barcelona sagrada familia

The Sagrada Familia

I went to Barcelona 15 years ago when I was an art history student. It had been a long-awaited Gaudí pilgrimage and I spent a few days in the city immersing myself in every single stone ever touched by the man’s genius. I’ve been wanting to go back ever since that first trip and when the opportunity presented itself this summer, I took it with no hesitation. This time around, I was going on a Gaudí and food pilgrimage to the city that has become synonymous with avant-garde cuisine. I spent days planning my 3 days in the city so I could make the most of it. I was disappointed to realize that quite a few restaurants and stores are closed in August so my fist advise would be not to visit in August! I have nonetheless made quite a few delicious discoveries which I have been impatient to share with you! I’m warning you though, this is a long post and most probably one of many on Barcelona!

Sagrada Familia

The view from the top of the Sagrada Familia

sagrada familia barcelona

Inside the impressive Sagrada Familia

My first day started at the foot of the Monument a Colom at the foot of La Rambla. I walked up La Rambla until the market or La Boqueria and was hoping to have breakfast at Bar Pintxo but it was closed. No worries though since there are a couple of bars at the market and the one I stopped at was good. I’m sorry but I cannot remember the name of the place, I do however remember that the man next to me was having a glass of red wine at 8:30 in the morning! After a quick breakfast of Spanish tortilla and pan con tomate (bread and tomato, a staple at all Barcelona bars made by rubbing garlic then a ripe tomato on a piece of bread then drizzling with olive oil), the next stop was Café Viena where we picked up a couple of jabugo ham sandwiches to go, Mark Bittman’s favourite sandwich in the world no less! Our first Gaudí stop – and my personal favourite – was Casa Battló further up on Passeig de Gràcia. If you get there early enough, you won’t have to wait in line for too long, but if you do, the line-up is well worth it. Take the time to walk around the building with an audio guide if you can. Gaudí stop no. 2 was the Casa Mila or La Pedrera, across the street and a little bit further up on Passeig de Gràcia. You can’t miss it, it is very imposing and also well worth the line-up. When you’re done visiting, your Gaudí tour is still not done! Hop on bus #24 which will take you all the way to Park Güell where you will finally be able to sit down in the lovely surroundings and bite down on that delicious ham sandwich, that is if you’ve been able to hold off for that long!

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Tomato tartare with anchovies and almonds at Bar Mut in Barcelona

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Pulpo a la brasa or grilled octopus at Bar Mut in Barcelona

La Boqueria on La Rambla in Barcelona

Freshly cooked, straight out of the pot octopus at Mercat La Boqueria on La Rambla

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This is Mark Bittman’s favourite sandwich ever: a flauta d’ibéric jabugo at Cafe Viena on La Rambla in Barcelona

Stroll down from the park towards Bar Mut, it will take you a while to get there but you’ll work up an appetite to have a late lunch at one of the best tapas bars I ate at in Barcelona. The fried egg carpaccio and the tomato tartare are a must!

If you want to go tapas bar hopping like the locals while you’re visiting, you might want to give the guys from Hi. This is Barcelona a call. I did and I had a great evening! They design a tour around your likes and needs and send you along with a private guide who is knowledgeable not only in the history of the food but also the city. We ate at three great and very different tapas bars on my tour, all in the old part of the city, the Gothic quarter, El Born and Barceloneta. Our guide José entertained us with stories about the foods we were eating as well as the parts of the city we were strolling along. An all around great experience that I definitely recommend. Check my google map for tips on the 3 tapas bars visited: Tasca el Corral, Set el Born and Segons Mercat.

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A street in the Gothic quarter of Barcelona

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Shrimp with garlic at Bubó tapas bar – and that’s a Spanish tortilla in the background

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A platter of homemade cured meats at Bubó tapas bar

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Beautiful (and delicious!) lemon and strawberry dessert at Bubó

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Chocolate and hazelnut dessert at Bubó

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Display of goodies at Bubó in Barcelona

The next day we, of course, visited the Sagrada Familia, which will make anyone hungry with going up and down all those stairs. Bubó Tapas Bar was conveniently located near our hotel and so was the lovely Bubó pastry and chocolate shop with its great desserts! I must have stopped by at least four times during my stay!

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Plaça reial early in the morning

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Hand-cut ham at Enrique Tomas in Barcelona

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Gaudí’s masterpiece: Casa Battló

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Inside Casa Battló

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Chorizo al diablo (flaming chorizo with agua ardiente) at Tasca El Corral in the Gothic quarter of Barcelona

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Delicious jamon and the famous pan con tomate (bread with tomato) in the background

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Delicious tapas of beef filet mignon with port wine and foie sauce and fried peppers at Segons Mercat

For more information on the city, take a look at Christelle’s article on her recent trip to Barcelona. I have also created a google map with more tips about all the tapas bars and Gaudí monuments I visited during my stay in Barcelona. I am preparing another article on this wonderful city specifically dedicated to the amazing dinner I had at the Adrià brothers’ 41º cocktail bar and Tickets tapas bar, so stay tuned for that one, I promise it will be sinfully delicious!

Note: If you need help planning a trip there, drop me a line and I’ll gladly pitch in!

Café Viena
115 La Rambla

10 Carrer Caputxes, El Born
+34 93 268 72 24

6 Carrer Caputxes, El Born
+34 93 310 57 73

Bar Mut
192 Carrer de Pau Claris
+34 93 217 43 38

Tasca el Corral
17 Mercè, Barrio Gòtic
+34 93 315 20 59

Set Del Born
7 Carrer Esparteria, El Born
+34 93 319 35 31

Segons Mercat
16 Carrer Balboa, Barceloneta
+34 93 310 78 80

Enrique Tomas
55 Carrer Ferran
+34 93 383 84 85

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