Think of eating breakfasts in the Barcelona hotel where you settle. Most local hotels, even cheap Barcelona hotels, offer breakfasts in on-site dining rooms or restaurants. Breakfasts are either included in the room rate or available for some extra charge, which varies depending on the food choice and star rating of the hotel. However, if you still prefer eating outside, there are usually plenty of cafes and restaurants nearby most Barcelona hotels. You can also ask the hotel staff to recommend you cheap cafes with good food. Don’t hesitate to ask around – locals are very friendly and usually ready to help (and if you use some Catalan or Spanish phrases from your guidebook or a phrasebook, they will be extremely pleased). There is one general tip to follow if you want to eat on the cheap in Barcelona: try to avoid “tourist trap” places – you will have to pay more for your food here compared to restaurants and cafes a block or so away from the heart of the action.
When in Barcelona cafe, bar or restaurant, eat tapas, which are small plates of food that are served with drinks (usually with sherry or cava). You can be full up with these small pieces of good food, which is affordable even for those who are on a very tight budget. Vegetarian food is also cheap, yet healthy and delicious. When passing restaurants, keep looking for so called “tourist menus” usually posted outside local restaurants. “Tourist menus” may include three- or four-course meals, which are much cheaper compared to “a la carte”. Picnic is one another cheap alternative to restaurants and cafes. There is a wide choice of picnic food in local food markets. You can keep food in your hotel fridge and eat at least one or two meals a day without going to a restaurant. These are just a few advices on how to eat on the cheap in Barcelona. I hope they will be helpful. Probably, you have other ideas, if you do, please share with us!