A Locals Guide to The Best Barcelona Street Food in 2023
If someone mentions eating out in Barcelona, you are more likely to picture amazing restaurants rather than food trucks that sell Barcelona street food, but happily, for those of us looking for something on the go, the city has plenty of finger-licking street food waiting to be tried.
Read on for some of the best Barcelona street food options, recommendations on where to try them, and the lowdown on some of the best street food markets.
Popular street food in Barcelona
Street food in Barcelona means bocadillos
Bocadillo is the Spanish word for a sub. Perhaps of all the street food in this article, this is the one I have the most emotional attachment to.
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Not only have I staved off hunger with countless bocadillos de tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelet) over the years, but there is also something I find amusing and quintessentially Spanish about the bocadillo.
Spanish people don’t eat much for breakfast. In the first Airbnb I ever stayed at in Barcelona, the host left me a note saying there were “milk and cookies” in the kitchen if I wanted breakfast.
This kind of light, milky snack for breakfast is very typical, so a break around 11 am for a much-needed bocadillo is a daily ritual for local kids and adults alike.
Another funny memory of mine is when a friend arrived for a visit. I told him there were plenty of sandwich bars in the area if he was hungry, and he said “Yeah, just something simple like brie and sun-dried tomato.”
That is not really how it works!
While lots of modern cafés serve international-style subs, a traditional bocadillo is simply a good piece of meat, cheese or tortilla, possibly jazzed up with pan con tomate, and not much else. The idea is to enjoy the main ingredient, rather than to stuff a salad between two slices of bread.
Bocadillos are a chance to try various Spanish specialties done in Barcelona street food style: tortilla de patatas, manchego cheese, chorizo, and Spanish ham, to name a few.
You may be surprised to see how many café-bars boast the word “frankfurter” too. Try a bocadillo de frankfurt for a particularly European take on the hot dog.
Somewhere in between traditional and modern, Bo de B in Barceloneta offers high-quality ingredients with a Subway-style “you tell us what you want in it” approach.
The café is famous for seemingly always having a line of tourists outside, but it has won its fame fair and square. It’s hard to argue with the delight of buying a couple of delicious sandwiches there and enjoying them on the green hill overlooking the port.
Where: Bo de B in Barceloneta- Carrer de la Fusteria, 12
When: midday to 11 pm daily (until 8 pm Sundays)
Street food in Barcelona means Bikini Sandwich
Talking of sandwiches, it’s important to note that in Spanish, the word “sandwich” only refers to a small square sandwich, not subs or rolls or panini.
The most famous of all might be the bikini sandwich. While the name might sound like a Sex On The Beach-type innuendo, there is nothing to fear, this is simply the Spanish version of a Croque Monsieur: a delicious street food that is a toasted ham and cheese sandwich.
The name comes not from a tradition of beach-side snacking but Sala Bikini, a still-standing major music venue that popularised the snack when it opened in the 1950s.
In the Mercat del Ninot in Eixample (C/de Mallorca), you will find, among countless stalls selling enticing fresh produce, La Bikineria. A friendly team sells both the traditional options and new variations as they try to reinvent an old favorite.
Where: C/ de Mallorca, 133, 08036 Barcelona
When: 8 am – 8 pm daily (closed Sundays)
Street food in Barcelona means Botifarra
Having mentioned chorizo above, I must also include Catalans’ favorite sausage: botifarra.
Botifarra negra (black botifarra) is a blood sausage similar in style to morcilla, while botifarra blanca (white botifarra) is a white pork sausage. Traditionally served with spices and seasoning, it is sometimes adapted to include other ingredients such as eggs and truffles.
The L’Obrador chain of bakeries does a delicious botifarra in a flauta (a thin baguette). They have locations throughout the city.
Where: Carrer de Majorca 454, Barcelona
When: 7 am – 10 pm daily
Street food in Barcelona means Churros
Churros trucks are a staple throughout Spain and common street food in Barcelona.
While churros might look more like pretzels, their flavor suggests a lot of shared DNA with the donut, but thanks to being lightly fried they have a perfectly crunchy texture.
