Out of the 7000+ restaurants in Barcelona city, it’s not always easy to find a great quality and affordable meal. If you are visiting and/or have free time during the weekday hours of 1:30 – 4:00pm, treat yourself to what the Spanish call Menu Del Dia.
The problem though when I lived and worked here is that i didn’t quite have the time to make the trek for these meals during my lunch breaks. Especially when I was working as a classroom teacher, my lunch break was from 12 – 1pm when these restaurants were not even open and I would be lucky to have 35 minutes to have a sit down meal.
Being in the city now with a minimal agenda and no strict daytime job, the 10-15€ menu is becoming a way I spend a portion of my afternoon and discover new eats and rediscover neighborhoods. Being someone who appreciates a variety of foods (and wine), it is fun to see this city in a different light.
The past few weeks I’ve discovered two new gems and I just got back from having a three course at what I consider to be the best menu restaurant thus far in the city. I am still waiting for my next discovery and I would appreciate your help. So here are my top three places in three different neighborhoods you might easily find yourself while in Barcelona.
C. Córsega 343, 08037 Barcelona, Spain (E’ixample / Gracia)
Lunch 1:00pm – 4:30pm
Dinner 7:30 – midnight
For 13€ you have a starter, which on my visit included a delicious Zucchini Cream and a Burrata Mozzarella salad . The portion was the perfect amount to sample these two together as a soup and salad combination and have enough space for the more filling “sandwich” which you’re able to choose your preferred meat or vegetable that is stacked between two crunchy yet bitable toast bread. The focus of this gastrobar gourmet “sandwich” is not on the delicious bread, but it is in what is inside (the protein) in my opinion. I ordered the Seared Tuna “Pepita”, which include four delicious “al punto” pieces, covered with shaved radishes, sesame and came with a side of avocado guacamole-iesque sauce. All of this of course accompanied with Spanish white wine throughout the meal and concluded with a choice of dessert OR coffee. Yes, all for 13€.
Carrer de Gombau, 30, 08003 Barcelona (El Borne)
1:30 – 4:30pm (Lunch)
8:00pm – midnight (Dinner)
If you like your pizza saucy, a bit runny, simple and appreciate the freshest thin crust authentic and Neapolitan, then this is definitely the place you shouldn’t miss. With a menu set at 7,50€, they start you off with a bruschetta of the day, your choice of a full on pizza (12 inch thin crust) which includes Margherita (my go to) and a beverage.
There is a supplement of 1€ if you want a coca cola, but the wine or water is included (I believe). Yup, you heard it. Most menus actually don’t charge a supplemental fee for vino. For the price and quality, this is definitely someplace you should NOT miss on your trip. There are many great pizza restaurants that I actually saved myself for before coming to BCN, but I truly enjoyed the menu option here (and that it’s only a 1 minute walk from where I am staying).
C/ Doctor Dou, 14 – 08001 Barcelona
1:00 – 4:30pm (Lunch)
7:30pm – 11:30pm (Dinner)
This is by far the place I’ve had most of my menu del dia meals when I lived here and it had not changed a bit. If you are a vegetarian or need a gluten free meal, this place caters to all.
The set menu starts at 12,90€ and you are given options to fancy up your meal. I have always been very content with the “basic” options, but today I treated myself to a steak tartare and I’m glad I did.
Being a French themed and designed space, I thought why not, splurge especially with some Rioja red. Even though it was a bit pricier for me today, I will not hesitate to recommend anyone who comes to Barcelona to consider the supplement if they’re craving something a bit more gourmet (like filet or tartare grade meat).
Being situated close to Catalunya, but especially MACBA, the contemporary museum of Barcelona, this charming, up and coming neighborhood is one that should not be missed. When talking about why this place is my top choice, I say that its the price, food quality, service and design. It really does encapsulate the whole package.
Today I had a vegetable soup with crushed pistachio, tartare and kept my dessert simple (papaya and pineapple). It was fresh and delicious (and I might go back tomorrow for that soup).
I hope this serves as a guide to my favorite lunch spots that won’t hurt the pocket, but I’d really love to know your favorite spots as I’m happy to spend 2 hours of my day dining leisurely. For a more expansive blog on the food scene in BCN, with great recs by neighborhoods and types of food I highly recommend checking out Food Barcelona.