In May I had the most fun visiting Barcelona. It’s a city that has so much to offer, from beautiful architecture to stretches.
Of course, there is the Catalina cuisine! In Barcelona, you’ll find fresh fish, vegetables, cheeses and cured meats on the menu. This highly praised Mediterranean diet is also known for using lots of olive oil! You can also enjoy tapas-style dining. A tapas is a snack or appetizer. For a meal, you can order a few tapas dishes rather than going the appetizer and entree route. It’s a great way to enjoy a number of different dishes! Even the times that Spaniards eat their meals is different, typically eating 2 hours later than North Americans, having dinner between 10 pm to midnight! There is a very strong food and drink culture, that differs greatly from North American.
I also found that there were a variety of price points for eating out. Barcelona has 39 markets where you will find endless stalls of fresh product and can enjoy a meal in lively surroundings. The city is also home to 21 Michelin star restaurants, the most in Spain.
There are so many options to choose from when looking for a meal. I discovered many awesome spots but here are my top 3 places:
1. Bar La Plata
This tiny, charming tapas bar is located in the Gothic Quarter. It has been around since 1945 and only 4 items on their menu, one of them being small, deep-fried fish called pescaditos. The dishes are simple but delicious. (Anthony Bourdain thinks so too!) You can also order wine in small decanter jugs and drink the wine holding the jug high above you, doing a long pour into your mouth! It’s a little tricky to do so but a fun thing to try! Keep an eye out for a local drinking the wine this way to learn how to do it. Stop by this tapas bar to wet your appetite and start off the night!
2. El Callejón
I could not get enough of the tapas bars in Barcelona, especially El Callejon. This establishment delivers friendly service, great ambiance, and generous portioned tapas dishes. I enjoyed every dish I ordered, especially the garlic, whole shrimps and the patatas bravas, a traditional dish of fried potatoes drizzled with a sauce made out of olive oil, red pepper, paprika, chili, and vinegar. This spot was a favourite that I ended up visiting twice during my trip! With so many choices to try, a place has to really be that good for me to go back twice. This place is a tapas bar but spending your evening here will leave your belly full and happy. I certainly was, and twice!
Walking around Barcelona, you will see a sign advertising paella every few steps. You can get it everywhere! Paella is a rice dish that can include meat, seafood or a mix. Don’t just order this dish from anywhere because you might end up eating frozen, pre-made paella! After having a bad paella, I decided that I wanted to taste a great paella and La Barceloneta was where I found it. The place is on the pricey side, but worth every penny. The decor is light and airy, reminding you of dining by the beach. The fish and seafood paella tasted like the sea, in a most pleasant way, but is not overly salty. The dish was served with big chucks of seafood and lobster in the shell. If you’re looking for a deliciously prepared seafood paella, check out this place!
It was a blast to explore Barcelona and I can definitely say, I enjoyed exploring the Catalina cuisine. Besides offering culinary adventures, Barcelona is full of interesting cultural and architectural spots to explore. I only wish I had more time to spend in the city! Here are my not-to-be-missed 3 favourite spots:
This market is just off of La Rambla, a 1.2 km stretch of sidewalk and street that is probably the busiest spot in Barcelona. While walking down La Rambla, you don’t want to miss this market! You’ll find it quite crowded, full of locals buying groceries and tourists alike. It’s a truly neat experience to take in the variety and abundance of products and colours while enjoying a meal! This is one of the most well-known markets and definitely made me look forward to checking out the other markets (there are 38 others!).
2. Park Güell
This park is a popular tourist destination that shows off Antoni Gaudí’s work during his naturalist phase, inspired by organic shapes. It’s free to enter the park but there are two paid areas where you will need to pay to enter: Gaudí’s house and the Monumental Zone, which consists of an open esplanade. I did not pay for this extra access as the free areas kept me busy. Walking around this park is fun and relaxing but be sure to bring something to drink because it definitely gets hot during the day. The trek to the park is a moderate walk if you are coming by public transport too.
Both the outside and inside of this church are indescribable sights to behold. There is no point in trying to explain what it’s like so I will recommend buying your tickets online in advance and offer the warning that it will be extremely crowded waiting to get in but once inside it’s not very crowded. Also, buy tickets for access to one of the towers. It does not cost that much more but amounts to a neat experience as you get to go higher inside the structure and see a bird’s eye view!
Barcelona is a city that offers so much in terms of food, cultural, architecture and beaches. There is so much to discover that I can honestly say my first visit was jam-packed. I can’t wait to visit again, to enjoy my favourite spots but also to discover new ones too!