Eating my way through Barcelona
One of the most wonderful part of the trip to Barcelona besides the stunning Gaudi architecture, beautiful city (and people), great weather, was the food. How had I not been in love with Spanish food before?
I understand Barcelona is proud of their Catalan heritage and so the cuisine we had during the trip wouldn't strictly fall just under Spanish food, but also Catalan as well and boy we were in for a treat. Here are some of the highlights and include some healthy food along the way!
1) Cerveceria Catalana
Recommended by 2 difference sources I had a good feeling about this restaurant and decided to go there for our first meal - lunch on a Thursday. Upon arrival we could see the place was packed but thankfully were given bar seats without so much as a 2 mins wait.
If you have a small group a bar seat is actually the best way to acquaint yourself with the dishes!
As we were both starving we pointed to a few things at the bar and on top ordered a few more including shrimp on skewers, fried calamari, paella, pork sandwich with caramelised onions and potatoes (super addictive!). The service was quick and before we knew it, our bar table was full of dishes! By then we found out they served generous portions so we were happy to find that every dish hit the spot.
We met some friendly diners as well. A lady also frequented Cerveceria Catalana for her work lunch but had to limit to maximum once a week as an indulgence! A meal for the 2 of us was around 20 Euros.
Vivant offers a Catalan and Mediterranean cuisine brought up to date. Reading the glowing reviews on Tripadvisor (ranked #52 out of 7,946 restaurants in Barcelona) I made an 8.30pm reservation prior to the trip. Dinner time usually starts at 9pm in Spain but I knew we'd be famished after all the day's activities.
Warmly greeted by the manager we ordered three dishes to share and was blown away by the creative combinations that were fresh, tasty and lingered on my mind even after I returned back to Hong Kong.
Carrer del Consell de Cent, 394, 08009 Barcelona, Spain
+34 933 15 80 09
3) Flax & Kale
I was ready for some clean and healthy food after indulging on tapas, potatoes and iberico ham for a few days. Just a few minutes from my hotel (H10 Metropolitan), we made the visit to Flax & Kale for brunch. Buzzing with a young and fashionable crowd, the place was packed at 11am. Luckily it was only around 15mins before we were escorted to a corner table.
Flax & Kale serve healthy food, which includes vegetarian, fish and an extensive menu of cold-pressed juices. With a motto of "Eat better, be happier, live longer" their juices and smoothies are made with organic ingredients, all at reasonable prices.
While I ordered the acai bowl, I was more drawn to their roasted vegetables - that carrot is a must-try - and juices. During my 5 days in Barcelona, I tried 3 of their juices and wouldn't have minded taking a few back to Hong Kong.
Flax & Kale
Carrer dels Tallers, 74B, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
+34 933 17 56 64
4) Restaurant 7 Portes
One of the classic restaurants in Barcelona, 7 Portes exudes an old-world ambience with the wood panelling, warm lighting and plaques naming some of the famed patrons of the restaurant – from Woody Allen, Queen of Spain, Orson Welles and many more.
We ordered 2 dishes to share and were given a complimentary bread basket - a must-try for their butter!
The salad of king prawns with caramelized tomato and truffle oil was delightful and perfect in whetting our appetites for the flavourful oven-baked cod covered with a garlic mousse and accompanied by lightly fried tomato, onion and garlic and white beans.
We noticed most tables ordered the paella which 7 Portes is famous for, however we were rather full and had to decline. To go with our meal we ordered tea which was presented in a large wooden box partitioned with a wide selection of tea by Spanish brand - Sans & Sans which I would highly recommend.
To finish off the meal we had Puding de melindros which was a creme brulee with rum raisins and whipped cream.
When we got the bill, we found out that the Queen of Spain had also dined at our table in the past. What a lovely piece of trivia!
Restaurant 7 Portes
Passeig d'Isabel II, 14, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
+34 933 19 30 33
Bar central la boqueria
We were looking forward to a visit to the Mercat de la Boqueria, boy was it a feast for our eyes and stomachs! Along the way we tried chocolate powder-covered macademia nuts, dined on tiger prawns and marinated octopus and had freshly sliced papaya and mango.