Spain has always been on my travel bucket list… in fact, it’s on there twice! After three flights and somehow missing our final connection in Paris, my girlfriend SS and I finally made it into Barcelona. The looong travel time makes me wish Australia wasn’t so far from Europe, but it’s so worth it when you get there. There was a nice bottle of Spanish cava waiting for us at the apartment and after catching up with our host Michel, we were told that the best way to beat jet lag was to stay up til 1am (!!!). We’d been on the road close to 30 hours at this stage, I wasn’t sure if I could push through but I the excitement of being in a new place and dinner, followed by another few glasses of cava and 1am came by pretty quickly. Michel’s advice worked – we adjusted to the local time just fine.
The next few weeks that followed was a flurry of food, Gaudí, speed learning Spanish/Catalan/Basque and taking public transport like a boss. I just love the Metro there – it’s so easy to use. Despite my mediocre map reading skills we never once got lost. My time in Barcelona was split across three weeks as we travelled to other places but with each return I felt more and more at home. We met some awesome locals who were more than happy to share their city with us and W’s sister dropped in from London and we had an great time eating at some of Barcelona’s best, including my favourite neighbourhood tapas joint, Lolita Taperia (Carrer de Tamarit, 104).
In a quick round up, here are the rest of my food faves -
Any food trip to Barcelona would not be complete without a visit to Ferran and Albert Adriá’s gastronomical roller coaster, Tickets (Avinguda del Paraŀlel, 164 – ask them to surprise you instead of ordering from the menu), and if you’re feeling a little bit indulgent, a 41-course dinner at 41º Experience (Avinguda del Paraŀlel, 164) would not go amiss. Spain is the world’s leading consumer of gin per capita which is great news for G&T drinkers like myself – and Barcelona, of course, has the best gin bars. Xix (Carrer de Rocafort, 19) and Boadas (Carrer dels Tallers, 1) are two favourites. Bodega La Palma (Carrer de la Palma de Sant Just, 7) was my fave for authentic Catalan, while El Xampanyet (Carrer de Montcada, 22) served up some delicious tapas (order the sausage with chickpeas) and you can’t possibly leave without a trip to Spain’s biggest market, La Boqueria (Carrer La Rambla, 91) where Kiosko Universal and El Quim are serving up some epic fare, despite tourist prices, are really worth the waiting time for a free seat.
If you’re an avid coffee drinker, be warned that good coffee isn’t as readily available in Spain as it is in Australia. I found a decent cup at Aussie-run Federal (Carrer del Parlament 39) and Caravelle (Carrer del Pintor Fortuny 31), the latter also serving awesome brunch and wouldn’t look out of place in Surry Hills.. craft beers and hipsters abound. The delicious donuts you see here are from Chök (Carrer del Carme 3) and look no further than Pasteleria Escribà (Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 546; Carrer La Rambla, 83) for sweet treats of all kinds.. and finally, a much debated recommendation for best seafood paella of the trip goes to Salamanca (Carrer L’almirall Cervera, 34) that my new Spanish friend Gema described as “better than mum’s” and the arròz negro (squid ink rice) made of dreams that I would happily travel back there for was from El Passadís del Pep (Pla de Palau, 2). This place specialises in market cuisine so it does not have a menu, but rather crafts it’s daily offerings around the freshest seafood from the markets. It’s also rather hidden. Look for a small passageway (the restaurant name translates to ‘Pep’s Corridor’) next to an ATM and wander on through for one of the most memorable seafood meals in the city.
Photos by SS and SG.