Spain is synonymous with tapas, but are tapas a culinary tradition of the fervently nationalistic region of Catalonia? Long before the Andalusians from the south brought their gazpacho and the hot new chefs were topping tapas with wasabi, there was a local tradition of “pica-pica,” or enjoying some nibbles over a glass of vermouth before a meal. On this 3 hour Barcelona tapas tour, our expert guide, a culinary insider or chef, will shine light on this tradition, taking us on a delectable tour of top tapas purveyors around the trendy, up-and-coming Poble-Sec area. Together, we will reveal the basis of Catalan tapas and see how they have evolved with the influence of the rest of Spain and its recent avant-garde culinary movements.
Barcelona Tapas Tour in Poble Sec
To picar in Catalan, means to eat small portions of different types of food, such as olives, croquettes, cheese, or fuet sausage. Ideal places for this are the bodegues, Catalan “taverns.” We will begin our mouth-watering small group or private tour in a Poble-Sec tavern. Settling in at a traditional-style (though modern) bodega, we will learn the basics, and possibly even make our own pa amb tomaquet (tomato bread), to be sampled with a variety of cheeses and locally produced vermouth. While this traditional Spanish libation has remained a local favorite, vermouth has enjoyed a recent resurgence outside of Spain thanks to the craft cocktail movement, inspiring the rest of the world to sit up and take note. This sweet, fortified wine is traditionally enjoyed over ice, and pairs well with Catalan tapas.
Tapas Tastings with an Expert
Following our introduction to Barcelona's approach to tapas, we will then head to one or two other local spots, perhaps one where the friendly owner puts an innovative twist on favorites such as bomba, potato balls with spicy meat. Along the way, we might find daily specials which could be topped with caramelized onions and delicate blue cheese or homemade tomato jam and fava beans, allowing us to start to see how the chefs of today are experimenting. We might also stop in at the neighborhood favorite “Quimet y Quimet.” The current owners are the fourth generation proprietors, serving up possibly the world’s best montaditos, or small sandwiches. We will taste for ourselves their wonderful made-to-measure creations.
"Our tour was fabulous. Our guide knew the history and food of Barcelona, and her knowledge was unbelievable. We visited several food venues that were different and unusual. We would have never found these on our own. She asked us what we liked and did not like, but we trusted her to order for us so as to expand our experience."
Tapas Tour Take Aways
Our final spot will highlight Barcelona as a cosmopolitan city. Over the last century, people from all parts of Spain, especially Galicia and Andalusia, flocked to Barcelona in search of work, bringing their culinary traditions along with them. We may stop in at a hip Basque bar serving up seasonal pintxos, tapas on bread, traditionally from the region on the opposite side of the country, which now rivals Catalonia's once steadfast hold on the contemporary food scene. This will give us the opportunity to discuss how these outside elements are shaping Barcelona today, creating fusion approaches to classic favorites. Regardless if you take the Barcelona tapas tour as a private or small group experience, we'll part ways full of knowledge and locally made tapas.
This walk is adaptable for anyone with allergies or other dietary restrictions. Please indicate these in the notes when booking so your guide can be prepared.
Looking for more Barcelona bites? Try our Barcelona Food Tour
in the famous La Boqueria Market.
FAQ about the Barcelona Tapas Tour
What is a private tour?
Our private tours are limited exclusively to travelers in your party. They are designed to provide a learning experience that is completely tailored to you and your traveling companions. Private tours give you more flexibility with scheduling (you decide when the walk best fits in your trip), the ability to tailor your itinerary (we'll work to match the itinerary to the interests and dynamics of your group), and more personalized time with your guide.
What is a small group tour?
Our small group tours cover many of the same itineraries as our private tours, but they take place with other travelers in groups of 6 or fewer. They operate on a pre-scheduled calendar, and are designed to provide an opportunity to engage with and learn from other travelers. Most of our small group tours require at least 3 participants to run, although there is some variation from tour to tour. As you sign up for a tentative tour, we display the minimum number required in order to confirm.
This tour takes place around dinner time. Will the tapas tastings be enough for dinner?
The various tastings on the tour are significant and can be considered a replacement for a sit down meal.
I have dietary restrictions. Can I take this tour?
We will do our best to accommodate you if you are on a small group tour by ordering appropriate items. However, taking a private tour would allow us to tailor even more fully to your needs. Please note that we cannot guarantee that the foods prepared in restaurant kitchens will not be subject to cross-contamination.