There are countless reasons why one would want to go to Barcelona. The beaches, Gaudi’s amazing architecture, but let’s be honest, one of the main reasons to travel is for the food.
And when it comes to food, Barcelona has some of the best you can find. Having recently spent four days there, I did the hard yards sampling sangria and tasting tapas to create this list of the top five spots to treat your tastebuds.
1. Fresh fruit
There’s no better place to start than a market. Officially called St Josep La Boqueria, this market is a tourist destination in it’s own right – and for good reason. Once inside it’s easy to see how you could spend hours wandering the stalls sampling the freshest Spanish produce.
Thankfully, the prices mean you’d have to work hard to leave with an empty wallet. Whatever you do, make sure you don’t leave without one of the many multi-coloured fresh juices. It’s unlikely you’ll continue to be this healthy with so many tasty temptations around, but points for trying, right?
These are delicious deep-fried round morsels filled with molten cheese and, hopefully, jamon (ham to all us non-Spanish speakers). Perhaps the one tapas that truly proves there is a god.
Tapas can be found everywhere in Barcelona and while it’s hard to have a bad experience, generally the best places are the local ones off the beaten track.
Having said that, Tapas 24 is an exception. There’s a reason it doesn’t have a rating below four stars and, if you can get a seat, you’ll soon see why.
You can’t mention Barcelona without mentioning paella. While paella is easier to come across than an available taxi in Barcelona, there is one that most members of my family have tried and tested across the years for you.
Plaça Reial (Royal Square) is just off La Rambla, the main street in Barcelona, which is home to much history and now is full of restaurants. Here, head straight over to Les Quinze Nits, tucked in the far left corner, for some of the best paella around. It’s one of the only restaurants in the square that usually has a short queue. Don’t let this put you off, as it generally moves quickly especially if you’re not fussed about dining al fresco (which, might we add, is worth the wait).
You have to have a minimum of two people to order the paella and it is best enjoyed washed down with some sangria.
4. Ice cream
Skip ordering dessert at Les Quinze Nits or treat yourself by doubling up on dessert – you are on holidays after all.
A short two-minute stroll back to the entrance of Plaça Reial will find you outside Artisa, a delicious bakery and café that also happens to have some hard-to-beat ice cream.
If you don’t make it for dessert, Artisa is one of the better breakfast spots in Barcelona, with great coffee, crepes, focaccias and eggs. Or you can do what I did, and have ice cream for breakfast. When in Barcelona …
Ok, so I’m cheating a little. I’m not actually recommending you necessarily spend your time eating bananas in Barcelona – there are far more exciting foods to enjoy. However, I couldn’t leave this ‘fruity’ restaurant off the list of new discoveries on my most recent trip. I had high hopes for this restaurant cum bar, and didn’t leave disappointed. Every dish we ordered was simply delicious and, unlike many places, the food wasn’t too heavy or drowning in oil.
With a slight Asian influence, the seafood was super fresh and we had more food than we could manage to finish. And with a bottle of cava to wash it all down, the entire feast only cost us 25 euros each. If you go to just one restaurant in Barcelona make it this one. Just thinking about it makes me hungry.
Have you been to Barcelona? What was your favourite food memory?