At this point in my life, I feel I have a decent amount of experience under my belt, in eating many different kinds of food in various places throughout the world. Enough so, at least, to make fairly sound judgement calls when it comes to really wonderful food. My problem with Barcelona? There is just too much damn amazing food to eat! So I suppose the solution to the problem is to just try as much fabulous food as possible, and plan to return to Barcelona soon to continue!
Here are my choices for MUST TRY dishes in Barcelona, some fabulous restaurant suggestions from Tast a la Rambla and elsewhere, a few superlatives for awesome food performances, and some foodie tips to make the most of your delicious experience.
Enjoy the Foodie’s Guide to Barcelona!
First: superlatives…faves, surprises, and suggestions
Unexpected favorite and MUST EAT:
Located in the Mercat Boqueria, this cutie little bar is bursting with character, authenticity, and freaking delicious food! A good friend actually discovered this and recommended it, and I cannot thank her enough! This place is the real deal. Complete with a fabulous barista gentleman who will tell you what to do without speaking your language. Listen to him; he knows whats up!
Try the Mussels at Pinotxo Bar. DO IT!
AND their cream filled Croissant. It is a MUST! You will want 35.
Best hidden Gem:
Adorable. Cozy. Well hidden. Vegan. Super hot bartender. And of course, BEST SANGRIA EVER IN THE UNIVERSE!
Prettiest ice cream (gelato):
It looks like a flower AND is delicious! Love!!
Absolute favorite chain (with spectacular ham):
Their olives are also the best thing ever. You literally cannot go wrong here. Just order something hammy and you’re good. And their goat cheese is to DIE for!! The delicious thing pictured below is the Coca jamón Ibérico de bellota con queso de cobra.
Things you didn’t know you liked:
Actually things I didn’t know I liked. You may like them already!
Anchovy stuffed olives
Jk I knew I loved these. But they needed a shoutout for sure! If you think you like them in the US, just WAIT!
Cream filled croissants
SPECIFICALLY the ones from Pinotxo bar. They are not all created equally.
Yup. Its a coissant. And a donut. And these ones have purple flowers on them. Could this get any more exciting?!! (I may very well be behind on this… but they are my life now that I have discovered them.)
Everything ham. (Jamón)
Yes that is a ham leg gummy.
Maybe you already were aware that you really liked ham. In that case, get to Barcelona immediately. I am convinced it is the ham capital of the world. I actually didn’t like ham at all before I tried it in Barcelona. Their obsession is entertaining and sort of contagious.
The Tast a la Rambla
While in Barcelona, we stumbled upon the Tast a la Rambla, or the Taste of Las Ramblas. I would love to take credit for doing the research and finding this fabulous foodie festival, but we literally walked into it. And thank GOD we did! Barcelona chose the top 50 chefs to showcase their favorite dishes from their restaurants at the taste. It was similar to the Taste of Chicago, but on a smaller scale with much better food. We had thoroughly been enjoying the food in Barcelona anyway, but this allowed us to try so many more wonderful dishes in a short amount of time. And omg we did not mess around. We may have tried almost all of the dishes.
The Tast a la Rambla was the perfect ending to an already spectacular foodie adventure in Barcelona. I could stay in Barcelona forever just to try all of the wonderful food this beautiful city has to offer!
Don’t worry though if you can’t make it during the Tast a la Rambla. Just visit the restaurants to have an even more spectacular food experience! Most of the restaurants mentioned change their menu regularly, so these items may not be on the menu at the time you go, but you should feel confident in all of the cuisine they offer, and try new things! Use this as a guide to great restaurants, and fabulous dishes to look out for!
Top 5 Dishes at the Tast a la Rambla
(In no particular order)
1.| Pão de queijo with smoked rib stuffing
(Pão de queijo farcit de costella fumado)
Pão de queijo is my life. (The fabulous cheese balls I found in Brazil.) And WHY has no one thought of this before?! A giant cheese ball used as bread for a delicious sandwich?! ohmygod. Freaking awesome.
Restaraunt: Alquinia FOgO
2.| Fried egg with potato espuma and ibérico ham
(Ou fregit amb escuma de patata i pernil ibéric)
This one was a fabulous as it was weird. It was like if you took all of the tastes of a big wonderful breakfast, made the flavors into a foam, and then put an egg yolk with it. I don’t know how else to describe it, but it was life-changing for sure. I am still mystified as to how they got so many different flavors in a foam!
