Great meals in Barcelona
Go to the Boqueria on the Ramblas for some great food – remember that locals still count and be prepared to be served after them. If you go before 9 AM, there are no tourists and you can eat with the locals as the market is opening.
El Quim de la Boqueria – mentioned in another post as having superb squid and eggs. If you have only one meal in Barcelona, try it. Also, by far the best tortillas (omelets) and croqetas in the Boqueria. My 10 year old daughter didn’t want the grilled shrimp dish, so the chef gravely listened to her, suggested a sauted shrimp dish which he made himself just for her. It was great. They can also spice things up with those little peppers. Too bad the bread they serve isn’t better.
Bar Pinochio or Pinxto – also in the Boqueria
Whatever you do, order what everyone else is getting. We got tortillas which were terrible and Juan, the owner, barely looked at us. Then we saw a bunch of egg sandwiches being served and we ordered one. Fresh, hot eggs and greens on wonderful toasted rolls. Now, Juan came over and asked us how we liked them. All of a sudden, we were in. The next day, he offered to make us clams and eggs which were great and then someone grilled an ensaimada (pastry) and gave us a taste – heavenly. For lunch, we had a beans and squid dish that my squid-hating son loved. Gets crowded for lunch.
Can Majo – in Barceloneta Had two paellas – one with rice one with noodles for Sunday brunch. The kids played on the beach right outside the restaurant while waiting for the food. The sopa de pescado y mariscos was incredible. One portion can serve 2 but who wants to share? Both paellas tasted great – but I am not a paella expert. Many people were getting other rice dishes – which perhaps should be checked out.
Restaurant Pitarra C/ Avinyo 56 Never heard of this restaurant in any guidebook, we stumbled into one night. Walls covered with modern Spanish art – some if it quite good, some not. Spanish jazz albums playing. Lots of 30 something Spanish diners and no tourists. Stick with meat entrees. The goat had just finished roasting and so we ordered it – greaseless and completely moist. Duck breast with mushroom sauce was fantastic, deeply woody. Soups were good. My fish and seafood entrée was overcooked, though the shrimp sauce was great. The desserts were great and all homemade. Great fruit sorbets and something with a raspberry sauce was divine. Service was a notch above.
Pollo Rico C/ Sant Pau 31 - 2 blocks off the Ramblas was one of my favorite hole in the wall places – where your dollar goes a long way, no tourists and stick with what everyone else is getting. Sit at the counter – the chicken soup and chicken croquetas are great. Get a half of roasted chicken with judios (??) white beans sautéed with garlic. Avoid French fries. Make sure you beg them for a saucer of the homemade salsa verde – don’t know its exact name but its green, spicy and addicting. Some stuff is too fatty, I couldn’t eat the sausage. The lentil soup looked great, everyone was getting it but it ran out before we ordered. Check the specials. Dinner for 3 was 25 euros, which had to be some kind of record.
Schwarma places on Ramblas de Raval. Unnamed schwarma places make a nice break from Spanish food and are relatively economical. Much better than the Pita Inn.
Carrer de L’Hospital – a street in Ramblas has some inexpensive and charming places. A few blocks from the Ramblas there is a bakery (el forno or something generic) that had churros and ensaimadas at half the price of the Gothic Quarter. Also, there is an old university building with a wonderful huge courtyard with a café. (on your right as you leave the Ramblas). The building surrounding it look medieval, there is are orange trees, students and some winos – all part of the scene. Further up is a juice, vegetarian place that has free wifi (pronounced wee-fee). Also, great Internet cafes – no food but everyone’s uncle runs a schwarma place so you can get some good recs.
Can Culleretes Quintana 5 in Gothic Quarter A very pleasant place, a little less expensive than many in Barcelona. They had great seafood and a good meat selection, which worked for my family. I ordered their seafood special, lots of fish and seafood poached, fried and broiled with great sauces. Frisee salad with catalan cheese and duck ham. Lamb chops. Everyone was getting the cannelloni, I wish we had! Lots of good fixed prixe options. Didn’t see any locals.
Can Costa – in Barceloneta Great fresh fish and seafood but many of the selections were fried, even when the menu said “sautéed”. Ask them to bring out some sauces for you – they actually made a fresh aioli for us and served a great romesco sauce (red seafood sauce). Beware of the deserts, one of the dessert menus has pre-made desserts that I guess they figured the tourists would like.
There are lots of chocolate places throughout Barcelona and I tried to get to all of them! Check out the Chocolate Museum – and demand the free samples!
Pastisseria escriba C/ La Rambla 83 - Quaint place with wonderful pastries and hot chocolate. I also liked their croissants.
La Granja- C/Banys Nous 4 This is a cool old fashioned Granja with its very own section of Roman wall at the back. They have an extensive hot chocolate menu – try the spicy one or the kind with carmelized orange rind. Fabulous. They take great pride in their hot chocolate and the owner will talk at length (in Catalan, translated by the waitress) why it is the best hot chocolate in Europe.
Granja Viader at C/ Xuclà 4-6, their suisse hot chocolate with whipped cream is Amazing. Also they have hot milk and the honey and cottage cheese dish that is great.
aller de tapas
Stay away! Not bad for kids who like to order small portions, but nothing was that good. Later that night, we all felt queasy from all the oil in the food.
Finally, the Boqueria is a great place to buy food, especially if you have a kitchen. We bought wonderful strawberries for $1 a lb; some kind of small clam that had cost a lot in Can Majo was $5 a pound in the market place. I steamed it for 5 minutes and served it with fresh bread. Try some Catalan pastries, ultra-sweet. Some have a custard on them – don’t know the name, I just pointed. Duck ham, catalan cheeses, croissants, fruit – all at a fraction of the restaurant or deli prices.