Food Culture: Catalan Edition

There are so many great places to eat in Barcelona – it really is a foodie paradise! Barcelona is known for their Michelin-starred restaurants (although bested by San Sebastián), their pintxos culture, obviously their paella (more specifically arròs negre), and tapas to say the least! Here are a few of the places we checked out:

EL QUIM

Located inside La Boqueria, this is definitely one of the must-eat spots in Barcelona. One of the Catalonian locals I know introduced us to this eatery and ordered all the food for us to ensure that we didn’t miss out on anything! The dishes we ordered were: artichoke chips, lingote de buey madurado en salsa de foie gras, risotto de rabo de toro, shrimp, and the house specialty: fried eggs with baby squid. We also ordered jamón because we are in Spain after all! The food is to-die-for! It’s a really popular spot and to get a seat, you just queue up behind the stool.

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YOU MARK WHAT YOU WANT TO EAT ON THE MENU AND HAND IT IN!
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ARTICHOKE CHIPS
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RISOTTO DE RABO DE TORO
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SHRIMP
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JAMÓN
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HOUSE SPECIALTY: FRIED EGGS WITH BABY SQUID
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LINGOTE DE BUEY MADURADO EN SALSA DE FOIE GRAS

MAIANS

A cash-only joint, they’re known for their paella! Their arròs negre (also known as black squid ink rice) is amazing and their paella is just as delicious! We actually ordered a noodle version of the paella since we already ordered the black rice. Their drinks are by the carafe or bottle so it’s the perfect place for some family-style eats.

JUST SO YOU KNOW…
Be careful with arròs negre because it will turn your mouth black! (Teeth, tongue, everything!)

BLAI STREET

One cannot visit Spain and miss out on the pintxos experience! It’s a traditional northern Spain experience (particularly in the Basque region) and San Sebastián is famous for it but so is Barcelona with Blai Street. Blai Street is a small street that is mainly filled with pintxo bars – pintxos are like tapas but usually skewered with a toothpick (often to a piece of bread). The price of pintxos varies from bar to bar – some places just have a flat rate and charge per toothpick, others have the small plates in different sizes and charge accordingly. You pay once you’re finished eating and it’s easy to be full from 7-9 pintxos – which usually costs about €10-12. Talk about cheap eats! One of the more well-known pintxo bars is Blai 9.

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PINTXOS AT BLAI 9

LA XAMPANYERIA (CAN PAIXANO)

This was a recommendation from a dear friend of mine – it’s a cash-only bar that is standing room only and has the atmosphere of the old bars of Barceloneta, which is like a fishing quarter. They are famous for their champagne and sparkling wines and sell tapas and sandwiches. I recommend ordering their pink cava and some plates and sandwiches to share. Because it’s a popular joint, sometimes it’s hard to see the menu but you can just point to whatever you think looks delicious or you want to try and they’re very quick about serving you. In the back is the wine store and I highly encourage you to purchase some bottles (it would be great to take up to Bunker del Carmel).

CHÖK – THE CHOCOLATE KITCHEN

Known for their handcrafted chocolate, they also make amazing doughnuts! I ordered three for myself (because I am such a greedy pig) and also their caramel piruchök (only because I had no idea what it was). Their doughnuts are so light and fluffy! They use less sugar and less fat so they’re lighter (and slightly healthier but who are we kidding?) and you could just gobble up a few without even realizing it! I got the passionfruit, the sea salt, and the crema catalana (which is like a crème brûlée). The owner was laughing at me as she served me my breakfast because she didn’t think I would eat them all by myself but I proved her wrong! I think it’s worth stopping by for breakfast as it is right by La Rambla and it’s a quick service.

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DOUGHNUTS HANGING ON THE WALL
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CARAMEL PIRUCHÖK
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ALL OF MY DOUGHNUTS AND A LATTE FOR BREAKFAST

GAUDÍ BAKERY

A cute bakery near La Sagrada Familia, Gaudí Bakery is a great place to grab a quick breakfast! They have a courtyard with a fountain in the back styled after Gaudí’s famous mosaic so it definitely makes for a pretty picture. I just ordered a simple croissant and a café bombón but they have plenty of breakfast pastries to choose from. If you purchase a ticket for La Sagrada Familia in advance and have some time to kill, this is the perfect spot to pass time.

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CROISSANTS AND CAFÉ BOMBÓN
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CAFÉ BOMBÓN AND CAFÉ CON LECHE

KUKU HELADOS

This is a cash-only homemade helado shop located in the old fisherman’s quarter and is a two-minute walk away from the water. They serve artisanal flavors and also have vegan options! It’s the perfect spot to end the night after eating some paella and arròs negre since you can grab the helado to-go and walk around the boardwalk that’s not too far off. The owners are super friendly and you can try as many samples as you like!

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CUCKOO FOR KUKU

THE BOARDWALK

The boardwalk is a great place to walk around and grab some helado, people-watch, enviously look upon some yacht parties, and relax at some of the bars peppered throughout. I know, I know, I eat a lot of ice cream…

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OTHER TIPS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

  • La Catalana: One of the best places to eat great tapas and paella (menu can be found here)
  • Brunch and Cake: A popular brunch spot in Barcelona (better to have reservations for this place)
  • Mescladis: An outdoor bar that is very popular with the locals
  • Els Pescadors: One of the best restaurants to go to for amazing seafood
    • The menu can be found here
    • Average Price: €52 per person
  • Con Gracia: It may not have a Michelin star yet, but it is definitely considered a Michelin-worthy experience for Catalonian cuisine
    • You can find their menu here
    • Prix Fixe: €65 per person
  • Restaurante Kaiku: This beach-side restaurant has great paella and all-you-can-drink wine!

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