Updated: Feb 25, 2019
Get. In. My. Belly.
The food in Barcelona is truly a treat. Going anywhere out of your ordinary means you get to experiment with new flavors, unique staples, and see how meals are taken elsewhere.
This is what it is all about in Barcelona. You find a place with an outdoor sitting area right by the street, get the WiFi password, order a cervesa or espresso, a dish of olives, some patatas bravas, and enjoy!
Tapas are basically the perfect way to eat. It's a bunch of small plate options, great for sharing, or to have a light meal to tide you over. Or even order a few to try a bunch of new things. My personal favorite are the aforementioned patatas bravas, plain olives, and jamon. These are common options, and simple, but specific to the area, and above all, delicious.
- I could live off of these. Think of it like a bowl of hash browns covered in spicy mayo/sour cream. Doesn't sound like much, but believe me, wow. Everywhere you order these (and they are everywhere) has a little spin on them.
My favorite I had were at an outdoor cafe called El Jardi. Theirs were a bit spicy than others, and more like a deconstructed version.
- Like popcorn or peanuts in American bars, these are just simple green olives in a salty brine. They always have pits, taste soft and buttery, and go great with a cold beer.
- You can get these packaged up in most of the markets so that you can take them with you. The first time I was ever in Barcelona I brought these back through customs and there wasn't a problem at all. Something to keep in mind if you want to bring some home to share! Markets have so many different flavors.
- Thinly sliced, cured ham. Traditionally the good stuff is from pigs that are fed diets heavy in acorns. It's like a prosciutto, but only just. Most restaurants have a leg hanging on the wall or on a stand on the counter. It's serious stuff, and Barcelona is famous for it.
- There are some fantastic bars in the area that really take pride in the traditional crafting of a good drink. Gin and Tonics are huge in the area, and being one of my favorite drinks, I was tickled.
One place that stuck out to me was a bar in what could be considered Barcelona's art district. Called 14 Del La Rosa. If you go there, be prepared to get a drink made the way it is supposed to be, and ask for Dean!
Even the cheapest coffee seems better than the best I have had in the states. Espresso is powerful and delicious stuff. Everyone stays up very late in Barcelona, most people aren't getting dinner until 9 or 10pm and staying out until 1-2am is an early night. Espresso helps you keep up, but be careful, because it helps you keep up!
- Because of the weather, open air markets are a common (and beautiful) thing. A famous one to visit is Mercat Boquria. I suggest stopping at one of the eating areas and snagging some seafood. I had scallops that are probably the best I have had to date.
You can get a ton of fresh items of really fantastic quality here. I am not sure if haggling is much a thing in these settings, so you don't have to worry about getting taken advantage of much. I will say that the bigger markets are certainly tourist destinations though, so don't expect to pay local prices. Things are still expensive. I got a bag of macadamia nuts for 20 euro... she really scooped a lot in there (they are delicious, but that is a lot of money)... (I still have some in my bag, I am going to eat them now).
Some Other Spots
Quinto Quinta - get the multiple course option. You will get to try a ton of new things. Also their Mojitos are great!
Asador Del Bierzo - has a ton of specialty meats. Rabbit among them (it's really good, promise)
Conclusion: Food is extremely affordable in Barcelona, especially if you get off the beaten path. Try to have some Euros in your pocket, as using card in some places just isn't an option. Lastly, be adventurous. There are some amazing tastes out there, and even if something seems a little to "different" for comfort, giving it a chance may mean you find your new favorite food.
If you want to know more about what I did in Barcelona, you can check out these.
Any good stories or tips from eating in Barcelona or any new place? Drop them in the comments. Any questions for me? You can do the same.
Ben Gage is a songwriter from Akron, OH.
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