From generous tapas of the traditional kind to more complex Catalan dishes such as fricando and bacalao, Catalonia, a region in northern Spain boasts some of the best cuisine in the world. Advantageously located between the sea and the mountains, it enjoys the finest ingredients from both the coast and further inland including a variety of fresh, high-quality seafood, meat, fruit and vegetables. Not forgetting the excellent wines and cava of the land.
Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia represents a foodie’s paradise; from well established, Michelin star restaurants to hidden neighbourhood eateries tucked away in Barcelona’s narrow streets. Barcelonans are proud of their culinary heritage and rightly so, with such sophisticated cuisine Barcelona is fast becoming the envy of the world.
The long held tradition of tapas or ‘el tapeo’, accompanying an afternoon or evening drink with a small serving of food is maintained to this day in Barcelona. Famous for this delicacy, Barcelona hosts countless tapas bars and restaurants teeming with both locals and tourists, often spilling out into Barcelona’s busy squares and streets. One of the few phenomenal gastronomic experiences which do not involve a table cloth and a pricey sit-down meal, tapas is a great dining option. Traditional tapas consist of chorizo, croquetas, calamares, gambas pil-pil and boquerones and with the added help of a waiter suggesting various specialties, there are numerous tapas for the adventurous diner to try.
There are few better places to experience traditional tapas than the Bars of the Boqueria, including well know Bar Pinotxo and Bar Boqueria, For tapas with a twist, Barcelona offers some great alternatives to traditional tapas: Samsara offers an eclectic mixture of small plates, with influences from Asia, the Middle East and Latin American cuisine enjoyed in a casual, boho chic atmosphere. Sereny is dedicated to expanding conventional tapas with an exotic twist, located in the Gracia area.
In terms of Michelin Stars, Barcelona does not fall short. The Catalonian region is home to over 20 Michelin-star dining opportunities many of which are located in Barcelona. La Xarcu, located in Sant Gervasi is a well kept secret providing customers with culinary genius Juan Badia Blauquer’s imaginative creations. A better known option is ABaC a Michelin 2-star restaurant offering an authentic yet innovative Spanish gourmet experience within a serene, elegant atmosphere. Lasarte is one of the top restaurants in Barcelona with 2 Michelin stars and signature restaurant of Martin Berasategi, one of the best Basque chefs around the world, offers an avant-garde gastronomic experience.
By wondering the streets of Barcelona, visitors are certain to stumble across hidden neighbourhood gems. The different areas of Barcelona bestow a number of diverse culinary delights, at great prices tempting visitors with their authentic feel. Within the Le Barceloneta region of Barcelona, La Cova Fumada known as the ‘Home of the spicy Bomba’ is a small, family run eatery. Creating a homely ambience, La Cova Fumada showcases local food at its best, evidenced by the ever present line of locals and tourists at its door. A more elegant restaurant with an unpretentious charm is El Passadis del Pep, serving traditional simple Catalan food, known not for its modern inventiveness or audacity but for exceptionally fresh ingredients expertly prepared. Complimentary Chupitos are provided at the end of the meal, a welcome but rare tradition that has died out in Barcelona but is maintained in the most classic establishments.
For visitors with a sweet tooth, Barcelona is well known for Churros dipped in chocolate and ice cream. For the lightest and freshest churros in Barcelona, Xurreria is the place to go, well known for their rich dipping chocolate. For inventive ice cream, Amorino offers the best ice cream in Barcelona and creative displays – a trademark being their ‘cream crocante’, a flowered shape scoop flavoured with amaretto and flower petals.