Barcelona is, without a doubt, one of the most endearing cities in the world. The combination of cosmopolitan life and old Spanish charm capture the hearts of nearly everyone who visits. It’s no wonder why, when people recall their time in Barcelona, it’s usually with a dreamy look in their eye – “Ah, Barcelona.” Eating and drinking in Barcelona’s popular La Rambla neighborhood strikes this balance between new and old and there are endless dining options across the spectrum.
Barcelona has a system of over thirty local street markets across the city. The most famous, La Boquería, is found along La Rambla. A covered market with a huge selection of anything from dried fruits and spices to fresh seafood, you could spend hours booth hopping and sampling Spanish delicacies. Many vendors have tapa-sized bites (think paper cones of Manchego cheese and jamón serrano or skewers of chorizo samples). There’s also no shortage of bar stools where you can enjoy a leisurely Spanish beer or café con leche. If you’re looking for gifts to take home, you can find Spanish wine and delicacies ready to pack. La Boquería will not fail to delight the senses and give you snapshot of old world Spanish food in a modern setting.
It’s no secret that greens and other vegetables are hard to come by in traditional Spanish fare. Even vegetarian tapas are often heavy with oil or fried (though incredibly delicious). This is why finding a vegetarian restaurant in the heart of the city is always a welcome delight. Teresa Carles, just a few blocks from Plaza Catalunya, has an incredible selection of salads and seasonal vegetarian dishes. Their nearby sister restaurant, Flax and Kale, offers flexitarian options for the healthy fish lover. At both locations, you can find pressed juices, made to order or bottled for an on-the-go boost.
Bar Cañete is traditional Spanish dining at its best. From impeccable service to the extensive wine list and open tapas kitchen with bar seating, it’s easy to get swept away in the charming atmosphere. Spanish tapas and plates include fresh and local ingredients, combined into upscale dishes. Reserve a table ahead or enjoy a few glasses of wine while you wait.
Like most Spanish cities, Barcelona comes alive late at night. For those nights when you find yourself looking for something good to eat and it’s almost midnight, make your way to Bismillah Kebabish. Set on a narrow side street, not far from the Museum of Contemporary Art, this local favorite offers delicious shawarma, kebabs, and falafel in generous portions, at dirt cheap prices. Be prepared to wait behind crowds of young Spanish partygoers, but your patience will be rewarded with fresh-baked pita, perfectly spiced meats, and crispy falafel.
You don’t have to wander far from the main drag of La Rambla to find delicious restaurants that attract more locals than tourists, a sure sign you’ve stumbled onto something good. On your next trip to this Catalán city, don’t be afraid to try something new. It’s hard to go wrong in a country known where food is such a strong part of the culture.