In all those years I’ve been going places, I have never been much of a foodie. Going out to eat abroad was more ‘a must’ than something I actually put thought into and enjoyed. I would only make sure that I got to try the really typical dishes of the country as part of experiencing their culture, but that was about it.
Now, that all changed last year on my travels to Canada. My travel buddies then introduced me to the joy of finding a great place to eat and since then I do put more thought I where I eat and what I eat. A whole new world was opening up for me!
So when I was in Barcelona last month I was even more excited to be accompanied by a local who could just show me the best places to eat. Along with my own discoveries I figured that I might as well write up a few food recommendations for a change.
On my first evening in Barcelona, I wandered through the streets of Barceloneta and that was not completely without a purpose. One of the most famous types of food in Spain are of course the tapas; the small bite size snacks or appetizers. You can find these everywhere in the city, but I was heading towards ‘La Cova Fumada’ situated at Carrer del Baluard, 56. I had read about this place in one of my travel guides – Time to Momo – and they were gushing about their delicious tapa called ‘La Bomba’. This is a little ball of mashed potato with a meat filling and topped with some sort of mayonnaise and spicy sauce.
‘La Cova Fumada’ is a really small, somewhat old looking place which from the outside doesn’t really invite you in. But it’s definitely worth it to pass the threshold. They offer many kinds of tapas but immediately the person behind the counter recommended me their ‘Bomba’. As if I was there for any other reason! And it was definitely worth it. Spicy, but not too spicy and a really moist filling. I loved it! And that for only two euros! I almost went for another one, but there is so much tasty food to be found in Barcelona so I managed to refrain myself from doing so.
On the third day of my trip, it was time for more tapas. This time my friend’s boyfriend took us to ‘La Taqueta de Blai‘. This place is situated at Carrer de Blai, 17, an atmospheric street on which many sort-like tapasbars can be found.
On the bar there were over thirty kinds of ‘pinchos‘ available. Most of them consisted of a little piece of bread with a topping such as eggs, ibérico ham, olives and even croquettes. The hardest thing was making a choice on which ones to fill your plate with.
Each pincho had a toothpick and the color of toothpick indicated the price. The regular ones were about one euro each, the ones with red on top were about 1,8 euros if I remember correctly. We enjoyed our little snacks on their terrace outside which meant we had to pay a little extra but the weather outside was just too nice to stay indoors.
On my last day in the city, I realized I still had a lot of typical dishes I hadn’t tried yet. So I tried to squeeze in as many as I could without putting myself into a food coma.
I was visiting Barcelona in February which meant it was the season of the calçots. This is a type of green onion which is grilled over a hot fire and then wrapped into paper -usually even newspaper. My friend and her boyfriend had gone out to try those one of the previous days and they had gotten me really curious about this dish.
Thanks to another friend I found out that Mussol (Calle Casp, 19) served those typical calçots, so that’s where I went for lunch my last day. Do note that this dish can’t be found on the English menu, but just ask the waiter for them if you don’t get a Spanish/Catalan menu.
This dish comes with a set of plastic gloves as you eat these leek-like vegetables with your hands. Once you unwrap the paper, you just have to peel off the outer, black layer of the green onion, dip it into its delicious romesco sauce and then bike into them just like that. De-li-cious!
After that somewhat healthy portion of vegetables, it was time to grease things up a bit. When I walked past ‘Granja La Pallaresa’ (Carrer de Petritxol, 11) that afternoon and noticed lots of people inside enjoying a portion of churros with chocolate, I just couldn’t resist.
I absolutely love churros and while I usually like them just like that without the chocolate, I still ordered a cup of chocolate to go with it. And I think I now may like them better with chocolate. Or at least the chocolate from La Pallaresa. It was just such a rich, dark chocolate. And that’s coming from a Belgian! I had to refrain from licking the cup of chocolate clean. It was just that good!
And then we just have dinner left. I wasn’t about to leave Spain without having had a steaming plate of delicious paella. So I asked my friend’s boyfriend for the best place to have this typical Valencian dish. I didn’t want to fall into any of the tourist traps where they serve a reheated portion of rice, which is usually the case in the tents on Las Ramblas. He directed me to one of this favourite places in the Gràcia neighborhood of Barcelona: ‘L’Arrosseria Xàtiva‘ (Carrer del Torrent d’En Vidalet, 26).
And now I’m passing along this recommendation because it was truly amazing. Perfectly cooked and with many tasty vegetables. Sided with a big – maybe a bit too big – glass of Sangria and this was the perfect dinner to end my amazing trip in Barcelona. I gladly accepted the extra kilograms that I was taking home with me after all that amazing food!
Do you guys have any other food recommendations in Barcelona or what’s the best dish you have ever had while travelling?