I would really like to recommend a new restaurant in Barcelona called Llamber. It's situated in the new hip area of Born. It's one of the few places in Barcelona, where you get a free pitxo (mini tapas) with your glass of wine. For the wine lover they have 150 different wines, 30 by glass and they start from only 2,5€. Also they have a really good a la carte menu with different kinds of tapas, tables of cheeses and Spanish ham, dessert etc., all served in a creative and beautiful way.
I love to go there because the food is delicious and it's a really friendly and informal place with beautiful decoration.
Casa Julia is highly recommendable and just the kind of place the visitor would overlook. Small and discreet in appearance, Casa Julia is one of Barcelona’s hidden treasures.
For an authentic rice dish, Casa Julia is difficult to beat. Co-owner Luis is from the Alicante region of Spain and has brought with him the skill and flair for cooking the region’s dry rice dishes. Forget the heavy yellow-dyed stodge dumped on your plate like ready-mix; at Casa Julia the rice is cooked to perfection, each grain separate and with a crisp bottom layer known as socarrat. Luis offers several kinds of rice dishes
always, he insists, using the very best ingredients in just the right proportions and
cooked for just the right length of time. Saffron threads and nyora (chorizo) peppers provide flavour and colour to the meat and fish rice dishes. Specialities are arroz a banda, which is simply rice cooked in a very thick fish broth, arroz negro cooked with squid ink, arròs senyoret served with peeled shellfish, bacalao, cod and vegetable rice and two or three variations of meat and vegetable rice dishes. Plenty to keep you going…
Casa Julia’s other co-owner is Julia herself, from Extremadura. This region is famous for its potages and meats and Julia provides excellent examples: chickpeas with mussels, lentils with baby octopi, beans and chorizo and, in winter, escudella. Meats include roast kid, sirloin and steaks.
So, there’s something for everyone, even a small terrace out on the quiet street where smokers can dine in peace.
A lot of people prefer Sucoa to the nearby, well known and consequently more popular – alright then, overcrowded – Cerveseria Catalana. Me too. I think Sucoa is a much more pleasant and relaxing option and the food is just as good, if not better. Sucoa is on the corner of Enric Granados and Valencia.
Tapas tend to be quite simple, cheeses, cured Iberian meats and ham and high quality tinned stuffs (tuna, sardines, shellfish).
And of course top ranking croquetas with extraordinarily crisp coatings surrounding smooth, flavourful yet subtle fillings.
The cod variety is a smooth mousse of cod and creamy béchamel – a delight. The Gruyere and Parmesan cheese ones defy description.
Delicious with a glass of Barcelona’s traditional beer, Moritz, and especially Epidor, the dark double-malt ale also made with water brought from Montseny mountain.
The restaurant is rightly popular and serves fine food; the lamb is highly recommendable and so is the fresh seafood. There’s a good selection of mid-priced range wines. Service is friendly and efficient.
Enric Granados, 24, 08007, Barcelona
Tel: + 34 93 451 38 44
Google map: bit.ly/lJ1YFP
Now, Casa Jaime is not the sort of place visitors normally go: it’s a workingman’s bar and lunch restaurant serving simple fare. However, Jaime, the owner, is from Soria and among the tapas you can try are his Iberian cured sausages and – my special recommendation – his homemade croquetas. Now a good croqueta is never born; it’s always made from scraps of meat and vegetables from other dishes, notably stews. At Casa Jaime, the croquetas are made from the meat and veg left over from the thick chicken and meat stew known in Catalonia as escudella.
Massive and misshapen, these authentic croquetas bear little resemblance to those industrial cylinders facetiously served as the real thing in unsavoury bars devoted to tricks on travellers.
Jaime’s octogenarian mom spends a couple of hours separating and shredding the ingredients, mixing them with a thick béchamel and coating them in crumbs.
Anyone wishing to experience the genuine traditional croqueta should drop in, order a couple and wash them down with a bottle of Moritz, Barcelona’s original beer.
Moritz appeared in 1856, disappeared in the late nineteen seventies and has now made a triumphant reappearance. Its distinctive yellow and blue label, fine graphic design and superb marketing knock the hell out of Estrella Damm’s pretentious efforts to be trendy. The beer’s great, too; Moritz brings spring water from the Montseny massif and uses only the finest hop flowers in its fermentation. The beer tastes fresh, clean and delicate.
Enric Granados 107, 08008 Barcelona
+34 93 218 10 55
Google map: bit.ly/jKeLAA
After spending two weeks in arty, alternative Gràcia it’s now my favourite Barcelona barrio. Predominantly a working class area, its residents are largely university students, artists, musicians, and designers, which explains the abundance of art galleries, boutiques, ateliers, and music stores that line the narrow lanes. It’s a living breathing neighbourhood with plenty to do if you like eating, drinking, shopping, and hanging out in cafés, bars, and sunny squares. It’s a good fifteen-minute walk to Plaça de Catalunya, although you can catch the underground train and it’s faster, but this means you’ll rarely see a tourist in Gràcia, which is what I like most about it. It’s not far from posh L’Eixample, where there are chic shops and some of Barcelona’s best restaurants, and it’s close to Park Güell, which is a short hike (or bus ride) up the hill.
Google map: bit.ly/jjAPGY
A blog on the curious world of the croqueta. Where to enjoy a cuttlefish croqueta sitting by Pep Guardiola. Homemade classic in working man's bar. Some people take them really seriously.
