As you may have noticed, Catalans treasure their long meals with family and friends. But sometimes that’s a luxury you simply don’t have. Whether you’ve got a day packed full of exploring the city or are in the middle of a busy work day, there are times when you just need a quick lunch. Being under time pressure doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice tasty, healthy food though, especially in a city with as many fantastic options as Barcelona.
The Barcelona Edit team knows all about being on the go, so to help out other busy barceloneses we’ve rounded up our top picks for places to pick up a quick lunch in town. Goodbye limp, pre-packed supermarket salad and hello delicious dish on the dash. (P.S. As a bonus, all of these offer vegetarian-friendly options!)
Quick and Healthy Lunches in Barcelona
A Tu Bola
The entire menu at this hole-in-the-wall joint in the Raval is based on their signature “bolas” – balls made of fish, meat, and veggies, all lovingly hand-crafted by chef Shira Ben Shitrit. You can have your bolas served by themselves as a tapa, in pairs in pita bread, or in a trio on a plate with sides. We personally think the pitas make the best takeaway option of the three. You’ll also see this little eatery pop-up at music festivals and hipster markets all year round, proof of the pita’s status as a culinary cool kid.
Variety is the name of the game here at Beltrán, where they say they offer a different set lunch menu every day of the year. The food served is local, so while it’s hard to say exactly what dishes you’ll encounter, expect to see lots of kinds of rice, salads, legumes, fish, and meat. For the more health-conscious, they also offer a low-cal, high-flavor menu.
Inspired by the “slow food” movement, service at Bow is quick and easy. Every day they cook up pastas, salads, meat and fish, veggie sides, and the occasional stew or curry, all with in-season ingredients. Pick a couple to try in a to-go box, or grab one of the sandwiches on the bar. If you feel like actually taking a break away from the office, the exposed brick walls and tropical decorations make the perfect urban oasis.
Right next door to Bow, you’ve got another great choice for lunch on-the-go. Cafeliz offers a French take on classic lunch dishes with a daily selection of quiches, lasagnas, salads, and more. There are a handful of tables where you can sit and enjoy your lunch, though most customers opt for the to-go choice. The highlights here? Honest, simple food and friendly service.
Green & Berry
Green & Berry packs a powerful healthy lunch! Whether you have time to sit for a quick lunch or need to grab something to go you will not be disappointed by their wide selection of healthy salads, poke bowls, vegan burgers, delicious smoothies, and cold press juices. If you’re craving something sweet, they have raw and gluten-free treats, as well as superfood lattes, for an after lunch pick me up!
Gràcia’s Cookcio sells homemade Catalan favorites in a set menu to go at an affordable price. Pick from a range of starters and mains, add a dessert, and you’re good to go. Though there are some tables inside, we opt for heating up your food in the microwave provided and then take it to one of Gràcia’s many pretty squares to enjoy al fresco.
Barcelona sushi favorite Kibuka has a small storefront a short walk away from Diagonal metro with pre-made rolls, nigiri, edamame, appetizers, and more. You can go a la carte or take them up on the midday menu deal. If you don’t see your favorite roll in the display fridge, you can order it on the spot. Fast Kibuka offers delivery service, making it ideal for sating sushi cravings all over the city.
Súper Coffee & Food
Located in the center of Poblenou, this little eatery is all about putting superfoods into their dishes. Oh, and they also serve some pretty super coffee to go along with it. They actually roast their own beans to get the perfect blend. Expect to see American favorites – think bagels, pasta salads, and so on – alongside Thai-inspired dishes, a few Spanish staples, and a slew of vegan creations. They have a second location in Eixample that offers Indian-inspired dishes.
Indian street food has come to the heart of the Gothic Quarter with Super Naan. Its signature naan rolls are easily portable and they pack a huge punch of flavor. Choose your favorite filling for a roll, from chicken tikka to veggie masalas, or sample one of their rice bowls. Round off your meal with a Nutella-spread naan for a perfectly sweet fusion food finish.
Local supermarkets also have been stepping up their pre-made lunch offerings lately, though not all locations are equally well-equipped. Some Mercadona locations feature a salad bar where you can load up your lettuce with plenty of toppings, along with freshly made takeaway meals. Upscale supermarket Ametller Origen sells decent sushi and poke bowls, but arrive early as lines do tend to get long in the afternoon.
The next time you’re pinched for time and need a quick lunch, spend less time figuring out where to eat and more time going about your busy Barcelona day. There’s a whole big city out there to explore!