Barcelona · Dining Review

My Spanish Food Quest

As far as I know how Spanish cuisine goes, it would be tapas, churros, chorizo and tapas again. So was that what we found in Barcelona? Let’s find out!

Our Airbnb host was instrumental in kickstarting our Spanish Food Quest; the moment we got to his place, he gave us restaurant cards and marked them out on the map for us – yay!

Getting tips from our host!
Getting tips from our host!

So surprise surprise, our first dinner was at a tapas place!

La Mestressa

Plaza d’Osca, 08014 Barcelona

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As we got there pretty early, at 5ish pm, the restaurant was relatively quiet. But it filled up quite quickly.

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They had an English menu (phew!) but even still, it was a little hard communicating with the waitress, like trying to find out what each dish had (allergy alerts for Ms Gan) and the size of the portions. But we got there eventually!

Tuna tataki with soya sauce  - €9.50
Tuna tataki with soya sauce – €9.50
The tuna was cooked beautifully, but I found that the jam on the side didn't quite go with the savoury flavours
The tuna was cooked beautifully, but I found that the jam on the side didn’t quite go with the savoury flavours
Monkfish & prawns with mango sauce - €8.50
Monkfish & prawns with mango sauce – €8.50. This dish was actually served up to us by accident. But it looks good right??
Brie & raspberry jam bruschetta - €4.50
Brie, sesame seeds & raspberry jam bruschetta – €4.50

This above dish was so simple but got us both raving. The brie was melted, and the raspberry jam was not overly sweet, complimenting the cheese so well – who would’ve thought such a simple combination would be so yummy?! I told Ms Gan that I can’t wait to recreate this when I get back to Melbourne – yes, I need to do that soon!!!

Homemade croquettes with Spanish Iberian Ham - €5.50
Homemade croquettes with Spanish Iberian Ham – €5.50

The exterior of the croquettes were nicely crumbed and the inside nice and fluffy. The croquettes were REALLY filling and we both struggled to finish it!

The portion size for each dish was decent so even though we only had 3 tapa dishes in total, we left the restaurant full and satisfied. A good place for a simple tapas meal!

And guess what we had for our 2nd dinner again??

Tasca i Vins

Avinguda del Marques de l’Argentera 13., Barcelona

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The restaurant was quite empty when we reached so it didn’t seem quite promising. But perhaps it was because it was too early in the evening (Barcelonians are known to have really late dinners). We were starving anyway and thought to just go ahead and trust our host’s recommendation…

Fried egg with 'hot sauce' & thread potatoes - €3.95
Fried egg with Iberic ham & thread potatoes – €3.95. A lovely combination of fried stuff! Mmm.
Crunchy asparagus in Brie sauce - €4.75
Crunchy asparagus in Brie sauce – €4.75

We added this on to fulfill the veggie quota and this turned out to be the Dish of the Night! The asparagus definitely had a nice crunch and the brie sauce was so simple yet decadent at the same time. Again, another simple tapas done so well!

Seafood paella tapa - €3.95.
Seafood paella tapa – €3.95

I just had to get this because I was craving for paella and Ms Gan can’t eat seafood. So 1 paella tapa to myself!

Yayy happy with my paella! There wasn't exactly a crust at the sides but still good enough for me!
Yayy happy with my paella! There wasn’t exactly a crust at the sides but still good enough for me!
Mushroom assortment - €3.75
Mushroom assortment – €3.75

It was actually nice tasting the different types of earthy mushrooms but the problem was, it was a little too salty 😦 As such, we struggled to finish this plate towards the end.

As you can tell, the price of each dish at this restaurant is cheaper than the first one we visited. Each dish was also quite enjoyable but yea, it would have been better if they were less salty. Yay, another great recommendation by our host!

La Boqueria Market (Mercat de La Boqueria)

Rambla, 91, 08002 Barcelona

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Now, this would be Barcelona’s version of our Queen Victoria Market where there are fresh fish, meats, vegetables and fruits.

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They also have a section of  food stalls and there’s where we had lunch 1 day!

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Haha can’t believe we came to Spain to eat crepes! But it was really goood! The crepe guy was also quite abit of a showman, but not in a crepe-y way! (haha get it??)

Having abit of a chat while waiting for our crepe
Having abit of a chat while waiting for our crepe

And we couldn’t resist getting fresh fruit – a whole bag of cherries for €2 and I may have given in to this temptation…

I can assure you those strawberries tasted as juicy and sweet as they looked. AND the chocolate... mmmm.
I can assure you those strawberries tasted as juicy and sweet as they looked. AND the chocolate… mmmm.

Yup, I may have deliberately wanted to stop by La Boqueria Market the next day again, just to get another stick of those chocolate-covered strawberries

So yes, La Boqueria market is a must-visit when you’re in Barcelona, especially for a quick bite and for a dose of fresh fruit!

Taverna Basca Irati

Carrer del Cardenal Casañas, 17, 08002 Barcelona, Spain

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When we got to Barcelona, Ms Gan kept going on and on about some hole-in-the-walls tapas bars that her colleague had told her about. That it would be a place selling really cheap tapas that were meant to be a quick snack-fix or as a teatime serving.

