Unique Dining Experiences in Barcelona, Spain
Welcome to Barcelona, the vibrant capital city of Catalonia and one of the most enchanting and magical cities that Europe has to offer. After a long days of strolling along Las Ramblas, gazing at Gaudi’s unique architecture and discovering the mysteries in the old neighbourhood of El Raval it’s no wonder that you might find the call of hunger starting to sound. Then comes the question: Where can you go for a truly authentic Barcelona dining experience? Here’s where:
Tapas on a Secret Rooftop
When you think of Spanish food you will no doubt think of tapas almost instantly. How about a central location? Far above the busy streets below, with delicious food and a view to kill for. This secret rooftop dining experience with locals will offer you the finest tapas that Barcelona has to offer.
Set in a unique location you will be served by hosts that will welcome you into their home and treat you as “one of the family”. The tasty dishes are a fusion of traditional Catalan classics, along with Italian and modern European influences. The incredible 15-course tasting menu comes with a welcoming sparkling cava, as well as wines and beer throughout your meal, finishing with a coffee to complete the evening, as you gaze out onto the Barcelona skyline.
After a day of shopping you won’t even need to leave Las Ramblas to enjoy one of the most famous and authentic dining experiences the city has to offer. The Labyrinth-like Mercado de La Boqueria is a hypnotic blend of colors, noise and wonderfully appetizing smells.
Make your way through the produce market to the back to find a host of exciting food stalls frequented by locals and pull up a stool for a true Catalan dinner delight. Try Catalan specialities like bacalla salat (dried salted cod) along with suculent pues de porc (port trotters) or the suprising percebes (I’ll let you discover what they are on your own!). The smells of meat being grilled tempts you on one side and the sight of fresh salads and perfect fish fillets call you on the other side. Brace yourself for a a walk because making your mind up about what to eat is hard! The way round it? Come back every night to try something new!
Would it be Europe if you didn’t enjoy a delicious coffee in a wonderous old café? Thankfully Cafe de L’Academia offers both delicious coffee with fantastic outside seating in the old part of town, as well as a dining area inside that offers a seasonal three-course menu to rival anything being served in all of Europe.
The delectable dishes include fresh, local produce and come with a carafe of wine to accompany the local menu. The cost of the three-course experience has remained so low that it still regularly feeds many of the workers and locals around the area; they prefer to keep this place to themselves. The café itself feels like a relic of an era gone by and its medieval architecture is the perfect setting for a getaway lunch, before hitting the tourist trail again. Lunch never sounded so good.
This tiny local place hidden in the off-center neighborhood of El Raval offers wonderful local produce turned into beautiful and traditional Catalan delights.
Mam I Teca seems a world away from the touristic chaos of the city’s center and transforms your taste buds to a passed era as you delight at the full richness of the dishes on offer. Effortlessly packed with personality, Mam I Teca will be your chance to sit amongst discerning Catalans who regularly return for a taste of true Catalonia. Just try not to tell anyone else!
The incredibly quirky and loaded with history Bar Pastis will transform you to a post-revolutionary Spain with its dark setting, cosy tables and eccentric regulars. Is this the last bastian of freedom of expression in Barcelona’s El Raval neighbourhood? See for yourself.
It will certainly feel that way when you sit back with your Pastis and tapa dish, and listen to the jazz musicians shuffling out beautifully enchanting music. Your big challenge is wanting to leave this place. The cosy atmosphere, the fine choices of snacks and drinks on offer, and the feeling that you’re part of some Casablanca-esque subversion. This is a place to live every romantic Spanish fantasy you crave from a holiday and from Spanish food.
Ah Paella, can you come to Spain and not eat it – of course not! Even if you’re not in Spain, you can find these on sites like Sibarita so that you could cook these and satiate your hunger monsters. Fortunately, Barcelona is one of the most modern culinary capitals of the world and a truly traditional and deeply satisfying Paella is easily found.
For a true sense of the new school of Catalan cooking try El Suquet de l’Almirall in Port Vell. The delicious blend of classic homecooked paella with notes of regional French cooking will have you feeling like you’re back in your grandmother’s house eating a true home favorite. A wonderful selection of fine wines are also on offer to suit every dish. The food and the wine will keep you in your chair for hours, and if you’ve planned your trip wisely and arrived in summer, then you will also be able to enjoy the terrace with its stunning view of the bay.
So pack your bags, bring your appetite, and I’ll see you there.