Restaurants/ Wine Bars
Onofre (c/Magdalenes 19 --just off Leietana). One of my favorites in BCN; it is a wine bar with small plates and nice modern/minimalist decor (and a neat bathroom). They have a selection of maybe 15 wines by the glass ranging in price from 1,50 to 2,75; in addition, they have an extensive wine list by the bottle. Wines by the glass change every week or two. In addition, they serve the wines in the appropriate Spieglau glass (always a bonus). Anyway, the food is GREAT; several different jamons and cured sausages, pates, and several different spanish and french cheeses, in addition to small salads etc. I recommend the warm goat cheese/tomato/anchovy salad ('amanida de formatge de cabra tibia amb tomaquet..' something--the menu is in catalan) which is amazing: A slice of goat cheese over the tomato/sardine with fresh red peppercorns (so good), raisins, walnuts, with a warm honey/olive oil dressing. Everything else we have tried has been excellent as well; the jamon iberico plate is generous and although we haven't gotten around to the deserts yet, from what we've seen others ordering, they look interesting and tasty. The people who run the place are super friendly and will go to great lengths to describe the food/wine or recommend something if you are not sure. Food plates average 4 euros.
Tantarantana (c/Tantarantana 24 --just off c/Princesa) does a lunch menu for 10E. However, we recommend going in the evening when you can order off the a la carte menu. Their food is 'cocina de mercado' leaning towards Italian. Our favorites here are the warm goat cheese salad (hmm. a trend here I guess), served with a tasty mustard dressing, and the fish (any type--always well prepared). In the evenings, they bring warm bread, a bowl of salt, and a really tasty olive oil that has a fresh grassy flavor --it has some herbs in it, bay and something else. The people here are also really friendly.
I have mentioned D.O in the past (c/Verdi 36, in the Gracia); another wine bar with small plates. We have been there a couple more times and still this is a favorite. We noticed they do a tasting menu for 36E (for two I believe), which we will try sometime. They have a certain cheese on their cheese plate that is particularly interesting: it is of a pasty/spreadable consistency with small lumps, beige in color, and is somehow fermented I believe. I think it's called "tupi." I have never tasted anything quite like it--it starts out with almost a fresh apple taste, sort of sweet, then it is tart and pungent (like fermented cheese might be), then later you get a kick of spiciness, like cayenne pepper.
Basque Toothpick Bars
These appear to be all the rage here in Barcelona. While I'm not a serious expert on the Basque pintxo (toothpick food) bars, we spent an evening bar hopping these throughout the old center of Barcelona and decided that while novel and cheap for a quick snack, they are redundant, have a bit of a 'fast food' atmosphere, and are not exactly something we'll be seeking out in the future. We visited three of the places: Golfo de Bizkaia (in the Borne), Sagardi (located on the corner on c/Argenteria, also in the Borne), and Irati (close to la Rambla, towards Iglesia Santa Maria del Pi). While we didn't sit down in the cordoned-off section with the linens for a full-on meal, Irati was definitely my least favorite. It was packed for one thing--usually a good thing--but in this case, it meant that you were in danger of getting burned by someone's cigarette end or getting your plate smacked out from underneath you. The toothpick foods were the least fresh looking of the three and the selection also seemed to be fairly minimal. Lots of mayonnaisey ones and lots with major cream cheese on them. Sagardi was a little better with a bit more space to breathe and a slightly more exciting selection, and Golfo de B. had the freshest and most interesting choices of all. The 'cream cheese' ones seemed to actually be made from cream cheese, less emphasis was placed on the mayonnaise pintxo, and they had other hot snack options. In general, I found that the toothpick foods were much better to look at than to eat; I pretty much got it up my nose every time I took a bite. When stale, the slices of bread had a tendency to tear up the roof of my mouth. Oh well. I liked the tart white wine though --it sort of gave me an instant headache but I'm not sure if it was actually the wine (a glass of red later on seemed to cure me). Prices are around 1,50 euro for the wine and 1-1,30 for each toothpick.
** After reading Jordi's post about the one decent Basque place in town, Euskal Etxea (same street as the Picasso museum, towards Santa Maria de la Mar), we specifically went here to try the "real thing". However, it was lunch time and the menu looked good so we went that route instead. The lunch was great. My salad with braised endives was excellent, the wine was good, my fish main course was perfectly prepared (joshua's chicken/shrimp also was very good), and the flan was maybe the best we've had (we keep saying this..). Although we still haven't gotten around to trying the pintxos here, I will say that they have a good looking selection (no mayonnaise bombs, etc.) and appear to be very fresh.
Poble Nou Orxateria (i.e., horchata)
A very exciting find for us was a busy little Orxateria in Poble Nou (take the yellow line to Llacuna, walk towards France on c/Pujades, then turn right on Rambla Poble Nou; it's on the corner on the left after a block or two). They have a good orxata which is very different than any I've had in the US or Mexico--made from "Tiger nut" (not sure I know what this even is), it has a taste reminiscent of carrot juice and does not contain nutmeg/cinnamon. They also make several ice-milks (I'm afraid I don't know what these are called--granizada maybe); these are semi-frozen drinks and they have a lemon flavored one (the lemon is very subtle) and coffee flavored (these do have nutmeg on top). The lemon ice milk is so far the favorite.
We retract our rec of Bar London! More attempts to return to good music were not fruitful and the last time we went, Joshua nearly got killed by the kamikaze bouncer (maybe thought he was someone else? Anyway, several people were assaulted in the fray). Very unpleasant!!
Bar Pastis (Santa Monica 6) continues to be a favorite on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for live Tango music.