Over the last few days, weekends jaunts and week-long holidays have dominated our lunchtime conversations in the office. It’s the time of the year where everyone has either just come back from a trip or are about the jet off so there have been plenty of stories, recommendations, and even some debates… Where’s best for a beach holiday? What’s a great cheap and cheerful destination? Any hidden gems to reveal? And we couldn’t go past discussing our favourite destinations! I immediately piped up with Barcelona, and I was not alone in picking this Spanish city as a favourite!
We all agreed that Barcelona has a bit of everything which could almost make it the perfect city. Huge call. If you like strolling, it has endless streets to wander and admire the architecture. If you just want to laze in the sun, there’s a choice between park or beach. For the shopaholics amongst us, there are a mix of markets, boutiques and familiar favourites. And finally, if you’re all about the Spanish food and drink like I am, Barcelona is overflowing with fantastic restaurants and food stalls at every corner. The hotspots, and there are many, from high end to tapas to markets are fairly well-known so I thought I’d share some of my favourite alternatives…
Petit Comite – The Modern Catalan Cuisine
Come here to experience authentic Catalan cuisine in style; situated in what is known as the culinary street in central Barcelona, the food at Petit Comite lives up to the location. The style is classic Catalan cuisine using only traditional ingredients but presented in a contemporary fashion. You can order a la carte but we decided to go for the seasonal menu and let chef Nandu Jubany decide. We enjoyed this small taste of Spanish fine dining from start to finish but there were some highlights – the foie gras pastry was incredibly luxurious and the oxtail cannelloni dish made such an impression, a certain someone has since recreated it many times at home. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery?
Bardeni, El Meatbar – The Stylish Tapas Bar
This little tapas bar is just a block away from the Sagrada Familia but it’s so unassuming, I think most tourists would walk right past it without a second glance. However you should trust me when I tell you it’s well worth your second glance and a bit of a wait too if you can’t get a seat immediately. Unsurprisingly, there is a lot of meat on the menu and it’s all very tempting – we enjoyed a range of cooked and raw tapas including a razor thin carpaccio and a Catalan style beef stew on toast. The menu isn’t huge so you could, with some help from hungry friends, work your way through the whole menu but if you don’t, make sure you don’t miss out on their hand-chopped burgers!
L’Eggs – The Place to Be & Be Seen
Established Spanish chef Paco Perez obviously really loves eggs, enough to create a whole restaurant around this magical ingredient. I’m not the biggest egg-eater myself however curiosity got the better of me. I can normally stomach a couple for breakfast every once in a while, but to have eggs in almost every dish of my dinner?! I was relieved to find a menu that wasn’t simply different flavoured omelettes – you can get one of those but the dishes are a good mix of highlighting and incorporating eggs in a dish. I particularly loved the poached quails eggs on bone marrow, and a whimsical egg-shaped dessert. So order all the eggs you like and enjoy them with a side of people watching – located in a swish part of town means it’s also frequented by some of Barcelona’s most well-to-do residents.
Pork, Boig Per Tu – The Spot to Dine on Swine
If you aren’t afraid of meat sweats and have a thing for swine, this quirky restaurant dedicated to all things pork is for you. Despite the focus on one particularly meat product, the dishes are diverse in style and size. We could have happily enjoyed a selection of charcuterie from their ‘larder’ with a beer before moving on, but that would not have satisfied a certain someone. Pork is probably his favourite meat product, so a couple of slices of cured meat, as delicious as they were, would not cut the mustard. We got a little more adventurous with ham hock, belly and collar… with a side of salad, because we aren’t complete rebels!
So Make A Move…
In between bites, make sure you wander around Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, spend some time in the awe-inspiring Park Güell, wander through the stunning Parc de la Ciutadella, and take in the architectural marvel that is the Sagrada Familia! There are plenty of things to do in Barcelona, I think we only just scratched the surface. And don’t forget to look up… there’s wow-factor on the tops of the buildings too!
- Petit Comite, Passatge de la Concepció, 13, 08008 Barcelona
- Bardeni, Carrer de València, 454, 08013 Barcelona
- L’Eggs, Passeig de Gracia, 116 (Jardinets de Gracia), 08008, Barcelona
- Pork, Boig Per Tu, Carrer del Consolat de Mar, 15, 08003 Barcelona
Have you been to Barcelona? Where are your favourite dining spots?