There aren’t many people who don’t love Barcelona – especially for its food. But if you are travelling to Barcelona and eat some Paella on the main strip of La Rambla, then you fell into the big tourist trap. Having close personal ties to the city, let me tell you some real travel tips with what and where you should really eat – real food made by locals.
1. Bravas del Bar Tomás
Also known as Patatas Bravas (Patates Braves in Catalan), this dish is a favourite appetiser for many. It’s a very common tapas dish and eaten when having a quick beer with friends or desiring a snack in the afternoon. Talk to some true locals and they will tell you that one of the best places is Bar Tomás de Sarrià on c/ Major de Sarrià. The Patatas Bravas are no fine dining business, but is simple and good food. Small potato pieces fried in oil and served with allioli and/or a spicy tomato sauce.
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2. Xurros amb Xocolata
You might have heard this one with it’s Spanish name (Churros con Chocolate), Xurros amb Xocolata is pretty much the same but in Catalan – the language that local people in Barcelona speak. After all, it is called Catalonia and not Spain. The best and most traditional place to eat these sweet delights in Barcelona is at Granja Dulcinea in the Career Petritxol 2. This place was founded in 1941 and is the most emblematic chocolatier of Barcelona. Don’t eat them at just any tourist place, if you want some real taste.
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3. Can Paixano (El Champanillo)
This is one my personal favourites. Every time I am in Barcelona, I make a point of showing up there. If you do as well, you will be charmed instantly. Located close to the seaside (but off the beaten track), this old bar serves caves (champagne), sparkling wines and wide assortment of tapas and sandwiches with meats, sausages and paprika. The best part of it is that all comes at a really low price. Find it at Carrer de la Reina Cristina 7. Travel tips don’t get better than this.
You might guess it from the name, Sardinetes are little sardines. The best place in all of Barcelona to eat them is at in the Bar La Plata. Residing at Carrer de la Mercè 28, it is closely located to number 3 on the list. I suggest you go to the former first, take a extensive walk around the neighbourhood and come here in the evening for you little sardines and a glass of wine or two. Bar La Plata has a long tradition and plenty of charm. The surrounding Gothic quarter is ideal for a romantic walk back to your hotel afterwards.
5. Bocadillos and Sardanes
Dentre as tradições da Catalunha, uma das que eu mais gosto é a dança nacional deles: a sardana. É uma dança bem sutil, com movimentos curtos. Uma banda começa a tocar, normalmente em frente a catedral e várias pessoas vão chegando pra dançar, deixando suas bolsas, mochilas e sacolinhas de supermercado no meio da roda, pegando na mão de alguém e dando seus pulinhos. Parece que elas estavam lá, só voltando das compras e se sentiram atraídas pela música.
This one gets cultural. Sardanes are nothing to eat, but the traditional Catalan dance. Combine it with Bocadillos (sandwiches) at Conesa in Plaça Sant Jaume, which is a central square in the old town of Barcelona. Go and see (and take part if you like) the Sardanes at the Plaça de la Catedral every Sunday at 11am, while the rest of the tourists are still struggling with their hangovers. Grab a Bocadillo, a sandwich with meats and veggies, either before or after or both.