Good god there are a lot of food and drink options in Barcelona. We definitely wanted to eat some tapas, some churros and chocolate and whatever else looked great. There are many good looking vegetarian and vegan options and juices galore.
1. Satan's Coffee Corner - We didn't eat here, though they do seem to serve breakfast and other food items. We stopped by for a mid-morning coffee for Zachary. They have great choices and are up to the minute on their coffee offerings. The styling of the cafe is generally modern and would feel at home most anywhere in the western world. It definitely had a bit of a hipster vibe, but wasn't twee. Zac went off script from his usual pure coffee selection and order a Cortado. It's milky, but he said it was tasty. We definitely loved the vibe in here and will be back to check out the pour over.
2. Caj Chai - We stumbled upon this cafe after our Culinary Backstreets tour and finding that our original destination, Satan's Coffee Corner, was closed. But this was such sweet serendipity. Zac ordered a coffee chai, our new friend ordered an iced ginger tea and I had the Pita Ayurveda tea. It was pure happiness at our table. The cafe is cute and they have an outdoor area in the courtyard which is just delightful. I cannot wait to go back.
3. Mercado de La Boqueria - This is an upscale market in the Rambla area of Barcelona; also just down the street from our house. We stumbled in here looking for something to eat as soon as we arrived in town. We didn't make the best choice in food selection, though the market itself is lovely and people seemed to be enjoying themselves at the various restaurants strewn throughout the market. This market is a little more tourist centric than the others we've seen around Barcelona, and offers more restaurants and take away items than fresh produce etc. While it's not predominantly a local shopping market, it's definitely worth checking out.
4. Culinary Backstreets "Made in Catalonia" tour - We were incredibly fortunate to partner with Culinary Backstreets for their Made in Catalonia tour on our first full day in town. This was a great look at the Gracia neighborhood and offered some amazing food. The stops were many and varied, but let's say this tour gave us a great appreciation for Catalan cuisine. We highly recommend this tour when you're in town.
5. Flax & Kale - I'm going to get the negative out of the way first; this place is over priced. And yes, I am very cheap, but still even Zac said it was too much for what it was. Eating here sparked many discussions about the high price of eating "healthy" around the world and why it is so. More on that in another post. The space is large and beautiful and the food is super fresh and tasty. We shared a mezze platter and a tuna taco. Each were quite delicious and offered a variety of tastes. We weren't wowed by it, but it sure was nice to have a very clean eating experience coming off of our most recent travels. Their juices looked incredible, though we abstained so we could consume some chocolate and churros later in the day. For our mezze for two and the one taco plus water and bread the cost was about 30USD.
6. Petritxol Xocoa - There are tons of chocolate places throughout Barcelona. This one was close to our house and was open when we wanted our fix of chocolate and churros. We liked it well enough, though it wasn't the most flavorful chocolate we've ever had. The churros seemed reheated though they weren't greasy which was a plus. Overall, this was simple and definitely hit the spot. It did think it was a bit expensive though for what it was. We shared one portion of 4 churros and one chocolate for about 6 Euro.
7. La Tasqueta de Blai - This was our first foray into Barcelona tapas. We tried to get in to several other places to no avail. That was ok because I had wanted to try this place anyway. It was busy but not insane when we arrived around 8pm. The tapas are situated all across the bar. You come in, order drinks and then saunter up to the bar to make your selections. All the tapas at this place are served on little slices of bread and have the appearance of being like little bruschetta. I think all were cold. You pay either 1Euro or 1.80Euro depending on the color toothpick that's been stabbed into the tapa. This offered a really good value and we thought the tapas were quite tasty.
8. Bodega Biarritz 1881 - I've read rave reviews about this place and in fact our first night in town we decided not to wait in the incredibly long line and went elsewhere for our tapas fix. We returned earlier the following night and were able to get in after a short wait. At first I was a little put off by the offering and the cost. Their tapas was in the range of 1.50 - 4 Euros, most on the higher side. You speak with the guy behind the counter as he gives you the skinny on what each tapa is made of. You can ask for the prices then as well, though we abstained. They do offer two "surprise" meal options where the chef chooses the tapas for you, but we wanted to make our own selections. Once selected, the tapas are heated and brought to your seat. Everything we ate was excellent and we would definitely go back. Two things to note: they take CASH only and don't serve only drinks. You have to eat if you want to drink. Get here early, because there was a huge line when we left. Even though it's so busy, the environment inside remains quite relaxed and comfortable.
9. Nomad Coffee - There's actually a line through the 'o' in Nomad but I can't do that here on my computer. I asked if there was a Scandinavian connection given this letter choice, but the guy at the bar said "nope. the owner just liked it". We loved this little coffee shop in the Born area of Barcelona. There are not many seats and it's not a place to linger, though we did so for a while, there's no wifi either. What there is is really great coffee and really nice service. They even offer nitro cold press which seemed quite popular. The prices are equivalent to any artisanal coffee shop. It's definitely well worth seeking out if you are in town.
10. Viena - This is a classic old school sandwich place just off La Ramblas. It was surprisingly not busy the night we stopped by. There were locals eating their sammies, reading the paper and sipping some wine. It felt really great sitting on a stool at the oblong bar that occupies the entire floor of the restaurant. Zac really enjoyed his Iberico Ham on baguette but I was so so on what essentially was a grilled cheese with green peppers, onions and one aubergine piece. The fries, however, were outstanding. I think I would go back to this place again just for the fries and the atmosphere. I thought my sandwich was a bit dear at 5.50Euros given what it was but thought Zac's was a fair value at 6.50.
11. Mosquito - I was bit by the obsession with going to Mosquito when I read that it was essentially Asian tapas, aka dim sum. We popped in here for a late lunch one afternoon while wandering the Born area. The resto is small and super cosy. It was busy despite the late hour and it just felt like the right place to be. We decided to opt for soups instead of tapas/dim sum and wow were they filling. We each had wonton + noodle soup in a really subtle beef broth. Zac's wontons were filled with shrimps and mine with chopped veg. There seemed to be a lot of onion in mine which you should be aware of if you suffer from onions like I do. We also ordered some kimchi which was beautiful when plunked into the subtle broth. The prices are totally great for what you get and we'd definitely go back here again.
12. Casa Almirall - This is old school at its best. This was a suggestion from Paula at Culinary Backstreets for a place to have Vermouth and snacks and it did not disappoint. We started with some lovely vermouth and because you can't just have vermouth by itself we ordered up a bowl of olives and tortilla. The tortilla came sliced on bread smeared with tomatoes and was utterly delicious. The olives were subtly briny and a little citrusy which is to say also very delicious. More vermouth was ordered and more olives alongside. I think we could have stayed here all day it was so comfortable. We will definitely be back for more. If you want a taste of old school Barcelona this is for you.