3.| Venere black rice with sobrasada and Mahón cheese
(Arrós venere amb sobrassada i formatge de Maó)
Such a unique and marvelous balance of flavors! I could easily have eaten 5 servings.
4.| Baked octopus with bacon, hot chimichurri, and red quinoa
(Pop rostit amb cansalada, chimichurri picant, i quinoa vermella)
This one was definitely a step out of the box for me, but one I happily took. And it paid off! What an exquisite combination of flavors and textures! I am very glad I faced my tentacle fear with this.
Restaraunt: Mano Rota
5.| Potato gnocchi with organic Varé cheese and summer truffle
(Gnoquis de patata i formatge ecológic de Varé amb tofona d’estiu)
Oh this. This one was an out of body experience. They shaved fresh truffles on each one. It was totally decadent and freaking unreal!!!!
And last but definitely not least:
A few tips to make sure you get the best foodie experience
1.| Split dishes with a friend or significant other.
By sharing, you get the opportunity to try more dishes and if you hate one, you aren’t stuck with the entire thing! It also saves money and helps you save room for the most important part… dessert! Especially split Paella. The servings of Paella are enormous everywhere in Barcelona!
2.| Do a little research.
By researching a few popular food items, you will have some idea what you are ordering and what you want to try. Learn what the famous foods of the region are… like tomato bread in the Catalan region. You can also learn a few food terms for the area to assist you in translating the menu and finding your favorites.
3.| Try to avoid eating in super touristy places… i.e. the middle of Las Ramblas.
Not only are these places outrageously expensive for what they are serving, the food is not very good. It may be ok, but do you really want to waste one of your meals in such a wonderful foodie paradise on food that is only ok?? Probably not. There are, of course, exceptions on Las Ramblas … such as the Taste of Las Ramblas and the Mercat Boqueria. As a rue of thumb, if it is a permanent establishment with a patio and someone handing out menus to tourists, it is a good idea to keep moving.
4.| Avoid restaurants that feature pictures of food.
Along the same idea, in my experience places with lots of pictures of food are not the best. These places are generally in very touristy areas, so this falls in the same category as the previous suggestion. I’m sure there are plenty of great restaurants with pictures of food, but I didn’t encounter any. It just so happened that there seemed to be a correlation between the food picture places and not so awesome food. Just sayin.
5.| Don’t think you have to spend a lot to get great food!
Yes the restaurants mentioned above from Tast a la Ramblas are some of the very best in Barcelona. But, if those are out of the budget, do not think for one second that you can’t have an awesome foodie experience! There are so many diamonds in the rough in the world of cuisine. And in a city like Barcelona, many of the smaller shops specializing in meat, cheese, or coffee have excellent food as well. You would be much better off dining at one of these than choosing a random touristy place.
6.| Eat at the market!
The market is a perfect place for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack! They have the cutiest little to-go fruit with spoons, juices, empanadas, sandwiches, and more items you can take and walk with. But there are also awesome bars to eat at in the Mercat Boqueria and I am sure at other markets as well. Pinoxto bar, which I mentioned above, is literally the best food we had while we were in Barcelona. We took the suggestions of the people working there, and tried new things. And omg did it pay off! Everything we ate there was spectacular!
7.| BRANCH OUT!
I am aware I sound like a broken record, but for the love of God, try new things! After all, you are in one of the best food cities in the world. If there is a time to try new things, it is here and now. I am totally terrified of eating octopus. But it just so happens that the octopus dish at the Tast a la Ramblas was fantastic! I didn’t want to eat a ton of it, but I appreciated the different flavors and textures that make it special.
Also, I would never have come up with the super important “Things you didn’t know you liked” section in this post if I hadn’t tried a ton of new things in Barcelona!
So there you have it! Use this guide to make your foodie experience in Barcelona one to remember forever! And please comment below to let me know of any other amazing food suggestions in Barcelona that I didn’t get the opportunity to try this time and can put on my list for next time!
There will always be a next time.
Thank you for reading and Happy travels! xoxo