The food scene in Barcelona is constantly evolving. With great markets and products, the local population are used to eating plenty of fresh food – vegetables, fruit, meat, poultry, fish, cheese and so on. The markets are very colourful and strongly supported, even if supermarkets compete directly for business. Thanks to the boom in logistics and online food services more and more people are getting fresh produce delivered directly to their home. Amazon prime launched late 2016 and delivers within a couple of hours, rain, hail or shine. There are numerous delivery services offering to bring you restaurant food direct to your door. There are even personal shopper services that will visit several different shops and pick up everything you need.
Choosing restaurants and places to eat can be very difficult when you are visiting a city. With the rise in apartment stays, many visitors now opt to eat at least one meal at home. Either way, it seems a little sad to see visitors opting to eat pizza because they really don’t know where to go or what food to try.
Recommendations on what to eat:
- Consider going on a food tour – an excellent way to be introduced to the local cuisine
- Plan on having a rice dish, preferably somewhere near the water. Your standard paella, black rice or any variation on the theme. Many restaurants offer paella, but off course there can be a huge range in price and quality.
- Tapas are a great way to discover and sample food that you might not normally eat. If you play it safe you limit yourself to Spanish omelette (tortilla española), fried potatoes with spicy sauce (patatas brava) and various types of fish – squid, sardines, anchovies, etc. It is worth listening to recommendations and delving into new territory.
- Don’t limit yourself to Catalan or Spanish food as there is a great offering of other cuisines – Japanese, Mexican, Argentinean, etc.
- Top chefs…if you are a real foodie you will already be onto this. There are some standards, some exclusives (impossible to get a table unless you have an advance booking) and some newbies.
Recommendations on where to eat:
- The food markets have cafes – which is a good place to have a late breakfast or early lunch. La Boqueria just off the Ramblas can feel overcrowded with tourists sometimes, so you could try one of the other city markets (La Concepcion on C. Arago; Market in Gracia; Santa Caterina Market).
- Try brunch in the weekends, or a mid day menu (from 1pm) in many of the restaurants in L’Exiample (Rambla Catalunya or Enric Granados or the adjourning streets)
- Find a plaza (square) in the old town or in Gracia, where you can sit out without the noise of constant traffic.
Things you might choose to avoid:
- Order sangria if you must, but there is great wine on offer or a good selection of beer. You won’t see locals drinking sangria too often.
- Restaurants in tourist spots. Pretty much guaranteed to deliver less than you expect.
- Sitting down to eat dinner before 9pm. If you get hungry, go and have a tapa and a drink before dinner.
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