The Best Budget Restaurants in Barcelona

CC0 Pixabay
CC0 Pixabay
Tara Jessop

Eating out needn’t always mean breaking the bank. If Barcelona is famous for its fine dining foodie scene, it also has some great options for tasty meals at affordable prices. Whether you want traditional Catalan cuisine or are keen to try something a little more exotic, here are some of the best budget restaurants in Barcelona.

1. La Cova Fumada

Restaurant, Spanish

This is by no means a fancy restaurant – and it doesn’t try to be! La Cova Fumada is a real local’s haunt which is full to the brim every weekday lunchtime. The menu is no more than a board with the names of a few staples and a list of daily specials – first come, first served, so get there early to avoid disappointment. If you’re willing to wait for a table and don’t mind rubbing shoulders with your neighbour, eating here is likely to be an experience you don’t forget anytime soon with tapas starting from just €3.

2. Sésamo

Restaurant, Contemporary, Vegetarian

Chef at work in Catalonia
© Sésamo

Thought ‘tasting menu’ meant ‘expensive’? Not at Sésamo. This edgy vegetarian restaurant in the Raval offers a seven-course tasting menu with two drinks and water for just €25 per person. The dishes vary, but melted provolone cheese with green tomatoes and blue cheese gnocchi with beetroot and hazelnut sauce seem to be some of the chef’s favourites. Meat-lovers have tried and tested Sésamo and found themselves coming back…

3. Mosquito

Restaurant, Asian

Mosquito is one of Barcelona’s best gems: an authentic Asian restaurant with a wide selection of craft beers served in a cool locale in the Born. For €15 per person you can eat heartily and enjoy a selection of steamed buns, gyoza or meat specialities with a side of edamame and kimchi. The beers are pricier than your average caña, but include an excellent selection of local and European artisan brews.

4. Kiosco

Sandwich Shop, Fast Food

A burger at Bacoa
© Jorge Franganillo / Flickr

If there seems to be a gourmet burger joint on every street corner in Barcelona these days, the city has Kiosco to thank for setting the trend. The owners have since set up the Bacoa chain but this fast-food joint located opposite the Estació de Francia in the Born is the original deal. There are a selection of burger toppings to choose from and the option to upgrade to organic Pyrenean meat and add a few extras to your order.

5. Elisabets

Restaurant, Bar, Charcuterie, Spanish

A choice of burgers
Courtesy of El Club de la Hamburguesa

Something of a growing rarity in central Barcelona, Elisabets is a good old fashioned tapas bar open from morning to night, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Perch at the bar for a drink and a snack or take a seat in the ‘restaurant’ and order from a menu of typical Catalan dishes and Spanish tapas with many starting at just a few euros. This is especially well suited to groups as you can try a number of different dishes and eat well for around €10 per person.

6. Chen Ji 齐心面馆

Restaurant, Chinese

The best Chinese in Barcelona © Meg Stewart
© Meg Stewart

If Barcelona’s Chinatown isn’t much to write home about, Chen Ji stands out as the best – and arguably most authentic – Chinese restaurant in the city. For very little money you can fill your stomach with some classic Chinese specialities that you won’t find everywhere. The local Chinese community knows this is the place to come when you need a good meal without breaking the bank.

7. Caravelle

Restaurant, Diner, Cafe, North American, Contemporary, Spanish

The Caravelle dinning area
© Courtesy of Caravelle

A few years ago, Caravelle was mostly known as a popular brunch joint in the Raval. After a refurb and extension to add their very own nano-brewery, Caravelle is gradually becoming as appreciated for its dinners as its daytimes. Drawing on North American and Central American influences, the menu features classics such as juicy burgers, flavoursome tacos and finger-licking-good marinated ribs. Casual, cool and cozy, Caravelle is a great place for budget-friendly home-cooked food that ticks all the right boxes.

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