Barcelona is one of my favourite cities to visit. It’s a city with just about everything – activities by the sea, incredible art history, fun shopping quarters to get lost in, and of course, the food is exceptional.
Some of my favourite sites in Barcelona include the Picasso museum and the beautifully dark Gothic cathedral. I’m a big fan of Flamenco and have tried several of the dinner shows, and was blown away by the expert level of the dancers and great food served during the show.
In some ways, the entire city is much like the Sagrada Familia cathedral– a wonderful mix of modern and historical elements. The same can be said for its food. Barcelona’s food also pays homage to tradition, as well as modern fusion.
In almost every bar or restaurant, tapas — small dishes meant for sharing — are the main fare.
For the Spanish, it’s custom to meet friends or colleagues in local bars on work breaks or when the work day is done, where every drink ordered includes a serving of tapas. Typically fried sardines, bread with tomato paste on top, or olives are served with drinks.
Other popular tapas widely available and not to be missed in Barcelona include Spanish ham croquettes, Catalan style bean dishes, patatas bravas (home fries topped with aoli), or chorizo. Pimentos de pardon are fried green peppers coated with rock salt. Most often these peppers are sweet, but the odd one can be very hot, so it can be quite the surprise!
Being by the sea, you can also find incredible seafood tapas, such lobster ravioli, tuna, scallops, garlic shrimp and calamari.
Beware, however, that you need to look beyond the tourist areas for great tapas. The good news is that great food can still be found in these neighbourhoods – you just need to know where to go. When you plan ahead and ask locals for tips on where to eat, you’ll find that the best restaurants are most often tucked away on streets that look more like alleys off the main tourist areas.