Barcelona dishes that will surprise you 07/06/2022
Have you ever visited a city and, when you get hungry, you feel like trying something different instead of going to a restaurant? Barcelona boasts an extensive range of establishments where you can have a bite to eat while discovering new ways to sample the city's gastronomic delights.
In the Markets
Barcelona is home to 39 food markets and we have great news: you can eat in all of them. Whether in the bars or at some of the stalls that have a tasting area, it doesn't matter if you are in the Boqueria, considered one of the best markets in the world, in Santa Caterina, in the Mercat del Ninot, in the Mercat de la Llibertat or in the Mercat de Felipe II: if you need to recharge your batteries, you can do it easily!
Bakeries and pastry shops
A sandwich, a savory tart, croissants... Barcelona's bakeries have such variety on offer that they really are a must, whether for breakfast, lunch or just a snack. Some, like Forn Sarret, in the Eixample, and Forn Roura, in Sarrià, have been declared establishments with heritage value. This means that it's worth visiting just to look at them, but there are others that should be on your list too, such as Forn Elias, or Forn del Passeig, in Sant Andreu, which has received awards including the best producer of Pa de Sant Jordi and the best Pa de Pagès Català, a product that has the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI).
If you have already eaten but you feel like something sweet, then you should visit a pastry shop. In Sant Antoni you can find Pastisseria Bonastre, which in 2022 won second prize for the best Easter cake, and scattered around the city there are historical and iconic patisseries including Escribà (1906), Mauri (1929), Pallarès, Foix de Sarrià, La Colmena (1849) and Oriol Balaguer. All of them make handmade versions of traditional Catalan desserts, like Tortell de Reis, torrons, neules, bunyols de Quaresma, coca de Sant Joan and panellets.
A breakfast that is a meal
Brunch has become fashionable in recent years and can be enjoyed on the terraces of many hotels in Barcelona, like the Majestic, the Monument or the Barceló Raval; but, in Barcelona and throughout Catalonia, breakfasts that look like meals have existed for a long time. We call them esmorzars de forquilla, or fork breakfasts, since, unlike the classic Mediterranean breakfast, you need a knife and fork to eat them. They are especially popular at the weekend, and you will find dishes such as capipota stew, butifarra sausage with beans, pig's trotters, and meatballs with cuttlefish. Head off to Can Vilaró, Quim de la Boqueria, L'Artesana del Poblenou or L'Anímic to discover them!
Whether it's hot or cold
If you need to cool off for a while, when it's hot, or if you are cold and feel like warming up, Barcelona is a great city for you, because both in summer and winter you will find the perfect place.
Have you ever tasted orxata? It is a drink made with tiger nuts, water and sugar that, although originally from the Valencian Community, is a very popular way to cool off in Barcelona when it is hot. In the city there are several establishments that have been crafting this product for more than a hundred years, such as Sirvent, in Barri de Sant Antoni, which opened its doors in 1920; el Tío Che, in Poblenou, from 1912; la Valenciana, in l'Eixample, from 1910, and Turrones La Campana, in Ciutat Vella, which was founded in 1890. Here you can order orxata, slushies, ice creams or even mix it all up and opt for a cubano, a glass of orxata with a scoop of chocolate ice cream inside.
And in winter? Take advantage of a stroll through Ciutat Vella to walk along Carrer de Petritxol and discover Dulcinea and La Pallaresa, the so-called granja cafés. Pop in and order a suïs (a cup of melted chocolate with cream) and accompany it with xurro donuts or ladyfingers. You will soon get over the cold! You can also warm up in any of the city's pastry shops, many of which, such as La Colmena, Escribà and Mauri, have tasting areas.
Meals by the sea
When you stroll along Barcelona's beaches you will see that they all have places dedicated to food. These are xiringuitos, bars with terraces where in addition to buying drinks and ice cream to keep you going while sunbathing, you can have an aperitif, try some tapas or even enjoy a full meal. Xiringuito Escribà, at Bogatell beach, Pez Vela, at Sant Sebastià beach, and the BeGay, at Mar Bella beach, are just some of the restaurants you can visit, along with Agua, Arenal , L'Escamarlà, Shôko, Barcelona Restaurant Lounge Club and Xup Xup, among many other options touching Barcelona's beaches.
At a Colmado
In the 19th century, a unique type of store appeared in Barcelona selling groceries that had just arrived in the port. These are colmados and, fortunately, you can still visit some that have a long history, where you can buy delicatessen and gourmet products.
The Casa Gispert, in El Born are three good examples of historic colmados, and if you fancy some high-class cuisine, try Vila Viniteca, a store specializing in wines and gourmet products.
But these are not the only shops worth visiting in Barcelona. There are hundreds of interesting establishments from a gastronomic point of view and, in fact, the passage of time has turned some of these businesses into living examples of the commercial history of the city, with modernist-style stores that continue to offer quality products. You will be able to recognize them because they have a distinctive plaque at the entrance, classifying them as singular, unique stores from the point of view of Barcelona's commercial and patrimonial history.
If the noise of a bar overwhelms you but you feel like having a drink or sipping a good cocktail, in Barcelona you can find something for everyone! Ciutat Vella and L'Eixample have a good range of cocktail bars: L'Ideal, Boadas, Negroni, El Paradiso... All of them offer the most classic concoctions as well as original creations.
You also have the option of becoming a bartender for a day and preparing your own cocktails. For example, Agüelo Taberna, in Carrer d'Avinyó, holds cocktail workshops where you can pick up the best mixology tips.
And if what you want is a prize-winning cocktail, Barcelona is home to two establishments from Javier de las Muelas, named best cocktail maker in the world in 2019 and with 40 years of experience under his belt. Drop by any of the eight venues he has in the city (Dry Martini, Gimlet, The Academy...) and you'll discover why he deserved this accolade.
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