This is an absolute gem of a traditional Barcelona cafe, serving food and drink all day in the most charming art nouveau surroundings where you can rub shoulders with the locals reading the complimentary newspapers. The staff are unfailingly polite, even when the tourists have had a few too many of the wonderful Martinez brandy (7 euros a shot) and are getting rowdy... Delicious breakfast food, fabulous fresh orange juice squeezed before your eyes, and later a good range of traditional tapas and simple dishes. Proper alcoholic sangria served indoors or out. Favourite - a huge glass of the Cava sangria.
Las Ramblas, opposite the Liceu theatre
Great environment. Excellent cava selection. Even though there might be a queue the line moves quickly - we were out the door and it took us less than 20 minutes to sit down (can't book). I preferred it to the sister restaurant - the flagship Commerce 24 (too sterile for me).
Very good tapas in the best restaurant atmosphere. We really enjoyed it. The food was delicious. Grilled king prawns, steamed mussels, roast lamb, fried and crispy artichokes, patatas bravas. The setting on Rambla Catalubya was beautiful. They have another very lively restaurant in the Born area which was very welcoming and fun. We didn't try the other two but have heard good things about them.
Taller de Tapas
Rambla Catalunya, 49 (Eixample)
93 487 4842
C/ Comtal, 28 8 (Via Laietana)
93 481 6233
c/ Argenteria, 51 (Born)
93 268 8559
Plaça Sant Josep Oriol, 9 (Plaza del Pi)
93 301 8020
Amazing food, cooked in front of you. All ingredients sourced a few feet away as it is in the heart of the Mercat Bocceria. Quite intimidating having to wait behind someone sitting and eating - you have to 'bags' your seat in this very un-English way! But the food was gorgeous.
The prices are high - we had two beers (on tap, San Miguel) a basket of lovely bread, one plate of gambas in burnt garlic and chilli and four tiny but exquisite croquettas and it came to 25 euros...considering our dismal experience at Les Quinze Nits, worth every penny and the five euro tip! Real Catalan through-and-through.
Mercat Bocceria, just off La Rambla
Tapas Bar, small atmospheric bar, wonderful house tapas, friendly service, great cava in wide champagne glasses, don't forget to leave room for the sweet biscuits and a glass of sweet sherry to dip them in.
C.Montcada near to the Picasso Museum
A very large modern tapas bar popular with locals. Excellent place for a group to go out for a meal/night out. The best thing about it is the prices, second best is the staff - great craic. You can sit at the bar for a casual bite and a beer, pointing out what you want from the huge array of appetising Tapas on display on the bar, or sit down and order off the menu. A group of four of us sat down for a meal at about 9.30.
We left after 2am (last out of the place), with plenty of beers and about three-four tapa each on board. The cost was an astonishing 30 euro each including a tip on top of the included service charge, as the waiter was such a laugh. Highly recommended for a cheap and utterly cheerful night out. You may have to wait a little while for a table, but people are constantly coming and going, so don’t be put off by a queue.
Rambla Catalunya, 18; tel: 93 318 1997
Ferran Adria’s a fan – you will be too. This tiny restaurant in the trendy El Borne dishes up delicious little portions of imaginative food at reasonable prices. No bookings taken, so come early or be prepared to wait.
Comerç 17, 08003; tel: 93 315 1227
Very swish tapas bar and restaurant. You can eat at the restaurant at the back or at the bar as I did. Wonderful fresh ingredients and simple yet delightful dishes. The staff very friendly and helpful too.
Pl Sant Josep Oriol, 9;
Can't decide what to eat in this gourmet city? Try Txapela, a busy taberna in the heart of Barcelona offering a varied selection of exquisitely presented, succulent, tiny bites, displayed around the semicircular bar. The tablemat placed in front of you gives each a Basque name, a number and a description in Catalan with photo and price and you just give the number or point.
Demand is incessant, so everything is freshly prepared. Try Arantxa - a small brochette of prawns, bacon and mushrooms; or Gros - a mini-entrecote with Roquefort sauce; or any of the other 49 on offer. Since most cost 1.10 euros and the dearest 1.65, the only difficulty is choosing which to have next. Great Spanish wines and ice-cold beers, too. The bar is large, the welcome enthusiastic, the atmosphere convivial and the experience memorable.
Passeig de Gracia 8-10; tel: 93 412 02 89;
nearest metros: Cataluna, Passeig de Gracia;
A superb tapas bar right in the middle of the Boqueria food market. It is a wonder to see the chefs working in such a tiny space to produce extremely fresh, rustic tapas. Wash it down with a glass of cava and soak up the hectic atmosphere of the market.
La Boqueria market, Las Rambla 91
A little paradise of a street. Forget Poble Espanyol, this is an authentic tour around the best in Spanish food and drink as well as an assortment of museums. Don’t miss the anchovies or the cava at El Xampanyet, indulge in the Textile Museum’s ice creams, listen to the dulcet tones of an oboe and cello while sampling top-quality whiskey at Espai Barroc and sample the avant garde wines at the Va de Vi.
Banys Vells, No 16; nearest metro: Jaume I
Tucked away in a square in the Born area (near the seafront) is this wonderful little tapas bar. Expect to queue ... in fact the queue is half the fun as it snakes up and down and around the bar. You can drink while you queue and enjoy the atmosphere. When you come to order, if you don't speak Spanish, just indicate that you want it all. The food will keep coming until you signal you've had enough! All food is cooked fresh in front of you and the staff are a lot of fun.
Plaça les Olles, 8 08003 - Barcelona www.calpep.net
Send your feedback or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org