Traveling to Barcelona always implies exquisite and diverse food options, from the local seafood and fish, to restaurants from every corner of the world. Although I try to travel budget friendly, I do like discovering small and local businesses that thrive for simplicity, authenticity, and higher-quality experiences. With time, I have learned the importance of supporting businesses that work with the planet, through seasonal menus and locally sourced ingredients or products. If this will be your first time in Barcelona, you're in for a treat. If it is not your first time, you're in for new treats recommended by me, which is a plus.
My first, and most important recommendation, is to consider visiting this magical city during off-shoulder or off-peak seasons. More specifically closer to the summer, so for example May or September. Even though the winter is not as bad, there is nothing like the Spring or early fall in Spain. Their food and restaurant culture thrives on out-door areas, terraces, rooftops, and balconies. Nevertheless, even during off-shoulder seasons, Barcelona is lively and vibrant year round, so do not be surprised by the crowds.
✨Barcelona, the capital of the autonomous Catalonia is located in the warm glow of the Mediterranean, making it an epicenter of seafood and fish. Although the traditional Paella is not from Barcelona, but from Valencia, they still share that love for cooking in large and flat pans topped with rice, vegetables, stock, seafood, rabbit, and even snails. To get a very flavorful one, filled with seafood, you need to head towards Bosque Palermo, a cozy and traditional restaurant with great out-door sitting and very Spanish indoors. Their seafood tapas, along with the refreshing sangria are a must, however, do not hesitate on asking for their unmissable dishes. The owner and those working there are helpful and warm, they will recommend you with best of the best.
✨ One of my favorite things to do when in Spain, specially in Barcelona, is heading to the outdoor food markets. If you are dying to have fresh, high-quality, and delectable Spanish staples, you need head towards La Boqueria. Located next to the iconic Ramblas and walking distance from the Gothic Quartier, this outdoor market is in the heart of Barcelona, where both locals and foreigners come to enjoy. My only problem. is the amount of options and variety there is, I just want to go in an try everything. I would definitely start in one of the sit down bars, like El Quim, for their patatas bravas and fusion menu, or Pinotxo Bar for their seafood options -- and dont forget to order "una caña, por favor!" The local way of asking for a small draft beer. After fueling up a bit, wander the market in search of high-quality and local cheeses, hams, olives, sweets, juices, and nuts. You will definitely go nuts. Their pastries are also stellar, I reccomend you trying their spicy beef and caramelized onion empanada.
✨For a gastronomic experience merging the different food traditions of the peninsula, head to El Nacional. They seek to reflect the sociocultural scene of Barcelona! You can pick from four different restaurants and four different bars, which gives you the freedom to bounce around depending on how adventurous, hungry, and thirsty you are. We went for their Tapería experience, where I had the best Jamón Ibérico Croquetas in Barcelona so far. If you have never had Fideuá, a short noodle version of a paella, you must, along with their Pimientos de Padrón.
✨ For a feast by the sea with more relaxing, casual and beachy vibes, head to La Base by Farre. There I strongly recommend you to try something quite different and exquisite, the iconic Arròs Negre, a Catalan rice dish made with cuttlefish and squid! The rice is literally tinted from the squid’s ink, giving it this earthy and mineral flavor. Beware, you might end with a tinted mouth too. While you wait for the arroz, munch on their their fried chipirones (tiny squid), with a drizzle of lemon juice.
For a more elegant and fine dinging experience, head to Fismuler by Chef Nino Redruello. The food was delicious and presented in such a unique way, definitely a one of a kind culinary experience! The stars of the show were the Razor clams “au gratin” with tender onion. It was a complete explosion in my mouth, something I had never tasted before. For a show on its own, get the Viennese Escalope. It is prepared by your table with an egg, freshly grated truffle and chives! Now, you cannot leave this place without trying their Tarta de Queso. Hands down one of the most unique cheese tarts I have had. Not too sweet, super runny and rich 🤩
✨ Lastly but definitely not least, you need to head to El Rincón de la Abuela Venezolana. If you travel to Spain and not give Venezuelan food a chance, you need to get your hands in some tequeños to understand. They are sticks of queso de mano (a Venezuelan fresh cheese that melts) wrapped in dough and deep fried, usually to dip in guasacaca, an avocado and garlic mayo sauce, and a cane sugar sauce. If you are feeling adventures, get the Asado Negro or “Dark Beef Roast” , a traditional dish from Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, stuffed in an Arepa! The meat is slow cooked in a sweet and salty sauce until tender. It is usually enjoyed with rice and sweet plantains, but this time I got to try it in an arepa with queso de mano.
Would you go to any of these place? Let me know if you do in the comments below.