The good news is that there are a few halal options in Barcelona. The bad news is that you may struggle to find anything other than Indian/Pakistani or Turkish/Middle Eastern food. There are lots of halal shawarma/donor kebab shops scattered around the city so if you want a quick eat you’re in luck.
The majority of halal restaurants are at the end of the popular tourist area Les Ramblas, on Nou De la Rambla and Rambla del Raval which is 5 mins walk away from Les Rambles. Here you will find lots of little Pakistani places and yes shawarma too. I also spotted two grocery shops selling halal meat which is useful if you are there for a while and have facilities to cook.
On the main Les Ramblas, we had a very overpriced chicken couscous and chicken shawarma at Habibi restaurant. Although the couscous was good the chicken shwarama was dry and tasteless. But the restaurant is nice and homely and makes you feel like you’re in Edgware Road, or should I say Beirut?! On our second night we had an average meal at La Turca on Nou De La Rambla. The houmous was delicious and creamy, the kofta dish I ordered wasn’t too bad either. The quality of Turkish food in London is so much better that I wouldn’t even bother visiting, however if you need a meat fix La Turca is not a bad choice. They also sell Paella, I wasn’t brave enough to try it as I thought if I want Paella I should have it at a local Spanish restaurant right? I did at La Tertulia which is an authentic Catalan restaurant, and found it too salty as it was cooked in sea water! Oh well…
I only found one halal tapas place called Bar Potitas in the Barri Gotic area but didn’t get a chance to eat here unfortunately! Most tapas places have ‘patata bravas’ which is Spanish spicy potatoes, they’re quite yummy but fried so eat with caution! All tapas places have a lot of meat and fish on the menu, we had some nice food at Txapela which is a chain across Barcelona.
One restaurant that one of my readers recommended was Spice Bcn which serves halal Nandos style chicken. It’s located on Carrer d’Amigo just near Turo Parc.
My advice would be to stick to the Spanish/Italian/European restaurants and order the fish/seafood dishes. Barcelona being a coastal city, has a plethora of seafood and fresh fish dishes straight out of the Mediterranean. A seafood paella may not suit everyone’s palate but other fish dishes are in abundance. Generally the vegetarian option is limited at most restaurants but there are a few vegetarian restaurants like Pita Inn, Catbar and Govinda the latter two being vegan.
A great place for vegetarians is the Fresco Restaurant which is a chain and runs a buffet for a very reasonable €9. Think Pizza Hut Buffet but the pizza not as good! It has a huge salad bar, with pasta, fideua (paella with noodles instead of rice) and pizza, hot and cold drinks and dessert. As with most buffets not the best quality but a good option if you’re stuck and want to eat well, but they serve meat too so beware of random meat pieces in certain things. A nice cafe or foccaceria as it’s called with a good selection of vegetarian food is Buenas Migas which is a chain and has many branches around the city. Lovely wholesome food and cakes with fresh juice/coffee can be enjoyed here. Great option if your hotel doesn’t include breakfast.
Drinking is a huge part of Spanish culture so you will be see it everywhere in Barcelona, if you’re looking for a restaurant that doesn’t serve alcohol either you might be hard pressed. Even corner shops many which are run by Pakistani Muslims stock beers and spirits as well as ham and all the cold cuts of meat that the Spanish love, which you don’t generally find here in the UK.
What I enjoyed most in Barcelona was the cafe culture, buy a good cup of coffee and drink outdoors and watch the world go by. Followed very closely by eating ice cream from the numerous gelaterias. Yum.
To conclude when in Barcelona forget the meat, become a pescatarian, eat ice cream and drink coffee!