we would find the best tapas in town. God bless him, he made us a list, and this was top of it. Understandably so. It’s tiny, gorgeous, a little loud, aromatic, fantastic. You will have to summon your will and a little physicality to get in. You will have about five inches of table or counter space to work with. You will be handing plates and drinks back to your fellow diners, and they to you. Like us, you will rave about the Iberian pork cheek, yogurt, tuna with artichoke, smoked salmon, homemade chips with olive oil and honey -- whatever -- and all served with or on wonderful crusty bread. You will drink their beer and cava. You will regret nothing. The food was so flavorful my buddy and I were laughing at the end. One of the ladies behind the counter was flattered to the point that she gave us a few free small samples of things, including a taste of some apricot/butterscotch jam (with alcohol) that I’m now regretting not buying a case of. This place is the best of Barcelona.