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My Barcelona Notebook: Ten Days Of Joyous Eating, Drinking and More Eating





It would be an understatement to say that we probably ate some of the best food in recent memory while we were in Barcelona. Unlike Paris, where I found that between the fabulous sandwiches that we would grab from any old boulangerie and some bazillion dollar 2 Michelin star restaurant, the food was inconsistent and often not very good although always expensive. Sorry people, you can send me all the hate mail you like, but all three of us agree on that point - the restaurant food was expensive and disappointing more often than not.


This cannot be said of Spain in general and in Barcelona, you get the added bonus of eating the delicious, regional cuisine of Catalunya. You get a bit of anarchism, Catalan pride and beauty in every bite!

Like Rome, even the worst food we ate was still great but we were there for ten days and I don't have the energy to tell you about every single thing I put in my mouth so I will share my favourites with you.

Oh and if you are going to get an Airbnb in any city so you can actually do some cooking yourself, this is the city to that in - the produce, seafood and meat is unbelievable.


BAR TAPEO


First up, the unanimous favourite place of the entire ten day trip was Bar Tapeo, the smaller sister to Tapeo Del Born. To be honest, I thought I was taking us to the larger place and didn't realize that we weren't actually there until after we had eaten and left but that doesn't matter because this place was perfect.

It was small, intimate and cozy with warm, attentive service from the solo server who manages the entire room like a champ. One chef, one server and a room full of happy customers.

olives, of course, creamy buratta, perfect Iberico ham croquettes and salmon, potato and wasabi

The first night we sipped Vermouth while we shared plates of burrata, a unlikely but delicious salad of potato, wasabi and salmon, delectable ham croquettes and a plate of rare, seared beef with chimichurri - sorry, we dived in and made a mess of the plate before I could snap off a shot. OOPS

We returned another night and shared barely seared tuna with a dab of ginger yogurt and soy, some patatas bravas, more vermouth and a glass or three of Sola Fred from Montsant for a meagre 3 Euro a glass. I pay twice that to drink the house swill at neighbourhood pubs at home.





We went back for patas bravas and barely seared tuna with ginger yogurt and soy sauce

Tapeo Bar
Assaonadors, 25
Tuesday to Sunday noon until midnight
tel: +34 936 671 515
tapeo@tapeoborn.com




PLA





Once again, I thought we were going to eat somewhere else and ended up here for our second favourite meal of the trip. This Barrio Gotic restaurant has a 14Euro menu del dia which is a steal, considering the quality of the food as compared to many other places charging the same or more for tasty, but pedestrian lunch fare.
for 14Euro the Kid had a ridiculously delicious salad, cured and seared mackerel with avocado and crispy onion, dessert that was all moussey and delicious, bread and water

There was cava, of course and the Kid discovered orujos- he thought it was some boozey coffee and, instead he got a 70% proof cafe liquer and it was potent as all get out but delicious. We later had the herbal version elsewhere but this one was his favourite.

We shared oysters with a grapefruit foam, deer carpaccio with CEP mayonnaise and red currants, charred baby gem (i think its kind of like romaine) with egg yolk and black olives.

Wonderful



Pla
Bellafila Street, 5
+34 934 126 552
1:30pm-5:30pm and 7pm-11pm (11:30 Fri/Sat) (call to check about lunch as I have seen different times)




Taverna Hofmann





I made only two reservations in advance, from Canada and the first one was at Taverna Hofmann. Mey Hofmann started her cooking school in 1983 and it has grown to include a collection of restaurants as well as a wonderful bakery. It is not Michelin star territory but it's a well regarded restaurant with good reviews and not impossible to get a reservation for.

I chose the less stuffy Taverna Hofmann and we got at the crack of 8pm, when they open for dinner service. We were the only people in the place for at least 20 minutes and then others started to slowly roll in. By the time we left at about 9:45, it was hopping.

