Barcelona food tapas snacks gaudi- architecture

Barcelona stopover | Trailblazing tapas | Food in the frame |

Brainy and cheeky. Witty and inventive. Always smoking hot.

Barcelona boasts one of the world’s greatest cuisines…

While locals and visitors embrace the purity of a paper cone of Manchego cheese, mandolin-fine sausage or Iberian jamon from La Boqueria, Ferran Adrià and his brother Albert have blazed a trail. Degustation menus and designer tapas abound in the city and have shaped its reputation as a foodie paradise. When you’ve had your fill of Antoni Gaudi’s fantastical architecture (Gruell Palace, 3-5 Carrer Nou de la Rambla, is the house of dreams), perused the Picasso Museum (15-23 Carrer Montcada), found the Perfume Museum at the back of the Perfumery Regia (39 Passeig de Gracia) and got your bearings in one of the open-top buses… it’s time to eat.

LaBoquiera Barcelona fresh food best market

La Boqueria Market in Barcelona, haunt of locals, chefs and visitors seeking food nirvana. Photo Susan Skelly

Where to eat & drink in Barcelona

La Boqueria
91 La Rambla

The city market is a blaze of colour and promise. Wrote Robert Hughes: “If there were a grocery, butcher, and fishmonger attached to the garden of Eden in which one could sample what terrestrial food tasted like before the fall of man, it would be something like the Boqueria.” Marvel at the produce and then find a perch at one of the many tapas bars and order razor clams, sea bass, and potato tortilla.

5 Carrer de Lleida

Peruvian-Japanese degustation, now there’s a niche. Kick it off with kyuuri (pisco with cucumber, ginger, apple and orange blossom). Order the short or long degustation, and settle in for a procession of tastes both enigmatic and exquisite. Chefs Jorge Munoz and Kyoko Ii take inspiration from market fish, plus soba, cumquats, and a dainty desserts board including mango sandwich, wild strawberry and cream mochi ball, a tiny soy sauce twist on a crème caramel, and what looks like bark, but is cinnamon-dusted chocolate with a light, creamy “sap”. The space is warm and woody, with a loom-style decor (ceiling and walls) in Paul Smith stripes. Metal spoon, wooden spoon, chopsticks, one bite or two? Let the staff advise.

Cinc Sentits
58 Carre d’Aribau

An elegant restaurant – it earned its Michelin star in 2008 – with 10 well-spaced tables. A shotglass of maple syrup with salt and zabaglione sets the mood. Choose from Jordi Artal’s two tastings menus, Gastronomic and Sentits (and a lunch quickie), and an optional matching with Spanish or Catalan wines, some biodynamic, some heirloom grapes. Savour clever small bites that are a twist on Catalan classics. Cubes of vermouth jelly; a log of foie gras with a crisp base and a cloak of chopped chives; pork belly with roasted garlic; a beef cheek medallion with an onion cup holding a drop of oil.

Barcelona food tapas snacks cinc sentits

Elegance abounds at Cinc Sentits, both in its fine dining degustation menus and the decor.

Bodega 1900
91 Carrer de Tamarit

Albert Adrià oversees this happy tapas bar. Order a vermouth on ice with a wedge of orange and trust in the waiter to keep the good things coming. Stars are the flight of raw fish – smoked mackerel, saffron eel, tuna with almonds, smoked sardines; duck foie gras with salt flakes; octopus; razor clams; smoked salmon with truffled honey. And so it goes.

249 Carrer de la Diputació

Choose from dozens of interesting wines by the glass or half-glass from a digital menu. Described by wine critic Jancis Robinson as a “temple to connoisseurship”, Monvinic is an elegant, multi-textured space designed by Sergi Ferrer-Salat, with a library of wine tomes in a glassed-off “office”. It has a large restaurant at the back, but stay a while in the bar, watch the sommeliers at work, and order smoked trout and fresh pikelets to keep you going.

Where to stay in Barcelona

W Hotel
1 Plaça de la Rosa dels Vents

There are many reasons to check into the W Hotel, a big, bold establishment at the Barceloneta beach edge of town, its architecture a landmark “sail” like Dubai’s Burj al Arab. The rooms are huge, the views even grander. Everything’s jumping, from the foyer, the Eclipse bar on the 26th floor, and the seafront playgrounds outside. Then there’s La Brava 24 on the first floor, where tapas includes Iberian ham or roast chicken croquettes, a flight of oysters (from Normandy, the Ebro delta and Galicia), cod fritters, and squid rings. From $688.

Casa Fuster
132 Passeig de Gracia

Mariano Fuster commissioned one of the leading architects of the day, Lluis Domenech i Montaner, to build, between 1908 and 1911, the Casa Fuster as a gift for his wife, which probably explains why what has been a boutique hotel in the Leading Hotels of the World portfolio since only 2004 feels so much like home. The building, in white marble, glass and slate, has a neo-Gothic feel and understated modernista style. The spacious, plush street-front lounge hosts jazz on Thursday nights, and the rooftop terrace bar (sixth floor) has spectacular views of the city and houses a plunge pool and gym. The rooms are not huge, but they have a stately ambience with a walk-in wardrobe and modern bathrooms. And there’s an omnipresent bespoke perfume that wafts throughout the halls like the ghost of grandeur past. Best of all, Casa Fuster is within walking distance of the Gaudí show stoppers, Sagrada Família, La Pedrera and Casa Batlló, as well as top-brand shopping. Back the other way, on the Carre Gran de Gracia, are the more local delis, cafes and clothing stores to make you feel less like a tourist. From $357.

Barcelona food tapas snacks hotel casa fuster

I can see for miles … the rooftop of Casa Fuster in Barcelona, with gym, plunge pool and daybeds. Photo courtesy Leading Hotels of the World

Hotel Granados 83
83 Carrer Enric Granados

Sleek designer digs meet Old World charm, this four-star hotel sits in the charismatic neighbourhood of Eixample, a stone’s throw from the action of Passeig de Gràcia and Avinguda Diagonal. Rooms are spacious and sharply appointed, and the terrace area on the eighth floor is an exceptional spot for sundowners or a dip in the pool. From $208.

Source Qantas The Australian Way, June 2015

 Your turn: Please share your Barcelona hot-spots. Where’s good to eat?


Editor. Writer. Traveller. Keeping tabs on all things fab.

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Copyright © Susan Skelly 2020.