As if that doesn’t sound decadent enough, churros are typically served with hot chocolate.
The tradition of selling them out of food trucks dates back to traveling carnivals, and there is certainly something reminiscent of buying cotton candy about the whole experience. Even today, should you be in town for any festivity, you will stumble across a truck.
If you would prefer a place, you can find it on a map, there are lots of churrerías, too. Granja La Pallaresa is one of the longest-established churro joints, open since the 1940s.
Perhaps the best of both worlds can be experienced at La Xurreria de Maria where churros are served on a stall outside the café.
Where: La Xurreria de Maria, C/de Provença 449, Barcelona
When: 8am – 8 pm Wednesday to Sunday, 8am – 2 pm Monday, closed Tuesdays
Street food in Barcelona means chestnuts and sweet potato
In Catalonia, the end of October means a cultural war pitting the new-fangled Halloween against the traditional Castanyada.
Castanyada comes from the word Caitanya, meaning chestnut, so during this festival stalls pop up all over town selling chestnuts and sweet potatoes.
This is one of my favorite times of the year. The weather is usually still pleasant, but the nights get chilly, and the smell of roasted chestnut and sweet potato is as sure a sign of autumn as the fallen leaves.
Typically served in improvised wrapping, not unlike traditional British fish and chip packaging, chestnuts are to be enjoyed on the move – and shared.
Street food in Barcelona means Croquetas
Street food in Barcelona often means bar food. Having a tapa with a drink is one of the iconic images of Spain, and a croqueta would be a great place to start.
In the Spanish version of croquettes, instead of having a potato base as in the French tradition, Spanish croquetas use a gooey bechamel sauce.
Traditionally, this is used to coat ham, but chicken and even vegetarian options are now commonplace.
Perikete in Barceloneta has three types of croquetas on the menu: ham, salted cod, and ribeye.
Where: Perikete, Carrer de Llauder, 6, 08003 Barcelona
When: 12 pm – 12 am daily
Street food in Barcelona means Bombas
Bombas are now a staple all over Spain but were actually created in a bar in Barceloneta, La Cova Fumada.
They are balls of breaded and fried mashed potatoes topped with spicy minced meat – which explains how they earned the name “bombs”.
Like croquetas, they make for a filling, satisfying accompaniment to a beer.
Where: La Cova Fumada, Carrer del Baluard, 56, 08003 Barcelona
When: Monday – Friday 8.45 am – 3.45 pm, until 2.30 pm Saturday and closed Sundays
Street food in Barcelona means Pinchos
Pinchos are originally from the Basque Country, but there are a wealth of popular pincho places in Barcelona.
Something like a northern version of tapas, pinchos are small slices of baguette topped with several layers of fish, meat, or vegetables – all held together with a toothpick.
This means they can really become impressively elaborate. The first time I saw a pincho place, I remember thinking that while a lot of food in Barcelona is recognizable from other Mediterranean cuisines, pinchos were definitively something different and “from here”.
While great love and care are taken when putting the pinchos together, there is something endearingly casual about the traditional way the bill is calculated: the waiter counts your toothpicks.
My favorite place for Pinchos is Euskal Etxea, not far from the Picasso Museum. Pinchos start at only €1.20 and you have the choice of sampling them in the rowdier bar area or a calmer seated area.
Where: Euskal Etxea – Plaçeta de Montcada, 1,08003 Barcelona
When: 12 pm – 12 am daily
Street food in Barcelona means Coca
Coca is a kind of sweet pastry eaten, especially on Sundays and on certain festive days. For the festival of Sant Joan (June 23rd), it is almost an obligatory purchase for locals. So it’s common to see bakers advertising their prices outside on blackboards, and adorning their windows with their most show-stopping numbers.
Coca is a kind of flat bread finished off with a variety of super-healthy toppings: sugar, cream, and candied fruit.
Vegetarian options are likely to be available in more modern bakeries but always ask: a lot of traditional pastries use lard.