The food was kind of a playful, molecular light take on things and everything was very good, if not earth shattering.
The desserts seem to be where they really shine though. The kid got the Bola Sorpreso - hazelnut chocolate mouse in a chocolate ball that is melted, tableside, with a molten chocolate pour over.
La Hamburguesa - white chocolate, 70% chocolate cream, strawberry and mango looks like a little hamburger but it's really a sweet, little dessert treat.

All in all, everything was very tasty, the prices were reasonable, service was attentive and it is absolutely worth a visit.

Taverna Hofmann
Carrer de Girona, 145
Monday to Saturday 1-3:30pm and 8-11pm
+34 936 241 762
taverna@hofmann-bcn.com




Semproniana




The second place I made reservations for was Semproniana. One of the reasons I did this is because I was intrigued by an offer they had that would allow anyone under the age of 30 pay their age in Euros for their meal and I thought it would be fun for the Kid to be able to dine like a king for 18 Euros. Sadly, when we went to order, the owner told us that this deal had ended the week before.
No matter, we ordered a number of plates to share, a lovely bottle of wine and, once again, realized that we were among the only two tables in the restaurant at 8:30, when dinner service starts. Remember, dinner is eaten much later in Spain that we Canadians are used to and, at the only other occupied table, sat an older British couple who were probably even hungrier than we were.

That said, I like that you can order small, medium or large sized dishes depending on the size of your party. Our favourite dish, the Fried egg burst (a runny egg yolk housed inside a crispy, wonton like package that does, indeed, burst in your mouth when you chomp down on it) is 5Euro for a small, 9.25Euro for a medium and then 12.50Euro for and XL platter.
Some dishes were more precious than they were delicious, like the adorable vegetables pushed down into a bed of couscous salad and served in a clay pot, but, all in all, the food was very good, the space is lovely and eclectic and it's very loud and lively once it fills up. We also noticed and appreciated the sound bafflling system to keep the loud chatter noise under control as the ceilings are very high and the space is very open.

Semproniana

Carrer del Rossello, 148
+34 934 531 820



La Malandrina


Because we spent the first few days with old friends and their young sons, we wanted to find something a bit more laid back and casual with food that everyone could enjoy so after a quick bit of research, I settled on La Malandrina, a bare bones South American steakhouse in Barceloneta. The food was simple, delicious and cheap, the service was friendly, the joint was jumping and everyone loved their dinner. Sometimes you have to take a week break from tapas and cava and have a little beer and steak. There are a ton of these types of South American steak houses that range from fine dining right on down to this sort of diner style restaurant and I was quite happy to throw back a couple little Estrella Damms and a prefectly grilled striploin with potatoes swimming in cream, thank you very much.
Sorry, there are no pretty pictures from this dinner. We were upstairs in the hobbit hole (Dining with three men who are 6'+ was amusing), it was dark and the presentation was non existent but, trust me, it was delicious and just what the Dr ordered.


La Malandrina there are 2 restaurants but this is the one we went to
Carrer de l'Almirall Cervera 5
1:30pm-midnight
+34 603 621 939




Taverna El Glop



Specializing in traditional Catalan cuisine and founded in 1978, The Taverna El Glop is the original and considered to be the best of the three EL Glop outlets. We came here so I could eat a giant platter of calcots, the Catalunyan delicacy that consists of giant green onions called calcots, that are char grilled until black over coals and served with romesco sauce. You pick up a calcot, pinch the bottom, slide the burnt outer layer off, dip the whole thing in Romesco and then start devouring the green onion from the bottom on up. It is very messy business, it is delicious and it is absolutely worth the trek up to Gracia to eat them.



