Barcelona is among four favourite cities of mine, and no wonder I like to come back here. My first trip to Barcelona was a business one. I was lucky to get acquainted and work with the best chefs of this great city.
They revealed culinary secrets of Catalonia capital for me. The secrets that are sometimes hidden from ordinary tourists, but are collected with great care by real foodies and enjoyed by them during every new visit.
I was looking forward to the culinary delight the city was going to open for me: from street food to Michelin-starred restaurants. A great choice of products at markets, the best Spanish chefs and fantastic diversity of the city won my heart as early as the planning of my trip.
Please welcome my list of Barcelona culinary adventures.
01. Parillada De Mariscos – seafood assortment
There is a small bar counter in the depth of La Boqueria Market, where one can get fantastic Parillada De Mariscos – seafood assortment – which is cooked right on the spot from today’s catch. Everything is quick, relatively cheap and delicious.
I had my breakfasts and lunches all over La Boqueria Market, but that was the place that won my heart with price/service/taste ratio. Try Parillada De Mariscos, and you will be definitely satisfied.
– Plaza de la Boqueria | Ramblas, 08001, Barcelona, Spain
02. CA L’ISIDRE Restaurant – favourite restaurant of the Spanish king
This cosy family restaurant has nothing to do with glitz or extravagant interior. It is simple and refined. The restaurant is famous for its mushroom dishes, that’s what cheerful chef Jordi Joan told me.
This restaurant is also famous for the fact that the Spanish king never misses an opportunity to have lunch here. It really tells a lot, isn’t it?
– Carrer de les Flors, 12, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
03. Suquet De Pescado – thick seafood soup
This Valencian dish is extremely popular in Barcelona. Oriol Ivern – a chef of Hisop with 2 Michelin stars – shared its recipe with me.
- 1 kg fish (sea scorpion, monkfish, dorado…)
- 8 shrimps
- 3 ripe tomatoes
- 1 onion
- 500 ml of fish stock or water
- 500 g potato
- For the sauce:
- 500 g roasted almond
- 2 slices of bread
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp saffron
- Olive oil
- Warm up the olive oil an a big saucepan at a medium heat.
- Add the garlic and roast until golden brown.
- Put the garlic in a mortar, add almond and parlsey, and pound to smooth paste.
- Add finely chopped onion to the oil used for the paste.
- When the onion becomes golden brown and soft, add peeled and thinly sliced tomatoes and saffron. Roast for 3-4 minutes.
- Add fish stock or water and cook for 10 minutes, keep stirring.
- Add potato, peeled and chopped in 0,5×0,5 dices.
- When potato is half-cooked, add cut fish.
- When dish is almost ready, add shrimps.
- Put the ready dish in a bowl and add garlic paste.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
04. Breakfast on a Barcelona beach – the most romantic morning
Barcelona wakes up late and somewhat chaotic. Therefore, if you are an early bird, I would recommend to get ready for beach breakfast in advance: to buy sets of washed and chopped fruits, jamon and fresh bakery at La Boqueria Market in the evening and to go to La Barceloneta early in the morning, when the whole city is still asleep.
Here, at the beach, one can watch rare passers-by, enjoy sea sunrise and listen to increasing roar of awakening city mixed with the wash of waves.
–Barceloneta, Barcelona, Spain
05. Pa Amb Tomaquet
Slices of crispy white bread, rubbed with tomatoes and sprinkled with olive oil are the symbol of Catalonia. This type of tapas, Spanish snacks, one can found in every Barcelona outlet.
06. La Caseta del Migdia – the most beautiful Barcelona terrace
If you use Transbordador Aeri del Port cable car service to get from La Barseloneta to Montjuïc and to walk around picturesque Costa i Llobera garden, then just behind Montjuïc Castle you’ll find the most romantic Barcelona café with splendid seascape.
Drinking wine, while sitting on a cliff and watching unsteady sea and never resting seaport, and having a leisure conversation can be the most remarkable experience in Barcelona.
