When I book a vacation ANYWHERE in the world, I scour Yelp, Tripadvisor, Chowhound, Serious Eats, & Time Out simultaneously to figure out which restaurants I should grace my presence with. It’s no secret that I love good food so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I have a systematic approach with my restaurant research months prior to a trip. I mean it only makes sense, right? I leave a lot of wiggle room for spontaneous choices but for the most part, I have a hit list of places already bookmarked on my phone. The mere thought of “winging it” for 8 days’ worth of lunch and dinner gives me shudders. I’m a liiiiiiiiiiiiiittle too Type A for that.
Anyway, if you are taking a trip to Barcelona in the near future, here is a list of top places. My ABSOLUTE FAVORITE is a must so scroll down for the count down!
#5. 100 Montaditos
This is a chain. In fact, there’s one in New York but don’t let that dissuade you; the menu differs per region. We went to the Rambla de Catalunya location – a floor below street level, it was packed with a crowd of twenty-somethings. And why wouldn’t it be packed? They have LITERALLY 100 montaditos (sandwiches). 100 varieties! 35 of which only cost 1€; the rest are between 1.2€ – 2€. They also have deals where you can pick up to 7 sandwiches for 6€. And as if you needed any more reasons to go here, their beers are INCREDIBLY cheap too; a glass costs 1€ and a mug is 1.5€. Good luck finding a table! We lucked out and managed to snag one after I threw a couple of elbows.
#4. Casa Guinart
If you ever find yourself anywhere near Las Ramblas, I recommend this place. It’s not touristy and the food is really good for the area. The diners here were mostly locals and it’s a good spot for a leisurely meal while people watching. Their Patatas Bravas (pretty much a staple for any tapas place) is nicely spiced. Also, try half an order of their Jamon Iberico – it’s FREAKING AMAZING. Don’t forget to order a plate of the Pa de Coca amb Tomaquet; it’s Catalan bread rubbed with tomato and drizzled with olive oil. It’s so simple but GODDAMN it’s addicting. Who knew that rubbing the surface of toasted bread with fresh tomatoes would be so simply mindblowing?! Maybe I’m biased because I don’t eat bread…
#3. Tapas 24
This was our first meal in Barcelona. And I’m completely okay with that. There’s a good mix of locals and tourists here and the service might seem a bit slow but that’s because everything is cooked to order. Must: The Bikini Comerç: Jamon Iberico, buffala mozzarella, and flecks of black truffles. If you still doubt me after that description then I don’t know what else to tell you. Oh wait, I do: they also have a McFoie Burger; a tiny burger, stuffed with Foie Gras & served with foie ganache. Get both with a side of their solid Patatas Bravas and you’re good to go.
#2. Ciudad Condal
This place is amazing. Don’t get a table – hound some diner for a seat at the bar. Just kidding. But not really. Bar seating is prime real estate because you’re in the middle of the action! Also, it’s easier to order at the bar; just say “Hola!” very nicely to the server/bartender in front of you to get his attention, point at whatever you want on the display case (don’t worry, everything is fresh), and say “Una, por favor.” (That’s only if you want ONE, obviously). Get the Pulpo alla Gallega – it’s Galician-style octopus and it’s delicious. Of course, I got mine with a side of Catalan bread rubbed with tomatoes. Other notables are their ham sandwiches, their seafood salads, and their patatas bravas.
#1. Quimet y Quimet
OMGOD THIS PLACE IS A MUST. It’s a must, it’s a must, it’s an absolute must! First of all, being typical New Yorkers, Brian and I decided to walk here from Plaça Catalunya. What’s 20 minutes, right? Well Siri decided to take us through the sketchiest route known to man – the street started getting narrower, creepy people were lurking, and women who were working the streets were propositioning us left and right. Lesson of the day: don’t walk through Carrer de Sant Pau. Lesson of the day part two: Everything they serve at Quimet y Quimet is delicious. Must-try on their menu: Salmon with Yogurt & Honey; Cold Shrimp plate; Shrimp with Red Pepper, Yogurt, & Caviar; Mussels with Red Pepper & Caviar; Anchovies with Sea Urchin; Scallops with Caviar; and Sardines with Sea Urchin. Honestly, everything here is amazing. A friendly tip: get here 10 minutes before they open for dinner. I guarantee there will already be a line outside. Tip #2: There are no seats and only small tables so get a spot right at the bar. It’s prime location. Tip #3: You may purchase a bottle from any of their displays and drink it there. The corkage fee is minimal. Tip #4: You have to be pushy to order food from here. Be assertive, but don’t be a jerk. The two night that we’ve been here, both the owners and the patrons of this bar were all SUPER friendly. There’s a sense of community here, probably because everyone’s eating the best food ever while sipping cava and being confined in such a small space. Le sigh. I dream of this place sometimes.
PS: About that last photo. I usually think it’s tacky to take a photo of a food bill but I thought it was hilarious that the normal bill for most people who come here lists about 5 items but Brian and I ate so much that our list spilled over to the next page. Such fatties.
PPS: Speaking of fatties, notice how in every table photo, Brian’s hand is grabbing the Salmon montadito? Greedy jerk.