Taller de Tapas and Cata 1.81
One of the challenges facing tourists in Spain is the eating schedule. Restaurants don't open for lunch until around 2pm (if not later) and dinner doesn't generally start until at least 9pm.
For this reason, every time we go out to dinner, Alex and I are, without fail, the first ones in the restaurant. Apparently Spanish people do not have 5-year olds who think it is acceptable to bounce into one's bed at 6:30am and say "Is it morning yet? I'm bored of sleeping!."
I'm not a big fan of staying out late and by the time 9 pm rolls around, I'm more likely to be found watching Mad Men in my pajamas than waiting patiently outside the doors of some restaurant just so that I can finally get some dinner.
That being said, there are a few options for people like me. First of all, there is Taller de Tapas, a chain tapas joint that is open continuously from 12 pm- 1 am.
-It is nearly ALWAYS open
-There are many locations in Barcelona. You can see where here.
-The food is definitely a step up from any of those places you see around town that have the pictures of the food they serve posted on a sign outside (AVOID THOSE PLACES!). Some of the dishes are truly delicious and the menu offers authentic "seasonal" regional specialties from all over Spain. You can see the current menus on their web site.
-Menus are in English
-It is a chain and it feels like one.
-The prices are on the higher side (for what it is).
-The proportion of deep-fried greasy stuff on the menu is way too high for my taste.
-It is obvious that at least 75% of the other customers are also tourists which always makes one feel a bit silly.
All in all it's a very good option for getting decent food at times when normal restaurants are closed. That being said, there is an even BETTER option which I am now going to tell you about!
This is another tapas restaurant but the food is much better and the clientele waaaay less touristy.
-They open at 6pm Monday-Saturday (closed Sundays).
-The food is surprisingly affordable (often cheaper than at Taller de Tapas) with the average tapas dish only costing around 5 or 6 Euros. You can see the menu in English here!
-Cata 1.81 started with the idea of being a wine bar with just a few gastronomic specialties. Therefore, they have an amazing wine list with nearly 300 different wines (most of them Spanish) to choose from.
-The menu is based on traditional Catalan cuisine but also very fun, creative and in some cases, quite experimental. Signature dishes include Macaroni with Sobrasada sausage and white chocolate (a weird but shockingly tasty combo); a truffled bikini (a "bikini" is a toasted ham and cheese sandwich in Spain); and pig's trotters stuffed with figs and nuts, served with a wine sauce and honey ice cream!
-The decor is trying a bit too much. I'm sorry but I think like most other people in the world who were alive in 1997, horrible flashbacks of the Spice Girls tend to invade my brain whenever I see the Union Jack in sequins.
Calle València, 181
93 323 68 18