MY Guide to Eating Your Way Around Barcelona….
Carrer Argenteria, 37, 08003
To start with you’re going to need somewhere to stay....and I feel like I may well have found the gem of the city. I’ve stayed here a few times previously taking my sister and her friends there for her hen do (it was a stylish one) and not only is the location perfect, the hotel itself is super on the money. Simple but elegantly and stylishly decked out, we felt right at home at Banys Orientals. Don’t expect room service but do expect four poster beds and a minimalist palette of black, white and grey. I was concerned about returning after six plus years, worrying it may have aged but that really didn’t seem to be the case. In fact they had added a gorgeous, vibrantly decorated restaurant on the ground floor which made up for the breakfast room which was a little dark. The breakfast room served up a delicious array of sweets and savouries and I think I may have well eaten my favourite (few) slices of Spanish omelette there. The location leaves you pretty much on the doorstep of Jaume 1, a ten minute walk to the beach and two steps from the cobbled, charming streets of the Born district. Whichever way we turned we were completely spoilt for architecture, charm, amazing bars and restaurants and felt like we were pretty much in the centre of it all.
The main upshot is that for the privilege of great accommodation, amazing location and more importantly being surrounded by so many amazing eateries it costs between £110 and £140 a night for a double room and only £20/30 more for a suite.
La Flauta – Traditional Tapas
Carrer d' Aribau, 23, 08011
Start with somewhere that serves amazing pinchos (Catalan tapas).. this one came with a double recommendation from foodie friends I trust. It’s a bit of a trek up past Las Ramblas and beyond the university but worth the walk. We ate outside but on seeing inside wished we ate at the bar. This place is bustling with a complete cross section of people, some that seem to have been visiting the establishment for the entire 30 years it’s been going and others that like us had been given a tip off. The majority of people were ordering everything from tapas, mains through to dessert. A favourite looked to be the soft sponge cake with chocolate sauce poured over it, another a generously sized Crème brûlée. We were too full to try either though! We were under strict instructions to try the Huevos Cabreaos and were glad we did. Shoestring fries with spicy tomato sauce topped with two fried eggs which are then mashed and thoroughly mixed through everything by the waiter at your table. For really great tapas and an amazing variety go here.
El Pachuco - Mexican
Carrer de Sant Pau, 110, 08001
Crazy good, low key Mexican, open all day serving up a variety of tacos and other Mexican treats. My favourite were the pork tacos with crackling & homemade chilli coriander sauce (which you get to add at will). Veggies aren’t forgotten here, as they’re served up a black bean, sour cream and coriander option.
The enchiladas should definitely not be missed either but be aware these are pretty generous in size (we obviously over ordered and managed to pack it all down).
The Guacamole and homemade nachos aren’t to be missed either, packed full of onion, tomato, chilli and coriander with plenty of homemade rustic style nachos on the side. This hast to be the best Guacamole I’ve had in a while.
The drinks list was pretty strong too, we opted for the Michelada, a homemade blend of tomato juice with an array of spices topped with your beer of choice and served in a salt rimmed glass. Think bloody mary but way more refreshing and less heavy.
If you like a low key, buzzy environment and food and cocktails with bold flavours then this is definitely a must visit. I’d go back in a flash.
Mosquito – Asian tapas/dumplings
Carrer dels Carders, 46, 08003
A favourite amongst locals and mentioned across a fair few blogs this place was packed out the entire night. In fact way before any other restaurant started to fill up as per traditional Catalonian eating times. If you’re not strict on sticking to local cuisine and looking for a place to satisfy your dumpling needs then look no further. If you’re unable to grab a seat straight away they’ll chalk up your name and you can head nearby for a drink. They offer a serious selection of steamed dumplings plus hot and cold main courses and the craft beer offering was pretty extensive too. Pull up a pew by the bar and catch the chaos.
We loved this place and would head back in a heartbeat.
Raso Terra –Vegetarian
Carrer del Palau, 5, 08002
Vegetarian or not (and I’m not) this is a delicious place to eat. Go and be impressed by the twists on locally sourced dishes. This is a ‘Slow food’ with all ingredients produced on site or very nearby in their garden. The wine list offers a variation between, eco, bio and sulphate free and what they recommended was delicious. There was a core ‘tapas’ style menu but also a more interesting daily, seasonally led menu. We obviously over ordered from both. All dishes were varied and really well thought out, this was a real find and a definite treat for my vegetarian man. With both Asian and Italian influences to be found in broth style dumpling dishes and purple potato gnocchi. ‘Give Peas a Chance’ was a highlight on the dessert menu and definitely not to be missed if you’re going to make it through to dessert.
Carrer de Jerusalem, 6, 08001
This restaurant is NOT to be missed if like me you live for Italian food. I always have a moment of guilt when I eat outside of the local cuisine when on holiday however if you mix it up a bit there’ll be a whole load more appreciation for when you do. Where the city is so multicultural you’ll only be missing out if you bypass the amazing variation of cuisines and you’ll most definitely be missing out should you not go directly to Bacaro on arriving. The staff were super friendly and helpful, the décor low key but authentic feeling. The wine list was great and the chef especially friendly, even coming out of the kitchen to when talk us through some additional vegetarian options. That said all of this was way overshadowed by the food, we ate everything they told us to and loved every bite. Plus it’s 2 minutes walk from the huge food market Mercat de la Boqueria. Bacaro has it all. Dream venue, dream location and dream food.
El Jardi – Seasonal European
Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol, 1, 08002
One of my favourite spots in the city. We stumbled upon it and returned several times throughout our stay, El Jardin is a beautiful, quiet haven hidden away from the tourist trail, tucked within the historic walls of what was once a hospital deep within the gothic quarter.Serving up everything from coffees and pastries through to wine and light lunches. The food was delicious, the salads super fresh and interesting. The patatas bravas was served with a punchy aioli and was particularly good as were the aubergine parmagiana and mussels. We spent hours here, a completely relaxing well catered spot.
7 Portes - Traditional Catalan
Pg. Isabel II, 14, 08003
7 Portes is not just a restaurant it's a Catalan institution. First opened over 175 years ago, 7 Portes is open every day of the year dishing out the very finest in traditional Catalan and Mediterranean from lunchtime to the early hours. I'd advise booking ahead if you're keen to eat at a set time otherwise you can turn up and wait outside on the terrace for a table to come available. We were told an hour but were being ushered towards our table by a waiters in a white tux within 20 minutes. They serve up the best seafood in the city alongside simply presented meat dishes and traditional Catalan stuffed Cannelloni pasta. The real reason to go here though is for the Paella, large enough to share (i had one to myself) they have an extensive dedicated paella menu catering for every craving. You definitely need to plan a visit to 7 Portes when in Barcelona. You may even bump into an celeb or two, the walls are adorned with signatures of famous diners, we spotted the signatures of Robert De Niro, Gabriel G Marquez and Lou Reed.