Barcelona Dining

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Barcelona Dining
When it comes to food and drink, Barcelona offers more than a mouthful. Diners can try traditional Spanish tapas, decadent sweet treats, hearty Catalan classics, and haute cuisine. Pair everything with a variety of local wines and beers.
Photo by Matthew Fenster
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    Sample Tapas around Town
    Forget formal meals and instead sample traditional bites like Spanish omelets, and cured meats on pa amb tomàquet. Regional specialties like escalivada (roasted eggplant, onions, and red peppers) and bombas (fried potato balls typically served with garlic mayonnaise and hot sauce) are favorites with locals and visitors alike. Try Quimet & Quimet (c/ del Poeta Cabanyes 25) or El Vaso de Oro (c/Balboa, 6) for traditionally-prepared tapas. El Bar Barcelona (c/Calabria118) is ideal for seasoned foodies looking for new spins on old classics.
    Photo by Matthew Fenster
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    Barcelona’s Best Produce Markets
    Locals say that if you can’t find it at La Boqueria Market, you can’t find it anywhere in the city. Even so, La Boqueria is just one of many markets throughout Barcelona. Most neighborhoods have their own well-stocked local produce markets, all selling the freshest fruits, vegetables, meat and fish, cheese, charcuterie, bread, and prepared meals. Wander through any of Barcelona’s neighborhoods to find a small market. Alternatively, pay a visit to the brightly-roofed Santa Caterina, Barcelona’s first covered food market and an iconic spot for seasonal produce or a snack on the go.
    Photo by Aubrey Dunnuck
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    The Best Bars de Sempre
    Basic hole-in-the-wall joints, or bars de sempre, are like an extension of home for many Barcelonans. Here locals sip a mid-morning café amb llet, have a lunchtime beer and sandwich, and share tapas with family and friends come the weekend. What these bars might lack in glamour, they make up for in authenticity, ambiance, and generous portions. For the best prices and the friendliest service, head away from major tourist areas in the direction of historically working class neighborhoods like Barceloneta and Poblenou. Try the home-style bar food at La Cova Fumada (c/Baluart 56).
    Photo by Chrissy S.
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    The Art of High-End Eating
    Savor unique takes on traditional tapas, Mediterranean fare, and world cuisine—expertly paired with regional wines and beers—at Barcelona’s avant-garde and high-end eateries. The city boasts numerous restaurants with one or more Michelin stars. Make sure to visit Moo at Hotel Omm, which is overseen by the award-winning El Celler de Can Roca—a restaurant in nearby Girona that boasts three Michelin stars of its own. Renowned chefs and rising stars are constantly undertaking new restaurant projects. Check out Tickets (Av. Parallelo 164) by Ferran and Albert Adrià, which offers dishes as innovative and unusual as those served at El Bullí, but at more reasonable prices. Plan ahead, though—it’s notoriously hard to book a table.
    Photo by Marc Javierre/age fotostock
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    Decadent and Creative Sweets
    In Barcelona, decadence is the norm—from the award-winning chocolate cake at Bubó Bakery to churros with thick hot chocolate from a street food stand. Throughout the city, you’ll find shops specializing in cupcakes, authentic Italian gelato, crepes, and macaroons. Try not to smile between mouthfuls of crema catalana, Catalonia’s version of crème brûlée, made with milk instead of heavy cream. For all manner of sweets prepared by a renowned local baker—and a display of creative cakes to drool over—head to Pasteleria Escribà on the Gran Vía.
    Photo by Marta Laurent
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    Cooking Classes
    If the mere thought of leaving Barcelona has you missing the food, then sign up for a cooking course and learn to recreate your favorite local dishes at home. Most reputable cooking schools offer menus using seasonal and local ingredients, let students eat what they cook, and provide recipes in English and Spanish to take home. Some classes can even be combined with produce market tours. At Barcelona Cooking, a centrally located school on La Rambla, you'll also get a glass of wine expertly paired with the food you're making. You'll just have to flip your potato omelet first.
    Photo by Ian Garlick/age fotostock
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    Romantic and Historic Restaurants
    Freshly-pressed white linens, wooden tables, stained glass windows—there’s an unparalleled romance to sharing a meal in one of Barcelona’s many historic restaurants. Travelers can enjoy an evening of old world charm and classic Catalan fare at Can Travi Nou (c/Jorge Manrique), housed in a Catalan country manor house in northern Barcelona. At Los Caracoles (c/de los Escudellers 14), make a toast to your loved one with a glass of chilled cava. For a relationship that lasts, you couldn’t have come to a better place: The restaurant has been in the Bofarull family since 1835.
    Photo by Guido Krawczyk/age fotostock
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    Raise a Glass to Cheap Nightlife
    Barcelona is easily one of the cheaper European capitals when it comes to a night out, especially when you go for the local wines and brews. A good variety of wine and cava by the glass is available in most bars, along with common Spanish beers like Estrella, Mahou, and Moritz. While Catalonia’s microbrewery scene is still up-and-coming, more and more establishments have their own beer on tap, not to mention artisan vermouth and regionally-made liquors. Wine bars like Monvínic (c/Diputació 249) specialize in wines for every palate, and neighborhood bars like Cat Bar (c/ Boria 17) offer local beers in bottles and on tap.
    Photo by Geraldine Campbell
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    Artisanal Food Stores
    Every neighborhood in Barcelona has its own set of shops for artisan edibles, and every household cook has his or her favorites. Butchers, bakers, cheese- and charcuterie-makers—these are the people that make sure the locals eat, and eat well. Hand-made chocolates, organic sheep’s milk cheese, and cured sausages made from wild boar and other game are available for purchase in tiny shops around the city. Chocoholics will be interested in taking a turn around artisanal chocolatier, Cacao Sampaka (c/ Consell de Cent 292). For the best cheese and charcuterie in Eixample, visit Rebost i Céller de Bárbara (c/Calàbria, 168).
    Photo by Chris Ciolli
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    Traditional Catalan Fare
    Resist the urge to eat nothing but paella, and make sure to sample as many Catalan specialties as you can. Pa amb tomaquet—bread rubbed with a tomato and olive oil mixture (and sometimes salt)—is popular, and allioli—a potent garlic and olive oil paste—is often served with bean, rice, and potato dishes. Seasonal vegetables like artichokes and calçots—a late-winter varietal of green onions—are grilled and served up with Romesco sauce. Hearty fare like botifarra sausage with white beans will appeal to meat-eaters and the very hungry. Can Culleretes (c/ d’en Quintana 5), the second-oldest restaurant in Spain, serves up some of the best.
    Photo by Dorota Bialy/age fotostock