Taverna El Glop
corner of Montmany and Sant LLuis
+34 932 13 70 58
Mon to Fri 7:30am to midnight
Sat, Sun and holidays noon to midnight



Bar Mundial



We were wandering the streets of El Born, making our way back to our apartment when we stumbled upon Bar Mundial. The name sounded familiar and after checking, I realized that I had written it down on my list of places to try so, feeling peckish after our late night Flamenco show, we popped in to see if we could find a spot at the bar. Imagine my delight when we spotted an actual tiny table along the wall! The place was packed to the rafters, it was loud, it was raucous, food and drink were flying by us, orders yelled out in Catalan and the sound of glasses clinking and clanking rung out.
I had found home.
This place has been an institution since it opened in 1925 - actually it was opened under a different name since 1914 but I won't quibble about such things. Food is simple, the tapas are traditional and you won't find any fancy martini concoctions here. You come as much for the ambiance, the energy, the history and the spirit as you do for the food and drink. Grab a vermouth, creamy tuna in mayo, some grilled garlic shrimp and settle back for some fun.


Bar Mundial
Plaza Sant Agusti Vell, 1
1pm-3:30pm and 8pm-11:30pm
+34 933 19 90 56






The Boqueria Market


You can't spend any time in Barcelona without visiting the Boqueria Market, even though it means you have to cross over the more touristy part of Las Ramblas to get there. Even if you just go to wander through the market and look at all of the beautiful food, it's worthy of a visit but, if you're smart, you go there first thing in the morning for breakfast.


El Quim 
THE most written about, touristy places to hit are Pinotxo for Cigrons amb morcilla (garbonzo beans with black sausage)and then hop on over to El Quim for their baby squid with fried eggs. Often, there is a very good reason that these things are on everyone's must do lists and this is one of those times. You will fight for a seat at the bar, rub elbows with tourists and Barcelonians alike- Barcelonietes... Barcelonaers?

Juanito Bayen

Anyway, at Pinotxo, you go to see the forever youthful, Juanito Bayen, winner of the 2016 Ciutat de Barcelona as the most emblematic ambassadro of the cuisine of Barcelona and Catalunya. He has worked there for over 75 years and at 85, he is still up at 4am to open Pinotxo at 6am. Everyone from Ferran Adria to Anthony Bourdin makes the trek to honour Mr Bayen and enjoy the amazing Catalan dishes at this market staple.

 Cigrons amb morcilla (garbonzo beans with black sausage


Boqueria Market
La Rambla 91
8am-8:3p, close Sundays
El Quim
PinPinotxo Bar



Carrer Blai

even in February, every sits outdoors



This is a pedestrian only street in the up and coming neighbourhood of Poble Sec and it's also just around the corner from one of the most famous tapas bars in Barcelona, Quimet & Quimet. Just grab a cab or hop on the subway and make your way to Carrer Blai and wander up and down the street, stopping in any of the bars that look good and/or where it looks like you might be able to actually snag a spot at the bar. Be prepared to do a lot of eating and drinking while standing, smashed in there like a can of sardines but, I promise you that they will be the most lively, fun loving sardines you have ever met!


Most bars also have at least a few tables outside and even when were were there, in the dead of winter, the heaters keep you nice and toasty while you sip cava and eat patatas bravas outdoors. Many of the bars specialize in Pintoxos or Pinchos - you serve yourself from an array of treats at the bar and then the servers count up the type/colour/number of toothpics on your plate to figure out how much you owe.

Oh and don't even think about throwing some toothpicks away to save a couple of bucks because these servers are pros and they already know what you have taken, so don't be a dick. Honestly, most pinchos cost anywhere from 1 Euro to maybe 3Euro to begin with. It's fun and its a great way to spend an entire evening or two.


La Tasqueta De Blai
Carrer de Blay 17
noon to 2am
Pinchos like Butifarra with candied onion and romesco or Pincho de four cheeses, truffled honey bacon an dquico powder or tempura shripm with ratatouille and sweet chili sauce

La Esquinita de Blai
carrer de Blay 16
9am to 1:30am and until 2:30am Fri and Sat

Blai 9
Carrer de Blay, 9

Quimet & Quimet
Carrer de Poeta Cabanyes, 25
12-4pm and 7-10:30pm Mon to Friday




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