– Mirador del Migdia, s/n, 08038 Barcelona, Spain
07. Barcelona markets – enjoyment for those who love cook at home
La Boqueria in Barcelona is one of the most popular European markets. A true gourmet can find everything needed there: fresh seafood, a great number of farmer products, as well as chees and jamon. This market can satisfy anyone, whether a person wants to have a snack or to choose ingredients for a Mediterranean dish.
However, this market is more tourist-oriented, and if you prefer to see the real variety of Catalan products, then I would recommend taking a walk to Sant Antoni Market. It is much bigger and offers a broader selection. Moreover, they cook the most delicious paella here.
– Carrer Comte d’Urgell, 1bis 08011 Barcelona, Spain
08. Butifarra Amb Mongets
Fired pork sausages with beans or barbecued pork or young lamb ribs as well as great variety of sausage with pepper, garlic and parsley are one more traditional Catalan dish.
09. Cal Pep – a place where the owner decides what you will eat
It is rather difficult to get to Cal Pep. Firstly, as many other popular restaurants it has no regular opening hours: only a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening. Secondly, there is always a line of locals who want to get there. That’s why if you decide to get here line up a half hour before opening.
But it will be well worth the wait. They have no menu here. The owner who is also a chef in a very poor English decides what you will eat. Usually, this is a catch of the day.
– Plaça de les Olles, 8, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Any list of Spanish cuisine will be incomplete without paella. This a delicious dish, which a good friend of mine and the author of the book about Spanish cuisine Jorge de Angel Moliner can tell a lot about. This was Jorge who recommended me the best Barcelona restaurants, where the tastiest paella of the city could be found.
The best Paella of Barcelona:
11. Parmesan Gnocchi with Truffle – new Spanish cuisine from the best chef of Barcelona
Jordi Cruz Mas is one of the youngest and most talented Spanish chefs. He works in Michelin-starred ABaC. Jordi shared with me the recipe of his most popular dish. This is a new wave, the dish that is very likely to become classics of Spanish cuisine in a decade.
12. Tapeo – national Spanish pastime
Tapeo is degustation of tapas – national Spanish snacks. They are traditionally served with alcoholic beverages. I would recommend dropping by the best tapas bars of Barcelona in the evening, testing beer or wine and tapas they are served with. This is a really good way to have a great time with a purpose :)
Three best tapas-bars of Barcelona:
This is onion roasted over the fire and served with salsa romesco sauce, cooked of tomatoes, red pepper, ground nuts and dried fruits. Catalans think that this onion shall and must be roasted on a dry vine, which is stocked up for winter especially for this purpose after harvesting.
14. Mar I Muntanya – a traditional Catalan dish, a combination of fish and meat
The Catalan cuisine traditionally combines meat and fish, naming it mar i muntanya that means mountain and sea. I highly recommend tasting this unusual combination and the best place for this is Michelin-starred Hisop, where a wonderful chef took the best of squids and added several new ingredients to find a balance with a taste of boudin noir and fennel.
– Passatge Marimon 9, 08021 Barcelona, Spain
15. Panellet-crawl – one more way to have a great time
Apart from tapeo, residents of Barcelona like to drop by various confectionaries and coffee houses and taste panellets and marzipan cookies, traditionally cooked for St. Valentine’s Day.
Traditional panellets are cooked of egg white, sugar and almond, but today every dissent confectionary produces this dessert with more complicated tastes.
Where to try the most delicious panellets:
16. Candy lovers heaven
Crema Catalana and Brazo De Gitano, Natillas and Turron are some of traditional Catalan desserts. These desserts deserve a separate post, and I would recommend dropping by the best Barcelona confectionaries to taste them.
I started every morning with bakery and a cup of aromatic coffee in Barcelona.
By the way, the best Spanish croissants can be found here:
By the way, the best croissants of Spain are here:
17. Bar Nostalgic BCN – the best selection of Catalon wines
I love wine and prefer it to other beverages. And, of course, I taste local wines in each country I visit. The best way to taste the best wine, apart from travelling around wineries, is to visit local popular bars.
I think, Bar Nostalgic BCN is one of the best in the centre of Barcelona, offering great selection of Catalan wines.
– Carrer de Viladomat, 38, 08015 Barcelona, Spain