It isn’t hard to find cheap tapas in Barcelona. In fact, essentially every block houses at least two cafeterías with a decent selection of crazy-cheap tapas. Slightly difficult to find, however, is a really extraordinary tapas restaurant that has character, originality, and delicious tapas at an affordable price. There is one gem in Barcelona that meets all of these criteria: Bar Lobo.
Bar Lobo, located in El Raval right off of Las Ramblas, is fantastic. A friend took me there my first week and Barcelona, and ever since, I’ve been addicted. Naturally, with such close proximity to Las Ramblas, Bar Lobo can be a bit touristy, but I’ve always found a hefty presence of locals (the true sign of good tapas) as well. The vibe is sultry and cool, but also a little pretentious. The décor is really rad; the giant, hanging, beautiful old geography books-turned-lamps alone make a Bar Lobo visit worthwhile. But fear not, for the food is equally as creative and beautiful (but also delicious) as the atmosphere.
Let’s be honest, tapas are fabulous because you can eat everything you wanted to try, without feeling like a gluttonous pig or breaking the bank. Tapas are meant to be shared, so grab a few friends with similar tapas palettes, and head on out. One might expect a chic resto like Bar Lobo to be on the pricey side, but this is not so—especially when splitting between several people.
Keep in mind that Bar Lobo is not a traditional tapas bar; their style is simple, modern tapas with a touch of international influence. There are three tapas that I consider absolutely necessary from Bar Lobo. One is the tempura fried asparagus served with romesco sauce. These are as strange and delicious as they sound, and they give you a nice pile for only 3.75 euro. Next, the eggplant chips drizzled with honey—again, just 3.75 euro for a big bowl. They are super rich but have a seriously exotic, sweet taste. Finally, the mussels. These babies are drenched in a rosemary garlic cream sauce, and are just plain epic. The best part? They give you a generous heap for just 5.50 euro. They are fresh and amazing, and so easy to share. Without a doubt, these are the best mussels I’ve ever had in my life. Even the most fervent anti-musselists will be converted after tasting these heavenly morsels.
Those are just three of my faves; other yummy and affordable options include a hummus plate, fried artichokes, patatas bravas, and an array of incredibly fresh salads. Depending on how hungry you are, add another tapa or two to your assortment and feast your heart out.
Split between 3 people, these rich, luscious tapas will put you at just 4.33 euro per person. One more similar-priced tapa would boost that to just 6 euro—a price well worth the culinary experience. As a side note, it’s a bit pricey, but Bar Lobo makes a mean sangria (replete with cinnamon sticks, strawberries, apples and pears). A pitcher is 15 euros, but those who are willing to throw down a little extra for world-class sangria will not be disappointed.