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Best Markets in Barcelona for Street Food
Apart from the specific recommendations above, some places are ideal for sampling a wide range of delicious street food and where you can eat a quick and easy meal.
Let’s take a look at some of Barcelona’s best street food markets.
The world-famous La Boqueria market on La Rambla is an obvious place to start, but it is still a must-visit.
A mix of market stalls and restaurants vie for your attention here and you can buy a range of traditional Barcelona food as well as eat some of the best street food.
Bar Pinotxo (stalls 466-470) is a family-run tapas place, refreshingly low-key amid some of the more tourist-hungry places. Their specialty is arguably garbanzos con morcilla (chickpeas with blood sausage).
A rival for La Boqueria’s tapas crown would be Kiosko Universal (stall 691). Here the seafood tapas are really what it’s all about, with the grilled seafood’s freshness really popping.
It’s also possible to get some reasonably priced Jamón Ibérico. El Quim de la Boqueria (stall 582) is my personal favorite.
If all that sounds too meaty and fishy, a stone’s throw away from the market is Maoz on Ferran Street (Carrer de Ferran, 13), a long-established port of call for vegan-friendly good food, where falafel and a hearty pita sandwich are the order of the day.
Where: Rambla, 91 08001 Barcelona
When: Monday to Saturday: 8:00am – 8:30pm
Mercat de Santa Caterina
All over the city, traditional-style indoor markets are being refurbished. Mercat de Santa Caterina was one of the first, back in 2005, and it is almost worth visiting just for its gorgeous exterior: its undulating, colorful roof lures in visitors from afar.
Inside, there is an attractive mix of stalls selling fresh produce, unpretentious bars, and the Cuines Santa Caterina, which combines a buzzy atmosphere with high-quality fresh food.
Where: Av. Francesc Cambó, 16 08003 Barcelona
When: Monday, Wednesday, Saturday: 7:30 am to 3:30 pm and Tuesday Thursday Friday: 7:30 am to 8:30 pm
Palo Alto Market
Palo Alto Market, in the increasingly popular Poblenou area, is an altogether different proposition. Achingly trendy, this market is the first weekend every month in a large garden space wrapped around an artist’s studio.
With live music on offer as well as a variety of arts and crafts stands, the market is an event in itself and boasts a fun, hipsterish atmosphere. For those familiar with New York, it can be said to bring a little Brooklyn to Barcelona.
The nearest metro is Selva de Mar but visitors might prefer to take the 7 bus back to the center, as it provides a pretty scenic tour of Avinguda Diagonal, Passeig de Gràcia, and Gran Via.
Where: Carrer dels Pellaires, 30 – 38, 08019 Barcelona
When: Two sessions – 12:00 to 17:00 or 17:30 to 22:00
Admission is €5 (in advance online).
All Those Food Market
All Those Food Market (Teatre Nacional de Catalunya, Plaça de les Arts, 1), meanwhile, is a street market with less of a festival vibe but whose undoubted love for street food shines through.
There is something engaging here about watching local chefs and artisans work hard to create something new. As well as street food, unusual wines, and locally brewed beers are available, and there is also curiosity about the esoteric gastronomy-related tools on sale.
The market also features several hands-on activities on offer, including coffee workshops.
It is held through the winter and spring, and costs €2 admission.
When: Check the Facebook page for updates
Slow Food Market
The Slow Food movement is a growing phenomenon all around the world, and the Barcelona incarnation (at Jardins de les Tres Xemeneies) is a typically excellent source of local produce created with traditional methods while trying to protect the environment.
If you are visiting in the winter or early spring, it might be an ideal opportunity to try calçots, a kind of Catalan spring onion that is barbecued and dipped into salvitxada, a relative of romesco sauce, made with almonds, tomato, garlic, vinegar, salt, and parsley.
This market has a definite educational bent, seeking to reduce the distance between where food is made and where it is consumed and to teach us about our relationship with what we eat.
The event’s organizers actively involve local professional chefs, and there are various workshops, talks, and children’s activities.
Where: Mercat de la Terra, Av. del Parallel, 49, 08004 Barcelona
When: 9-3 pm on Saturdays