Barcelona offered some seriously delicious treats. From the tapas bars with heaps of beautiful little portions to the markets with incredibly fresh meals to the one of a kind paellas, the city was a feast of new tastes and creations. The food in Barcelona is heavily tied in to the culture. A big part of each day revolves around food, a typical day consists of a small breakfast accompanied by a delicious shot of espresso, then a mid-morning break with a pastry and most likely another shot of espresso, and then a big, hearty lunch, usually made with rice or pasta, and then later at night, around 8 or 9, comes tapas time. Many in Barcelona will hop from tapas bar to tapas bar, trying out whatever catches their eye and enjoying some beer, cava or maybe sangria. A lot revolves around the presentation of the food too, even when the restaurant is filled to the rafters with hungry people the plates coming out always seem to look beautiful.
On my first day I wandered down Las Ramblas and stumbled upon this little bakery called Forn Boix after smelling the fresh pastries from the street.
I decided on this delectable little treat, it was a chocolate croissant dusted with a bit of powdered sugar. It ended up being a little bit too crumbly which made it hard to eat but the bites that I did get in were really tasty.
For lunch I headed down to the waterfront and stumbled upon this restaurant called El Chipiron. It was actually a sit down restaurant but I saw a picture of fish and chips on the menu and couldn’t resist. So I headed in and asked for some fish and chips takeout to go eat by the water. They gave me a big cone for just 5 euro and it was so delicious. The cod was deep fried in a crisp, flaky crust and the crunchy french fries blended in perfectly. Of course they could have used some tartar sauce but they actually stood on their own amazingly well.
Sitting by the water eating my fish and chips and watching everyone enjoy the beautiful weather was pretty blissful. Everything fit in perfectly, the crisp taste of the fish and the calm, fresh air tinged with the smell of the ocean made that little paper basket into one of the best meals I’ve had in a while. It’s always amazing when you can get such a great meal for so little money.
At a dinner out with my father and his co-workers we had a really amazing dessert of brownies with ice cream, I couldn’t even wait to take a picture before I dug in. It had some sort of spice that I hadn’t tasted in a brownie dessert before, I’m pretty sure it was nutmeg and it made a huge difference.
On my next day I went over to La Sangrada Familia, a church designed by Gaudi, which was incredible in itself, and afterwards I sat down to have a nice lunch outside by myself.
I ordered some patatas bravas, I expected a tiny tapas size plate but instead got an overflowing plate with a delicious creamy, spicy sauce covering some crisp little potato wedges. Patatas bravas are made a little differently in each restaurant and throughout Spain. In Burgos the sauce is tomato based and includes vinegar, red pepper and a variety of spices to give it that extra kick and in Valencia and Catalonia the potatoes are covered in a sauce made with olive oil, red pepper, paprika and vinegar. The alioli gives it the creaminess and it is sometimes mixed in like you can see here or served separately so you can dip the potato first in the spicy sauce and then in the alioli.
Since I was expecting a smaller plate of patatas bravas I ordered two plates. The second was the famous tomato bread covered with salami. Tomato bread can be found throughout Barcelona and is especially common in tapas bars. It is usually thick slices of bread toasted slightly and rubbed with olive oil and the pulp of a tomato. This plate came out still warm and the salami, which had a bit of a bite, paired perfectly with the simple crisp bread.
And I had to complete my meal with some churros and chocolate. The churros were freshly made and even though I was already stuffed I dipped each one into the rich, velvety chocolate and savored every one.
That night my dad and I went to Plaça Reial for some tapas. We got some delicious green olives, ham and cheese croquettes, and calamari rings. Washed down with some delicious Spanish beer. We watched as the sun went down and all the street vendors came out selling these light up frisbees that flew over the square. For dinner we went to this place called El Glop. We got some appetizers of toasted bread with chorizo and cheese and a tomato salad. The salad was a simple mix of chopped tomatoes and onions drizzled with olive oil and a little bit of balsamic vinegar. I’ve made this several times since because it’s so simple, healthy and delicious. For our main course we got their seafood paella which was delectable. It was filled with pieces of fish, clams, mussels, and prawns mixed into a well seasoned, tender plate of rice. It was so delicious that I ate way too much and ended up feeling kind of awful but it was worth it. I really want to try making paella but it seems like a pretty arduous process. The ingredients are also out of the budget range for a college student so for now I’ll just stick to enjoying it in restaurants. My last meal was brunch at this restaurant called Magnolia. They had an incredible brunch menu and was surprisingly empty when we went in. It was actually nice to enjoy the cozy setting without having anyone disturb us. I got the house special complete with fried eggs, bacon, mushrooms, baked beans, grilled tomato and home fries. It was a huge plate of every perfect breakfast food and I ate as much as I could. Overall, Barcelona did not disappoint in its incredible range of culinary treats. I left feeling like I had tasted a wide range of Spanish cuisine and with a few new ideas for recipes that I can make at home, including the tomato salad and Catalan-style spinach, I will post the recipes later on since this post is already incredibly long. Adios!