After a week in Barcelona I have eaten Tapas upon Tapas, drank more Sangria then one should in a lifetime, and never went to a restaurant without ordering Gazpacho. Here is my list of my Barcelona favorites.
1. Best Gazpacho | Merendero de la Mari
Gazpacho is my favorite Spanish food. I love it because there are 10 thousand ways to make it, and it’s on every single menu ANYWHERE in Spain. Even if the restaurant is not Catalan cuisine, they have Gazpacho anyway. It’s simple, healthy and nom-tastic. I prefer Gazpacho to be chunky, but in Barcelona it was almost always pureed. It’s served with a plate of croutons, tomatoes, cucumbers and red peppers to add to it. Merendero de la Mar is in the Barceloneta district, right on the water. Great for seafood, people watching, outdoor dining and GAZPACHO.
2. Best Overall Restaurant | Cuines
Cuines was the BEST. Attached to Mercat Santa Caterina, this menu has Mediterranean, Catalan and Asian food. There was something for everyone in my family, including my Mom, which is abnormal – she never likes anything. She randomly ordered Thai Chicken Curry and it was actually perfect with coconut milk and curry flavors. The artichoke ravioli was amazing, gazpacho was great, garlic shrimp was great, gyoza, melted provolone with tomato pesto on top YUM. The decor is also really great, one wall of the restaurant is all herbs.
3. Best Sunday Lunch | L’encis
L’encis was an awesome find that is about 2 blocks from the Sagrada Familia. It’s the type of restaurant that is great for a long drawn out, not in a hurry, type lunch. It was a little pricey but worth every Euro. Catalan cuisine at its finest. And the waiter is adorable. Get the Potato Pie, potatoes and ground beef stacked, lasagna style with a mushroom marsala type sauce. MMMMMmmm!!!
4. Best Winebar | Vinoteca Torres
After touring the Torres Winery, we were really excited when we came across the Torres Wine Bar. At that point, we pretty much knew everything about Torres wines, so we knew exactly which to choose (Mas La Plana Cabernet – more on that to come) and what to pair it with. We already ate dinner, so I got a dessert of Rice and Milk (more of that to come as well).
5. Best Cheese Platter | CheeseMe
While walking around the Gothic Neighborhood we saw CheeseMe and immediately stopped for some Sangria and Cheese. They have a great little outdoor area in a cute plaza. They had three options: Artisan European Selection, Spanish Selection or French Selection – we got artisan because it had Bleu, Cheddar, like 4 types of Brie, Gouda, Parmesan and more. SO GOOD.
6. Best Market | Santa Caterina
WHY don’t we have central markets in the US?! They are fantastic – super fresh food everyday. Barcelona has a ton of central markets scattered around the city, my favorite was Santa Caterina. St. Joseph Boqueria off Las Ramblas was way too crowded and expensive for my liking. Santa Caterina was relaxed, had a great selection, reasonable prices, and is centrally located in the Gothic neighborhood. If we had one of these in Boston, I would never step foot in Stop and Shop again.
Some of the food looks great:
Some is a little scary:
7. Best Coffee | Café Zurich | Plaza Catalunya
We stopped for coffee and breakfast at Cafe Zurich before getting on the metro at Plaza Catalunya. At the time, we didn’t realize it was such a landmark, but after doing some research, I can see that it is one of the most famous, if not THE most famous cafes in Barcelona. Great for people watching, coffee, central location to meet up.
8. Best Fried Calamari | L’encis
9. Best New Discovery | Basque Tapas
Basque Tapas is a style of dining in Barcelona that I was previously unfamiliar with. All the Tapas are set up buffet style, and layers of small portions food held together by large toothpicks. You can take as many as you like, and at the end of the meal, the waiter counts the toothpicks left at the table to charge you. The selection is pretty standard, usually bread with something on top like tuna and pepper, or tomato mozzarella. You can also find sausage, croquettes, mini tortillas and stuff like that.
10. Best Salads | Tenorino Restaurant
Tenorino was a mediocre restaurant on Passig de Gracia. The appetizers and everything leading up the meal was so great, and then we got our entrees. The pasta looked and tasted like Chef Boyardee, the Bolognese appeared to have no meat, and “Spaghetti Quattro Formaggio” was literally spaghetti and butter, no cheese AT ALL. I do have to give them credit for the salads, however. I ordered a white asparagus salad that came with melon and Iberian ham and my mom ordered a warm goat cheese salad and the cheese was sitting on top of antipasto: artichokes, red peppers, pickled onions, and tomatoes. NOM. Don’t go past the apps at this place.
Hope you enjoyed.. more to come!