But as we wandered around, we could only find proper tapas restaurants and the dishes weren’t that cheap. Until one day, we chanced upon this tapas bar while walking around!

Ahhhh sooo many to choose from! All of them were priced €1.95 per stick
Ahhhh sooo many to choose from! All of them were priced €1.95 per stick
I chose 1 with brie, jam with a peanut sprinkling while Ms Gan went for smoked salmon... so moreish!
I chose 1 with brie, jam with a peanut sprinkling while Ms Gan went for smoked salmon… so moreish!
On my last day in Barcelona, I couldn't help popping by to grab a few more tapas!
On my last day in Barcelona, I couldn’t help popping by to grab a few more tapas!

And when we finally found one, they all seemed to appear before us – after our 1st encounter with Taverna Basca Irati, we found a 2nd one a few metres down the road!

Bilbao Berria

Plaça Nova, 3, 08002 Barcelona, Spain

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Even though we just had our tapas fill at the previous bar, we couldn’t help having a 2nd go… they just looked too good!

These were slightly cheaper at €1.70 per stick
These were slightly cheaper at €1.70 per stick
I went for smoked salmon this time round and Ms Gan had a big fat juicy chorizo
I went for smoked salmon this time round and Ms Gan had a big fat juicy chorizo

So yes, please look out for the tapas bars when you’re in Barcelona – they are there to keep you filled while you’re on the go! But be warned, there will be too many yummy offerings that you have to exercise self-control!

La Paradeta

Carrer Comercial, 7, 08009 Barcelona

Be sure to get here early
Be sure to get here early!

I personally didn’t expect to eat seafood in Barcelona (I mean, it doesn’t look close to the coast right?) but our host highly recommended this place so here we are! And yup, we got there 15minutes before it opened for dinner and there was a queue already!

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It’s kind of like a marketplace system – the moment you enter through the front door, you choose the fresh seafood you want, pay upfront and then grab a table.

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It was a little stressful having to choose from such a wide selection and with a queue behind us… but we got there!

Oysters to start off with
Oysters to start off with
I decided to try out the scampi since I don't see it very often in the Melbourne markets!
I decided to try out the scampi since I don’t see it very often in the Melbourne markets!
Ms Gan's fish, which unfortunately was a little dry and too salty
Ms Gan’s fish, which unfortunately was a little dry and too salty

As for my main, I couldn’t decide between crab or lobster. The lobster was much more expensive than the crab and it was a little annoying that I couldn’t share it with Ms Gan who can’t eat seafood (well, I guess it’s more annoying for her that she can only eat fish!).

But then, I thought I haven’t had one of them for a long time anyway so I went for that in the end…

Yes, I chose the lobster!
Yes, I chose the lobster!
Will I be able to finish this all by myself??
Will I be able to finish this all by myself??
Yup! *burp*
…Yup! *burp*

Yes, that was my piggish moment but I must say that grilled lobster was so satisfying. The flesh was succulent and it was soaked in beautiful olive oil (Spanish I presume) and herbs. The last time I had lobster that good was the baked lobster I had in Boston 7 years ago! So please excuse my moment of indulgence and yes, please check out La Paradeta if you’re a seafood lover!

Okay, on to simpler things.

As we stayed in the Gothic Quarter, there were only mini marts in that area and the fresh fruit didn’t look very good and the things inside were not that cheap. So that’s why we went a little crazy at La Boqueria Market and as we walked down La Rambla one day, to my delight, we spotted Carrefour! Finally, a supermarket!!!

The same amount would cost $5 in Melbourne!
The same amount would cost $5 in Melbourne!

Yes, I guess this sparked off my obsession with raspberries. I was actually really sad that I could not bring them back to Australia! 😦

And guess what else we found in Carrefour?

Can you see €1 for each pack of chorizo/salami??
Can you see €1 for each pack of chorizo/salami??
Okay let me make it a little clearer for you
Okay let me make it a little clearer for you

A smoked meat lover’s dream… Without thinking twice, I grabbed 1 pack and then went to the biscuits aisle, and got a pack of biscuits for €0.56!

And guess what I had for breakfast the next day (and the next)?

Enjoyed with a mug of filtered coffee provided by our host and in the comforts of his lovely apartment!
Enjoyed with a mug of filtered coffee provided by our host and in the comforts of his lovely apartment!

Waaahhh a simple but yummy Spanish breakfast for €1.56 over 2 days! I cannot ask for a better local experience!

So yes, Barcelona has given me a good sampler of the Spanish cuisine – I’ve never seen more tapas in my life, and creative and delectable combinations as well! The chorizos and salamis are also one-of-a-kind, as you can’t get better quality smoked meats than these! I was also surprised by the yummy offerings of seafood and fresh fruit.

I guess the only dampener was that we didn’t get our dose of churros but oh well, I shouldn’t complain because as you can tell, we were fed well enough. So overall, I would say that we achieved much in our Spanish Food Quest!

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