7 Best Local Restaurants Barcelona Has To Offer.
By: Valerie Hoyoak
There is no doubt about it that Barcelona is one of the trendiest cities to visit. If it is not on your list of places to see, then you should add it! Not only is the city chock full of the most interesting things to see and do, but it ranks among the highest in the world when it comes to food. Year after year Barcelona receives awards for it’s high quality restaurants that serve arrays of food that you will be hard pressed to find elsewhere.
Barcelona is a city that lives by the sea and you will find fish included in every menu. Fresh fish abounds – from street vendors to tapas bars and high-class restaurants. It is hard not to find somewhere that doesn’t serve fish. Here we take a look at some of the best local restaurants that Barcelona has to offer.
When you visit Spain the first meal you should head off to try is undoubtedly Paella! This is the dish of Spain as a country although dishes differ from region to region. Paella also changes from area to area depending on the products available. Inland will possibly have less fish and more meat such as rabbit and quail. However, Barcelona specializes in fish and that is what you will find in most paellas.
Restaurant of choice for paella is Can Sole. Although this restaurant is rated as one of the more upper class restaurants, it is listed as the best one in Barcelona for Paella. Attentive waiters and the provision of reading glasses should you require them are what puts this restaurant in a class of it’s own. Two types of Paella are served here, the first is traditional paella and the second is listed on the menu as ‘Grandmother’s Spoon Food’. In other regions this dish might be known as Caldero. Basically it is a thick stew combining chickpeas, potatoes, and lentils and is beautifully flavoured with a sprinkling of Emmental cheese.
Address: Carrer de Sant Carles 4 – View on map
Set Portes is a seafood and paella restaurant that is located down near the port. Although it has been modernised it still has some of the charm from when it was first opened in 1836. A unique feature here is that on the back of the chairs you will find small plaques of great people who have eaten there over the years. The aim of the chef is to pay homage to the old recipes, while putting a new twist on them. For a taste of the past and the present fusing together in the most amazing way, you might try the Zarzuela, which is the most delicious lobster casserole.
Address: Passeig d’Isabel II 14 – View on map
For possibly the best tapas bar in Barcelona you should head for Bar Pinotxo. You will find this counter bar located in Boqueria Market. It has been going strong for over 70 years and has probably the largest selection of tapas in the city! There is no menu here to peruse, rather you get to wander up and down the counter and select tapas of your choice. You should ask for the daily specials, as these are often not advertised but usually very good. From artichoke omelettes to baby squid, this tapas bar has enough to tempt even the fussiest eater! The restaurant closes at 4pm so you should get there early as often the most popular dishes run out early.
Address: Mercat de la Boqueria, Carrer la Rambla 89 – View on map
One thing that Spain does really well is to cook suckling pig! If this catches your fancy then you should head for Restaurant Leku. You won’t find this in the city center, but rather out towards the quieter district of Les Corts. It is a fairly small place but what it lacks in size it makes up for in creative meals and a very friendly atmosphere. Because of the size, you should reserve a table so not to be disappointed. Oxtail croquettes and suckling pig are on the menu, along with Cantabrian Anchovies and Hake and Iberian Ham Bakes.
Address: Carrer de Joan Güell 189 – View on map
Can Culleretes has been mentioned in the Guinness Book of records because it is the second oldest restaurant in Spain. It has been around since 1786! In the three dining rooms you will find a selection of oil paintings along with photographs of happy eaters. The tiled walls are a feature that has been retained and some are very old. The menu is based on good, no-nonsense tasty Spanish dishes at reasonable prices. Items like partridge, wild boar stew will get your mouth watering. Worth trying is the ‘pica-pica’, which is a plate of seafood to share. There is something surreal to be seated in a restaurant this old while eating a delicious meal.
Address: Carrer d’en Quintana 5 – View on map
If Japanese food is your forte then Koy Shunka is the place for you! This restaurant has been rated as the best in Spain if not in Europe. It is a Michelin starred place and as such you should be aware of this when dressing to eat. That being said you will find that the wait staff are extremely helpful in explaining items on the menu. The chef rolls out the sushi in front of you, should you sit at the bar and the whole meal is a gastronomical delight. Not only serving sushi, if you fancy scallops and red prawns in tempura, you will not be disappointed. Sitting at the bar gives you a birds eye view of the delicate assembling of the various rolls which are then presented to you looking far too good to eat!
Address: Carrer d’en Copons 7 – View on map
Bar Casi is one of the lower priced restaurants in Barcelona that deserves a mention because it rates itself as one of the friendliest places to eat. The sign outside the joint reads ‘ We speak poor English, but we cook very well’. They certainly live up to this reputation as the food is fantastic, and the service warm and friendly in only the way the Spanish can be. It is a family owned and run restaurant and the family pride themselves on the good quality food at reasonable prices. Cheap and tasty, it is really not surprising that it not only attracts the locals but also tourists. Best to arrive before 12.30 otherwise you will find yourself in a line outside!
Address: Carrer de Massens 74 – View on map
We have just touched on a small selection of the best local restaurants in Barcelona. The city is literally filled with places that provide a range of menus from cheap and cheerful to exorbitant. From Mexican to Italian and Japanese to Indian, you will be able to find a good place to eat. For the majority, the restaurants in the city measure up to a very high standard. Some of them have been around for many years and the old menus are respected and adhered to in some places. At other times they are updated and modernised to cater to younger generations.
The city is filled with coffee shops and tapas bars so you will never have a problem getting a light snack in the middle of the day. Even finding a place that serves breakfast. It is not unusual to see people having a small beer (cana) during lunch and sometimes even during breakfast! Cognac is also served with coffee and this may be at any time of day. Siesta takes place between 2pm and about 5pm when some places are shut. Food places however, stay open till all hours and you will never go hungry!
You will also notice that Spanish people go out later to eat. It’s not uncommon to see empty restaurants until about 9pm when they will fill up. Most Spanish restaurants will let you have your table for as long as you like as meals are considered family affairs and often last for hours so you may take your time over your meal and never feel rushed.
No matter what type of food you prefer you should make the effort to go and explore the small side streets of the city. Here you will find hidden gems serving local delicacies. These are the places that you will not see advertised anywhere. You will never know what is on the menu. Menu Del Dia means daily menu and is normally three or four courses with a bottle of wine. Not only are they good value but they are usually delicious. Street vendors abound here with their finger foods fresh out of the ovens, wrapped in a napkin and handed to you to enjoy as you walk around this beautiful city.
Whatever your price range or food fancy, this city is going to please you. It will certainly tantalise you and tempt you into trying foods that you never knew existed! This city and all its culinary delights will bring you back for a second and possibly third visit!
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