I was so lucky to go twice last year! The first time was to Barcelona and the second time was back to Barcelona and also to Madrid. I’ve actually been to both before, but it was almost 8 years ago and since then much has changed. It has changed. I have changed… well actually not really, if we’re talking in the context of food and eating though! In that sense, I haven’t changed much.
8 years ago I was already taking photos of my food and documenting my food travels, but with a pen and journal in hand. I had no blog, but just did it for fun. I wish I had a blog then, but at least I have one now.
So when Expedia Canada asked me to share “10 Must Try Dishes in Barcelona”, I jumped on board!
For the last few years all eyes have been on Spain, especially when it comes to fine dining. Blame it on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards and having the majority of them from Spain, or on Ferran Adrià for pioneering modernist cuisine, but regardless, Spain is arguably “the France” of today – an emerging food scene and hub for culinary inspiration.
Note: Spain is a big place and I certainly have a lot more of it to explore, so these items are only from Barcelona. I did a mix of restaurants to suit various budgets and dining styles.
Listed in no particular order. Based on the menu item, not the restaurant.
Follow Me Foodie to Barcelona, Spain: 10 must try dishes and restaurants!
Cannelloni might have originated from Italy, but this Catalan style cannelloni is traditional. It’s popular during Christmas and locals will argue their grandmother’s make it best. Here, it’s an exception. It’s stuffed with tender mashed chicken and smothered in béchamel sauce and covered with melted cheese. Other than that, you should also try Sauteed Iberico Ham with Wild Mushrooms.
Address: Carrer de Mallorca, 236, 08008 Barcelona, Spain
Phone:+34 932 16 03 68
There is now one in Montreal. It might look like it’s catered to tourists, but it’s legit and I ordered almost the whole menu. It’s traditional tapas with a few modern dishes.
If you are an “adventurous” eater, don’t leave without trying Cap I Pota. It’s an offal, a Catalan dish made with stewed beef tripe, chickpeas and chorizo. The sauce is made from tomatoes, ground almonds and onions and the melt in your mouth pieces of tendon, tripe and brisket will make your knees weak. Rich and delicious, the sauce is great soaked up with a side of patatas braves (not traditional way of eating it, but who cares?). The Iberico Ham Croquetas are worth ordering here as well.
Address: Carrer de la Diputació, 269, 08007 Barcelona, Spain
Phone: +34 934 88 09 77
I love this restaurant and it’s a must visit. Opened by Albert Adrià, Ferran Adrià’s brother, Tickets is a playful experience redefining “fun with food”. Charming, sophisticated, and in a world of its own, I’d book a ticket just for Tickets. Reservations are highly recommended.
The Smoked Artichoke, Quail’s Egg, and Salmon was delicious! It was a smoky bite of confit artichoke heart, which comes across as meat. It was topped with a creamy smoked quail’s egg and salty bursts of salmon roe for a simple and perfect bite.
Address: Av. del Paraŀlel, 164, 08015 Barcelona, Spain
Phone:+34 932 92 42 54
It’s sister restaurant to Ferran Adrià’s Tickets, and again I liked the restaurant and menu overall.
This was unlike any Parisian style of beef tartare and I didn’t even realize it was jamon at first. The buttery texture resembled beef tartare, but the intensity was of high quality well cured Jamon Iberico. It’s covered with a layer of fat and is mixed upon serving. Served with plain crostini and nothing else, the flavour extends beyond two ingredients. Served with an acidic and juicy tomato salad on the side, this is not to be missed.
Address: Carrer de Tamarit, 91, 08015 Barcelona, Spain
Phone: +34 933 25 26 59
Jon Giraldo and Jaime Lieberman are the chefs behind Spoonik, a secret supper club in Barcelona. Serving modern Spanish and Mexican cuisine, the tasting menu is creative and an all night affair enjoyed in the contemporary home of the chefs. The dining experience is followed by an incredible live solo opera performance and music.
Address: Plaza Lesseps S/N, 08023 Barcelona, Spain
Phone: +34 648 08 52 09
I get a bit nervous dining anywhere here since it’s so touristy. Pinotxo is one of the many casual tapas bars located in the Boqueria Market and always has the longest line up – luckily it moves rather fast (say 20 min?). The menu changes daily, but I thoroughly enjoyed the shrimp with scrambled eggs, duck, traditional Catalan beef shank and tripe stew (Cap I Pota), chickpeas with blood sausage, and of course white beans with baby calamari which sells out fast.
Address: Carrer la Rambla, 89, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Phone:+34 933 17 17 31
You know those bites in life that make you swoon? My knees were weak from this lionesa (cream puff meets eclair filled with excellent custard and cream… not typically covered with chocolate, but a little chocolate never hurt). The glazed this mascarpone filled croissant is also delightfully decadent. It’s the only two things I tried here and I’d reorder both. I’m already looking forward to trying more.
Address: Carrer dels Flassaders, 44, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Phone:+34 932 68 82 21
It’s a very casual family run tapas spot popular with tourist and locals. Xampanyet is the homemade sparkling white wine (cava) they serve, which has become the restaurant signature. The Cantabrian anchovies are recommended and the prices are very affordable.
I’m slightly cheating because this is the only one I haven’t been to yet, but it was recommended by far too many reliable sources. Every time I tried to go it was closed, but one day I’ll make it.
It’s an upscale tapas bar and somewhat of an institution frequented by locals and tourists. There is no menu so you list your general preferences and leave it up to chef. The foie gras sausage is a favourite, so you might want to put in a request when you make your reservation, which you should do to avoid the guaranteed line up for lunch or dinner.
Address: Plaça de les Olles, 8, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Phone:+34 933 10 79 61
Located in Girona, 1.2-2 hours away from Barcelona, this is a “must” because it is a “must” – I said it all here.
Address: Calle Can Sunyer, 48, 17007 Girona, Spain
Phone:+34 972 22 21 57